The US Embassy in Santiago, Chile and I go way back. Ever since I got here and a family member had named me the executor of a will and then went and died, and I had to have something notarized by a US notary to pass on that distinction to someone who lived closer, I’ve had a periodic and wallet-clutching relationship with the embassy. Also somewhat frustrating, as when I was poorly informed that they do things like legalize your diploma (which they do not, you have to do that outside of Chile at a Chilean consulate, but this does not prevent everyone from saying you can get it done at the embassy). But that’s not really the embassy’s fault, and it turns out I hadn’t been in a few years, though that all changed yesterday.
Yesterday’s mission was to get the second and final set of extra pages sewn into the old passport (2 sets of extra pages is the limit). And by old, I mean the passport doesn’t scan properly and it doesn’t have a chip, and it’s actually been through the laundry, which I totally do not recommend. And so I went yesterday, and found out the following sad pieces of news:
1. I should have made an appointment (they accept appointments now, you make them online). If you don’t have one, you will still be seen, but you will be the very last person in the room by the time they get to your number (7 C), and you will have waited 2 hours and 20 minutes total (if you are me).
2. I cannot promise that the very nice South Carolinian missionary family will entertain you as they did me, but even so, the 2 hours and 20 minutes was only tolerable, not much fun, even if I did learn the new game “family monster.”
3. The appointment schedule was not well-followed since they were very understaffed at the windows yesterday, and people were huffy, but quiet about it.
4. It now costs $82 to get additional pages in your passport. (it used to be free.) This was the saddest bit of all.
In addition, I would like to remind you that there are no good bike-lockups near the embassy, especially if you use a U-lock. You can finagle it on the one sort of slim-enough post near the booth outside, but across the street would be easier, except for the running across 4 lanes of traffic part. Also, they take anything electronic or suspicious from you and put it in a little pigeon-hole in the outbuilding where you go through the metal detector. Electronic or suspicious includes (this is from past experiences, I did not have all of these things with me yesterday):
bottle of water
Seriously? Bottle of water? what was I going to do, drown myself if they didn’t serve me in a timely fashion?
Alas. It’s the government. They try to keep things safe. I’m always sad that I can’t take a picture of the rose gardens when I’m there, because they’re so pretty. But not as sad as I was to have to pay $82 for new pages, when a whole new passport only costs $110, but because of (hopeful) upcoming trips, I don’t really have time to wait for a new passport, so I shall consider the new pages a challenge to make the upcoming year extra stampy. Anyone want a visitor?
I’m headed up there today with my receipt to pick up my new phat/fat passport. They offered the people before me (who had the same issue) to come back next week, but something about the fact that I didn’t complain and that I said I was traveling very soon made the woman take pity on me (or maybe she was just happy that I was the last person in the room), and she said they’d have it ready for me today between 3:30 and 4:30 PM.
Where is it? Andres Bello 2800.
How to get there? take the metro to Tobalaba and walk towards the river.
What time are they open to the public?: 8:30 to 11:30, but they want you to make an appointment these days (oops).