Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Costa Rica- What's An Apostille???

One week and one day countdown to leave for Costa Rica.  Above map shows our first stop where we understand a decent swell has arrived and expected to continue.  After midnight landing in San Jose courtesy of Spirit again ($196.00 R/T pp from Ft. Lauderdale), spending the night at a Holiday Inn (Trapp Family Inn was full- darnit!), we'll head to  the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula for 4 nights just to get back in the surf and check out rentals down there.

Then we will head back to the San Jose area and meet in person with Kevin of Great Sunrise Enterprise to start our immigration paperwork.  Here is what we had to amass for this process:
Already sent:
1) Photocopies of our passports to Kevin
2) A "Hola de Fillacion" paper for each of us with all the identifiers- name, weight, etc pre-sent to be translated into Spanish and ready when we are there to sign as we make Great Sunrise our legal representatives.
3) A money transfer to Great Sunrise to start the ball rolling.
Bringing With:
4) Newly issued birth certificates for both of us- need to be issued no more than 3 months before submitting for APOSTILLE*  I'll get to that!
5) Newly issued marriage certificate to be Apostilled
6) Letter from Nevada Personal Retirement System that says I get at least $1000 per month for the rest of my life. NOTARIZED!  and then Apostilled.
7) Form from our local police department for each that says we are upstanding citizens, no arrests, tickets etc. Notarized but not apostilled.  Post Script: 2 days later I find out is has to apostilled.  Off it goes Priority mail with $40 for the both of us and self addressed stamp envelope to the Great Sunrise's Miami address. Best laid plans of mice and men...

Hopefully the following account will be humorous as that is my intent NOW.  Not so funny while we were going through it...

Re #1: Kevin was great at sending us contracts and assurances that we were dealing with a reputable company, so that was cool to send the passport stuff.

Re #4:  John uses VitalCheck to get his birth certificate from Illinois and it cost $25 total and he got it in 6 days.  Really.  No joke. We then send it to the Secretary of State of Illinois for Apostille.  What is an Apostille?

The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille convention, or the Apostille treaty is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille (Frenchcertification). It is an international certification comparable to anotarisation in domestic law, and normally supplements a local notarisation of the document.

It must be done by the Secretary of State in the state from which it originates.  What they do is then research the notary and give you a certificate that the notary exists and the certificate is real. In Illinois it cost $2 to send his birth certificate for this process.  We got it back in 6 days!!

My birth certificate? I submit my NOTARIZED request to California with $25, wait 4 weeks and get a letter back that I apparently don't exist.  No explanation.  I can only assume that I didn't fill out one of the foccacta boxes out right and they searched for my married name, not my maiden name.  My bad, but damn that's a long time! I use VitalCheck, pay $56 and it's back in 8 days! I then send it through certified mail to the Secretary of State for the Apostille at $20 per certificate with a paid, self addressed envelope, certified for return.  Surprisingly I get this back in less than 2 weeks from sending it off.

John's birth certificate and Apostille?  $25 +$2 + 3 stamps = $28.47
Karen's birth certificate? $25.00 (first attempt) + $56 + $20 +$18 postage = $119.00

Re #5: Actually the marriage certificate went off without a hitch (Pun intended).  It's $20 per certificate in Florida and we got it back 10 working days after sending it off.  $20 + 2 stamps = $20.98

Re #6:  It takes 2 weeks to get the letter from Nevada verifying my retirement and then I send it off to the Secretary of State.  2 weeks later, it comes back- it wasn't notarized!  Can't Apostille it if it's not notarized since that's what an Apostille does- certifies the notary. Now I told them it was for Apostille.  The gal who did the request said she does these letters verifying retirement funds all the time and they never need to be notarized.  I can only assume that people from Northern Nevada are not moving to foreign countries. I may be happy about this- I don't know. She was super nice, created a new one, notarized it and then left it at the desk where my daughter, who still lives in Nevada, picks it up the next day and hand delivers it to the Secretary of State.  Thank God she lives in the capitol! But wait- the girl tells her that it will take 3-4 weeks and we are at 17 days and counting till we leave.  It cost $20 but for $75 more I can get it done in one day and with mailing I'll have it in a week.  She explains they are so far behind.  Well yeah!  Because people with money are paying to be ahead of everyone else!  The American way! I pay the money, they have processed the credit card and as of this writing I'm still waiting but it's only been 4 days.  It SHOULD be here in time.
Recap:  $95 + postage = $96.47

Re #7: John got his police form with a social security card and his drivers license last week.  Took 10 minutes.  I went today... surely I think I have run the gamut of glitches and it should go smoothly.  I've already passed a background check to be a teacher here so fingers crossed! First they give my form to the guy at Window 1 and I get his at Window 2.  That's awesome considering he's all of 25 years old and black! We exchange papers but wait....after I leave we realize they have given me the wrong form even after telling them I need the Immigration standard paperwork.  John asks if its notarized?  "No", then "Go back'.  I do- in pouring rain with zero parking spaces outside of small lakes possibly teeming with alligators- it is Florida- and get the right form and get it notarized.  Not one single paper with my name alone on it has gone without a hitch!

So if you're thinking of doing this, start as soon as you can at the 3 month mark!  It can take a long time if there's several states involved.
Last thought of this day:
Apostille California- $20 per certificate, Apostille Florida- $20 per certificate, Apostille Illinois- $2 per certificate.  Interesting....

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