Parting of the Red-tape Sea

6 Mar

Borrowing an expression from my friend Pete, the sea of red tape was indeed parted for us today. Friend Steve and I spent 5 hours in the immigration office (thank you, Steve, for coming along to make sure nothing got lost in translation). Vicki and the kids spent about 3 hours there and all missed school, unfortunately. But the end result was that all of our residence applications were accepted for processing with one day to spare before their tourist visas expired. The immigration official said something about waiting until the last minute, and it’s a good thing I can’t speak Spanish very well because I was quite ready to let him know that due to the ridiculous number of requirements and wasted trips to Lima (and Chile based on his previous misinformation), the soonest I could possibly have applied was this Tuesday.

The only hiccup was that they said my salary was too low (as indicated by my work contract with my own company, which they’ve already approved) to support a family and how was I going to make it here. Again, I wanted to assure him that people with successful careers in the U.S. aren’t exactly dying to get in to Peru to find work and that he could safely assume I had other resources at my disposal. Thankfully, my slower tongue in Spanish saved me again and I went down the street to a friend’s house (who, thankfully, was home) to print a bank statement while Steve and Vicki held our place in the office. The miraculous part is that they accepted the bank statement without so much as a notary stamp!

The next step is to wait 2-3 weeks for some kind of notification of approval (keep praying, as there is still the possibility that Lima could put up roadblocks), after which Vicki must go to INTERPOL in Lima, wait 5 days, submit the INTERPOL certification to Immigration in Lima, and return home. We will then have to go back with all the kids when our residence cards are ready. The time and cost associated with all this is frankly discouraging. I feel like I barely have time for useful work because I spend so much of it feeding the system. And I am already dreading the process of renewing residency for all of us beginning next December, which involves repeating many of these steps, including, as I understand it, getting a fresh copy of our birth and marriage certificates from the States with an Apostille seal less than 3 months old, sending them to Lima for translation, and submitting them again. Our friends who come for only 6 months at a time on tourist visas are looking increasingly brilliant.

But we are thankful for the acheivement of the day, and look to the Lord for future grace.

3 Responses to “Parting of the Red-tape Sea”

  1. Todd March 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    Why am i reminded of the movie Brazil…

  2. michael CHANDLER March 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    So glad this step has been successful. I cannot believe the process. For you, some of it might be justified since you are starting a business. Your family having to jump through the same hoops? Peru obviously is not trying to lure jobs from abroad. I can see facing Interpol in Lima maybe once but every other step should be able to be handled locally. Do they not trust their own mail system? How about inter office mail? Ugh! You are a study in patience, son. Keep speaking the broken Spanish to them. They may show mercy!

    Love Dad

  3. Juan March 13, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    About the low salary I assume you have set the minimum wage for yourself, but this is not uncommon as many people use this to avoid pay more taxes. Salary get charged for pension funds (public or private) in addition to income tax and social medical services that is charged to the employer. For a public pension only matters the amount of years paid (minimun 20y) despite the amount in cash, This is different with private pension funds where cash is king so you have to accumulate sufficient cash to retire.

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