An epic day

11 Dec

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version: Four separate visits to Immigration, two visits to Registros Públicos, two trips home to do paperwork, one visit to the notary, one trip to the national bank, and one family walk to McDonald’s for McFlurries after dinner. It was a TWELVE taxi day, a new personal record. But in the end, we’ve all canceled our residency and are cleared to leave on Dec 21st. We are very thankful to have this out of way. It puts our minds at ease now and ensures I won’t have problems visiting later as a tourist.

Tedious version: It was very much the usual rollercoaster. We started off at the bank office in Sachaca first thing this morning, which was well worth the taxi fare and the 15 minutes we waited there. At all the other branches we passed today, the line stretched out the door for two city blocks (~80 people). The woman at Immigration was really quite efficient. After initially asking if we had copies of our itinerary (not a requirement, I pointed out successfully), she offered to let us leave our passports and paperwork there and retrieve them later today. “Fantastic!” I thought. So I moved on to Registros Públicos only to find out they still didn’t have our paperwork. “Come back this afternoon.” Then Immigration called my cell and said I was missing a notarized letter for each child guaranteeing payment of all their debts and taxes in Peru. Seriously? Fortunately, I could be the guarantor so I didn’t have to call our Peruvian friend who is the guarantor for Vicki and I (and the kids, too, by way of me, for we had to make three more copies of his letter of guarantee to go along with ours). Remember the transitive property from algebra? There is a logic to it. It would just be helpful to know these things in advance, for I had prepared exactly what the Web site AND a previous visit to Immigration told me to prepare. (Actually, there’s not a lot of logic in guaranteeing debts and taxes for minors before they can leave the country).

So back to Immigration to retrieve my ID card, which I would need at the notary, then home to print the letters and visit the notary, then off to Immigration for the third time. This time I offered to come back later and went home for lunch. After getting in a little work at home, I returned to Immigration a fourth time but got sent out again to make copies in duplicate of everything: passports, ID cards, forms, letters, copies of the guarantor’s ID, etc. This took about an hour on foot, after which I returned to the office a final time, surrendered all our residence cards and received all of our passports with our exit date stamped and signed in each. Then off to Registros Públicos 5 minutes before closing, which at last had our paperwork. My heart sank when the clerk asked, “Your ID card, please.” Of course, I had just surrendered it to Immigration. Thankfully, she accepted my American passport as proof of identity. But alas, it was too late to file a new form with the documents they had finally just handed me. Fortunately, our Peruvian manager can now do this by himself. Registros Públicos is really one of the worst offices in Peru. They delight in inane technicalities (one friend’s document was rejected because his handwriting was too square–he has been trying to get a real estate transaction registered since May) and every time you submit a document, you have to wait at least a week, usually two, for the privilege of interacting with their genius.

On the way home, I got another call from Immigration. “We’re missing one copy of Daniel’s passport.” I was nearly speechless. Thankfully, the official said I could scan it and send via email. As I said, she has been very efficient and thoughtful. We are very thankful for that. The Arequipa office has been very good to us overall, and if I’m going to wait in line, I much prefer the pleasant, dry climate of AQP to the hot and sticky (or cold and damp) office in Lima. Furthermore, it is much more pleasant to interact over a desk than bending over to speak through a 4-inch hole in a glass window. I actually think the Immigration experience in Arequipa is superior to what most foreigners encounter in the US. It is much faster and much cheaper, as you don’t have to pay a lawyer to do it all. And taxis are cheaper than lawyers, at least in Peru.

2 Responses to “An epic day”

  1. georgiajammy December 12, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Holy cow! I don’t even like that expression…but it’s all I can think of!

  2. Millie December 13, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Estoy aprendiendo mucho ingles leyendo tus aventuras! Que bueno que estaran pronto por aca! Les deseo una feliz Navidad en los EU!

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