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 …
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.
Here are just some of the documents you will need to apply for Peruvian citizenship (because of marriage):
Using Adobe Acrobat Reader you can fill the documents and save them… in case you have to go back again. I’m going back on Thursday; I’ll let you know how it goes in this year of good service.
The president of Peru has declared 2017 El año de buen servicio al ciudadano. That means, the year of good service to the citizens.
With my Interpol document in hand (see Becoming Peruvian Part 1), along with several other documents, we celebrated Thanksgiving by applying for citizenship. To make life easier, Migraciones Peru publishes a document on its website listing the documents that you will need in order to apply for citizenship. As a matter of fact, they publish two lists, two different lists. They also do not answer their phones. We decided to go with the easier list knowing that public services in Peru are trying to make things easier. It is, after all, the year of good service.
We arrived at Migraciones at 10:45 AM ready for our 11:00 appointment; the taxi ride there took about 45 minutes. They received our documents at about 11:15 and called me in at about 11:35; Ana Maria could not come in, yet. In a cramped office with three desks, an office that also acts as a passageway to additional offices, I met with a kind woman who took her work seriously. At the desk next to us another woman sang along with her headphones; she quieted down when we began talking.
One by one the official went through the documents. Thankfully we had used the correct list. By the end of our meeting Ana Maria was called in and a few changes were necessary:
Conversation ended, I went downstairs to figure out how I could make corrections to my official entries and departures list. (While I did that, Ana Maria officially cancelled the appointment we just had so we did not lose the money we paid for the appointment- it was nice we could do that.) Turns out Migraciones had three different names for me: with and without my middle name, with and without my mom’s maiden name, and with an additional last name of Ley. Who knew? We performed the necessary paperwork to join all three records together. Now my first entry into Peru is listed as 1996. At least I think it has been changed- they would not show me the change on the computer screen. By the way, I still have no personal documents with my mom’s maiden name.
The part about certifying Ana Maria’s official certificate requires no comment. What could I possibly add to certifying an official certificate? It only requires 10 working days and a return trip to RENIEC.
As for the marriage license, back in 2000 when we married, the official filling out the paperwork for the marriage license insisted in putting a second last name. Both Ana Maria and I protested because I have no document that has my mom’s maiden name. The official really insisted and added the name from my birth certificate. Now we have to request the original paperwork from the town where the civil ceremony was held… which is easier than requesting a birth certificate from Minnesota.
If all of this takes longer than a month I will have to begin again at INTERPOL because that document is about to expire. I think our official copy of the marriage certificate already expired; it’s only valid for one month.
A big thanks to Ana Maria who has done most of the work to get me citizenship! Happy Thanksgiving!!
The president of Peru has declared 2017 El año de buen servicio al ciudadano. That means, the year of good service to the citizens. What might a year of bad service look like?
Part one began a little over a month ago when I went to Interpol, the International Police here in Lima. To apply for citizenship I need a document saying that I am not a fugitive wanted for illegal activity in any country. We got in line at 7:00 AM ready for the 8:00 AM opening, the wrong line. Thankfully Ana Maria found the correct line after asking many people and receiving contradictory information. After waiting, getting fingerprinted, waiting, having my teeth checked, waiting, filling out the forms again because the forms we picked up before had changed and also needed to be filled out in a different color, we were finished. We left.
But we weren’t finished. One week later I went back at 7:00 AM to stand in a different line to pick up the document saying that I am not a fugitive. I’m not, by the way (see image). I asked three uniformed people at Interpol which line to stand in and I stood in that line. Again, the wrong one. I was tempted to stand in line by the window that says “Pick up your document here” but I knew better. On my previous visit I had discovered that said window was not where I needed to go, in spite of its label. Including transportation time we had invested 6 hours into this process just at Interpol. (There are a series of documents needed to get this document and I won’t go into those details.)
Finally, I picked up the Interpol document after showing a picture of my US passport that I had on my phone. I had been told to bring my Peruvian ID (CE) because no one in Peru would request a US passport for a Peruvian document. Nope, that was wrong- no one except Interpol. This only took two hours- 1.5 hours in the wrong line and 30 minutes in the correct one.
This document is valid for three months so on my next day off from school I went to Migraciones to apply for citizenship. How hard could it be?