#8 Apostille Of The What 2: Labyrinth. Spanish Visa- Apostille of the Hague
In the last episode, we left our protagonists holding their criminal records and debating whether to wait for the birth certificate to be returned in the mail or to pay more money to hurry up and wait! I'll give you one guess which one we chose....more money!!! To turn in our documents to the Apostille, we needed our background checks, our son's birth certificate, and our marriage certificate. We had all of the documents except my son's birth certificate. Luckily we lived about 45min from where our son was born, so I figure I can run down to the Assessor's Office and same day obtain a new one. I check the website, and it says the office has been closed to the public since March 2020 and to call if you had any questions. Being as thorough as I am, I call the office and get a recording that says the office is open to the public. Sweet! I jump in the car and am on my way! (Side note depending on my mood while writing this, apostille is either capitalized or it's not, and I really don't want to have to fix it, so let's go with it?)
Picture this! I drive up, and there are tons of cars in the parking lot, a security guard out front, and people walking up to the door. I get out of my car and on the door is a giant sign saying, "The building is closed to the public unless you have just gotten married." Of course! Fortunately, myself and all of the other people there were equally as pissed and headed back to our cars. Side note x2, Can someone explain how it's safe enough for us to have people working at Chipotle but not for the thing that keeps the country running? Anyways, back in the car, 45min later, back on google! I have two options I can order it from the office I was just at and wait 2 weeks, or I can spend $80 and have it delivered in 2 days. Yes, the answer is I paid more money!! Let's just say Vitalcheck became my new best friend, https://www.vitalchek.com/.
We have the Birth Certificate, now what?
Around 2 days pass, and we receive the birth certificate in the mailbox. Wonderful! Let's get this mailed off. I go online to the Apostille website and see that in-person filing is closed (of course, because that would be too easy), and we could either use the dropbox in Los Angeles 2 hours away or mail it to Sacramento. The State Secretary Site (where you will find the apostille info) has a page that shows processing time. At this time, they had one date showing how long it would take, and it would take about a week to receive our documents. Cool! It also shows that if you pay for expedited shipping and provide a prepaid return envelope, we would receive our package sooner. You have to pay $20 per apostille; luckily, they wave the $6 processing fee (so generous). You need to use a cover sheet and include all the fees on one check, even if it's for different people, as long as they go back to the same spot. Get the packet together: 1 marriage certificate, 2 background checks, and 1 birth certificate + an $80 check. Head to the USPS, pay the $20, I think, for expedited shipping; I can't even keep track at this point, and off it goes!
I watch the shipping tracking and see 2 days later; it has been received! Because I obsessively don't trust anyone to do their job (I wonder why?) I check the processing time, and low and behold, where there was one processing date literally 2 days ago, there are now two!. One of the dates is the original I saw, showing the one-week turnaround. The new date says next to it, mail-in date, which duh duh duh was 1 month behind ahhhhhhh. Apparently, they decided after I did all this to differentiate between drop-box processing date and mail-in date, with, of course, the fast one being the dropbox time. If they had put that before I sent off my documents, I would have paid to have someone drop it off in Los Angeles, but no the universe wants me to lose my mind. My wonderful husband decides to call the apostille office as it was better for me not to be talking to humans. He asks the lady if it's really a month because we expedited, so it should be faster for us. She explains how that doesn't matter (of course not), but it will definitely only be a month. Fine, we were still fixing our house up to sell, which would take a while anyway; we could wait.
So me Tiffany, who we have established has lost all trust in humans, decided to keep checking the processing times, and discovers it took 2 weeks to process one day of mail-ins. They had been processing Feb 8th for two weeks, and we had turned our paperwork in on March 9th!!. If my math was correct, which I'm sure it wasn't, I guestimated it would take the rest of our lives to process!. Fortunately for me, my stubbornness comes in handy at times, and I figure out a way to make this faster! We will order a new birth certificate and marriage certificate, and luckily our background checks are also emailed to us to print out. We will get all this together, and I'm going to drive my happy a** to LA. I go to my best friend Vitalchek and order the birth certificate and marriage license= for $85; they gave me a discount. We also find that the apostille will not cancel our mail-in check, so we will be out that $80 if that ever processes.
Fast-forward 2 days, and we have all our documents again!. I pay for another return envelope, grab my 4 items for apostille and another $80 check and drive 2 hours to LA through skid row, which is not terrifying at all! I park, run in, hand it to the dropbox person, luckily use the restroom and jump back in the car. I'm a visionary, and remember to bring an Uncrustable (please sponsor me) in case I get hungry on the ride home. Thank goodness I did because in true California traffic, even during a pandemic, it took me 4.5 hours to get home ( I can't wait for public transportation). I flop down on the couch and sigh with relief, knowing we will receive the documents in about 3 days. Silly, gorgeous, naive woman, had we forgot our trust issues? Guess so!
Hurry up and Wait
3 days later, my husband grabs the mail. He's responsible for mail because one time I forgot to check the mail for like 2 weeks and they threatened not to send our mail anymore. He brings me the giant envelope, we open it, and everything is perfect! Haha yeah, right! Apparently, they could only apostille the marriage certificate and birth certificate because the FBI background check needs to go to the US Department of State. Here's the kicker I only had one check, so they still processed it even though I only got $40 worth of services for my $80. It was then I remembered we had another mail-in $80 check where the same thing was going to happen someday. Here is where we pause for a lot of expletives, outside, by our very family-friendly community mailbox. I would be lying if I didn't admit I had a total breakdown!
After I recover from my Linda Blair moment, back to google, we go! This time, I will send it to the right place and pay whatever I need to have someone do it for me! Here I am ready to drop all the money, and what was really awesome is that every website I checked said they could not do expedited shipping; apparently, the U.S. Dept of State is so behind their support number goes to voicemail, they haven't updated their site since 2020, and it's approximately a 3 month waiting period, they think! #$@&%!!!!!!!! At this point, it's retribution time!!! I am at my most stubborn Tiffany time and am ready to fight the government ( all of it). Super fun to be married to me when I get on a kick! I breathe (smell the flowers, blow out the candles) and figure out a solution! We are just going to do the DOJ background check from our state. At this point, I realize my husband has lived in California for 5 years, so this will actually be easy, and it won't have his Al Capone jail record when he was 18 because he didn't live in California. All we needed to do is get fingerprinted all over again, pay a butt load of money, and drive back to LA and use the dropbox!
Please stay tuned for our harrowing conclusion! Will they make it to LA? Will Tiffany fight the Government? Check back tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for Apostille of The What 3: #$@&%
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