Securing the Paperwork and “the Process”

28 Jun

It has been a little over a month since I found out I made “the cut” out of over 200 applicants to be a Profesora Visitante in Spain. One of the last couple days of school I started to read all of the requirements to secure a visa for my year abroad, and my heart started to beat a little faster. I thought, “No way am I going to be able to get all of this done in time to leave for Spain.” Well, thankfully I live close to the capitol of KY and was able to walk in to many of the offices and pay cash and get the stamps, certificates and seals I needed within a short time frame.

First I need an FBI or state police background check. I went to the school district where I work to get the FBI background check, thinking nothing of it, paid my $36.50, and prepared to wait my 30 days to get it back. THEN I re-read the paperwork and not only do you need the background check, but it must be notarized, certified and have an apostille seal! And because the FBI check is federal, the Apostille seal must come from the US Secretary of State! Who knows how long that may take! So I decided to go to the closest state police station (in my state capitol) and pay another $20 to have the background check completed and notarized. I sent it straight to the KY Secretary of State for the Apostille seal, only to have it returned a few days later. It was missing a certification letter from the County Clerk stating that the notary was indeed a notary! Back to Frankfort and the County Clerk’s office and another $10 fee for the certification letter. This time, I hand delivered the background check to Commonwealth’s Secretary of State for the Apostille seal and another $10 fee. (You see, you need duplicates of all paperwork!)

Secondly, I need a statement from my family doctor that says I am in reasonably good health and basically will not be a drain on their healthcare system. So off to the doctor for a physical and getting a signed statement from him with the exact wording the consulate would like the carta to say. Of course, he can’t sign it right then (because I forgot the letter at home – duh!) so two trips later (one for dropping the carta off and one for picking it up), I have my letter from my doctor.

Then there’s the passport issue. Of course I already a passport. But I got to looking at it and realized it had the incorrect birthdate. Who wouldn’t want to be twenty years younger!?! But…when you are talking about an official document like a passport you had better have the correct age on there. Plus, I had divorced since it had been issued and have changed back to my maiden name. So I needed to get my passport corrected. I sent in the pictures, doumentation, and old passport, but lo and behold, whoever took the pictures did a lousy job because it was sent back with a directive for new ones! Another delay…Plus, in order to change my name, I had to have a copy of my divorce agreement with a SEAL ( another $6 fee) from the County Clerk in order to change my name. Thankfully, because the State Department had erred in my birthdate, I did not have to pay for the passport changes!

One last thing I am waiting for is the “carta de nombramiento.” The letter of appointment. The letter that actually says I have the job. The one that details where/when/how, etc I am going to Spain. But this is the Spanish government we are talking about, right? Rumors circulate that they may cancel the Profesores Visitantes program due to the banking/housing crisis in Spain. I am optimistic. It shall go on. The letter will arrive next week I am sure. Why? Because I have my visa appointment on July 16 in Chicago!

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