My brother David was kind enough to do an end-run around the incompetent VitaChek people and obtain Mom's death certificate from a DC office. David and I both wondered why it was that a DC office would have Mom's document; I conjectured that it was because Mom had died at Walter Reed Medical Center, which is a military facility and thus an arm of the federal government. Not that the mystery interests me at all: the only thing that matters is that I now have a copy of Mom's document. Well, technically, David has a copy of the paper document, while I have a scanned copy of same (thanks, again, to David's hard work).*
So with that out of the way, the next step is to obtain Mom's naturalization paperwork. The guy at the US Embassy in downtown Seoul told me to Google "USCIS FOIA" to find the webpages devoted to explaining how to obtain naturalization documents. There's a form to fill out, G-630, along with plenty to read both on the website itself and in downloadable documents, like the well-hung, 25-page Freedom of Information Act Request Guide. I've got plenty of homework ahead of me.
I'll be aiming to obtain "certified true copies" of Mom's naturalization papers; based on the USCIS site's explanation, this sounds as though the papers get apostilled, which is exactly what I'm going to need if I'm to show this paperwork to Korean Immigration.
So, to review:
1. I have a copy of my birth certificate.
2. I have a copy of my Korean family register.
3. I have a copy of Mom's death certificate.
4. I'm going to get a copy of her naturalization papers.
Once I have (4), I can apply—I think—to Korean Immigration for the F-4 visa. How long that process will take, I have no idea. Days? Weeks? Probably the latter. At a guess, I'm not going to be able to jump ship over to the Golden Goose at the beginning of August, so I'm anticipating having to spend an extra month here in Goyang/Ilsan. That's a bit of a pain in the ass, because leaving Ilsan would mean recovering the 3 million won I had deposited to establish the rental contract. I had been looking forward to that windfall this August. Instead, it appears I'll be relying solely on my last gasp of Dongguk University income (my contract with Dongguk ends on August 31, my birthday). I may be barely squeezing by in August.
Another side effect of all this rescheduling is that I'm going to have to redraw my budget. That's a big cause of old-man-style grumbling, but there's no way around it. Not to worry, though: it's just a matter of shifting figures around on my Google Docs spreadsheet.
But first things first: send in the application for Mom's naturalization papers—yet another offering to the ever-hungry gods of bureaucracy.
*VitaChek only just got around to sending me their own copy of Mom's death certificate, so we're going to end up with two hard copies. I told David to scan and send me an image of the VitaChek version because I'm curious to see how different it looks.