Tuesday, April 16, 2013

the apostille saga continues

I hate bureaucracy, especially when it makes you run in circles.

I called the US State Department's Authentications Department today to set up an appointment for later today. They shunted me to tomorrow, when I can receive same-day service because I'll be leaving the country within 48 hours. That sounded great, but then the lady asked, "Have your documents been certified by the office of the Secretary of State?"


In none of the online literature about gathering and apostilling documents for employment in South Korea (main source here) have I ever read that my documents would need to go through another layer of bureaucracy before I can even present them for apostilling. The lady told me that, without this certification, I'd "have to wait a lot longer." She gave me a number to call and told me that that office would tell me what to do. So I made my appointment for 1:30PM tomorrow, then dialed the number the lady had given me.

Recording. No human being, no way to take personalized direction or make an appointment. I listened to a bunch of information that I already knew from reading the State Department website, then was given an address to go to for personal drop-off of documents:

U.S. Department of State
Office of Authentications
518 23rd Street, NW - SA-1
Columbia Plaza
Washington, DC 20520

This is the EXACT SAME OFFICE as the office of the lady I had spoken with earlier!!

That office, according to the recording, allows drop-off from 7:30AM to 11AM. If I arrive around 10AM, I ought to be able to get my documents certified by somebody, then carry the documents over to whatever other office does the apostilling.

So everything's happening tomorrow, when I bravely enter the bureaucratic black hole.

Jesus Christ.



John from Daejeon said...

You don't realize how lucky you are. Both of your universities are in D.C., so the Federal Secretary of State can certify them both. Everyone else must get them certified by the Secretary of State in the state in which they graduated from. It is truly a pain in the rear.

South Korean Immigration also no longer accepts actual, physical diplomas. You will need a photocopy of it and have it notarized be for getting it certified by the Secretary of State.

Here are a couple of links explaining the process since you haven't been through all the recent changes before:





John McCrarey said...

Man, I feel for you. I guess you could be thankful you are not trying to immigrate to the US. I was a bureaucrat myself for 30 some years, but dealing with DHS and it's Byzantine maze of forms is kicking my ass.

Well, good luck tomorrow. I expect you'll need it.

Charles said...

This all sounds absolutely horrifying. I wish you the best of luck as you tackle the beast of bureaucracy.