|Registro Civil, at calle Uruguay 933!|
First of all, you need copies of your birth certificates, marriage certificate (if you're married) and/or divorce decree (if you're divorced). I can only speak about the process from the United States, since that is where we are from, so it may be different for people from other countries. Although we did not originally plan to become residents of Uruguay, I had photocopies of our birth certificates and a real copy of our marriage certificate with us just in case we ever needed them. These copies were useless. Uruguay has joined the Hague Convention, so in order for documents to be accepted, they need Apostille. So, we ordered new documents, and apostilles from the United States. If you know that you're moving to Uruguay, it would be much, much easier to obtain birth certificates and apostilles before you leave the United States!
After we had our documents and apostilles, I took them to the Ministry of External Relations to be legalized and they just kind of smiled and me and politely assured me that I didn't need anything from them, I just needed to deposit them at the Civil Registry.
I knew they would need to be translated, though. So, we did that.
Then, we used the translated birth certificates to get our cedulas (identity cards).
Today I took all of our birth certificates to the civil registry. They told me they will be ready in a month.
So, for those who are looking for more specific details, here is what we did:
1. Obtain documents from the United States.
- We ordered all of our documents online, using VitalChek. In order for the orders to be processed, each state requires something different for identification: Arizona wanted a copy of Jeff's driver's license and his signature. At the time that I placed my order, Utah asked me a few questions to verify my identity (the questions were like when you order a credit report). California was the worst--they required a notarized statement from me saying that I was authorized to request it. In Montevideo the only place that I know of that offers a United States Notary Public is the US Embassy. The US Embassy offers notary services only on Tuesday afternoons, only with an appointment, and it costs $50 per document. They are able to do an ink stamp along with the seal so that it shows up for the scan. At first this seemed like a huge rip-off, because I am used to getting things notarized for free at my credit union in Utah, but when I compared the cost of using an escribana and apostille from here, it was going to take a couple weeks and cost a few hundred dollars, so then the US Embassy sounded like a bargain. When you order copies of your certificates, be sure to state that it is for "Apostille" because it needs to be the long form of the certificate, not a short version. Some states only want to send copies TO the person on the certificate, but that was okay for us because we were using Jeff's parents' address anyway.
- After my in-laws received our certificates, they put them in the mail to send them with Apostille Request forms for each state. Each state does their own apostilles. If I remember right, Arizona's cost $3 per apostille, Utah was $15 per apostille, and California was $20 per apostille. You have to send the original birth certificates with the form and payment to the Secretary of State for the state where the document is from. Then we had all of the documents with apostilles sent back to my in-laws and they put them in a UPS mailer and sent them to us.
2. Documents DO NOT need to go the the Uruguayan Consulate in the United States. They used to need to be "legalized" in the US at the Uruguayan Consulate, but now that Uruguay accepts apostilles, documents DO NOT need to be legalized in the United States, and they DO NOT need to be legalized in Uruguay at the ministry of exterior relations (MREE).
3. Have the documents translated into Spanish by an official public translator. It has to be an official translator because they need to be able to stamp it with their special stamp. I had a lot of trouble knowing how to find a public translator. I have since heard that it is possible to get a list of public translators at the national identity office, but I don't know whether that is true or not. I eventually found Nelida Kreer who is a public translator that lives in the Pocitos area. She even has a website, which is kind of unusual for business people here. I was very, very happy with her. After I e-mailed her about translation, she replied quickly, and she was able to have my translations done within 24 hours after she received them. She prefers to work from originals, but since I don't live near Pocitos, she was willing to work off of scans. After I met with her to pick them up, I could understand why originals would be much better for her--the translations are VERY detailed, including descriptions of borders and colors of seals, impressions that are not visible on scans, etc. She charged us $695 (in pesos, which is about $35 USD per document) for the translations, plus $120 pesos each for the official stamp (the official sticker is about $6 USD). When I came to pick them up, I had to bring the originals, and we went through and she read and explained the whole thing to me. It was important for them to be totally accurate, since you can have problems if something is translated incorrectly. Her English was very good, which I guess you would expect from an official translator, but it made me feel very comfortable talking with her about it all. I had my daughter with me for the whole thing--which ended up being kind of a lengthy meeting, since she had to make a few minor corrections since she had been working with scans and I didn't know to tell her about some things that mattered--and anyway, she was awesome about letting Paisley wander around and check stuff out, and play with marbles, etc. She also showed me at the end, she just wanted me to know that she was giving me a good price, so she showed me the "official" price list was from 2012, and she was giving a lower price even though they were kind of long translations, etc. Anyway, I believe her, and once I saw what I huge job it was, I feel like she more than earned what we paid. I highly recommend her, and we will definitely have her do any other official translations that we need in the future. She is fantastic.
|Copies nearby! I paid 40 pesos ($2 USD), 3 big sets and a pen.|
5. Take your whole packet to the Civil Registry, at calle Uruguay 933 in Montevideo. They are open from 10:15 am to 3:30 pm, BUT the last time to take a number is 3:00 pm, and it really takes a bit longer than that anyway, so it is probably best to try to arrive by 2:45 pm at the latest. No appointment necessary. We arrived at about 3:00 pm but without photocopies, and when we came back with copies several minutes later a guard was standing in front and told me they close at 3:00 pm, and he wasn't going to let me back in. I told him I thought they closed at 3:30, and he said no, 3:00 pm, and when he saw me standing there unsure what to do next he told me okay, I could go back in, but to hurry up. I was grateful to him for that, because it saved us a drive back to Montevideo!
|The desk for adding foreign certificates to the civil registry.|
|To the right are the numbers to take for a turn.|
|This is the cover page you fill out.|
So, once your form is filled out, you go to the cashier to pay. The cost to be added to the registry is $513 pesos (about $25 USD). When you pay the cashier she uses the cash register to print onto the apostille page (I think it was that page?), so they know you've paid.
Then you take the whole stack back to the foreign section. They accepted it, and asked me to take a seat. Probably about 10 minutes later, the lady gave me my photocopied sets of documents back, with a little receipt type thing stapled to them. She said we can come back in a month and they'll be added to the civil registry.
|This is what you get in the end.|
An interesting note about birth certificates is that I was kind of confused about one of the stipulations from immigrations, that they wanted a copy of the marriage certificate (the Uruguayan one, after it is in the registry) that was less than 30 days old. I asked our Spanish teacher about that this morning and she said that here in Uruguay you don't get a permanent birth certificate. They expire pretty quickly. So the reason our marriage certificate needs to be less than 30 days old is because they don't want an expired copy. How about that!