I’m visiting Hawai’i next month to teach two days of courses about WordPress, as I mentioned in Trip to Hawai’i – the Visitor’s Visa. Little did I know that the Visitor’s Visa was just the first in a series of hoops I have had to jump through.
A couple of weeks ago the nice folks at the University sent me a bunch of PDF forms I had to complete relating to tax matters and being a visiting foreigner in the US. One of those forms enables me to obtain an ITIN — that’s a magic tax number which will mean 30% of the meagre payments made to me will not be withheld.
I completed the 1 page form, with the assistance (more or less) of 8 pages of instructions. The final matter was to attach a copy of my passport.
But not just a copy, it had to be a notarised copy. And it had to be notarised by one of the people on the official list. Luckily a local lawyer in Newtown was on that list.
I visited the lawyer on Wednesday and paid $20 for him to photocopy the passport, scrutinise the instructions for the form and affix his rubber stamp, his red seal and his signature. I’ve added to this post a low resolution, small scan of the document, with some parts blurred out for safety.
Then the notary pointed out I would have to obtain an apostille. At least, he thought I probably did — between his legal knowledge and both of us reading the instructions numerous times it seemed as though maybe I would have to do that. Perhaps.
An apostille, I thought. What the heck is that? Good old Google had the answer.
For a further $40 the department of Internal Affairs take a look at the documents and verify the authenticity of the notary’s certification of the copy of my passport. Then they add a fancy bit of paper with a signature, a red seal and a fancy blue ribbon. The two pages now must be forever joined. Again, there’s a small, fuzzy image below.
Quite frankly I’m surprised that was sufficient verification of my identity. I’d rather expect the next step to be a personal note from The Queen — provided she’d been authenticated by the US President, of course. Oh, and then maybe God should join in too.
There are many more hurdles yet, I realise: airport security, Immigration and Customs at the US entry point, who knows! Perhaps even the bus drivers will want me to prove I’m not some kind of illegal alien with mal intent.
In spite of all of this form filling and hurdle jumping I am still looking forward to my trip to Honolulu and the Big Island, but ultimately it would have been a whole lot easier, and probably cheaper, to have just gone for a holiday.