Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So this Canadian married an Australian in the Cook Islands…

Right after the Eurovison Final, this blog sank like England's hopes of musical glory, and the reason rather goes like this:
A Canadian married an Australian in the Cook Islands…and as husband and wife, they wanted to move to Chile....

In mid-September we are relocating to South America.  We are enormously excited, seeing this move as all sorts of good things and opportunities - not least among them  the chance to resurrect our atrophied Spanish language skills, which are not in high demand over here in Australia.
There is, however, a little problem with the visa.  A year and a half ago we were married in the Cook Islands.  It seemed like the best of all possible choices - we would be married barefoot, on a beach, and the Cook Islands were halfway between our Australian and American families, and a Cook Islands marriage certificate is recognized practically everywhere.  
Except one place, it turns out.  
There is one country that for certain and definately doesn't recognize a Cook Islands marriage certificate. 
That country would, of course, be Chile.
And a valid marriage certificate is a rather significant requirement for Mr Tabubil's work visa. 

Visa-wise, we were given two options - the first: to have the marriage certificate legalized, which would involve four offices in three countries and take - at a conservative estimate - four months to complete.
The second was to get remarried in a civil ceremony at the registry office.

My mother thinks it's hysterical. She telephone me from Canada, addressed me as MISS Tabubil, asked if we wanted linens or white goods, inquired as to who was planning the wedding breakfast, and generally proceeded to laugh herself sick. 
Laughter aside, the second option was clearly the preferred one, so with visions of boutonnieres and sentimental re-affirmations dancing in my head, I called the government wedding registry in Adelaide, where a very pompous young man flatly and non-negotiable told me that Australia recongises the Cook Islands, and that being so, re-marriage for any purpose or under any circumstances was illegal in Australia and is never done in Australia and no-one ever thinks of it in Australia unless they're up to no good and goodbye.  
And then he more or less hung up on me.
He was just the teensiest bit of an ass, so we thought it prudent to confirm his opinions elsewhere -and yes, ufortunately,  the Cook Islands marriage certificate IS valid in Australia - and that's it, tough luck.
Well, poot.  I was planning a raid on the local Op Shops for wedding veils and table decorations, and dreaming up a smart black suit that looked elegant from the back.
Ergo, we are in the process.  We have found out that we can enter Chile under a document called a Declaracion Jurada - which officially labels me as Mr Tabubil's de-facto (if only the living-in-sin sort), but at the moment everything is all very hypothetical and there seem to be several visits to the Chilean consulate in Melbourne in our future.
It's not quite as bad as something out of Kafka, but there have been a few moments that would appear to have been translated directly from one of his original German-language manuscripts...
And if a full legalization of our lovely marriage certificate turns out to be the only acceptable way to go - we're planning for an extra month or so sitting on a lovely tropical beach somewhere before we can legally arrive in Chile while it kicks in. 
Just in case. 

So count this as a warning: if this blog becomes a bit sporadic for the next eight or ten weeks - it's because I'm sifting through closets, and writing inventories, and wrestling with lawyers, negotiating with packers, and generally - moving.

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