For those of you following my blog, Visa Part 2 told of us needing to order a more ‘recently stamped’ marriage license. Let me clarify here that we are doing an investment visa, which means we have a bank CD for at least 1 year for $25,000. I, as dependent, necessitated an additional $500 on top of the $25K CD for a total of $25,500, and we must show my relationship to the visa holder, hubby, with a marriage certificate accompanying the visa application. NOTE: this CD must ONLY be in hubby’s name, as the visa is in his name. I am just a dependent. (Can you tell this bugs me? It was either this method, OR we invest $25K EACH for each visa. OK. I can allow it to bug me a bit for a smaller investment.)
Right after we were told we needed a more recently stamped and also apostiled marriage license, I got on my trusty Magic Jack and called a few places to get this certificate ASAP. We were married in Washington state, and somehow, while talking to numerous people in Olympia, WA, I happened to speak with the actual person who does the apostiling. She kindly directed me exactly where to order and receive (in the U.S., by UPS) an apostiled certificate, in the manner that SHE prefered, so I figured it would be best to follow her directions. I did as she directed.
I requested the document to be UPS’ed to my daughter’s address in Texas, and of course, paid extra for this. As soon as SHE got it, she shipped it via DHL to Cuenca, addressed to us in care of the DHL office at La Vergel. We had telephoned the DHL office here and informed them that a package would be arriving; they telephoned us when it arrived. Even so, we were able to track the package as it wended its way from Texas to Ohio, to Miami, to Panama, then to Guayaquil, finally to Cuenca. Hooray!
Once we had the more recent marriage certificate (even though we were married in 1977, the document had a very faint date stamp of 12-2012 on the back, this was deemed too old, even though the apostile was dated 4-26-2013) in hand, we contacted Christabel Aguirre, who had agreed to translate our documents for $7 a page, plus notary fees. Christabel seemed the most honest and reliable of the translators that we had contacted, and also stated that the notary she used was ‘the most organized in Cuenca’. We met Christabel at her house, discussed what we needed, and left our documents with her along with enough $$ for the notary.
While we were waiting for the translations, hubby took both our passports down to the Municipal Policy office to obtain a local police report, which must be no more than 30 days old. I didn’t even have to go with him. They produced both reports away for hubby, and he was home in less than a half an hour.
Christabel and I traded a few emails with her questions, mostly as she couldn’t read the signatures of the pastor and witnesses to our wedding ceremony. And then they were ready! She emailed me that we could pick them up at her house; we grabbed a taxi and were on our way. Once there, while reviewing the translations, I noticed that one of the translation pages was dated 30 marzo, 2013. All the others were dated June 30th. When I showed this to Christabell, she immediately checked her watch and said, the notary closes in half an hour, let’s go there right now. We grabbed another taxi and arrived minutes later at the notary. We sat down to wait as Christabel showed the errant page to the notary assistant. This lady got up from her desk, allowed Christabel to plug in her own flash disk to the notary’s computer to access the pages. Christabel corrected the one errant page and then printed it. The notary stamped this one page (luckily, it wasn’t the page with the notary signature and seal, just the first page with the stamp) and she was done. We traded a bit of money to Christabel for the documents and we were all on our way.
I would highly recommend Christabel for translations and notary services, she has done this numerous times, speaks wonderful English, and is very reliable and pleasant. She also plays the violin!
Next, we need to go to the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil, soon, because hubby, who traveled quite a lot for business before retiring, doesn’t have a single empty page (both sides) in his passport. The Ecuadorian visa ladies instructed us to get more pages in his passport before they will stamp it with his visa. They prefer empty, pristine pages for their stamp. We have plans to take the bus to Guayaquil in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the snafu with the closed Coopera continued on, but with a happy outcome, for me, at least. Two years ago, I had put a bit of money in the Coop in a CD that paid 8.5%; last fall, when I was visiting again, I rolled it over with a bit more into another CD that paid 10.5%, maturing in August 2013. The first week that we were here, the devastating news that the Coop had closed was announced in the media. Apparently, there were a few officers who had been laundering money through a few of their ‘large’ accounts. That, along with what was reported as ‘accounting discrepancies’ and insufficient funds, precipitated the closure. For the last 3 weeks, a government entity titled SEPS has been directing the final auditing and, hopefully, the paying out of accounts. A lawyer with reportedly $400,000 in a Coop account held a meeting soon after the initial announcement of the closure which hubby attended; we didn’t hear any more information from him after that meeting.
Last weekend, SEPS announced that accounts with less than $10,000 would be paid out in the month of July, starting with those whose cedula or passport end in the number ‘1’, paying out on July 1 & 2; those ending with the number of ‘2’, paying on July 3 & 4; and so on. Since the official website gave conflicting information that kept changing, many expats were confused and panicky; we were anxious, too. Since I opened the account with my passport, the number of which ends in ‘2’, we called SEPS yesterday. No definitive answer was given, but we were told to call back today. We called back today, and were told YES! go to the Jardin Azuay Coop at the Feria Libre and get your money. We hightailed it over there, with passport, passport copy and bank passbook in hand, and only had to stand in line for about 10 minutes. I handed the teller my documents, she printed some items, I signed 3 copies, she counted out my money, and handed it to me along with my passport. She kept my passport copy and my bank documents. We re-counted it, stuffed the small bills into various places on our bodies and in our pockets, and grabbed a taxi Fast! and made our way to Banco Pichincha where we deposited the whole mess in their bank.
Tomorrow we go to the Visa office to formally submit our paperwork. Unless something strange or untoward or unexpected happens, I won’t publish Visa part 4 until we receive our residency visas, Ojala!
Wish us Luck!