Consulate Comparisons – Process

5 week-old STORSH at the Spanish Consulate (the mess behind him will feature later in the series)

STORSH at the Spanish Consulate (the mess behind him will feature later in the series)

This is the 2nd of a 4-part series comparing the US and Spanish Consulates in Paris. In February 2011, when STORSH was 5 weeks old, El Argentino (half Spanish), S and I went to both consulates to apply for his two citizenship / passports. It was an eventful day.

9 February 2011

This week STORSH became a citizen to both the US & Spain! In one day the three of us covered both the US and Spanish consulates, metro-ing it to Place de la Concorde, then walking for some fresh air (read: a refill of patience) up to the Spanish consulate in the 17th, and then pooped and fulfilled metro-ing it home. Comparing both consulates was hilarious. The next three posts will compare the extreme differences of Process, Security and Culture.

PROCESS 

The US requires 3 applications, all of which need to be sent back to DC physically because the State Department’s computer system is down — worldwide! They ‘hope’ we’ll receive the passport by the end of March. I had to bring a (much resented) 22 euro Chronopost envelope for their error. My taxes don’t cover their IT mishaps apparently… One of the three applications required me to list each & every time I had been physically present in the States with exact dates. An impossible task, but one which I attempted with a few additional sheets of paper… Only to be asked for proof (ooouf!) since it was fishy that I’d had spent so much time abroad as a kid…

The Spanish (one application, computer network functioning) will have STORSH’s passport to us in less than a week (paying for the postage). However, they’re hardly stellar either… They had a numbered ticket system you’d find in any bureaucratic office, but it didn’t work as one would guess: After we got our number a gruff old Spaniard came out in person & called “next” (instead of the number)… El Argentino asked how we were supposed to know who “next” was & the crotchety old, smoked-filled bureaucrat said “Figure it out, son”… Like, “Really, Argentines are so stupid.”

Some fresh air between the US and Spanish Consulates

Some fresh air between the US and Spanish Consulates

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