Friday, March 5, 2010

Permanent Residency Update

Bureaucracy in this country is a pain in my ass. Listen, I know that it's a pain everywhere so this isn't just me venting about Argentina - I'm simply passing my experience along.

As I mentioned, upon complete submission of my documents and proof of marriage to an Argentine I was issued a temporary version of permanent residency - which seems to be of absolutely no use since I couldn't even get a Carrefour credit card without a DNI. Well, being temporary, it's expiring and I should have been issued the permanent version by now. We've checked with immigration several times and they finally admitted that the FBI record requirement is a hoax. Since the FBI doesn't sign the Good Conduct Certificate, it's unacceptable to this country. However, they KNOW that the FBI doesn't provide a signature but they still make you go through the hassle of getting the information anyway. Really, they're checking my INTERPOL records to verify that I'm not an international criminal and apparently this is the job of the Argentine police. However, it seems to take a very long time for someone to enter my name into the online database to do this search so they're going to issue me another temporary permanent residency for 3 months. However, we've been twice this week and their system has been 'down' so we'll just have to go back next week.

Why does this matter? It matters because I can't apply for a DNI - the Argentine equivalent of a social security number - without permanent residency. And without a DNI (or proof of starting the DNI process) I can't file a Petition for Alien Relative (the first step in the US immigration visa process) at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires. I'd have to file in the States. (According to the 'attached eligibility requirements' link on the embassy's site.)

In addition, we're having trouble getting a marriage book - it's like an ID for proving your nuptials - that everyone has to pay for and have. Above is a picture of us posing with a prop marriage book. Apparently, they've been out of stock for, oh, several years now. Every now and then they'll get a shipment but it seems these are usually doled out to friends of the Registro's workers. Guille went in and confronted them about this today. They said that they're first come first served. Not in the order that you get married, but in the sense that if you happen to pop by one day when these rare surprise shipments arrive then of course they'll give you one, if there are any left. I mean, why would they bother to let you know that something of importance that you paid for was available? Or, better yet, why would they bother to actually mail it to you? These are questions that are, honestly, silly to ask.

C'est la vie...or rather, Es la vida.

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