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Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby gregf » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:17 pm

Hola everyone.

I'll be heading to say hello on the other forum in a second, but first I wanted to get some input. I've been searching the threads but haven't been able to find the info I'm looking for.

Im a US Citizen and I'm moving with my Uruguayan girlfriend to Santiago in November. I want to apply for the Professional visa, but I need to get my degree certified by the Chilean Consulate in NY first, so that its valid in Chile.

I've talked to the consulate, tried to get it certified, but its messy and confusing. When I go to the town clerk to have it noterized, they tell me they can't validate it, its not their authority, etc. We've been linving in Uruguay and I know the function of a town clerk-type here is much different than in the States.

If anyone has gone through the process and can tell me exactly what they did so I can get this taken care of ASAP, I would much appreciate it.

And hello!
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby Putenio » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:43 pm

This response assumes you'll be having the documents legalized stateside via the Chilean Consulate that corresponds to your state home or mailing address.

We've done this twice, 10 years apart, and it was basically the same: get notarized copies to a County Clerk or Secretary of State *whoever authorizes the notary/is responsible* with a letter stating they are true copies of the original + the notary is a legitimate notary until XXXX date and then send them to the Chilean Consulate w/ the US Postal Money Order. They return them promptly with stamps and authorization marks - and they are accepted as legal in Chile. Charles can help with this an the small marks, hand-written signatures of Chilean Consulate officials, etc. all count.

If you staple all your degrees together under that cover letter AND list all the degrees on that cover letter from County Clerk or Sect. of State they will only charge you one fee vs. fee per document.

We found the corresponding Consulate via Google, called the Los Angeles Consulate Office before we started the process, called them when we sent them with return priority envelope, and they were prompt and helpful.

Note our County Clerk was familiar with the process, but said they could no longer perform the duty as it now corresponds to the Secretary of State. After asking a couple questions, he/she indicated they could do it for a local notary they knew IF they were current. Worked. Also note the first person to greet us had no clue and said it wasn't possible, so we just asked for the clerk.

My recommendation is legalize all your documents birth, marriage, degrees, etc. and then once you arrive have notarized copies made right away & secure them. Beyond being part of a bug out kit, they are necessary and to complete the process from Chile speaking from experience is much harder and less reliable. If you plan on working or living in Chile for any reasonable length of time, having your US documents legal in Chile is a "do before you come" activity.
Last edited by Putenio on Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby j. Ro » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:06 pm

I had my post secondary diploma verified and signed by the Canadian Embassy in Santiago. Then I had to take it to the department of forign affairs near La Moneda, where they verified the singnature from the Canadian embassy and everything work fine. Got my work visa with those papers, and my diploma wasn't even the original. I made a colour copy and used that.

I assume them American embassy would be able to do something similar. But can't really say for sure.

Good Luck,

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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby gregf » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:30 pm

Thanks Putenio & J Ro, very very helpful.

When I head back statside in September I'll call my University and make the drive out there, and have the notary in the records office sign off then walk it across the street to the Town Clerk I guess. Seems like so long as I have those to signatures the consulate will be happy -- even if the Town Clerk doesn't know what exactly is going on. I assume the two (notary and clerk) will know each other, its a small college town in NY afterall.

This makes me much less anxious and paranoid about the paper work.

I heard that getting a Professional Visa is pretty easy -- with a job offer and the right paper work legalized they grant you a 1 year temporary residency, renewable the next year without too much hassle. This is coming from my girlfriend's two relatives that moved there a few years ago and have degrees.

Hope it's true -- getting residency in UY is more complicated, you have to prove $500 USD income from a UY company or have pension/investment income. Big hassle.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby admin » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:53 pm

The series of steps for legalization in general is:

Out side the country:
Local notary ---> State secretary of State ---> Federal department of State ---> Chilean consulate

There is a department of legalization at the U.S. State department that handles the rounds through the various U.S. bureaucratic washing cycle for you.

Once it is in Chile, the Consulate signature needs to be authorized by the foreign ministry in Santiago.

Now how picky they will be about the exact signatures and stamps depends on who is accepting it, and for what. The stamps on the front and backs of the documents are important in most circumstances for full legalization, and verify everything the consulates write. They get sloppy and will do things like get your passport number wrong or other critical details. So, check things at every step, so you do not have to go back to square one once you are in Chile.

Hope that helps.

The U.S. embassy can not notarize documents for you to be used in an official capacity inside Chile. They still need to be legalized back in the States.

I just wish Chile would join the Hague convention on legalization, but I doubt that will happen in our lifetimes. The Notary and Registry lobby in Chile makes a lot of money off of it, and so do the Chilean consulates.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby PRECIOSA_FLOR » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:24 pm

Wow I'm so screwed I don't even know where to start. Thanks for asking this question gregf because I was wondering about it myself about 3 months ago.


Thanks for this info. It will help...once I get my head wrapped around it. Just seems like a lot of go here and then there...just like when I got my temp visa.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby gregf » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:46 am

Okay, time to revist this one...


admin's version is different than other posters and I want to make sure I do this right. I spoke with the registrars office at my university today and we can do this:

1) Get duplicate diploma and transcripts printed, sent to the notary in the registrars office, who will sign them.
2) A friend in town will walk them across the street to the town hall where the county clerk will write a letter saying that the documents are good and the notary is a notary until XXX date. They will also put their stamp on each document.
3) We mail it with money to the chilean embassy in NYC (I'm from NY).


Does the notary only need to notarize a letter describing the contents of the package (diploma + X pages of transcripts) and notarize the letter, or notarize each page of the documents within? Does the town clerk only need to notarize the letter? Or each page of the documents with in?


SECONDARY Q:

Birth certficate. I was born in Texas (yeah...) --- can i have these NY notaries/clerks verify the birth certificate or do I need to find someone to do that in Texas?

Thanks in advance... it seems easy, but then with all the details of where and what to sign i get nervous.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby j. Ro » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:58 am

gregf wrote:
SECONDARY Q:

Birth certficate. I was born in Texas (yeah...) --- can i have these NY notaries/clerks verify the birth certificate or do I need to find someone to do that in Texas?

Thanks in advance... it seems easy, but then with all the details of where and what to sign i get nervous.


I don't even think I needed my birth certificate when I applied for my temporary residents visa. If I remember correctly all I needed was my passport and drivers licence. I took them to the notary in Santiago and got them to make copies and stamp them.

I could be mistaken and just forgot that I had taken my birth certificate with me. But I think it just asks for 2 pieces of ID… driver’s licence and passport should work fine.

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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby RWS » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:09 pm

gregf wrote:. . . . Birth certficate. I was born in Texas (yeah...) --- can i have these NY notaries/clerks verify the birth certificate or do I need to find someone to do that in Texas? . . . .

That should be done in Texas.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby Brasstacks » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:23 pm

How about degrees from Ireland? Will I also need my birth certificate certified? It is a severe pain in Ireland!
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby MikieO » Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:43 pm

That'll depend on where you are from, a birth cert with a Dublin address will be modified to have the father's name removed.
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Re: Getting a College Degree Certified -- Had experience?

Postby gregf » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:36 am

Not sure if we went the right way on this but this is what we did (are doing).

I certified my diploma and list of courses taken in the chilean embassy (had a notary at my alma mater stamp it, took it to the county clerk down the road and she signed off on the notary signature. Mailed the two stamped papers to the NY consulate of Chile, they signed it, shipped them to the sister of my girlfriend in Chile, who are taking them to get them certified in the country).

When we apply for residency, I was told I'll just need two forms of ID and that my passport and US drivers license should be fine. So, I didn't go through the hassle of getting the Birth Certificate certified and what not. I have an old copy of mine back in the states in case, but I was born in Texas and live in NY so getting it stamped by a clerk in texas, etc.. would have been a HUGE headache, so my fingers are crossed that the passport and drivers license will suffice.

I'll let you know in a few months how this works out for me. :)
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