I thought would write a post about what we frequently must deal with in Peru, concerning visas. Just to stay living in Peru it takes a lot of paper work. I won't even begin to tell you the six month process of obtaining a resident visa in Peru. I will just explain our current situation so you will have an idea of what most missionaries go through on a regular basis.
After obtaining our visas, we must now pay two types of taxes each year. This can be a long process. When we tried to pay the Prorroga tax for our kids this year, we were told that Peru changed the law. They made a new rule stating that if you are married to a Peruvian and have children, you must show the children's birth certificates each year. When they wrote the law, they messed up, and now it states that all people with resident visas must show a birth certificate for their children. The copy of the birth certificate cannot be more than a year old as well. This set us in action to perform the following steps.
- Buy and order new copies of birth certificates from the States for our three kids.
- Send the new birth certificates to the Secretary of State in the State of each birth certificate.
- The Secretary of State apostilles (certifies) each birth certificate and sends it to my parents.
- We wait until someone is coming to Peru to ensure our expensive and important documents arrive securely.
- Documents arrive in Cusco. We find out they need to be translated to Spanish by an official government translator. We search all over Cusco and find there are none.
- We send the birth certificates to a friend in Lima who stands in line for a long time and gets our documents translated for us. We pay lots of money and he sends them back to Cusco.
- Next we must print out another form, fill in the information, and get it notarized.
- We fill out another form, make many copies of passports and Peruvian visas, deposit money in the bank, and then wait in line for hours.
- We then find out our oldest son's passport is expired and we can't pay his visa, nor can he leave the country until he gets a new passport.
- I call the Embassy in Lima and they explain the process. We must get his birth certificate, take pictures, make an appointment at the Embassy in Lima, and then fly to Lima to start the process.
- Once they accept all our documents, we have to wait 15 days and then fly back to Lima to pick up the new passport in person.
- We then have to make another appointment at Immigrations in Lima so we can get the resident stamp that is in the expired passport transferred to the new passport.
- Once this step is done, we fly back to Cusco to start the visa tax process over.
We must do all of this before October when we go to the States or Chase will not be coming with us. The funny thing about Peruvian law is it always changes. Just when you get the process figured out, they change or make a new rule.
This is just one of the many things that take up so much of our time and energy living in Peru. All we can do is trust in God, move forward, and laugh.