Thursday, March 24, 2011

On multinational marriages

My significant other and I are of different nationalities, and a while ago we made the decision to tie the knot. It has been quite complicated to make many aspects of our relationship work given that our situation has usually consisted of us being foreigners in a third country. With me being Brazilian and my fiancée being Mexican, we thought marrying in one of our countries would be nice. Our plan for the Spring/Fall (in the southern hemisphere, where I'm from, seasons are in reverse) was for us to go to Brazil, where I expected to take a vacation, and get married there. It turns out, marrying in Latin countries is an exercise in patience with inane bureaucracy. In Brazil, you need to bring birth certificates and official statements that you are not married (like these documents are not easily forged). The stupidity of this is illustrated in the flowchart below:

If you are a foreigner, you need to "legalize" these documents in the main Brazilian consulate of your country of origin, so if you are not there when you decide to marry out of your own country, as must be the case for at least one participant in the process, good luck getting back to the old bureaucracy. Now it gets even more interesting, because in Mexico, prior to bringing these documents to the consulate, they require you to validate them in no less than three Mexican public offices, in two different cities. This is the pinnacle of stupidity. Just so you can appreciate the scale of the problem (locally), I illustrate a map of Mexico connecting the two states in question. You can see that they are fairly close, as far as Mexico is laid out, and yet, obtaining the documents and the rubber stamps to just get started, one is expected to travel more than one thousand kilometers, twice!

On the other hand, in the United States, the couple needs to come to the county building wielding passports, and swear that they are not drunk, closely related, and not currently married elsewhere. God bless America!
As I get more irritated with this situation, I might update this post with more diagrams.

1 comment:

Mai said...

Great diagram, can see the software engineering academic background there! hehehe