Friday, September 30, 2016

The immigrant fitzgeralds

We have made the decision to immigrate. To Uruguay. On Dec 7, 2016!!!! The universe was throwing any and every possible sign at us to go: family strife, a very tumultuous and stressful postpartum period, multiple stress-related illnesses, lack of ability to work on my dissertation, this election, safety in our city deteriorating, and so many other smaller signs. So, swallowing our fears, we bought our one-way plane tickets. We are on our way. I am going to use this space to document our journey -- as it is a continuation of the journey I began 10 years ago with my first foray out of the United States. It was a journey from which I never did return, because I came back a different person entirely.

So, how does one emigrate to Uruguay? A lot of the nitty-gritty is here. But, ostensibly, we had to:
- Get Vivian's birth certificate and social security card so she could get a passport (done)
- Get fingerprinted and order a criminal background check from the FBI (done)
- Order a copy of all our birth certificates and Patrick and my marriage certificate (done)
- Take all this paperwork to a place to get an Apostille Stamp (not done yet, waiting for the FBI report). For all the Illinois documents we do this at the Secretary of State downtown. For Isa's birth certificate we had to send it to Washington (done).
- Take a bunch of passport pictures (not done with all of us yet)
- Print out/copy past W2's and a bunch of wage statements to bring (still to do)

Once we get there, we need to:
- Enter the country as a tourist and get a 90 day tourist visa (free)
- Bring birth/marriage certificate and FBI report to a public translator
- Get a 'fit for work' health certificate at a certified medical center
- Go to the migration office with all these documents and apply for a tramite, which is basically a paper that says you plan to apply for permanent residency and can therefore overstay your 90 day tourist visa. This tramite costs $60.
- Then you have 2 years to get an appointment to apply for permanent residency. Show up and they'll take your fingerprints and picture and will let you know when you'll get your cedula (permanent residency ID) which takes about a month.

In the meantime we have also decided that we will only bring what we can carry in suitcases. So, we can bring up to 15 50-pound suitcases on our trip. Now, our big goal is organizing and planning for our travel.

And so I said at the beginning that the universe was telling us to go, but not only that -- it was also telling us to come. Once we booked our tickets, I got word from WSU that they will give me online teaching in the Spring (until May 2017), which helps us to fulfill the permanent residency requirement of having an income of at least $1500/month. Then, we got word from our friend and real estate agent who sold us our land that he will rent us his beach house, without a contract. It is fully furnished, has internet, TV, air conditioning and heat, 3 bedrooms, and is walking distance to the beach. We are moving Dec 7, the equivalent of June 7 climatically-speaking. We are going to be spending our summer in the equivalent of South Haven, MI for $500/month. Then we get word from an Irish expat friend of ours that lives nearby that there's an opening for an English teacher at the local high school. And we also got in touch with a South African family that lives less than a mile from where we'll be staying at the beach who wants to be friends with us. They raise cattle and grow weed. So, yeah, the universe is telling us to come. 

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