02 September 2010

Red tape round-up

an update on our governmental saga.

today we had our appointment at the u.s. consulate for Xs citizenship and passport paperwork to be taken care of. we had to make the appointment a month in advance. in the meantime, we had to collect a certified copy of her birth certificate (different from her actual birth certificate), passport photos, a note from my doctor saying that X was my kid, and all of our other official documents (marriage license, our birth certificates, work permits, etc).

this morning we got up, packed our stack of items and walked down to the purdy towers on the waterfront. upon arriving at the consulate we had to leave our stroller in the hallway, be buzzed through the door, walk through a metal detector, and turn off our cell phone and stash it in my purse, both of which had to stay in a cubby hole at the entrance. only then were we able to sit down and wait for our name to be called to start our appointment.

after clarifying how to fill out a few sections on their stream of paperwork, making those updates, and waiting some more, we were signing the final documents and told that things were all set. supposedly her citizenship and passport can be taken care of in two weeks. i'll crap my pants if that actually happens. since when has the passport office ever worked so fast?

however, speaking of governmental speediness, we also recently got X her canadian passport. the canadian passport office is a block away from us, and that was nice because we ended up having to visit 3 times before we could actually get the passport paperwork filed. because we (the parents) arent canadian, they made us fill out extra paperwork. since we didnt qualify to fill out some of that required paperwork (had to have a canadian citizen with a valid passport who has known you for more than 2 years and can verify that X is ours) we had to fill out even more paperwork, and get it notarized. i swear, they just make you jump through all the hoops because a lazy criminal trying to scam the system would go insane attempting to forge all this stuff. anyway, we finally gathered it all (complete with friends amy and phil as our "references") and went to the passport office.

we were able to successfully file for her passport and were told it would come in two weeks. and, even though they had to personally call our two references to verify us, the passport really did come within that time limit. nice! and it only cost $20 (not including the $15 notary fee for some of the paperwork), and, for infants, you can update their passport photos until they are 3 years old for free!

in other canadian government news, we were also able to get a SIN (social insurance number, similar to the SSN) issued for her without any problem. and also, we successfully made it through a tax and tax refund cycle with the canadian government. unlike france...

on the france front, we are finally squared away. in the circular redundancy that is their system, they first sent us the small tax refund that was owed to us due to our small incomes. which we then had to turn around and mail to our french bank to be deposited into our account. then we had to transfer money from our canadian bank account into our french one to "top it up" to the amount needed to send back to the french government. so, we were finally able to send in the money for our late fee and non-income tax taxes that we still owed the government. BUT, it is finally done and settled (we think. ha.) and now we will be legally welcomed back into the country should we return to visit one day (and i sincerely hope that can be soon-ish).

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