Tag Archives: Apostille convention

Getting Legal–Working Papers: The Paper Chase

long list of paper

So in order to become an English teacher here, I would need a whole handful of documentation.  After my initial flying off the handle phase, I checked the list again. (See Getting Legal–Working Papers)

Well, the application for reconsideration was taken care of.  SEP had kindly sent that with the list of requirements.

The second requirement was my birth certificate, with an apostille and translated by an authorized person. This I had. My mom had done this for me from PA when I began my naturalization process.

The third requirement was the payment to the state. According to SEGOB, I didn’t need to make this payment since I was a permanent resident now, but I would check on it again once I had all the papers together.

Fourth, the payment for SEP to reexamine my documents–that could wait too as I didn’t have all the documents yet.

Number 5 was a copy of my CURP (federal identification number). I received this document when I was upgraded from tourist to imigrante familiar (immigrant).

Number 8 was the original and copy of my permanent resident card which I recently obtained after 7 long years of struggle. (See Getting Legal–Trip 5).

Number 9 was my University diploma translated and apostilled, which I had sent to SEP at the beginning of all this drama.

papers in the air

Numbers 6, 7, and 10 required a lot of mailing to and from the U.S. and countless hours of needless worry and stress.

Number 6 was the documento original y copia oficial que acredite las calificaciones finales de los grados a revalidar apostillado y traducido (the original and a legal copy of my high school transcripts translated and with an apostille).

Now that I understood this to be my high school transcripts, I could see about obtaining it. I had an unofficial copy, but it didn’t have an apostille. So I asked my brother to call the school I graduated from in 1991 to see if it would even be possible to get it. I was in luck. They didn’t have a copy of my diploma, but could send the transcripts and a letter stating that I attended from — to — and that I graduated in —. So once my brother had those documents in his hot little hands, he could then take them to the notary to be notarized, then send them to Harrisburg to get an apostille, a piece of cake, or so I thought.

However, it wasn’t quite that easy. The notary said that she would have to witness the signature from the school, so my mom had to make arrangements for the official school person and the notary to get together. Being as determined as I am, she managed to get the meeting set up and the signing took place. She then sent it on to Harrisburg and in under a week, had it back ready to send to me.

Number 7 was my high school diploma, which I still had wrapped in tissue paper, never having had the occasion to use it before. Unfortunately, it was with me in México. When my brother called the school said they didn’t keep diplomas so old (Geez, thanks!) and therefore couldn’t reissue it. So I packed a box of regional goodies and sent them along with the diploma in a DHL box to my brother in PA. I was not taking any chances with the postal service with this baby.

When my brother received it, he passed it along to my mom. She had it notarized and then sent it on to Harrisburg, but for some reason or other, it was sent back twice without an apostille. She finally got the apostille and after 2 months of waiting, dropped it in the mail.

However, she didn’t have it sent with a tracking number because the U.S. post office dude said she didn’t need one–even after I told her several times that things disappear in the mail here. One time, I received a care package that had just empty candy wrappers–apparently the customs guy had a sweet tooth. So after a month of anxious waiting, and checking at the post office box here in Moroleón, my diploma and high school transcripts arrived.

My husband went to pick it up, but when he got to the counter he realized he had left his wallet with his IFE identification at the house. The postal clerk wouldn’t give him the package without the ID, so he headed home. On the way, his moto ran out of gas. He walked to the nearest gas station, which never is as near as you would like, and begged the gas attendant to give him a little gas to get home, since he had left his wallet there. The gas attendant guy knew my husband, and gave him 20 pesos of gas. He rushed home, got his wallet and headed back to the post office, picked up the package, then paid the gas attendant and BAM, wouldn’t you know it, on the way back home, he got a flat tire. So pretty much, it took the entire day to pick up this package.

Then the 10th requirement was the plan y programa que ampare los estudios realizados en el extranjero original y 2 copias traducidas (my college transcripts and 2 copies translated into Spanish.) Again, I had this here in México and never had occasion to use it. So after a panicked search among my papers, I found it. I contacted a friend who still lived in NE and asked if she would do this great favor for me and have my transcripts notarized and apostillized and perhaps blessed.

When I went to the DHL office to send these bad boys (my high school diploma and my University transcripts) on their way, I discovered that I only had enough to pay for one box to the States. So the things for NE and the things for PA went to my brother in PA with a request that he send the NE things on through the U.S. mail.

When my friend in NE received the documents, she trooped to the capital to try and get an apostille. There they told her it would need to be notarized first. So she went to the University notary and there was told that the transcripts were too old (again thanks!) and would need to be reissued to be notarized. So I requested a new transcript via fax from México to be sent to her. Wouldn’t you know it, there was a financial hold on my account. After several emails back and forth, I was informed that I would need to pay my Perkins loan in full in order to receive new transcripts. At 19 cents interest per day for 7 years, the grand total would be close to $2000 usd or about $23,000 pesos. No Manches! Well, thank you for your time, but that just won’t be possible at the moment.

So I asked my friend to send the old transcripts (which were nonetheless still official) back to my brother in PA, so that he could send them back to me with the other documents. He thought my mom had already sent the other documents to México, so he sent a separate letter with the transcripts. I received them 2 weeks later with no other issues besides having failed in procuring the apostille for that particular document.

The next step is having my high school diploma, high school transcripts and University transcripts and the apostilles translated by a Perito Traductor. It can’t be just anyone, it has to be the person authorized by the state with this special seal. Unfortunately, the person who we went to in the past to have this little stamp put on, died. So I am now in the process of trying to locate some other person with this little stamp. Since the gathering of the papers has taken 3 months, I can’t even guess as to how long this second part will take.





Filed under Getting Legal

Getting Legal–Working Papers

paperwork lady

Just so you know, I have been working most of the 7 years I have lived here, but apparently not legally. It was easier for me to obtain my permanent residency through a dependent status, as there is no minimum income requirement. But this year, feeling frisky, I decided to tackle the work permit business.

When I went to pick up my residency card (See Getting Legal-Trip 5) I asked at the desk what I needed to do to work legally now. The clerk printed out a little paper and said that I would need to fill out electronically the form “notificacion de cambio de lugar de trabajo” (job location change notification), then write a letter indicating the change bajo de protesto de decir la verdad (swearing to tell the truth) and return to the office with my residency card and a copy. I had to ask a second time if that was all, just to be sure. That seemed so easy–it had to be a mistake. The clerk emphasized that it needed to be done within 90 days of the change. Okie Dokie.

However, when I applied for a job teaching English at a private elementary school, that was a horse of a different color. I sent my diploma, notarized, apostillado (apostille), and traducido por un perito traductor (translated into Spanish by an authorized agent) that indicated that I had a Bachelor’s in Science in Education with specialties in English and English as a Second Language. Who better qualified to teach the children of México but me, I thought.

But my own high opinion and a Bachelor’s degree weren’t enough for SEP (Secretaria de Educacion Primaria). I received, with my rejection letter, a list of 10 requirements and a request for payment in the amount of $758 pesos, plus 11 pesos for each document sent, to re-evaluate my documents.

I was requested to send:

1–Formato de Solicitud original (a form requesting my reevaluation)

2–Acta de nacimiento original y copia, traducida y apostillada (birth certificate with an apostille and translated into Spanish and copy)

3–Pago de derechos clave 85-20 (payment to the state of Guanajuato)

4–Pago Correspondente (the $758 and 11 pesos per document)

5–copia de CURP (copy of my identification number issued by federal government)

6–Documento original y copia oficial que acredite las calificaciones finales de los grados a revalidar apostillado y traducido (the original and a legal copy of my high school transcripts translated and with an apostille)

7–Titulo o diploma original y copia del grado a revalidar apostillado y traducido (High School diploma and copy, translated and with an apostille)

8–Documento original y copia migratorio que acredite al legal estancia en el país (my permanent residency card and copy)

9–Certificado original y copia o Diploma de Bachillerato cuando los estudios a revalidar sean de nivel Licenciatura apostillado y traducido por un perito autorizado (my diploma from the University with an apostille and translated into Spanish by an authorized person)

10–Plan y programa que ampare los estudios realizados en el extranjero original y 2 copias traducidas (my college transcripts and 2 copies translated into Spanish)

What the….? Not even immigration asked for so much documentation. I was upset and asked around to see if it was just because I was not born a Mexican–and yep, it was.

Obtaining even this information was as difficult as prying state secrets from a loyalist. I honestly was perplexed at what SEP was requesting, as in my opinion, a diploma from a University was sufficient proof of my qualifications. So I asked around, specifically currently employed English teachers or people working at Universities that might know a foreign-born English teacher. Some didn’t respond. Some said they would get back to me. Some said that I needed to fix my own problems myself. These same people who didn’t hesitate to call me up when they needed to cram for the IELTS, Trinity or TOEFL exams, or had a question about U.S. Social Security benefits, or who sent me desperate people with difficult U.S. questions who then never paid me for my time or effort. These people I thought were my friends! Silly me.

So then I asked the Spanish teachers for information and discovered the astonishing fact that most teachers here in México have never attended a University to become teachers. The law requiring a University education is quite recent, hence teachers who did not attend a University are allowed to continue teaching because of their years in the field are seen to be the equivalent of actual studies. Newer teachers who have not completed their studies, often use a diploma prestado (borrowed) from someone who has completed his or her studies.

But not me, noooo. I would have to complete these requirements and take them to Guanajuato personally in order to be given a teaching position.




Filed under Employment, Getting Legal, Teaching