Saturday, June 27, 2015

Two Countries Two Passports

Today has been another day to rejoice in our household. Erika and Mia are finally the proud bearers of two passports. This was our third or fourth attempt to get their passports so I'm thankful that it is finally over with and we don't have to deal with it again for another 6 years! We managed to get the girls Mexican birth certificates in 2013 after 2 trips to the closest Mexican consulate in Portland, Oregon.
We attempted to get the girls their passports while we were living in Mexico last year but that was a miserable failure. The office in Mexico would not recognize the girls American passports as a valid form of identification. Instead, they wanted the girls school ID's or a letter from the doctor that had attended their birth. This was slightly difficult since they were homeschooled during our stay and the doctor that attended my labor lived in the United States. It is easier to go do to the plaza and buy a fake school ID than it is to obtain a United States passport. Bureaucracy has never made any sense though. The second time, I tried to take the girls to the consulate in Portland by myself but they wouldn't allow Jose to sign the parental permission form unless he brought the original birth certificate with him to the office. Try having the original birth certificate at two places. I should have planned ahead and left it there with him, right?! The third time, we went to the mobile consulate when it came to town and parental permission for Erika had expired and their internet was down so we just went away in defeat.
Our biggest challenge was that Erika's American and Mexican birth certificates don't match. After my divorce, I legally changed her last name and dropped the paternal last name. I did the same thing with AshLee too. My children carry on my last name the same way that I legally changed my last name to that of my mother who kept her maiden name. Yes, a long line of strong women. Actually, many cultures do not have women who change their names upon marriage. In Mexico, all children are given their father's first last name and their mother's first last name. So Mia's full legal name is Mia Azul Membrila Loverin, the daughter of Jose Membrila Medrano and Krystal Lee Loverin. All of her birth certificates and passports match since she carries both last names. Poor Erika on the hand has a Mexican birth certificate and now a Mexican passport that reflect both last names that she was born with. I took the court ordered name change with apostille to the consulate with us today but they don't recognize it. They were kind enough to accept it as verification of her identity along with her passport. So now when we travel, we will enter Mexico using the Mexican passports and permanent resident cards. When we apply for our long term visas to Spain, we'll get to save a little extra money because Americans have to pay $160 for the visa while citizens of other countries only have to pay $65. That's a big chunk of savings for us! I think they only charge us more because the United States charges $160 visa fees to foreign visitors too, tit for tat. Now I need to battle American Airlines to get the $21.77 Mexico Tourism Tax refunded. They built this fee into their airline tickets even when many travelers are exempt from paying it. This is currently under dispute in the federal court of Georgia.


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