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asholz

Apr 29, 2005, 7:57 AM

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US Embassy in Mexico City

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Hi all,
Has anyone else had problems with the citizen services at the Mexico City US Embassy? I have always been puzzled by the fact that they mostly insist on speaking Spanish to me. I speak Spanish near natively, so it's not a problem, but it seems odd that in my embassy that would be the default. Until now that had been my only real complaint but...

My husband and I are trying to adopt from China while living here in Mexico. I called to get information on filing the forms we need to get the baby the US Visa (we're going through a US agency), and first the man on the line didn't seem to understand (he had some problems with English) and then was very rude and said we couldn't do it because my husband is not a US citizen or resident. I was almost in tears by the time I got off the phone. The adoption process is stressful enough without OUR government making it difficult.

I found out this same man caused another woman delays in her China adoption a couple of years ago, and they finally had to speak to a supervisor to get things done.
So I called today to get the name of his supervisor and they REFUSED to give it to me. They said it is policy and for security reasons I can't know his name. Then they said "it would really be better if your husband were a resident of the US. It will take a lot longer this way." What?? Yes, it would be better in a lot of ways, but he can't get residency because we don't live in the US. And according to all of the legal documents I've seen, it just doesn't matter--only one spouse needs to be the petitioner for the adoption. I am on adoption forums and there are hundreds, thousands, of Americans living abroad and adopting.

Now I'm just annoyed with our embassy in general. They only offer services from 9-1 four days a week, they won't give out information over the phone, and they have been very rude. :(
We don't live in Mexico City, so it's not that easy to just stroll over and get information in person.

Any insights? Anybody know if embassies elsewhere are the same?
Cheers,
-Mandy



Carron

Apr 29, 2005, 12:50 PM

Post #2 of 12 (2223 views)

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Re: [asholz] US Embassy in Mexico City

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We had similar problems with the US Consulate in Merida where we went to get passports for the family so we could then get our FM3's.

First, the place was open all day for Mexicans wanting visas to visit the States, but there were only a couple of hours early each morning when US citizens were permitted entrance.

There were armed guards who patrolled the entrance and determined who could go in. Not a one of them spoke a word of English! I probably could have spoken enough Spanish to explain, but it was the principle of the thing: in my consulate, I want to speak English! I got a bit pushy on the subject--just kept on repeating myself in English like a broken record-- and finally they got someone to come out to the sidewalk and find out what I wanted.

Again, inside, there was one window in the corner, not always staffed, for Americans and their problems and about three windows for Mexicans only.

The Mexican Consulates in the US are there for one reason, and that is to serve their citizens living there. Wish we got the same courtesies from our consulates.


asholz

Apr 29, 2005, 1:01 PM

Post #3 of 12 (2215 views)

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Re: [Carron] US Embassy in Mexico City

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How frustrating!
Yeah, they really should be open at least 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. or something for citizen services.
9 to 1 makes it very difficult for people who live outside of Mexico City to make it there in time. Plus they aren´t open on Fridays, any US OR Mexican holidays, or the last day of the month (that last one for some very mysterious reason).
If they were actually polite and efficient, I might never have become annoyed by that though.
After reflecting on my experience today, I have decided that the bureaucrats at the Department of Homeland Security are just used to dealing with foreigners and being able to treat them however they want and don´t expect them to complain or even question them. (Hence the woman yelling at me when I tried to point out that what she was saying didn´t make much sense.) I guess they forget that as US citizens we DO have the right (and I´d say the RESPONSIBILITY) to question our officials.
-Mandy




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esperanza

Apr 29, 2005, 1:08 PM

Post #4 of 12 (2210 views)

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Re: [Carron] US Embassy in Mexico City

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Mexican consulates in the United States are there to serve Mexican nationals, but those consulates also serve many foreigners as well. Many, many expatriates who live in Mexico with an FM3 visa originally applied for that visa at the Mexican consulate that serves their regions of the USA. There are scads of posts about that very subject on these forums and others.

Yes, the American consulates in Mexico are there to serve Americans, but there are far, far fewer Americans living in Mexico who have need of US consular services than there are Mexicans who need those services.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Apr 29, 2005, 3:40 PM)


johanson


Apr 29, 2005, 2:03 PM

Post #5 of 12 (2194 views)

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Re: [esperanza] US Embassy in Mexico City

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I know I have posted this before, but last Christmas, I needed to get an FM-3. My FM-2 had expired and it made more sense for me to get the FM-3 in the states.

It was very obvious when I entered the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, that the majority of the people there were Mexican citizens. I was outnumbered by about 15 to 1. I waited my turn and then in my best Mexican Spanish asked for help. I was treated wonderfully. They were in shock, I think, because a Gringo (my words) from Seattle was speaking Spanish.

We joked around and had a great time. Another American there, asked why I was getting such good treatment. I think I said something ridiculous like I was related to the Mexican Bill Gates. I later explained to him that I was treated well because 1. I treated these government employees with respect and 2. tried to speak in their language



(This post was edited by johanson on Apr 29, 2005, 2:07 PM)


sfmacaws


Apr 29, 2005, 5:44 PM

Post #6 of 12 (2160 views)

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Re: [johanson] US Embassy in Mexico City

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Although I'm not surprised by your treatment, I would be angry as well. I'm guessing here that you weren't on the guest list for the ambassador's recent marriage to the beer baroness? <insert smiley>

You do have one recourse though and I hope that you use it. You should send all of the details, such as you posted here, to your representatives in DC. They all have email addresses and if it were me I'd send letters and statements to both senators and congressmen. Request that they formally complain and ask for a response. Keep the pressure on and hope that you rattle a cage somewhere, perhaps cc'ing your complaint letter to the major newspapers travel sections in your voting home would be worthwhile too.

We spend a lot of money on these embassies and it's always appeared to me that most of what they do is centered on helping business and corporations. Of course, this is in addition to providing 'thank you' jobs for all sorts of big money donators to whichever party is in power at the moment. Then, they have their resident spooks to give an office to as well. All that is fine as well as the visa work for foreigners but it irritates me that the interests and issues of regular citizens who are in that country aren't given a larger priority. I had a good friend who worked for the US Embassy in DF back in the 1970's and it wasn't much different then, the big job was always mentoring businessmen and working on trade issues. These are generally the folks who could afford to provide their own research and take it off their taxes as well.

Write your senator, it couldn't hurt.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Chumley

Apr 30, 2005, 5:18 AM

Post #7 of 12 (2120 views)

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Re: [asholz] US Embassy in Mexico City

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I will only add that the embassy in Mexico City does not like to answer questions regarding matters on the telephone. Last year when I was trying to determine what was needed in order to file for SS, after five fruitless days of calling, I just went and took my chances with what I had. Thankfully, it was enough. Now I need to go to DF and the embassy to renew my passport and again they are not returning my phone calls regarding the questions I have. At least the consulate here in SMA has a secretary who answers the phone and know the answers to my questions, but unfortunately cannot issue the renewal, so I must once again venture to DF and deal with it there.


Miguel Palomares


Apr 30, 2005, 8:42 AM

Post #8 of 12 (2093 views)

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Re: [Chumley] US Embassy in Mexico City

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Not only do they not like to talk on the phone (without your going thru a pricey 900 number, like you´re calling Dionne Warwick), they don´t like email much either. I´ve had numerous emails to them ignored. Once after having an important email ignored repeatedly, I wrote a really snotty note, and they got right back to me, all sweetness and light. So, they are there. They are just ignoring you, which is worse than if they were across the street at the Starbucks. The consulate in San Miguel is fond of ignoring emails too. Your tax money in action.
From Tzurumutaro, Michoacan, "The Village of the Darned."
_______________________________________

The nuts and bolts of moving to Mexico:
http://michaeldickson.blogspot.com/
The dark side of living in Mexico:
http://mexicopeeks.blogspot.com/
Scintillating life in a Mexican pueblo:
http://tzurumutaro.blogspot.com/
http://tzurumutaro2.blogspot.com/

(This post was edited by palomares on Apr 30, 2005, 8:52 AM)


Carron

Apr 30, 2005, 9:00 AM

Post #9 of 12 (2085 views)

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Re: [esperanza] US Embassy in Mexico City

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Yes, I have been to the Mexican Consulate in Houston and it was a wonderful hubbub of children running around everywhere, friendly, Spanish-speaking service. I was the only Angla anywhere around and the red carpet was out. The receptionist took care of me personally so I did not have to stand in the miles (kilometers?) long lines for regular service.

Also when my daughter was marrying a Mexican in Chiapas and we ran into all the usual mess about getting a new apostilled copy of her birth certificate, in desperation I made a long distance call (no 800 number here) to the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio. Got right through to someone lovely who spoke perfect English and she walked me through everything.

If only my own Consulates treated me so well!


wyhaines

May 2, 2005, 6:03 AM

Post #10 of 12 (1997 views)

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Re: [palomares] US Embassy in Mexico City

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Just a data point for comparison. At the end of last week I sent an email to the Mexican consulate in Denver, inquiring from them what they require for an FM3. I wrote the email is Spanish. It probably looked like a 3rd grader wrote it, but it was all Spanish. :) Anyway, I got a reply back first thing on Monday morning. It was prompt, friendly, and their requirements were clearly detailed.

The guy threw in a couple lines of English at the end of the email, maybe to let me know that if I want to fall back to English with him, I can. All in all, I was impressed with the turnaround time on that email and the clear presentation of what they require.


Kirk Haines


alex .

May 3, 2005, 7:04 AM

Post #11 of 12 (1946 views)

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Re: [asholz] sorta kinda

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The Consulate in Tijuana has an "A" gate and a "B" gate. There is a line about a block long at the A gate for services to those requesting visas to the US. There is no one, except an armed guard at the B gate. I go to the B gate, and if its between 2pm and 4 pm on a Thursday (or some such abbreviated schedule) I get ushered straight in. If its not then I can jump up and down and holler "I'm a US Citizen and I demand my rights" all I want and all I get is tired.
Once inside I find no English speakers. They do have the machinery to make a new passport right there on the spot.
Alex


MARIA CUERVA

May 3, 2005, 10:00 AM

Post #12 of 12 (1912 views)

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Re: [Carron] US Embassy in Mexico City

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I've never been to an American Consulate so I have no other point of reference other than you guys. But in the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque I got my Mexican passport in 2 hours, have always been treated with humor and appreciation and expediency. They have helped me so much! They actually call me in response to questions I have after confering with Mexico City! My friend is applying for her FM3 for the first time, speaks no Spanish( they of course are bilingual), and the ease and welcome that they are facilitating for her is remarkable .
 
 
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