Consulate Comparisons- Process



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