End almost in sight!

Today I am doing a happy dance as the last document we needed to obtain our Residency Visa-via-Cable has arrived. So with my Apostille FBI Criminal Background Check in hand, all the documents will now be forwarded to Ecuador Visas and our attorney. The documents will be translated into Spanish and we will be notified when we are to appear at the Ecuadorian Consulate in Miami. We are now seeing an end in sight to our adventures in obtaining documents that will allow us to live in another country.

It has certainly been an eye opener on all that one must do to be granted the privilege of becoming a foreign resident. It gives you a whole new respect for what many immigrants must go through in order to obtain Visas/Green Cards to live in the United States. If you want something bad enough, you will do all that you can, legally, to obtain the Golden Ticket (Visa) that will allow you to achieve your dream. The key is to do it legally! By following the rules, you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors. You also will not have to keep looking over your shoulder to see if Immigration is after you to return you from whence you came.

Our packing and purging continues. All of yesterday was spent shredding old documents that are no longer necessary. I plan on scanning all our current documents, which will be needed for tax filings, to our computer so that  I won’t have to transport a lot of papers and it will make filing our taxes via email a whole lot more efficient. Sending PDF’s is a lot easier than faxes, especially if you don’t know if faxes are available in your new home country. I know that regular mail is almost non-existent there, so most of our mail will go to a central mail server who will scan what mail we do need and/or FedEx it to us. We will be able to ship packages and such, but mail is another story. I’m thinking of all the junk mail I will no longer receive!

Have a great week and enjoy life to the fullest. I must return to my packing and purging!

Hasta Pronto,

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

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Little Things Add Up

In getting ready for our move to Ecuador, it is amazing how much all the little things that need to be done add up. For example, it’s all well and good to purge those things that you no longer use or need, but it is equally important that one review all documents you have to see what need to be kept or can be disposed of by shredding.

Some of the documents that one must go through are all old tax receipts and records. According to the Federal Government, you should keep all tax records and supporting backup information for 7 years. If you are able to dispose of any of these documents, be sure that you SHRED them. This will help prevent identity theft plus protect you against fraud. Be especially careful that when shredding or even ripping up old documents that any signatures are totally destroyed as well as account numbers for banks, credit cards and any containing your social security numbers. If you have documents that have bar codes on them, be sure that those bar codes are destroyed as they will contain information that you cannot read, but someone with a bar code reader could. They sometimes have social security numbers, dates of birth, etc. embedded within their codes.

When you are shipping your household goods in a container, one of the things that they tell you NOT to include are personal papers, credit cards, jewelry, coin collections, etc. These are items you either need to pack in your suitcases or have boxed and transported in the plane with you or send to family members to ship to you once you are settled in to your new home country.

Today was spent going through documents and separating those items we needed to keep and those that could be destroyed. It’s amazing the kind of stuff one accumulates in the ordinary course of business.

In doing our income taxes for this year, we have found an Agent that is capable of doing not only our U.S. taxes but any foreign tax we may incur. That is definitely a plus as we can scan and transmit any and all tax documents to her and file our taxes that way. She is certified not only to go before the IRS, but to handle expat accounting as well.

We are currently waiting on our last Apostille document to be received and then all our documents will be forwarded to our Ecuadorian Attorney to be translated into Spanish and filed with the Ecuadorian Consulate. Then it’s just a matter of awaiting the Visas, temporary or otherwise to arrive. We are still looking at making our move by  the end of May or first part of June of this year.

It has been amazing just how fast everything has been obtained, finalized and sent to where it needs to be sent.

Now up to 61 boxes packed, which includes our collection of fine wines. You are able to take up to 32 liters of wine or alcohol with you without having to pay an import tax on them. For example a traditional size bottle of wine contains 720 ml. It takes 1000 ml to make 1 liter so a box of 12 bottles will equal 9 liters. Since wines and most other alcoholic drinks are more expensive to purchase in Ecuador, being able to bring those wines we enjoy is definitely a plus.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Until next time,

Hasta Pronto!

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

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In Limbo, Sort of …

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the law has changed in Ecuador regarding permanent residency visas. You now have to wait 21 months before being able to obtain permanent residency according to the new law.

We have received additional information that the granting of Residency Visas, temporary or otherwise, are currently suspended while the Immigration Office works out all the details on how Visas will be handled under the new law. Some of the questions that we are awaiting answers for are whether or not after 21 months the “temporary” Visa becomes a Permanent Residency Visa or whether one will have to reapply and go through all the paperwork once more. Under the old law, one would get their Ecuadorian ID or Credula about one week after getting their Permanent Residency Visa. Now, under the new law, you will not be able to obtain the ID until after 21 months. How that will affect pensioners obtaining the temporary visas remains to be seen.

We will continue with our efforts and are still planning our move. Whether it takes 21 months or just 6, we still plan to be living in beautiful Cuenca. Laws change all the time all over the world, one just has to be willing to roll with the punches, so to speak.

Until later, have a great weekend and enjoy all the best that life has to offer.

Hasta Pronto,

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

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Must Keep Up With Changes

Just like here in the good ol’ U.S.A. where you must keep up with changes in laws, rules and regulations, one must do the same if going to another country. We have been alerted by our Ecuadorian Attorney that a new law has just gone into effect that changes the rules for residency there. Before you could either have permanent status by purchasing a home or land or by obtaining Residency through the immigration office and once approved would be permanent. Now instead of immediate permanent residency approval, you are given temporary residency visas that are good for 21 months.

That is the only information our attorney has at the moment as the law is so new not a whole lot of information is available. She will let us know as soon as she has all the information. We still plan on going to Ecuador; however, instead of immediate permanent status upon receipt of the Visa, it will take 21 months before we can obtain permanent status. The questions we are awaiting answers to are whether or not after 21 months we are granted permanent residency or if we have to reapply for permanent residency and resubmit all the documents we submitted previously. Will we have to submit “new” documentation as the current is only good for 180 days to obtain the current Visa?

Regardless of whether it is immediate granting of the Residency or Temporary for 21 months, we plan to make our move. The biggest change for us will be that we will not be given our Pensioner’s Credula’s until after 21 months, where under the old laws we would have been given the Ecuadorian ID approximately 1 week after our arrival. This change can also affect any Pensioner discounts we could receive as those could also be delayed for 21 months. Again, this is questions that our Ecuadorian Attorney will be finding the answers to and providing them to us. A GOOD Attorney will keep on top of changes so that their clients are not at a disadvantage and can make plans accordingly and won’t tell you don’t worry about it. This we have seen happen to others who have put out good money and things didn’t go as plan and their money was not refunded as it was “beyond” the attorney’s control; however, the attorney did not keep their client advised.

To make a long story short, it is prudent that you as the traveler, visitor or hope to be future resident of whatever country you have in your sights as your new home, keep abreast of any and all changes in the rules, laws and requirements of your future home country. That you have an excellent Attorney in that country who will keep you advised of any changes and/or warn you that you may need to meet additional requirements to gain your Visa or that you will no longer be able to obtain a Residency Visa and refund any moneys paid to the attorney since you did all that was required and the changes are due to no fault of your own.

Our adventure continues and, though not as smoothly as it started out, the road to Ecuador continues with a few curves to the destination. As soon as I learn more about the changes in the law, I will post what I have learned here. Until next time, my friends, have a great weekend and God Bless.

Hasta Pronto,

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

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Coming Together

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.

Hasta Pronto!

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

 

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Changes Occurring Everywhere

I have had a website for many years now, but life kept getting in the way of my maintaining that and a blog. It seems foolish to be expending funds on a website that I am not consistently using. The money used there can be put to better use elsewhere. That is not to say I won’t have a website in the future. In order to organize myself a little better and the fact that I will be moving to Ecuador later this year, I have decided to shut down my website. It will be officially closed in May when the contract expires.

I will be keeping the blog and, once settled in my new home in Cuenca, Ecuador, will be posting about the new life there, challenges being faced and sharing more of my artwork, stories and photography.

Hope that you continue to follow the challenges and adventures of living in a foreign country and learning about its cultures, its history and having to learn another language.

Wishing you all the best, until later.

Hasta Pronto,

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

 

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Moving Right Along

Things are moving right along, no pun intended with our paperwork, packing and purging. So far, we our birth certificates and marriage certificate have been certified and apostilled. We have sent off our social security letters to be certified and have ordered the FBI and State of Florida criminal background checks. We have received notice that our FBI reports are on the way to us, which was really fast. By using the FBI Channeler that our Ecuadorian Attorney recommended, we are getting the reports back really fast. If we had attempted to do this on our own, it would have been months before we obtained a report and it may not have been ordered correctly. I love it when things seems to be falling together.

In talking with people about our packing I have been asked about what we can and can’t take to Ecuador. So, I thought I would address that this time around. The things we can’t take with us are any gasoline powered machinery, such as motorcycles, cars, lawnmowers, trimmers, propane tanks, aerosol cans, varnish or highly combustible materials. We can take our propane grill, just have to have an adapter put on it for using the style of tanks in Ecuador.

We can take non-perishable foods with us as some items may not be available there, such as taco sauce, the Gordon Foods Buttermilk Pancake mix, or Rice Checks cereals. Anything we take cannot be close to expiration. We may bring in up to 32 bottles of our favorite wines and up to 400 pounds each of clothing. I’m not sure what 400 pounds of clothing would look like much less own that much. A lot of foods we like can be found there; however, we may take some things such as the Vidalia Onion marinade that I like. Looking forward to trying all the new foods and Ecuadorian way of cooking things. I feel like Andrew Zimmerman in Bizarre Foods where he says, “if it looks good, eat it!”

In packing, we have a specific way that the inventory list has to be done, which I have touched on in an earlier blog but will recap. All boxes have to be labeled and numbered sequentially and all loose items have to be numbered and listed on an inventory. My inventory has all boxed items listed first and the loose items will follow the number sequence, but will be listed last. Loose items would be the headboard, footboard and railings of our bed, the dressers and furniture items, bicycles and tool boxes and the like. When items are listed on the inventory, we don’t have to put 24 bowls, 32 dishes, etc. we just need to put the total, China 32 items, used. All items are considered “used” even if they are still new in the box as we are bringing them with us and not purchasing them there.

We have started doing yard/garage sales on the weekends to try to find new homes for those items we don’t wish to take to Ecuador, such as the Queen size sofa bed we brought with us from Michigan to Florida, but have never used here. Hopefully, we can find it a good home with someone who can use it. What we don’t sell, we’ll donate to Good Will or Salvation Army.

Boxes packed now total 46. I have emptied by china hutch, packed the antique beer steins and my kachina’s. The real challenge will be my sewing room and packing up all the fabric, notions, patterns and books. I will have to count each piece of fabric, pattern, notions and books and put their totals on the inventory. One box of patterns and some fabrics has been packed. Being a fiber artist and quilter, it is going to be interesting to see how I explain all the fabric and such when our shipping container is inspected by customs. This is going to be a challenge as I don’t believe quilting is known there. But I shall cross that bridge when I get to it; hopefully, it won’t cause a problem and wouldn’t be any different from someone having say 200 pairs of shoes!

Until next time, Hasta Pronto!

Terri at the Drake’s Nest

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