My documents are trapped in two different embassies.
September 16, 2013 7:28 AM   Subscribe

So I have sent documents (birth certificates and a wedding certificate) to two different embassies in the U.S. that belong to a Middle Eastern Gulf country. One of the embassies is in Houston and the other is in Washington D.C. The documents need to be attested (verified) and then they will be sent to this Middle Eastern nation for additional processing so that my family can receive their residency permits. The documents were Fedex-ed and arrived five weeks ago. I've called both embassies and left messages. Often the email boxes are full. 1) Should I get new copies of all the documents and hire someone to walk them through the attestation process? 2) Is there someone I can hire in the U.S. to fix this problem for me?

Note: when I google search for "Apostille" or "attestation" I get gazillions of spammy looking websites and am having a hard time finding anyone credible. Houston especially is tough.

More information: I am a U.S. citizen. There are six people in my family.

I'm at a loss as to what to do next. My school's immigration department doesn't seem to want or be able to contact the embassy directly. This is not a culture where getting angry helps things move along.
posted by mecran01 to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Does this link help? It's the list of compentent authorities in the US for apostilles. In the case of birth and marriage certificates, as long as they were in the US, you ought to contact the Secretary of State (or equivalent) for the states that issued them; it'll probably require the service of a notary public or similar, but you'll want to use one that's familiar with the specifics of the apostille process.
posted by holgate at 7:39 AM on September 16, 2013

Are these eventually for some type of K visa? If I were you, I would go with your question 2 and find an immigration attorney to do all of this crap for you. It's so easy to get tripped up by the processes and rules, and when the various agencies involved are themselves slow and inefficient, it's even worse.

Pay a lawyer (the fee shouldn't be too steep) to do all the pushing and calling and form submission for you. Let someone else take on all the stress.
posted by phunniemee at 7:42 AM on September 16, 2013

Response by poster: The documents have already been attested by the various states in the U.S. They just need to get through these two embassies in the U.S. that belong to the country I currently live in, if that makes any sense. I guess I'll look for an immigration lawyer, although my stay here should be less than three years.
posted by mecran01 at 7:52 AM on September 16, 2013

Best answer: I was just told by an expat that many of the embassy staffers flew home for Ramadan and another holiday, and are just returning. That would explain a lot.
posted by mecran01 at 7:59 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

> One of the embassies is in Houston and the other is in Washington D.C

If this helps any: the one in Houston is probably a consulate, not an embassy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:24 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, yes it is a consulate.

I think this is the official site:
posted by mecran01 at 9:27 AM on September 16, 2013

Response by poster: Update: The Houston consulate has no record of anything having ever been sent to them from us, and we can't locate our Fedex information for that document. So if we need to, we will resend it.

We finally got ahold of a real person at the Washington embassy. After several calls we discovered that the documents had been processed a while ago, but that there was a "billing problem" and they hadn't been sent out, but were sitting in the mail room. But everyone was very helpful once we were able to find the person in the legalization department and according to Fedex our documents are on the way.

Ironically, our HR dept. was able to process my family's visas without attested copies of the documents, just electronic copies that have visible notarization or other official looking stamp. So those two months of stress were unnecessary, at least in this situation. I think strings were pulled.

Someone gave me the address of an attestation service that their Turkish friends used that they found helpful, as well, but it looks like we won't need it.
posted by mecran01 at 9:03 PM on October 10, 2013

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