Wednesday, November 30, 2011

X marks the spot

 Clerk R put the license on my desk and said, “The couple is interesting.”  I asked just what she meant.  They were acting all lovey dovey, but aren’t.  Also they were dropping the immigration word a lot.  The bride was 26 years older than the groom.  Now I don’t worry about age differences but usually it is a warning sign.

The couple was from Afghanistan, as was the witness, the bride’s aunt.  The couple were friendly but didn’t seem “in love”.  No rules you have to love each other to marry.  I did the ceremony.  I signed the license and the souvenir certificate.  I called the witness up and she said by rote, “I don’t speak English”.  I said, “That’s OK.”  I show her where to sign on the souvenir certificate.  She has trouble holding the pen and then marks an X. 

Holy s#*t! She can’t read or write.  This is a woman of least 70 who grew up in a village somewhere in Afghanistan.  To make an X is legal.  But you have to have a witness and sometimes notarize the mark.  I don’t know what to do.  I tell them it is legal to use an X but we aren’t signing the legal license until I know exactly what we need to do.

Clerk D to the rescue.  She thinks she knows what to do, but is going to check with her supervisor B.  B tells her to witness the X and then to type the woman’s name and put in witnessed by D.  Also we had to see a picture ID.  The Aunt makes her X on the license and D does all of the above. 

The whole time the couple is asking us questions about whether Immigration will accept this.  We tell them this is the legal way to sign an X.  So they should be fine.  They ask other questions and we give them our stock answer,  You need to talk to an Immigration lawyer.

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