Today was the 10th time I went to the Registro Civil to get my DNI citizenship card for Argentina. But you know, I like the place so much that I think I’ll be going back two or three more times. This was time different in that one of my bosses came with me to help do the talking. While my Spanish is very good, I lack certain words, phrases, and general intonation to clearly get what I want sometimes. This is where knowing locals comes in handy. To try and increase my odds I wore a tie, which in retrospect was as useful as trying in the first place.
We got there right on time, 1:30 pm, and cued up with the rest of the city. After sitting there for just a half hour, Matias told me that the woman at the desk trying to get her DNI was Brazilian and the staff was making fun of her and not helping. I explained that the exact same thing happened to me the last time I was there, and that’s why he was there. Just then my name was called and we went up. It should have been cut and dry, right?
Matias explained that I’m the son of an Argentine, I have all of my papers in order, and I have the right to citizenship and need my DNI. Immediately the girl behind the counter (the same from last time I think) looked at my inscriptions papers and said she had no idea. My boss then answered back explaining again when suddenly the girl raised her voice to yell. He yelled back explaining that they discriminated against the Brazilian and were doing the same to me and it was unfair. This is how having the local to help me really added an edge, because suddenly they realized that we weren’t going to just walk away with our tails between our legs.
They had no interest in dealing with it so they sent us to their boss, a woman who I recognized from one of my visits in January. I remembered her being helpful and considerate, a rarity at the Registro. She listened to Matias and then went through the steps as I showed all of the necessary documents. She went behind a door, coming back to ask if I was the son of a diplomat. For a second I considered whether or not this would jump me to the front of the line, but realized there was no point. Sorry, just a regular shmo.
She came back 5 minutes later, but with bad news. Here’s what I now needed. My original birth certificate with an official stamp (the copy I had was not sufficient). That birth certificate from New York state will have to be requested and mailed to me as soon as possible. I also needed the birth certificate translated into Spanish by an agency in Argentina (wouldn’t matter that I’m a translator, obviously). A copy of residency, which means I’ll need to take my apartment contract to the police station to get “certified.” On top of that, it’s recommended that I ask the Argentine Consulate in New York for a new copy of my inscription papers, as the ones that I received over a year ago are starting to fade after so much use. And hey, since I might have aged a few decades since I took those 4×4 photos in August, it might not hurt to get those updated, just to be safe.
On top of that, the copy of my mom’s birth certificate that I went through such a struggle to get in January is only valid for 6 months. Why? I guess there’s the possibility of being born again. Since that will be expired by the time of my next appointment in June (one week late), I need to go in 10 business days to pick up a new, exactly the same photocopy of her birth certificate. A lot changes on a birth certificate from the 1950’s in 6 months, after all.
This is a headache, but at the very least I had the help of someone who can understand this system a bit better than I can. On top of that we got a no bullshit answer to exactly what I need that I no longer have. Now, if it all falls together perfectly in the next month (fingers crossed) and I don’t have my DNI being processed after the 12th visit, we’ll have a serious beef with the Registro that might requite local TV news.
Most importantly, what is needed above all else, is PATIENCE.