I can’t believe just how fast everything is coming together. We received our reports back from the FBI and Florida State Law Enforcement on our criminal background checks and no surprises there! Really didn’t think there would be any, but in this day and age of identity theft one never knows. Both of these documents will now be sent off to be Apostilled. Once we receive those back, as well as the Apostilled social security benefits letter and State of Michigan marriage certificate, all of our documents will be in order to present to the Ecuadorian Consulate. Our Ecuadorian attorney will review all the documents that have been Apostilled to make sure they are in correct order and provide us with the information we need on what to do and when with the Consulate.
I have been keeping track of the expenses and this is the tally to date:
$1500 Deposit for Visa Attorney ($1500 upon completion)
$98.25 Michigan certification/Apostilled Husband’s birth certificate
$42.50 Certified copy of Michigan Marriage Certificate
$1.00 Apostille Michigan Marriage Certificate
$62.50 Virginia certificate/apostilled my birth certificate
$170 FBI Criminal Background checks for us both
$16 FBI Apostilled background checks for us both
$48 Florida Law Enforcement Criminal background check for us both
$40 Florida apostille of background check for us both
$81.08 postage to send out documents and prepaid returns
$700 deposit for moving container ($7,000 total – 90% to be paid when container ordered; remaining 10% when delivered to Ecuador)
As you can see, obtaining residency Visas and shipping furniture is not cheap. While we could have done all this ourselves, the cost could have been a lot higher if the documents weren’t correctly done or we made the mistake of removing staples and such from documents to copy them. Removal of staples, ribbons or hole covers is not allowed and documents will be rejected by the Ecuadorian Consulate, as well as many others, for doing so. It gives the appearance that items could have been added or removed thus voiding your document.
We could sell all the furniture and household goods and just ship clothes and what we want to keep; however, Ecuadorian furniture is not made for someone who stands 6 ft. 4 in. and to buy new furniture there would be very costly. Yes, we could rent a fully furnished home/apartment, but I prefer to have my own things and not have to worry about breaking something that belongs to someone else.
All and all, while expensive to get where we wish to be, it will be totally worth it in the end as our cost of living will be greatly reduced. We will be able to live quite comfortably on at little as $850 a month and being 65 and over has additional benefits in way of health insurance, medical, food, etc.
If you decide to take up residence in another country, be sure to do your homework, find out what is involved, the cost and, most important, get a good immigration attorney who will help you go through the process correctly. The attorney we are using has guaranteed a full refund if our application for a residency Visa is declined by the Ecuadorian government through no fault of our own, i.e., we followed all the procedures and had the correct documents.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Wishing you all the best that life has to offer.
Terri at the Drake’s Nest