Visa Part 2

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.

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19 responses to “Visa Part 2

  1. Hello
    Sorry that it did not work – but if your certificate has been apostilled on 24th of April 2013 – to today : this are not more than 120 days… Not sure what you mean with 120 days? Please let us know…
    JEP should be actually able to receive wire transfers…Strange…
    Muchas Gracias…
    Prin

    • The problem is that the certificate itself was stamped as being certified in 2011. The apostile is not too old, but the cert itself is too old. Hubby is applying for an investment visa (CD of $25k)$ and I will be his dependent (another $500, yes, that’s right, only $5 small ones) so we have to show proof of marriage. We were married in 1977, the document is stamped certified on August 11 2011, so they consider it too old. However, the lady who arranges visas from here, but in Quito says that they would accept it in Quito. However, people say whatever they can to receive $1000 so I am a bit skeptical, although this IS Ecuador where nothing is ever the same everywhere.

  2. So you went for the investment visa rather than the retirement income visa. Is this because SSI cannot be apostilled, as we were told but have yet to see in writing, or are you just too young for social security?

  3. Boy, It just gets more and more confusing. I was told that they would NOT accept my state police report, as I mentioned before I was also told the marriage certificate was no longer needed. The OLD rule was no older than 90 days, which would seem to be the case in your situation. I’m off to Quito on Tuesday, and supposedly, they will accept my State background check, and the process is supposed to be more stream lined and the finalization quicker. Could the differences be in that I went with the retirement visa?
    It’s really too bad that one isn’t able to help out others that have questions, because this just reinforces the fact that the rules are totally whimsical, that you really can’t really give a clear cut answer. That $1000.00 that was quoted to you is in line with my lawyers fees.
    I really wish you guys the best on your journey. Keep us posted, as I will too!
    Best Wishes,
    Neil

    • We also have considered just going up to Quito and applying there since we’ve been told that our marriage license (since I am a dependent) will be accepted since the apostile date is very recent. Could you please let us know how it goes for you in Quito? Looking forward to hearing your experience there at the residency visa office in Quito.

  4. As we have all discovered, rules and regulations change with the weather – but once upon a time (2011) an apostillized earning letter from Social Security was acceptable for residency.

  5. Terry, the social security letter, apostiled, is no longer acceptable for a pensioner’s visa? what is acceptable?

  6. With all the changes that seem to occur almost daily, I believe that one might just want to bite the bullet and hire a pro. I did, and will never regret it – several emails followed by a SINGLE trip to Quito (in and out same day) and I was done. Granted,- there was a sizable check written to my attorney, but after seeing all the difficulties that folks are going through today, it was well worth the cost. I’ll be glad to forward a recommendation to anyone who wants one..

  7. Hello,
    Just an update. I had told you I applied in Quito on the 7th of June. Well, I got my approval on July 1st. This was a very fast procedure . Again, in Quito, they did not require my marriage certificate, my birth certificate, and my State Criminal check was accepted. I hope yours is approved soon. I re call you had the out of date issue with your marriage certificate. Again, not required in Quito.
    Best Wishes,
    Neil

  8. @Neil
    You live in Cuenca and applied in Quito – correct?
    Thank you
    Prin

  9. Prin,
    That is correct. My attorney’s do all their work in Quito, as they know the system there. And they were right, no hassles and less than a month turn around! I was in the office in Quito for a total of a half hour, while my facilitator dealt with everything. I stood up for my picture, and signed my name 2 times. Done deal!
    Stay Well,
    Neil

    • @Neil
      Thank you very much.
      Could it be possible to have your attorneys / facilitators contact details?
      Prin

    • Could you please add the attorney details in Quito. I was quoted almost $3000 and from what I’ve read here, it should have been more like $1000!

      Thanks, I’d appreciate the info, as I’m moving to EC in a few months.
      Kind regards
      Sarah

      • We did NOT use any attorneys. If you use an attorney, for 2 people, yes, it will cost about as you state. Since we didn’t use an attorney, we saved quite a lot. The visa registry in Cuenca recommends NOT using an attorney, and unless you have a special situation, I don’t recommend it either.

  10. @Neil
    Thank you very much.
    Could it be possible to have your attorneys / facilitators contact details?
    Gracias
    Prin

  11. Could you please let us know if you are able to get health insurance by having your $25,500 CD at Pichincha Bank? Figuring out health insurance is one of our biggest obstacle in arranging our move to Cuenca. Gracias!

    • Anyone with a Banco Pichincha account can purchase the health insurance at the bank. It is not exactly like that in the U.S., as all medical care here is excellent but so much cheaper than what we are used to in the U.S. There are a number of plans that can be purchased here, depending on how much you want to spend, what network of docs and clinics you want, and how much you want to have covered. Ours (Confiamed) is pretty cheap, less than $45 each per month, but it doesn’t have ‘unlimited’ coverage. Each ‘sickness’ is covered to up to $4000, doctor visit are covered up to $20, but then most visits are anywhere from $10 to $30 and I’ve never heard of anyone with a major illness having to pay more than $3000 for a week or 2 in the hospital, surgery and all. There is a 30 day waiting period for doctor visits, and a 6 month waiting period for pre-ex. Since we don’t have any ‘pre-ex’ we figured we’d be fine. Maybe I should do a blog entry about all the different plans here!

      • Thank you so much! I love your idea of doing a blog entry about health insurance options. There are many of us out here who are concerned and confused about this. Looking forward to reading more about you guys “living the dream”!

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