There are several sayings I use more than I used to:
Nothing is easy.
There is always something.
When it comes to immigration, both are true. The process did not end in Dallas for Lyn. In order to get his official status here, he needs to complete some paperwork and pay some (more) money here in Querétaro. These tasks need to be completed within 30-days of being approved in Dallas.
Fortunately, the HR people at Globoworld know the process and were able to help Lyn complete the requisite paperwork. They also told us how, how much and where to pay the fee ($4,833 MX or app. $250 US). You don’t just walk in to Immigration with a check; you have to go to a bank and pay the fee. Once you have the receipt showing you deposited the money into the right account, you take that and all the other paperwork, your passport, photos and whatnot to the Immigration office. There, they process the paperwork, fingerprint you and give you an ID card.
Of course, none of this was easy….
First, I’m sure I mentioned that Lyn doesn’t speak Spanish, so navigating the forms and their instructions was a bit challenging. My Spanish is pretty good, but not that good.
Once we got the paperwork done, we went to the bank where we had opened a small account. We wanted to have a local account to save on the many international exchange fees we were paying every time we purchased anything with our debit card or took an Uber. We put about $4,000 MX in it when we opened it, but had yet to actually pick up our debit cards. Since we needed to go to a bank anyway, we went there to do both — pick up our cards and pay the fee. Of course, the fee had to be paid “en efectivo,” i.e., cash. So one-half of our two-weeks of pay went directly back to the Mexican government!
At that point, we were ready to venture downtown to Immigration.
Driving in Queretaro is something I don’t relish doing. Lyn won’t drive yet. He just doesn’t feel comfortable and hasn’t learned how to get places. We take Uber or taxis most of the time, so he hasn’t needed to. That means I get to do the driving.
As I said, I don’t look forward to it. People here are quick to cut you off, don’t use their turn signals, and basically ignore stop signs. It is not uncommon for someone in the right lane to turn left in front of you. It amazes me that you don’t see accidents everywhere. I guess they have learned how to navigate the chaos. Me? I’m a nervous wreck.
And, of course, I rely on Siri or Google maps to get me places. Siri isn’t as reliable here. Today she took me to the wrong address for Immigration. Fortunately, it wasn’t too far from where we needed to be. Still, it was annoying. So I switched to Google maps, found where I needed to go, and…
I missed the turn.
No biggie, right? Wrong! With all the one way streets, it took 20 minutes to get back to where I needed to be.
Once we found Immigration, we had to find parking. El Centro is the historic center of the city. All of the streets are pretty narrow and made of cobblestone. Parking is extremely limited. Once again, at least 10-15 minutes was needed to find a suitable spot. We had to walk a ways, but it was closer than it might have been!
The Immigration Office
The Immigration office is not big. When you walk in, there is a security / information desk where they give you a number. We had number 36. They were currently waiting on 98.
Ohhhhhh, the screen they use to indicate who is next only has two digits! Therefore, after 99, they went back to one. So, 38 people ahead of us. It was about 10 a.m. There were 5 windows open. I was optimistic we wouldn’t be long.
Also in the room was a stern faced security guard. Every now and then he would say “guardar silencio!” (keep quiet) His only weapon appeared to be a pen, yet he was still outfitted like a military guard — combat boots, cargo pants, a vest and belt designed to hold various things like ammo and weapons. I wouldn’t piss this guy off, that’s for sure, even without a gun.
Then we sat. And we sat. For almost 2 hours before our number was called. We noticed that the immigration officers were adamant that only one person approach each of their stations, so Lyn went up on his own. When he said he didn’t speak Spanish, the woman just stared at him. Then he offered me up, I went to the window and he went back to his earlier seat.
I gave the woman the documents, which she rapidly went through, returning most of them to me. At one point, though, she pointed to one of the forms and then to Lyn’s passport. The form had his name as “Lyndell Hugh Geisler,” and the passport said “Lyndell Hugh Geisler III.”
Did I mention there is always something?
This was it. He had everything, but because of this small omission, he couldn’t get his ID. I couldn’t write it in. It has to be submitted online. Grrrr….
After two hours of waiting, and two minutes of talking, we left Immigration. It will have to wait a few more days.
All said, the process hasn’t been bad. When I think of what it is like to get a green card in the US, this feels like a walk in the park!
Paciencia, Donna, paciencia!