I just wanted to add a few more notes about this process. For the translations, I ended up contacting two translators – one in Toronto for English documents, and one in Montreal for French documents. The English translations (and originals) are being sent to Chicago, as I described in my previous post. The French translations (and originals) were brought to the Montreal consulate for legalization/certification.
Here’s a cost breakdown:
English translations: Marriage licence & marriage certificate – $125
(these were only 1 page each, but filled with tons of boilerplate fine print)
French translations: 2 birth certs, 2 marriage certs, 1 death cert – $95
(these were 1 page each, most fields empty)
Legalization* @ Montreal: ~$230
*legalization of original documents and certification of translations
Certification of translations @ Chicago: $32 USD (plus many stamps)
In terms of process, the English translations were easy. I just had to travel a few neighbourhoods to go pick them up. For the Montreal documents, I had to coordinate carefully. In the end, it worked out very well – I arrived by train on a Thursday, picked up the translations, and then on Friday morning headed to the consulate. The certification process took about 30 minutes total (including the wait). I worried about coordinating this final step for weeks, but it turned out to be incredibly easy and painless.
I went to my appointment (two weeks ago – March 16)!! It was fairly quick and easy. I showed up, sat down in the waiting area for about 2 minutes, and then submitted all my paperwork. The consulate started a file for me, and I paid the application fee (300 Euros, which amounted to $437.50 CAD).
My application is not complete yet, because I was told that I needed to do one final thing: submit my US documents to the consulate in Chicago for legalization. When the documents come back, I can stop in at the Toronto consulate anytime to add them to my file; at this point my file will begin processing. The staff member who assisted me estimated that the process will take 8-12 months.
For the final legalization, I will need to send my two US marriage documents (licence & certificate), along with their apostilles and translations, to Chicago. I’ll be honest – I don’t understand why this step is necessary. The original documents bear the county’s stamp. They both have apostille, an international legalization. And the translations were done by a certified Ontario translator, right off the Toronto consulate’s list of recommended translators. If they wanted to know that the translation (from English to Italian) was legit, they could look at it themselves and quickly verify it. I don’t understand bureaucracy, but at this point I will just do what I’m told.
Now to highlight the good news: I showed up with an almost (but not quite) complete application package. They accepted it. Processing won’t begin until it’s 100% complete, but I was not turned away, and I will not have to make another appointment. I’ll take it! 🙂