Tag Archives: working papers in Mexico

Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México–Trip 3


The following Monday, I received an email from the U.S. consulate saying that I wouldn’t need any other documentation with the photo and that the office hours were Monday thru Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gee thanks.

As for my change in immigration status, I decided to wait until the next paycheck before making the trip again. It was more than 5 days later, but I didn’t want to be making a trip in vain if the paperwork wasn’t processed yet. I checked the web page every other day for news. Ten business days later, I received an email that told me to check the web page. I did and it said “Se emitió oficio”. I wasn’t sure what this meant since the status of my application still said “sin resolución” but I was hoping it meant that my change of status from dependent to wage-earner had been added to my file.

Kiosk in front of the U.S. consulate in San Miguel de Allende.

Kiosk in front of the U.S. consulate in San Miguel de Allende.

Wednesday morning, we headed to SMA yet again. We arrived just after 9 a.m. and found the kiosk still closed. Well, we are in México after all and starting time is relative. So we sat down on the bench to wait. The consulate was open. The hard-working secretary behind her glass wall was working diligently. Around 9:15, the kiosk owner arrived and began setting up. I told him what I needed and he nodded. When he was ready, I stood in front of a white wall and he took my picture. He showed it to me for my approval. God, I looked old! Well, my eyes were opened and the background definitely was white, so I guess that would be good enough.

McDonald's at the strip mall in San Miguel de Allende

McDonald’s at the strip mall in San Miguel de Allende

In less than 5 minutes, my photo was ready, however, the guy didn’t have change for a $200 peso bill. The only other place open in the strip mall, even though every single store front had a clock that said they would open at 9 a.m., was McDonald’s. I sent my husband for a coffee so he could get change and headed into the consulate with my photo. I didn’t have to wait any time at all. I handed the secretary my photo and the letter the flunky from the embassy had sent me via email. She stapled the two together and that was that. I was outside before my husband had come back with the change and coffee.

SEGOB office in San Miguel de Allende

SEGOB office in San Miguel de Allende

We then headed to SEGOB. The wait was longer, about 30 minutes, but we passed the time docilely watching dachshund racing on Animal Planet and listening to the drone of this nearly hysterical 50-ish hippie woman who had misplaced her permanent residency card, had it canceled to receive her temporary residency card, then found the card and was begging to to have it reinstated and the 70-ish gentleman who wasn’t sure he wanted to proceed with the permanent residency card because he owned an American vehicle. Soon enough, it was my turn.

The clerk at the entregar documentos window asked what I needed, although he could have gotten that information by looking at the paper I presented. I explained that I was hoping the email where it stated “Se emitió ficio” meant I could get my residency card back. He said he would check in the computer, which he did. Then he went to the filing cabinet and pulled out my file. He had me sign that I have received the oficio and my residency card and I was finished.

This letter had a paragraph of immigration law references, then said that my status had changed from dependent of my husband to being gainfully employed at JJR. My address was wrong and my husband’s name was in lower case, but I suppose it was official enough.

When we arrived back in Moroleón, I took gave a copy of the letter to my boss and asked about the progress of my application through SEP that had begun nearly a year ago. She looked embarrassed and told me that the woman who received the copies of my documentation at the SEP office in Guanajuato had “lost” them. So when the lawyer representing the school had gone last week to check on my status, it was if I had never applied. My original documents that took me so much effort to have apostilled and translated (See Getting Legal-The Paper Chase and Getting Legal–Perito Traductor) were still in the custody of the lawyer and the process of SEP approval will be begun again.



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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.





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