You can read about our last passport office debacle here. It’s the precursor to this follow-up.
The alarm clock* went off at 5 a.m. and we were in the car with two sleepy children at 6 a.m. on our way to La Paz.
It was crazy-foggy.
We arrived to the passport office (SRE) at 8:20 a.m. I did a quick diaper/clothes change for Vivi in the tailgate of Craig’s car (because that’s how we roll: classy) and off we went into the passport office.
Step #1: Desk #1: EASY. Girl quickly reads our documents and doesn’t even ask for my U.S. passport, Craig’s U.S. passport or anything else. Silly girl, she thinks we’re an easy case. The girl tells me that my copies of the girls old Mexican passports is “obscuro” and I must go get more copies.
We walk to the little copy-guy four “businesses” over and we’re back in 10 minutes. (I swear if things ever go south for me and I want to keep living here I’m going to buy a copy machine and park myself in front of the passport office. I could make millions.)
Step #2: I s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully fill out the applications, front and back, for both girls. I’m thankful that I now know how to fill out Spanish forms; six years ago this would have been a problem. I cautiously fill out the paperwork because if my pen hesitates for too long and makes a dark mark they consider it an error and BAM! — you have to fill out another application.
I finish and turn them in.
Step #3: Next we WAIT. And wait. And wait. (Girls by this time are antsy and becoming increasingly more vocal. This means they were starting to cry and yell.) The lovely older gentlemen (O.G.) at the desk goes through our paperwork and I say a silent thank-you prayer that we didn’t get the nasty girl at the same desk who seems to be extremely up tight. Without complaints he easily takes Vivienne’s fingerprints and our signatures and takes the collection of paperwork to the back for the powers that be to review…
…and we wait…
At this same time the Mexican fella behind us sees my mountain of paperwork and tells us that his children were born in the States and he never even tries to get their passports down here. “It’s a pain here. Just do it in the U.S.” I appreciate his candor, but he doesn’t realize I’m a Gringa on a mission.
Still no one has noticed the name change and if there’s one thing I’ve learned while living in Mexico it’s that you don’t point out a problem. You wait until they find it.
He found it.
Step #4: I explain to him, in my awesome Español, the traditional marital naming conventions in the States and then BAM! I bust out my apostilled birth certficate. (Argue with that! I dare you!) And then two copies of that. And then BAM! My apostilled translation of my birth certificate SIGNED BY an official translator.
Then he thinks he has me. He asks me, “Tiene copias de esto?” Do you have copies of this? The official translation?
Si, baby! I have TWO copies of that, too!
I’m SO PREPARED you don’t even KNOW.
He goes to the “back” again to take the paperwork.
Step #4: We wait more. He comes out about 10 minutes later and asks me if these are the ORIGINAL apostilles.
Seriously? No, I made them in my bedroom with my official-fake apostille seal. Fake apostilling stuff is incredibly lucrative. I’m thinking about quitting my job and just apostilling stuff all the day.
Yes. They are are ORIGINALS. With the same huge smile and warm eyes that I’ve been attempting to use throughout this whole ordeal, I tell him there is nothing else I can provide him besides these. He goes back. We wait more. Is it 100 degrees in this office?!
The ladies are over this. It’s been 2 hours.
Step #5: By now there’s about 35 people in the smallest room/office in this state. They’re shoulder to shoulder and everyone hates being there. We are, as we always seem to be, the only Americans. Hello sore thumb.
He tells me the paperwork should be fine and next up we just need to take Lila’s fingerprints and get our signatures on her documents; like we already did for Vivienne. Easy right? WRONG.
LILA proceeds to lose.her.mind. in front of 35 people — SCREAMING and refusing to BEND HER FINGERS in such a way that allows the man to get her fingerprints. Hand #1 almost killed her…. Hand #2 almost killed us. She’s literally KICKING the desk (WHO IS THIS CHILD???) and SCREAMING that she doesn’t want to get her fingerprints taken.
Um, really? This isn’t the time.
This really isn’t the time because, you see, sweet Lila, MOMMY HAS WORKED HER BUTT OFF TRYING TO GET YOUR PASSPORT SO THAT YOU CAN LEAVE THE COUNTRY AND I DO NOT APPRECIATE YOU BEING A SMALL JERK TO THE MAN WHO IS TRYING TO HELP US. YOU FINGER PAINT ALL THE TIME AND YOU CANNOT ABIDE A SMALL AMOUNT OF INK ON FOUR OF YOUR FINGERS??? UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR.
So, while she screamed and people looked away, we forced her fingers on to the page and submitted the applications. I also apologized profusely to the nice, older gentlemen who had been helping us.
Then we waited some more.
Step #6: The O.G. (older gentlemen) comes out and asks me for another copy of Craig’s visa because when I copied the front and the back on to one page (as they prefer) I apparently didn’t copy them in the right order. (HUH?) So, I walk again to the small copy shop and get more copies, turn them in… and wait.
Step #7: Our names are called and it’s time to get the girls’ photos taken. We are SO CLOSE to having these passports! Last step: we just need to take their photos and submit their fingerprints (again?) to their system.
Vivi’s awesome. She literally smiles at the camera and easily swipes her right and left index fingers over the red light thingy that records fingerprints. She’s a pro.
See her photo:
Then it’s Lila’s turn.
She does it again.
SHE LOSES HER MIND.
Now, in her defense she was woken up at 5 a.m. and didn’t sleep at all on the 2.5 hour ride to La Paz. She was bored and tired and hungry. (I brought tons of food… she just wanted “lunch.”) So, it was her turn to get her photo taken and she cried… and SCREAMED (at what I presume was the top of her lungs) AGAIN. [insert heavy sigh.] And, she wouldn’t even touch the little red light thing that records her fingerprints. I had to literally SMASH her fingers on to it. It was ridiculous.
Care to see her photo?
She looks like a very sad, under-age drug user.
And then we waited.
Step #7: And guess what?! They called their names and presented us with their passports. They asked me if all of the information was correct and I swear that if they had misspelled Lila’s name as “Leo” or Vivienne’s name as “Victor” I would have lied and said, “Yep. Everything is fine. LET’S GET OUT OF HERE.”
So after a total of 3-hours in that office, (which was semi-efficient by Baja California Sur’s standards), we walked out with our girls’ passports in hand. The little, tiny man who had turned me down last time saw me before we left and said in Español, “Hello there! How are you today? It’s so nice to see you!” I was like, “Shut up.”
We got them!
Dear friends, we got them!
YAY! YAY! YAY!
We then went to McDonald’s and celebrated (it’s the only fast food and we needed fast food and I feel the need to be absolved from eating there)…
Vivi enjoyed her first ever McDonald’s cheeseburger, see?
After we stopped laughing at the little sprite with the cheeseburger sticking out of her mouth we reminded her of her manners and she ate like a proper human being. (She hates fries.)
And then we drove home!
Lila slept almost the entire 2.5 hours (screaming at the top of her lungs and losing her mind tends to wear her out) and Vivienne cried/screamed less than a foot away from Lila for approximately 1.25 hours. That was cool.
Seriously, though? It was an extremely stressful 9 hours, but I have to tell you, I’m so pleased that it’s over with. A weight has been lifted.
I love checking things off the list.
We’s got ’em.
*Does anyone use alarm clocks anymore? I use my phone and 99% of the world does too, no?
Resources for ex-pats living in Mexico who need Mexican passports:
Click here to make an online appointment at an SRE (Secretaria Reclaciones de Exteriores) office.
Click here for information on how to get your first Mexican passport.
Click here for information on how to get a renewal Mexican passport
Click here for the cost(s) of Mexican passports.
Click here for the various forms to be completed to obtain your Mexican passport.
Click here to see the various Mexican passport locations in Mexico.
The SRE office in La Paz is located on Marquez de Leon between Ignacio Ramierez and Guillermo Prieto on the left side of the road. It’s a royal blue building located about 100 ft. back from the street.
|Office is the blue building on the right.|