Part Two: The Quest for the Golden Ticket


The Gold Seal

Monday morning…frantic.. tracking our UPS delivery like a deer hunter… breathing deeply….chewing fingernails ragged….trying to stay positive….exploring options in case the Golden Ticket is delayed…too much coffee…unbearable waiting…waiting….waiting….

After three months in pursuit of a state seal certifying the notary, our quest is over. Below are things NOT to do in search of a gold seal to legalize documents for abroad.

1. Do not copy and notarize your birth certificates. That is illegal in most states. Instead, request at least four certified long form birth certificates for each person.

2. Do not send more than one notarized document to the office of the state’s apostille and certification department. Remember, you only need one certification letter from the secretary of state. If you send them all of your notarized documents, they will be REJECTED. Instead, send one notarized document, preferably the doctor’s statement of good health because it is not a legal document like a police report, an income verification form, or a marriage license.

3. Do not assume that the notary knows the correct way to notarize a document that you will send to the state office of apostilles and certification department. The first doctor’s report we sent to the state department was rejected because the notary did not use the correct notary form required by the State Department of Florida. We spent $44 just in postage fees to overnight the document two times, once for the notarized copy, then again for the redo of the notary’s mistake. Fortunately, we could call the notary into the office because he had started his vacation and was flying to Oregon later in the day. If we would not have been able to find our original notary, we would have had to redo all the documents with a different notary because all the documents need to have the SAME notary.

4. Do not assume that when you pay $20 extra dollars for UPS Saturday delivery, that you will receive your package on Saturday. My mother lives in a gated community in Florida. The Saturday UPS delivery guy didn’t know the gate code, so he didn’t deliver the package on Saturday.

5. Do not forget to ask for the UPS delivery tracking number. We used a courier service that is only open on weekdays. They called us last Friday to tell us that our redo document was at the State Department and they requested a $20 fee for Saturday delivery. We never thought to ask for the tracking number. When it wasn’t delivered on Saturday, we could have saved ourselves much grief if we would have had the tracking number.

We are on our way to Miami early tomorrow morning to hand deliver the certified documents to the Nicaraguan Consulate of Miami. They will check our documents, check the certification from the Secretary of Florida, and authenticate our documents. Then, we can fly back to Nicaragua for the next step in the process.  I am hopeful that the most challenging part of the process for residency in Nicaragua is over. Surely the bureaucracy in Nicaragua won’t be as profoundly confusing as in the states. But, then again…you never know. Stay tuned for Part Three.

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4 thoughts on “Part Two: The Quest for the Golden Ticket

  1. Debbie and Ron,
    Being 10 miles from Disneyland with one child left to go to college, our adventure has to wait. We are several years behind you and enjoy the good insights from your stories, pointing out daily life on the little island and the occasional red tape you two go through (but it’s part of the “adventure”, I’m sure).

    Is the golden ticket so that you don’t have to leave the country every 90 days? I read some countries encourage expat retiree with “discount” senior ID cards for public transportation, government services, and health care. I couldn’t get any more information from my Google searches.

    I’m sure proof of pension / social security would speed the process or depositing a years income at a local bank.

    Nonetheless, congrats on getting this far on two country’s international bureaucracies. I see it’s still a work in progress.

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes, the golden ticket is so we don’t have to cross the border every 90 days to renew our visas. We are applying for the pensionado visas, the retirement visa in Nicaragua. We enjoyed crossing the border every 90 days to shop in Costa Rica, but with the pensionado visa, we won’t have to cross the border. Also, since we own property in Nicaragua, we want to be legal residents, instead of perpetual tourists. There may come a day when we won’t be able to cross the border into Costa Rica every 90 days to renew our visas, so we want to be prepared. Getting residency status does have some added benefits. It is easier to buy a car or new vehicle and get it registered. We can get a local bank account with our residency status, but, we decided that it’s much safer to keep our money in our banks in the USA. We can purchase Claro phone and internet services with a contract. Without residency status, we had to purchase our Claro internet using a friend’s residency card and have it put in her name. There are reduced prices for building materials and shipping containers of household belongings into Nicaragua, but we don’t see the need for those benefits. Mainly, we just want to be legal residents and live happily ever after. 🙂

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