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Residencia Legal

Posted by urufish on July 13, 2007


The quest is over.  Picked it up today. 

Called for the past 2 days and there was a cancellation for July 13th at 16:10 (you get appointments for a date and an exact time).  My wife took the car to Minas yesterday.  My wife’s best friend Critstina, offered to take me to the Geant mall. 

She picked me up at 15:50 and we got there at 16:12.  You are supposed to come in alone.  Cristina went shopping.  I went in and handed over my Residentia en tramite with the ‘invitation’ from Immigracion to trade it for the ‘difinitiva’.  One of the 2 clerks at the front took both and punched two holes in my Cedula, (this voids it) and gave it back to me.  She told me to sit down and wait for my name to be called.

Within a few minutes, one of the clerks on the left side called my name.  I sat down and she asked me to take off my glasses.  The camera was well behind her head.  She adjusted it and said it was Ok to put my glasses back on.  Then she asked me to confirm the information on the cedula, line by line.  She was reading it from the computer screen.  I kept saying OK..  When we got to my address, I told I had moved.  I gave her the new address and telephone number.  She typed for a few seconds and then printed the information out.  She read the form and called over her supervisor for a consulta. 

After a few minutes, she ripped up the form, entered more information into the computer, printed it out and gave it to me to sign.  Then she printed out my cedula and asked me to sign it.  Then she asked me for my right thumb, inked it and rolled it on the cedula.  I asked her what went wrong before and she said dont worry.. (be happy).  Then she told me to go around the office, wash my hands, and wait for my name to be called.

I went to the right side of the room and waited with 6 other people.  I stood so I could see the 2 other clerks preparing the cedulas for heat sealing.  Each of the 2 clerks sat at a comuter.  Behind each, on a separate desk, was a screen with the pictures of all the people assigned to this person to process.  When 4 pictures appeared on the screen, the original clerks handed over 4 sets of documents and the ‘final’ clerk started processing them one by one.   She puts them into a heat sealing machine.  When the’re all out, she takes them one by one, and compares front and back to the image of each on file.  She carefully checks the thumbprint.  If she’s not certain it’s clear under the plastic, she uses a custom magnifying mechanism to see them in more detail.  When she’s satisfied the laminated product is perfect, she calls your name and gives it to you.  Then you go out, with the new title, ‘Residencia Legal’.  Mine’s good until 24/4/2010.  I thought it would be for 10 years, but I think citizens get 10 years.  Looks like residents get less.  Total time, 22 minutes.  

NB…  Notice that the top right corner of the back shows your Lugar de Nacimiento (place of birth).  When you open a bank account, they must see your Cedula or Passport.  If you’re born American, this is an automatic reject at banks like ABN, that operate in the US and refuse to cooperate with IRS reporting rules.   

Posted in Immigration | 9 Comments »

The Immigration process (2nd attempt)

Posted by urufish on June 24, 2007

This post is taking a lot longe than 6-8 weeks to complete, as first promised.  Have no idea how long it will take.  But we’re working on it.  It’s ambitious.  Want to include everything, from what you need and how you do it at home to the final process of getting you residencia definitiva here. 

Because this is a work in progress, this will change every few weeks or so, possibly showing up in another place on the blog as major changes take place.  Today, June 24, we’re adding sections on birth certicate and proofs of salary. 

You have to get certain documents from home to start the process.  Amongst these are your ‘formal’ birth certificate.  Not the one you carry around with you.  The actual original one that was signed by the doctor (or midwife) who brought you into this world.  It has to be a certified copy.  That means it has to be stamped and signed by the ahj (authority having jurisdiction) in the place the certificate was issued. 

Here’s a copy of what one looks like from the the 40’s in the province of Ontario, Canada.

birth-certificate-large.jpg birth-certificate-2-large.jpg birth-certificate-back-large.jpg Notice the following:  at the bottom of the certificate, #2, the official stamp of the province (state) and signature of the AHJ, Judith M Hartman.   At the top of #1, notice the stamps and signatures of the local, Montevideo escribana and the official seals of Uruguay.  On #3 you see where the local consul has certified the copy.  You also see the stamp/signature of the official translator who signs the original copy and her translations.  NB.  My birth certificate does not show the country of Canada on it anywhere.  I was asked this question by someome from the US.  Back in the 40’s and 50’s who’d have thought globally?  Not state government agencies, that’s for sure.  As long as the consul certifies it, there is no problem. 

Accompanying the originals of the birth certificate, is the separate certification (see below).  You get this from the consulate in the country where the birth certificate is registered. 


Once in Uruguay, all these above documents must be translated into Spanish by an ‘official’ (graduate) public translator.  See the following:

birth-certificate-consular-xlation-to-publish.jpg birth-certificate-consular-xlation-2-to-publish.jpg  Rosario Lazaroff is the public translator.  The escribano must also sign and put official stamps on the document. 

We’ll do the police letter at a later date.  While I’m trying to locate mine, hopefully, someone kind will scan and email me their FBI or local PD report. 🙂

When you’re here, you need to provide your escriabano with proofs of your income.  In my case, it was a salary from up north, converted to down south.  I brought with a copy of my last year’s income tax return.  To make things even tidier, I had our accountant write a letter stating my last year’s salary.  Armed with that information she created document #1 for immigration.  Immigration didn’t like it, so they asked her for more information, proving the income by showing banking statements, #2.  There was one more request from them.  Since she based her opinion of my income on a document provided by a Toronto accountant, they asked for a Uruguayan accountant to certify the Toronto accountant’s letter.  When I locate it, I’ll post it alongside #2. 

  salary-sworn-statement-1-medium.jpg salary-sworn-statement-2-medium.jpg

Once you’ve produced the other documents, like your passport and the FBI or PD’s report and given them all to the immigration (or your consultant), you move on to the physical requirements of getting stuff done here.  The first thing you usually do is get your health checked out.   

Our friends, Charles and his wife Luba (pictured below), have been kind enough to take pictures of some steps along the way.  This is the place you go for your health card. 


The address is Bvar. Artigas 1331, phone # 400-1510. It is between Rodo and Chana. If you go by on weekends or late evening, they take the sign about Carnet de Salud down. Only when the sign is up can you get your exam. 

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to go to all the places here in Montevideo you will have to go and take photos.  We’d like to make this post as visual as possible. 

Posted in Immigration | 6 Comments »

Solicitud de Residencia Definitiva (II)

Posted by urufish on June 7, 2007


I didn’t get to the immigration office on Tuesday.  Our friend wasn’t available until this morning.  We got there around 9:10, a little late for my taste.  She parked the car while I held stood in line.   There was a big lineup in front of the immigration office as you can see below. 

The good news is that most people are there to get permission for minors to travel alone.  The bad news is that about 40% of that line is for immigration.  Usually, we get there much earlier, so we’re at the front of the line.  Not today.  But it doesn’t make a lot of difference because THEY CHANGED THE PROCESS.  Yep, as of May 22, immigration split applicants into two categories.  The first, with the highest priority, are the BRAND NEW IMMIGRANT APPLICANTS.  There’s a sign now that reads:

“Se comencia al publico que a partir del dia 22.05.07 esta seccion otorgara solamente 10 numeros diarios para el inicio de tramites de residencias.  retirar numero en mesa de entrada”

Instead of everyone racing for the paper pull numbers just before you get into the section, the newbies get to go to the front desk and ask for a special number.  They’re on blue cardboard, from 1 to 10.  When the officers sit down, these are supposed to be called first.  From what I saw, it looked like only one of the officers was calling them first but they still get some kind of priority.  The interesting thing was they were going quickly.  It looked like they would sit there for 5 minutes, discuss stuff and then they’d get up and go.  Since I’n not a newbie any more, I didn’t pay a lot of attention.  I wanted to get in and get out as quick as possible. 

My friend was still parking the car when the line started to move so I headed for the paperpull myself.  Got number 5.  Figured I would be seen in the first 30 minutes so I was happy.  After a few minutes, I pulled a 2nd number, #8.  I got into the habit of doing that in busy places here, just in case I have to go to the bathroom or I fall asleep waiting for them to call my number.  In the past, I’ve been told when I missed my call, I had to get a new number.  So now I take precautions by getting two numbers, at least 15 minutes apart. 

There were 3 clerks (officers) today.  The same ones I’ve seen there before. 

   Pardon the poor quality.  Crappy camera today.  Hope to replace these later in the week. 

They were moving quickly.  When #4 was called, and my friend was standing at the front, near the pole waiting to jump into the next empty chair, I turned to a young lady beside me and asked what number she had.  She had #17.  I smiled, gave her my 2nd ticket and said, no, you have #8.  Then I went to stand at the pole with my friend. 

After a few minutes, it was our turn.  We sat down.  She told them my name.  They took off (as usual).  She came back with a little piece of paper which I wanted to scan, but they took it from me.  In exchange, they gave me these two documents. 


The smaller one, (the first one) I am to present at the cedula processing office.  They will exchange my temporary for a permanent.  To do that, I need to call a 900 number (obviously from my own phone), and ask for an appointment.  If I cant get a normal appointment in the next 2 weeks, I’ll call a different number, for urgent appointments.  You can also make appointments by going to a RedPago, but I prefer home service.  I will go to the Geant mall.  I like that place better.  https://urufish.wordpress.com/2007/04/24/a-nice-morning-in-the-immigration-office/

Posted in Immigration | 8 Comments »

Solicitud de Residencia Definitiva

Posted by urufish on June 2, 2007


Well, today marks the beginning of the end of my quest for Uruguayan residency.  Just received the official request to come on down to Misiones 1513 and get it. 

Gonna go Tuesday.  Wish me luck.

Posted in Immigration | 8 Comments »

A nice morning in the immigration office

Posted by urufish on April 24, 2007

When you are accepted for residency in Uruguay, you are given a Cedula (ID card) good for one year.  It is Cedula Provisoria and your status is ‘Residencia en tramite’.  Usually, your application is finalized within one year and you go from en tramite to ‘definitiva’ (phonetic–sorry).  I say usually because in my case, they didn’t like my salary entry so it delayed the whole thing about 3 months.  Because of that, I had to rewnew my Cedula before April 28.  And therein lies the problem and the story behind the post.     

The Direccion Nacional de Identification Civil (the folks who handle the Cedula), had never seen this before so they told me to go back to Migracion and ask them to ‘authorize’ my request for a new Cedula…  They were nice about it.  Even gave me a ‘get out of jail free’ card, (a piece of paper that says I dont have to wait in line when I come back).  This morning I went to migracion. 

It opens at 9:15.  Get there at 8:30 and stake out a place near the front door.  If you’ve got the time, go there the day before and scope it out.  By 9:15, there are a half dozen people there for the same thing and when the door opens, they WILL rush in.  Today I was late… bad boy.  Even if you’re not front of the line, you can still gain an advantage by knowing exactly where to go and get your number (see scope out above).  You need a number for everything in this place.  You want to dash half way to the back, slightly to the right and look for a paper ticket dispenser on the wall facing you which says, ‘Numeros.  Seccion Residencia’ .  Be careful when you take a ticket.  If not, you’ll end up with several and everyone will hate you.  If you’re one of the first 3 getting the ticket, you will probably get to see an ‘officer’ in the next 10-15 minutes.  In the past, I’ve never seen more than 2 of them working but today, it was busy and there were 3 and they really were working.   There were 9 applicants (or is that supplicants) ahead of me today.  In the past, I was always in the first rush so I had no idea what to expect the wait time would be but I figured on average 25 minutes a person, 3 officers working 75% of the time, about 2 hours.  I was pretty close. 

This room handles 2 types of service.  The immigration service – assuming that’s what you’re there for.  And permissions for minors to travel.   Not likely what you’re there for.  Immigrants sit in the seats facing the back of the room.  Parents seeking permission to get their kids out of the country without both parents, (or no parents), sit facing the side of the room.  While you’re waiting for immigration, you are amazed at how fast the other side moves compared to yours.  There’s a lot more laughing going on over there too.  Not much lightheartedness on the ‘migracion’ side. Wonder why (chuckle)…

While waiting I was listening to the folks around me.  Lots of different languages.  Reminded me of sitting in a restaurant in downtown Toronto minus the Mandarin.  Today, it was mostly Spanish followed by German and some Portugese (Brazilians I suppose).  The Hamburg delegation, (no offense meant) was large.  Around 5 people   Some applicants had ‘handlers’ or perhaps translators..  Some wore suits and ties.  Most were young ladies, casually dressed.  I noticed the well dressed men took much longer to process their clients.  Maybe that’s how they fund their attire…. Not sure if that’s the the chicken or the egg.  There were 2 pleasant nuns and a rather impatient looking man from Russia.  The locals or near locals talk to each other… It’s not the clipped, near formal conversations we have in North America with strangers.  Uruguyans (and near Uruguayans) will have a real conversation with you.. as if they’ve talked with you before..  When someone gets up, it’s not uncommon for someone waiting to come up to the officer and ask them a question, out of turn.  No one seems to mind.  Like back home, cell phones are repeatedly going off.  You can use your cell phone in this office, as you can in most government offices but you can NOT use a cell phone anywhere near a cashier.  So stay away from areas that handle money everywhere in Uruguay when using a cellphone.    

 Photocopy everything you take with you.  Chances are they will want copies.  They’ll wait for you to go get one.. but the other people waiting will not be happy with you.  Cedula renewal is YOUR responsibility.  The government doesnt mail you a month or 2 before expiry.  Call for an appointment 4 to 6 weeks in advance.  Like me, you can do the ‘last minute club’ but it’s not recommended.  You can call directly or go to a Red Pagos office and they’ll do it for you.  There’s a fee.  Not much.  If you waited too long and need an ‘urgent’ appointment, the fee doubles and you may have to call for a few days.  Like the airlines, cancellations are received and those become available for the ‘urgent’ appointment offering.    The best place to get your Cedula renewed is at the Geant store.  Once you have your appointment, you’re in and out in 15 minutes.  Except for unlucky folks like myself.   Once you enter the door to the facility, you have to speak/understand Spanish.  They dont allow your ‘handler’ to come with you.  But at that point, it’s very straightforward.. and hand signals work just fine.  Cedulas are heat sealed pieces of paper which the government emphatically and fanatically manages. The first time I got mine, the paper actually had a defect.  My girl looked horrified and called the manager who had to call the ‘director’ over to void it.  This is a very, very serious business.   Your first cedula is good for a year.  Subsequent are good for 5 or 10 years.  At 60 you win the jackpot.  It’s for life..  At the end of the initial process, they take your fingerprints.  Want to look like a pro?  Bring some handiwipes with you. 

When the immigration officer has finished with you, fingerprinted you, whatever, you’re not done.  You or your handler has to take the paperwork to the front, on the right and get it stamped/approved and then it’s over to the cashier.  This process appears different for different folks, but one way or the other, you’ll end up in both places.  Except for the cashier, you need to get another paper ticket. 

If you dont speak Spanish, you must have a translator with you.   There is one bathroom in the facility.  It’s clean, but bring your own paper.  When I checked it out, in addition to having no paper, there was no paper holder.  So I assume this is a permanent condition.  The computers are old but function quite well.  There were no disruptions today, or any other time I was there.  Perhaps because so much of the process is paper, it doesn’t matter.  The furniture is spartan and clearly, the government’s use of taxpayers dollars in Uruguay is not as obscene as it is in North America. 

Immigration officers are for the most part, nice enough and pretty efficient.  I can never figure out why they leave their desk after they talk to you for a few minutes and disappear into the back for 5-10 minutes, but they do.  Depending on how complex your process is, they may do this a few times.  When I applied originally, I distinctly remember them going several times.  Today, they only disappeared twice.  The 2nd time for quite a while.. over 10 minutes.  They always come back with some kind of paper..  Today they came back with 2 papers. 

By 12:30 I had my authorization to go back to the Geant mall and square one.  Tomorrow we will see if that’s all I need or maybe they send me somewhere else.  I’ve come to the point in my life here where I expect to be surprised…  When I’m not, I’m sometimes disappointed.   Not sure which it will be tomorrow.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted in Immigration | 5 Comments »