Yesterday was a big day. We got all our financial records stamped and signed. This is something that has no legal value in the US. We don’t sign or stamp our bank statements or investment statements – but when we enter Spain, they apparently want to see this ink scribble and the stamp with the name and address of the institution. Our banker told us we could order one online for $30, but he went ahead and did it anyway. Seriously, Spain. You gotta find another way to feel good about bank issued financial documents.
But either way, we came home and I got out our packets. These are the individual collections of our documents that I’ve been assembling over the last 4 months. Included in that, is our declarations to support each other financially, and all other means, since some of our money is held separately. Jeff laughed when the person who notarized them was baffled at why we needed them.
‘Doesn’t the act of getting married cover this? I mean, do you have a prenup?’
‘No – we don’t. But in Spain, apparently getting married doesn’t really buy you anything financially.’
The person wrinkled their brow.
This brings me to the acquisition of our marriage certificate. I had one from when we were first married, so I had it Apostilled. Then I found out that I had to get a ‘fresh one’ because the consulate doesn’t like old versions ‘because you might have gotten a divorce since then.’
Well, I know a lot of people who have been divorced – myself included – and none of them want to move to another country with their ex-spouse. Not one. And to go further, in the US, marriage certificates are just a record of the marriage taking place. They are not tied to a divorce decree. So I could get my previous marriage’s marriage certificate, and it would have no reference to our divorce. It’s useless.
But I got the newer version and got that Apostilled. BTW – it looks exactly like the first version – except the date of the stamp on the back. It’s now part of the packet that is about 2 inches thick for each of us. Then I called the State Department to check on the Apostles for our FBI background checks. Even with overnight delivery, both to them and the paid envelope to send it back, it won’t be here for another 10 days. Ugh. I’m not sure what we would have done if we didn’t use IDVetting to expedite our background checks.
So I reviewed the consulate check list, and sent off what I had to the ‘Sworn Translator’ from the list that the consulate publishes. This person lives in another state and will send me her translations via email, I will check them for accuracy (except I don’t speak or read Spanish), then I pay her and she overnights them to me. She’s feeling OK on the timing of the background checks, if I can get them to her right away when I get them. I’m less comfortable with things coming down to the wire – but I’ll take her word for it.
I’ve included other documents that others have mentioned they were asked for after the fact. Tax returns and birth certificates, even though we have passports and you can’t get a passport without a birth certificate. But it’s all in there.
I can almost see the finish line and as I went through our packets and touched and checked off each document, I felt a sense of pride. Not one of them was easy to get. Not one. And some cost a chunk of money to acquire. But here they are, sitting on my kitchen counter, just waiting to be judged for accuracy or relevance. I’ll hold my head high when we go for our appointment. If they give me credit for the sheer weight of it, I feel sure we’re in.