Today hubby went down to the NEW visa office on Manuel J Calle, near the Supermaxi at Vergel to get an appointment. He arrived around 8:10, with something to read, and surrendered our passports. At about 9:15, a girl came out and called out names (very softly, he said he could hardly hear her) and the respective appointment times. Ours was 10 a.m. He hightailed it home quickly and told me to get dressed, we had to hurry over for our 10:00 appointment.
We arrived just before 10 a.m. and waited until about 10:45 to be called. There is no hurry to this process and lots of stuff is being done back and forth behind the desk and office. If you have read my previous posts, we were nervous that we didn’t have an FBI background check, just a state police report. She scrutinized our State of Texas apostille, and the other documents, took it over to ask someone who nodded, yes, it’s good. Yay!
Then she handed back to us our birth certificates, apparently, these are no longer needed for the Visa, however, they WILL be used for the cedula application process, later, after we receive the visas.
BUT, there was a problem with our marriage certificate, duly certified and apostilled on April 24, 2013. The actual document is more than 120 days old. So, we have to get another one, ordered, and apostilled, and shipped back to us before we can apply for the visa. Yikes!
After a google search and a few phone calls on my wonderful Magic Jack, I spoke with the one person who does all the apostiles in Washington state. She suggested that the fastest way, and easiest for her, too, apparently, is to call a number she gave me and order the certified document and apostile over the phone, using my credit card. The certified copy will be forwarded to her very quickly and then she says there is about a 7 day wait for her to get to them, as she is backed up on requests. The apostilled documents can be FedExed or UPSed. I will have to request UPS since FedEx doesn’t yet come to Cuenca.
I duly called the number, made the requisite selections like ‘for marriage certificates, press 1″ and so on and was put on hold for about 15 minutes. After this long wait, a voice came on and said they could no longer answer my call. I could either go to their website and order the certificate myself, or leave a message and someone would, hopefully! call me back by the end of the following day. I left a message and then tried to order the certificate online. It is possible to order the certificate, but nowhere on the site did it offer apostile services. So, I will wait here at Casa Rio myself all day tomorrow for this call. Hubby wants to find a way to take the bus to the gym up at Turi, anyway, and I have no desire to accompany him up there to the gym.
Next hubby went to JET coop Bank which is one of the accepted banks for the investment CD, to obtain the details for a wire transfer. Our Chase private banker is aware that this request will be forthcoming, but needs the actual wire details. JET told hubby that the money has to be first wired to Banco Pichincha, then someone from JET will physically go there to obtain the money and then place it in our JET account. Doesn’t sound real secure. We then decided that we will just open a Banco Pichincha account. We had thought about doing this, anyway, since an Ecuadorian friend told us that clients at Banco Pichincha have access to their health insurance, so we figured we’d give it a try. Kill 2 birds with one stone, and then we get the money wired direct to Banco Pichincha and maybe even some good health insurance.
Next I started scrolling a Facebook page for Ecuador Expats and found a person locally who handles visas and also shipping, and seemed to have a number of good references on this site. I messaged her and she messaged back, saying she could obtain the document for me for $120, plus the DHL charges and the government document charges. She also offered to do the whole visa thing, in Quito, for us, and was quite firm that in Quito, regulations are different and they would accept my old document with the new apostile date. Hmmmm. Which makes sense to me since the state apostiled the document recently, and that should suffice, but she charges $1000 for her services and I am a bit too cheap.
So, I will wait tomorrow to see if anyone calls me back, if not, I will start all over. And we may end up using the services of this person, if we get to the point that we just can’t get it done. I figure, I should be able to order a certified and apostiled document from Washington state just as good as she should be able to get it, but then, you never know. She may have an ‘in’ at the DHL or UPS place to get stuff sent to her faster than me, a lowly expat peon.
We’ll see what happens.