Mar 30, 2009

Can you say 'Super-legalization'? - A visa story

Sorry for the delay in updating you on our life here in Czech but we've been busy trying to get our foreign affairs in order. In the last few weeks we have been to the Canadian Embassy, the Czech Foreign Affairs office, our regional city office twice and to the foreign police office twice (and I'm scheduled to go there again today). This might sound bad but it has resulted in what seems to be some good news in the world of red tape.

After much work to get documents sent from Canada and officially translated we were all set to reapply for our visas to enable us to stay until December. The foreign police here in town had reviewed the application and it looked good. All we had to do was wait for our appointment to go to Dresden to submit the application.

While we waited Miro decided to also begin the process to reapply for his Czech citizenship. In the mid-80s he and his family had renounced their Czech citizen to be able to visit their families. Czech law has allowed that anyone who gained other citizenship and renounced their Czech citizenship during the time of communisim are now able to regain their Czech citizenship and to hold dual citizenship. Based on our visa experience we assumed that it would be a long process.

To apply Miro was told he would have to go to Usti Nad Labem which is the large city in this region and the centre for dealing with these matters. So Miro made the 1/2 hour trip to Usti. After dropping him at the bus station Isaiah and I went for a walk and headed to the grocery store. While in the dairy aisle Miro called me to say that he would be able to get his citizenship that very day! No long drawn out red tape process!!

The only catch was that if we wanted Isaiah to gain Czech citizenship as well they would have to apply at the exact same time. For Isaiah to become a citizen it required that his birth certificate be...(wait for it)...Superlegalized.

What is superlegalization you might ask. Basically this meant that we had to take Isaiah's birth certificate to the Canadian Embassy to have them certify that it was in fact a legal Canadian document and then we had to take that certification to the Czech Foreign Affairs office to have them certify that the certification was authentic. When Miro told me this I burst out laughing. As my brother-in-law said it proves that we are certifiably certifiable.

After reading a bit more about superlegalization I understand the process a bit better but it still seems to be a bit of a money making scheme. Basically, if we were in Canada any official office needing to use our documents would have copies of all the offical seals in Canada and could verify our documents on the spot. Here in another country only our embassy can do that. Then the foreign affairs office here can verify that the embassy stamp is authentic.

So that involved a trip to Prague which we took advantage of and spent an extra day and night there. That will require another blog but you can see the pictures for some highlights. The superlegalization process went very quickly (we also superlegalizied our marriage certificate which is required for Miro to apply for a passport) and that same day Miro headed to Usti Nad Labem again and he and Isaiah became citizens.

So now Miro and Isaiah can come and go in Czech as they want provided they have a passport when they leave the European Union zone. It will be a bit of a process to get their passports as they first need their birth numbers. Luckily Miro's was found quite easily at the Litomerice town office in the book pictured to the left. It the birth book for 1966 and Miro is in there. So that process is well on it's way.

Now as for me. Since I am now married to a Czech citizen I am released from the need to apply for a visa outside of the country and I can instead apply for a temporary resident permit. This can all be done at our local foreign police office so I am heading there again today to submit my application. They say that it should only take a month to process so I should make it in under our deadline.

So after all of these trips we are quite relieved and bit stunned that things have worked out so well. It is also hard to believe that Miro and Isaiah are now both Czech and Canadian citizens. We're not sure what this all means for our future but for now we are hoping it means an end to the waiting and red tape. Thanks so much for all of your prayers and concern. We hope to have good news soon that my permit is approved with no more changes required.

And just in case you were wondering, although they have become citizens Isaiah and Miro remain much the same as you can see here:

We miss you all. More posts to follow soon we hope. For now this is our visa story.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting story. Congratulations on the dual citizenship Miro and Isaiah! Christy, we will be praying that the process for your permit will go smoothly as well. - Becky