In August of 2018 I became Peruvian. Yesterday, I received a message from Migraciones saying that I needed to update my information because I was a foreign national. The only problem? In August of 2018 I became Peruvian. Yesterday, I received …
At the naturalization ceremony about three weeks ago, they told us that our resident ID cards would no longer be valid in one month. They told us to go get our DNIs right away. So, I started the process.
The folks at the RENIEC, the ones who process the DNI (documento nacional de identidad), told me it would take about two months and I could expect to have it on October 1, 2018, about one month after my resident ID card expired. None of my family and friends thought it would take so long.
The family and friends were correct: on August 20, 2018 I picked up my DNI. It took less than three weeks! Well done, RENIEC! How about that wanted-dead-or-alive face in the picture?!?!
Next steps: get a passport and change the documents associated with my bank accounts.
Well, it finally happened- I became Peruvian today at an 11:00 AM ceremony!
We were asked to arrive at 10:00 AM for the rehearsal… and probably to make sure that everyone arrived on time for the ceremony (they said that there will be pictures and a video available this afternoon and I will add a link to this post when that happens: Link). The ceremony did not start on time which, we were told, is extremely unusual but the official who was in charge had to take a “high level phone call.”
I was asked to be one of the speakers at the ceremony and I agreed. I have no idea why I was asked to speak- perhaps because others said no, perhaps because I was sitting in an aisle seat. There was also a woman from Dominican Republic who spoke; one man, one woman.
During the ceremony, the new citizens sat on the left side of the room while the guests sat on the right side of the room. On the left side, the women sat in the first rows and the men sat toward the back. Odd. This separated some couples.
The ceremony ended by 11:45 AM. It included an oath-taking, singing of the national anthem, a roll call of names where we received our new document and a rousing speech by the, um, head of migraciones? I am not sure of his name. Very Patriotic!
Now I will apply for my DNI (the national ID card) and then my Peruvian Passport.
A very good day! It was also the first day of school here in Lima so I needed a substitute on the first day.
A big thanks to Ana Maria, my extended family, my school family and Peru for this opportunity and all of the support during this process. ¡Viva Peru!
That part about Tuesday or Wednesday? Nope. It’s Thursday. This Thursday. This first-day-of-the-new-school-year Thursday. The day after tomorrow, August 2, 2018, I will become Peruvian. I offer apologies to my students and colleagues for my absence but I do not dare ask to go on a different day and put at risk this ten month odyssey; in 25 years of teaching I have never missed the first day.
I will bring a voucher from the Banco de la Nación for S/. 15.80 (that’s about $5.00), Form F002, and my ID card. I will arrive before the 10:00 AM ceremony in formal attire (coat and tie?) with my one guest, my wife, and go to windows 38 and 39 in Room 5 on the first floor (those are the details from the email that I received).
Watch for pictures in just a few days! Yep, I’m pretty excited.
The phone call never came… but the email did on July 20, 2018. It said that Migraciones was ready to make me a Peruvian citizen and that I should contact them when I returned to Peru (I was visiting family in Minnesota). So, I did. (In all fairness, it is possible that they called but I could not receive the call when I was out of the country.)
Today, I contacted Migraciones and was told that my name would be added for the next ceremony. The ceremonies usually happen Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 10:00 AM. In the next few days (after Fiestas Patrias here in Peru) I will receive an email with all of the details.
I await the next step.
Here’s a quick update on my process here in Peru.
During the last installment of Becoming Peruvian I mentioned that Migraciones would call me during the first week of May. No one called. It is now the second week of June and I have yet to receive a call. Ana Maria contacted the folks at Migraciones and they told her that the call will come. They also said not to worry if we will be traveling out of the country- if no one answers the phone, they will call back.
Good to know. I continue to wait.
Letter in hand we headed to Migraciones today. The trip only took about 35 minutes, starting at 10:15 A.M., from La Molina; so far so good.
We arrived and quickly found Room 5 on the first floor, it’s the one straight ahead in the back, and I got in line to get my number. The lady handing out numbers told me to go directly to desk 44, just like the letter said, and not wait for my number to be called. The security guard told me I had to wait for my number to be called. I waited.
A few minutes later my number was called by the lady at desk 45. When I got there I asked Raquel about the letter, Mr. José and desk 44. She said she could help me… and she did. She found my file and went through the pages putting sticky notes on many of the pages and asking about “Islay,” the district where Mollendo, Peru is located. Thankfully, Ana Maria was there to answer the questions. She asked why I had two different passport numbers (the U.S. changed my number a few years ago) and was satisfied with the answer and my showing her my passport. She did not ask about the names on the marriage certificate.
Questions answered, she showed me the document she had prepared and asked me to check it for accuracy. I appreciated that. Then she handed me a pen and I signed three copies of the document that she had prepared. Then I marked each of the three pages with my fingerprint, right index finger. She kept the three copies. I thanked her and headed toward the door where they checked my backpack to see if I was stealing anything. I wasn’t.
In two months they will call me to set a time for the ceremony. Then I will become Peruvian. Based on previous experience, I am expecting the call in three months, or four. I hope to be proven wrong in my prediction. Everyone was very nice and the process is in motion.
The correction came yesterday afternoon: I can go to Migraciones as of Friday, March 2, 2018. Let’s see what happens next!
Today I received an email from Migraciones. It says that I need to personally go to first floor, room 5 in the Migraciones office. I have 5 days in which I can go beginning on Friday, March 1, 2018. The letter says nothing about bringing any documents such as a passport or ID card (but I will bring them anyway).
I am very excited for this next step in the process. I think I will go on Monday morning; that way I am within the window of 5 working days and I do not have to consider whether the letter means Thursday, March 1 or Friday, March 2, 2018. By my count, about 55 working days have passed since my application was received.
The singing lady from my previous visit received the documents today. She was very kind with a positive, can-do spirit. She also had a good sense of humor about the limitations of the system.
We arrived at Migraciones in Breña at 9:45 AM for the 10:15 appointment. The taxi ride, again, took 45 minutes. This time they called me in at 10:00 AM, 15 minutes early. As she reviewed my paperwork she commented, “Hiciste bien tu tarea.” That means that I did my homework well, the papers were all in order. I thought that the amount time in the office would be less this time but I was wrong.
As she reviewed the papers she rearranged them, checked them, returned some of them to me and asked questions. She had me put my fingerprint on several documents and went to the waiting area for Ana Maria’s fingerprint. She asked how I met Ana Maria, if I had ever been to Arequipa, what I teach. I couldn’t tell if this was normal conversation or her checking out the veracity of our marriage. She also asked why we were giving her all of the documents that were required for our marriage license from 17 years ago. I explained the problem with my last name, at which time the lady from last week chimed in with an, “I remember you; they gave you two last names.” Yep, that’s why we returned.
Then the singing attendant took out two highlighters, one pink and one yellow. She began looking through the list of arrivals and departures that Ana Maria and I had in the system; she wanted to see if we were both in Peru when we married and if we traveled together. She also took out two forms that I needed to fill out and sign. I asked her, “Aren’t these the same two forms that are on the second page of the other form, the one I already filled out and signed?”
She smiled and said, “Yes, they are. Please fill them out.” Her demeanor told me that she understood the stupidity of it. I appreciated that. Systems!
Ready to open the new citizenship file in the computer she logged in and, well, everything can’t go right: the system was down. After trying several other computers she looked for and found a tech specialist. The mere presence of the specialist threatened the computer enough to make the system work (a very similar thing happened to me at school a few months ago!).
At about 11:20 I left her office with the number of my case file and a promise that I would hear an answer in 30 working days. I also had her office phone extension because as she said, “Sometimes it takes longer and you have to call. But we try and we are getting better.”
This was a day of good service in a year of good service. Now I wait.