Spain Student Visa Step 3: The Apostille Saga

After finding out about a week ago that my Apostille processing was still ongoing, I started to get anxious. This morning, I managed to miss a call from the Apostille office and upon listening to the voicemail learned that my Apostille still had yet to be processed because my translation of my background check, while a certified copy, was not notarized.  I called the office back once they reopened and waited on hold for 34 minutes. After the office picked up, I was informed that the Apostille office cannot process my translation because the translation of my background check would need to be notarized and an Apostille provided through that state’s Secretary of State. Because of this, the $16 check I sent ($8 for the background check in English and $8 for the background check translation into Spanish) could not be used because my order total is only $8. I thankfully could pay with a credit card over the phone and finish my order processing, which I was told would be finalized today and mailed back to me. Given that this process has been rather time-consuming, if given another chance I would rather pay the extra money and have gone through an Apostille channeler.  The Apostille office website lists the average processing time of 5-7 days, though on the phone told me this could extend to the 12 my paperwork has taken. I’d rather have paid the $55 to have had it back in a guaranteed 5 days. This whole process is not just a visa process– it’s also definitely a learning process!! This so far has been the most confusing step, which I suppose is partially my fault for living in a state that won’t do background checks for this purpose.

On another note, the Facebook groups for Auxiliares are so helpful! Today I read a thread about double checking whether a PA or a MD/DO signed your medical certification letter. I glanced down at my letter from my doctor and realized that it had been signed by a PA! This is a listed requirement on the consulate website, but I hadn’t realized by doctor wasn’t in fact an MD. I’m still a few weeks out from my visa appointment, so I left my doctor’s office a call earlier so I can get a letter from the correct person. Thankfully I haven’t paid to translate that yet, as it would have been a waste. I was about to do so this week and am so glad I double checked. This whole process is very detail-intensive. I think when it’s all over I’d like to make a guide so that other people can avoid the pitfalls (actual or potential) that I encounter along the way.

I am still waiting on my carta de nombramiento from my region.  A few of the regions have received theirs so far and have been able to begin their visa processing, but mine has not yet arrived to my email. I’m trying not to get too nervous, but I have an end of the month visa appointment that  I really need it to come in time for.
About this time, you should start looking for consulate appointments to submit your visa. Los Angeles schedules online here and appointments fill up about 3 months in advance. I originally booked an appointment for the end of June, cancelled it because my papers didn’t arrive on time, rebooked for early July and cancelled it again for the same reason. I then booked another one for the end of July, praying everything would arrive on time. You can schedule an appointment regardless of the arrival of your carta or apostille, but you MUST have these by the day of your appointment.

On the note of appointments: one page of the consulate website says you can submit documents by mail, while another page says you cannot do so. You can choose to mail it in and hope for the best, but I hate taking unnecessary risks and went the safe route of making an appointment. It’s a little more expensive because I have to make the trip to Los Angeles from Phoenix, but I’d rather do things the safest way!

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