Double Trouble Background Check

Apostille on my Background Check

Better to laugh than cry or gripe! So here is the somewhat funny saga of the background check for my residency application and above is the Apostille that makes it official.

I got a good report in September and asked at the police station about getting an Apostille on it. They didn’t know what I was talking about and so dumb ol’ me decided that, well, maybe this doesn’t need one like the birth certificate did. So I accepted it as is and sent it on to my attorney in San Jose who didn’t look at my papers for a month. When I wrote and asked if all was okay, he wrote back saying I must have a background report and proof of income letter with Apostilles on them. Grrrr! But he said not to worry about the Social Security letter, the U.S. Embassy could do it in San Jose. But I must get a background check with Apostille.

So Monday I go back downtown to the Police Department Records Office with another $13 application for a background check. This time I told the guy what I must have. He still didn’t know what I was talking about, but did say he could have it notarized. I asked that he check with his supervisor about getting an Apostille. About 5 minutes later he came out with a sheet of paper from the TN Department of State outlining what I must do to get an Apostille on a public document:


  1. Take the public document to a Notary Public and have it notarized. Police Dept. did that. CHECK!
  2. Once it has been notarized, take it to the County Clerk where the above notary was commissioned and have that first notarization notarized. Yep! Have the notary notarized. So on to another part of town where I get the second notarization for a price of course! CHECK!
  3. Then take the complete set of papers to the Tennessee Secretary of State  in a tall building near the state capitol. The parking garage in this building is for employees only now that our government is so bloated. So I park in a public lot blocks away for $7 and walk through construction to the right building. Once I’m in the Snodgrass Building and up on the 6th floor, I wind through several office areas to the one with “Apostille” on their sign, and then it was a piece of cake! For just $2 they added the Apostille in less than 10 minutes. Quickest step in the whole process! And I am the proud holder of one correct set of documents for my residency application. CHECK! Whew! And in less than four hours!
To make it more fun, it was pouring down rain during the whole process as I went in and out of all these government buildings with a dripping wet umbrella. Fun! And to make it more interesting or coincidental, a young man was with me in the county clerk’s office also getting a notary notarized so he too could get an Apostille for some papers needed to take a temporary job in Australia. We met up again at the Secretary of State Office. 
Now for those who haven’t dealt with government bureaucracies in other countries, it is the same and often worse or more time consuming. In The Gambia I finally hired a part-time assistant to walk paperwork through government offices like this. Another reason I’m getting all of this done now, is it would be much more difficult from afar and I will be on public transportation there. Now you know what an Apostille looks like! It is in one sense a third notary by the state verifying that the document I present is legitimate. So make that three notaries!  🙂

Gunnera Insignis, “Poor Man’s Umbrella” (Sobrilla de Pobre), On Poas Volcano

The little ID photo of me in the right panel was made in front of one of these plants which can actually be used as an umbrella. The variety of plant life in Costa Rica is astounding! These particular plants grow only in the cloud forests or up on the side of mountains. When considering all plant and animal life in Costa Rica, there are more species than all of the U.S. and Canada combined and that is in a little country the size of West Virginia. Yes nature is one of the biggest draws for me! It is also interesting to note that this week Costa Rica celebrated 66 years without an army or military. It is the champion of peace-loving countries! 

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