Category Archives: Getting Legal

Identification Documents Updates 2020

So my husband’s process for getting the new license plates for 2020 in Guanajuato was a lot more complicated than mine was, but really, it was partially his fault.

If you remember, he opted not to change the addresses on his two driver’s licenses in January when I went to get mine for whatever reason. So when I tried to make an appointment for him to get his new license plates for the truck and his motorcycle, I couldn’t since the addresses on the driver’s licenses did not make the comprobante de domicilio (proof of residence). 

Since we are in a pandemic, our little town has opted to make everything by appointment only. That appointment must be made online, which I can foresee being extremely difficult for older folks. It was complicated for me and I consider myself somewhat computer savvy. Anyway, the license issuing office was no exception. An online appointment must be made. 

I submitted his scanned documents at the new site Licencias de Conducir (https://transporte.guanajuato.gob.mx/index.php/licencias_conducir) and they were rejected because the two transactions (getting a motorcycle and getting a truck license) had to be submitted separately. 

I submitted them again, and they were rejected because they needed to have proof that they weren’t stolen, which they weren’t. It seems the category duplicado de licencia de conducir (duplicate license) was both for changes of addresses and stolen licenses. When licenses are stolen, then you have to submit a form Constancia de No Infracciones from  Seguridad Pública Tránsito y Transportes office. Anyway, they weren’t stolen so that didn’t apply. 

So I sent the documents again, this time including the comprobante de domicilio (proof of address) to show that the addresses were different AND it was rejected again, this time because the licenses were too blurry.

I took the licenses to another scanning place in town and had them rescanned. Then tried to resubmit the information, but the site was down. So after two weeks of effort, the documents were accepted and I made the appointments. 

Well, I thought I had made 2, one after the other, but with the site being glitchy, it turns out I only managed one. Fortunately, the guy working the counter the day my husband went in was in a good mood and did both licenses, with the same photo. It helped that I had all the pertinent documents (comprobante and proof of payment) and copies, including copies of the licenses to be replaced, in a folder for my husband to just hand over. The proof of payments involved downloading and printing a document and taking it to OXXO to pay then attaching the OXXO receipt to the document. There’s also the option to pay online with a debit or credit card, but that never works out well for me. So off to the market to pay the bill. 

Each reissued license was 206 pesos plus the OXXO 12 peso fee, but as he couldn’t proceed without them, so be it. 

The next document change was the IFE card. I was able to set up an appointment for him online the same day and just 40 minutes after my son’s appointment to pick up his ID (which didn’t actually happen that day). He needed a comprobante and his old IFE to renew and there’s no fee for the IFE. He needs to call in a few weeks to see if the card is ready and then make another appointment to pick it up. Maybe by then my son’s card will be ready too. But you know, the holidays are coming, so this might not happen until next year.

While he waited for that to be finished, I made an appointment for him to get his new Guanajuato plates for the truck and his motorcycle online. I stressed the importance of taking the electricity bill rather than the water bill because the address must match exactly what is on his now reissued licenses. For whatever reason, the electric bill has Colonia El Jinete and the water bill has Colonia Curumbatio even though they are for the same residence. He went to the appointment with, Identificación Oficial Vigente con Fotografía (photo ID in the form of a driver’s license issued in Guanajuato), Comprobante de Domicilio (proof of residence, in this case, his sister’s electric bill), Placa Delantera (front license plate from the truck), Placas Traseras (back license plates from the truck and motorcycle) and two Tarjetas de Circulación (Permit to circulate cards) BUT he forgot his mask, so he had to run and buy another one before being admitted. 

I waited at home and was pleased to receive two emails confirming the transactions had been completed successfully from Secretaría de Finanzas, Inversión y Administración (SFIA). Finally! I’m not sure if we need to repeat the procedure in January or not, but at least it’s done for now.

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Filed under Driving Hazards, Getting Legal

Notarizing Online

Although I didn’t receive one of those stimulus checks this year since I’m married to an ITIN holder, I did get a small tax refund for my 2019 taxes. Unfortunately, depositing the check into my U.S. based Capital One 360 account was an exercise in futility. Although Capital One has a banking app where theoretically I could deposit the check, it won’t work on a Mexican phone. 

So I asked my friend in Tennessee who had the check to deposit it into her account. Her bank told her they would need my fingerprint to do that. Not gonna happen. I decided that I needed to give her the Power of Attorney over my assets, such as they are. 

To do that, I’d need to have a Power of Attorney document notarized by a U.S. notary. I was going to do that when we went to renew my son’s passport in May, but then COVID happened and that trip didn’t materialize. The consulate in San Miguel de Allende still isn’t up to full service potential yet anyway. So I look at other options.

Believe or not, I learned about online notaries from a Facebook discussion thread. I didn’t end up using the notary recommended because they never answered my message, but I did find One Notary. I wrote and asked and they said yes, I could create a Tennessee Power of Attorney through their service. 

I found the document through eforms.com and downloaded that. It was $45 for the document. Then I set up an appointment with a notary at One Notary. 

Six hours before my morning appointment, I could go through the verification process. The first set of questions was easy peasy. Then I needed to take a picture of my U.S. ID (which in this case was my PA driver’s license I was able to renew on my visit last year) with my smart phone. Well, I actually enlisted my son and his new phone for this part. The verification process wanted me to enter a valid U.S. phone number, which I didn’t have. Fortunately, it also gave me the option to have the secret code emailed to me, which I could then access via phone. So I had it sent to my gmail account and my son opened the document, entered the secret code, and took the pictures. 

The app decided it still wasn’t sure I was who I said I was, so asked me a few more questions. I failed the verification since I couldn’t remember the house number of the apartment building I lived in for 6 months nearly 30 years ago. I couldn’t go through the verification process again for 24 hours, so I had to reschedule the appointment. 

The next attempt went pretty much the same. I had taken the time using Google Street view (and some assistance from my son) to find the apartment building across from the Revolutionary War cemetery in Greencastle and the other address I wasn’t sure of, the house next to the church in Lincoln. But I still failed. I rescheduled the appointment.

They say the third time’s the charm, right? Well, I got verified and made the payment of $25 for the notary service. Then I waited for the notary to arrive for our 10:00 am appointment. And I waited, and I waited. Finally at 10:30 am, I sent two messages, one to One Notary support and another to One Notary customer service. There is no chat option on the page. 

I received an email telling me that of course the notary was not signed in at 10:00 am because my appointment was for 10:30 am. I double checked the time and time zones to be sure. No, my appointment was at 10:00 am in both locations (Texas and Mexico). The person then snarkily informed me that he/she could see that the notary was now in a session with me–although that wasn’t true.

A few minutes later, I was promoted to join a notary session. The woman who appeared was not the woman I had made the appointment with, but I didn’t care. She downloaded my document and started doing what she needed to do. While she was doing that, she and I both received emails that said I would be taken care of by yet a different notary. I asked the woman not to transfer me and to finish what we had started, so we did. It took about 10 minutes. I signed the document with my mouse, initialed where I needed to put my initials and voila, finished!

I downloaded the document, which still had one blank page for my friend in Tennessee to accept the Power of Attorney. I then sent the document to her via email. She printed the document and had set up an appointment to have the acceptance notarized. My luck seemed to transfer to her. The first two appointments with the notary in Tennessee were canceled by the notary. But again, the third time’s the charm. Then, my newly empowered friend took my tax refund check and POA document to the bank. My check was promptly deposited without a hassle. The amount nearly covered the notary and document service. YEAH!

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Filed under Economics, Getting Legal

Going to IFE–New Procedures

My son turned 18 in May and I had all sorts of plans of getting his IDs (both US and Mexican) but we were in the middle of a pandemic and well, that didn’t happen. In August, the IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral) opened back up by appointment only. I managed to get a slot for my son for October 1 using the online booking site.

In order for him to receive his first ever voter’s registration card through IFE, he needed to present his Mexican birth certificate, a proof of residence like a water or electric bill, and two people who could vouch for his identity. 

Although my son was born in the US, we were able to register him in Mexico as the child of a Mexican citizen. His Mexican birth certificate is mostly blank because it only listed what was on his US birth certificate (parents’ names) rather than including grandparents and witnesses. On the back, there’s a whole bunch of writing about the apostille and translation of his US birth certificate. Even though it looks a little odd, it’s a perfectly legal document. 

We always have an issue with proof of residence because we have no public utilities. There is no electricity, no sewer, no water lines and no road names in La Yacata. So he asked to borrow the most recent bill from his aunt, who was also one of the witnesses he brought (the other being my husband). 

Along with these items, he needed to mask up. Since no one would be allowed in without a mask, in the bag of documents, I included two more for his dad and aunt just in case they didn’t have one.

My son balked a bit at having to go with dear ol’ dad, but I don’t have an IFE and wouldn’t have been allowed to vouch for his identity even though I’d given birth to him. My federal identification is in the form of a permanent residence card which doesn’t allow me to vote. 

The gang all rolled out to the appointment in plenty of time. I elected to stay home since I wouldn’t be of any use. From the way my son told it, everything was fine. He explained how we didn’t have an address and were using his aunt’s. He verified his birthday and that he was born outside of the country. His two vouchsafe companions had to wait outside and just send in their IFE cards. He had his fingerprints taken. 

He did have to remove his mask and glasses for the picture and said that not one person in the building was wearing their masks correctly. Some had noses but not mouths covered, some had mouths but not noses covered, and some had chin warmers on. That seems about right. 

After the picture, he was given a phone number to call on the 12th to see if his card was ready for pickup. It wasn’t. But finally by the 15th, it was. He felt confident enough to schedule his own appointment online to pick it up. He even picked a Wednesday so that I could take him if need be since I don’t have classes on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the earliest slot was November 11. 

I felt so pleased that we were able to successfully complete this transaction, that I made the attempt to schedule an appointment to pick up the new license plates Guanajuato was issuing. It didn’t go as smoothly. But that’s another story. 

So on the fateful day, my husband and son headed to IFE only to find that even after having called and confirmed that my son’s ID was ready before making the appointment, it wasn’t. So he’ll have to call again next week and make another appointment some weeks down the road. But seeing how we are fast approaching the Guadalupe-Reyes holiday season, it might be 2021 before this process is finished. 

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Filed under Getting Legal, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms