Attestation from the Foreign Ministry

The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan has its head office in Islamabad and maintains so called “camp offices” in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta. Any document issued by any official authority in Pakistan can be attested by any Foreign Ministry office in the country.

To add a further layer of validation to my documents, I had them attested by the Foreign Ministry as well. They attested everything except the declaration by my father because it had not been issued by a government authority. However, according to the person translating my documents, this attestation was completely unnecessary. He is familiar with how things are in the subcontinent and told me that it was a waste of time and money to get things attested because they cannot be translated and are just left in the copies.

So it’s up to you and how you feel. I erred on the side of caution and am trying to do everything I can to allay the fears of the people in the Oberlandesgericht who will decide my case. I want them to be convinced that the documents are in order and the Apostille can be issued without verification from Pakistan. This could turn a 2 month wait into a 5-6 month ordeal.

The documents in detail

In this post, I will explain details about the documents I had made from Pakistan. I will go through them one by one. Remember, that for people from other countries, this is the website to find out all the required documentation for your country of origin: http://www.olg-koeln.nrw.de/aufgaben/justizverwaltung/organisation_verwaltung/dez_7/laender/index.php. Note that this website is only for NRW.

1. Birth Certificate

You can get your updated birth certificate from the NADRA in Pakistan. You get it fairly quickly from any NADRA branch anywhere in the country. For people from other countries, either use the original birth certificate or ask your local government office for a newer computerized version. Both versions should be equally valid in Germany. I would personally recommend the newer computerized version because it could deter the authorities from sending the documents to your country for validation and save you a lot of time.

2. Certificate of No Impediment

This certificate (for Pakistanis) has to come from the Union Council. It cannot be from anywhere else. The Secretary or Chairman of the Union Council has to say that you are unmarried in their records. But please – and I cannot stress this enough – make sure they enter in their records that you are indeed single. These people have to be pushed to do their jobs. If the record is not entered, and the German government sends your documents for scrutiny, no records will exist and you might run into trouble.

3. Declaration

Even though a declaration from my father was not necessary and was not stated in the documents I needed to provide, I did it anyway just to be on the safe side. The text was fairly simple and stated that my father declares that I’m single. He had it printed on a Rs. 100 stamp paper and had it attested by a magistrate as well. Additionally, the imam of my local mosque (who has the Nikah register) also checked, verified and wrote by his hand that I am single and that his records reflect it as well. He signed and stamped it.

4. Family Registration Certificate (FRC)

The FRC is not completely necessary but I am going to submit it anyway. The reason is, I want another record from NADRA reflecting my status as a single person. Additionally, this document also shows that my father is indeed my father and authenticates his declaration. It’s just a plan B thing. You don’t have to have it made, but I say do it just to be safe.

The complete set of documents you will need

Hello everyone. After a long absence, I’m back on the blog. The reason for me not posting since March was because I had nothing new to report until all the documentation from Pakistan was done. So, I have obtained the following documents from Pakistan:

  1. my birth certificate from the National Database and Registration Authortity (NADRA);
  2. a Certificate of No Impediment to marriage signed by the local Secretary of the Union Council;
  3. a declaration from my father attesting to the fact that I am unmarried
  4. the Family Registration Certificate (FRC) from NADRA.

All these documents are being translated as I write this post and as soon as I have them translated, I will submit them to the local Standesamt. For translation – only in NRW – you can refer to this website: http://www.dolmetscher-uebersetzer.nrw.de/. Please note that your state might have its own website for this as well. I haven’t had the time to properly research this.

Stay tuned for a post explaining these documents in detail.

The Myth of the Family Registration Certificate

If you are Pakistani and in a situation that I am in, do not go for the Family Registration Certificate (FRC). The FRC does not exist for single people and is based on an old concept for the head of the family. In my case, the head of the family is my father and I am under his family. Because I am single – and for the NADRA people without a family – I cannot have an FRC issued under my name. For unknown reasons, my father could not be told this before he paid and had an FRC made.

UPDATE: Get an FRC made, if possible. It might be needed later.

A solution presents itself (specific to Pakistan)

A couple of days ago, I was talking to someone I know in Sweden who is Pakistani and married to a Danish of Pakistani descent. Him and his wife got married in Sweden where they live and work. When I discussed my case with him and all the confusion on what the Certificate of No Impediment could be, he presented me with what could be the best solution.

NADRA is the National Database and Registration Authority of the government of Pakistan and is responsible for issuing identification and records documents for all Pakistanis. My contact in Sweden informed me that NADRA has a Family Registration Certificate (FRC) which could be the thing for me. It lists whether I am married or not and if I have any children. If this is true – and the NADRA website says it is – then this could be the best solution for me. NADRA is also a dependable institution and does things more or less on time. Furthermore, NADRA also issues new birth certificates which are computerized and much better than the current version I have. Fingers crossed!

Here’s the link for NADRA’s FRC facility: http://www.nadra.gov.pk/index.php/products/certificates/frc

What the Oberlandesgericht said

Today my fiancee called the OLG in Düsseldorf to ask about the questions we had. I advise you to call there and ask first about the consultation hours (Sprechzeiten) when you are allowed to call because they are different than those on their website. This is what the OLG people had to say. I have laid out the answers according to the corresponding questions so you can relate easily.

  1. Since it every case is unique and applications are decided on a case by case basis, it is advisable to get the birth certificate from the Chairman of the Union Council. It could be that the old certificate is accepted but it could also not be accepted, in which case the whole exercise has to be repeated.
  2. As far as the understanding of the person we spoke to goes, the Certificate for No Objection to Marriage is supposed to be a paper from the relevant authority stating that I am registered as unmarried. It does not have to be a declaration. However, she was not sure about this one and said that the person in charge of our case could decide that the declaration is valid too.
  3. Since she wasn’t sure about the declaration, the questions of witnesses is irrelevant.
  4. The Pakistani embassy/consulate in Germany does not need to verify any documents.

Visit to the Standesamt – II

Armed with my list of questions, I went together with my fiancee to the Standesamt at the beginning of this week. The lady at the Standesamt – a different one than the lady I met in the first visit. She told us that the questions were too complicated for her to answer and referred us to the Oberlandesgericht (Regional High Court) in Düsseldorf. Apparently all the Standerämter in a state in Germany operate under the auspices of their relevant Oberlandesgericht (OLG). Before parting, however, the lady asked us to enquire about the “Befreiung von der Beibringung eines Ehefähigkeitszeugnis” which is a mouthful and translates roughly to an Exemption from the submission of a Certificate of No Impediment. She said it could make life considerably easier for us if we managed to get such an exemption from the OLG.