Denmark it is, I suppose…

Last week I got a call from the Standesamt telling me that to come to them. They told me that the OLG had certain objections to one of the documents I sent. This document was the Certificate of Impediment. They said that this certificate should have been titled “Certificate of No Impediment and Capacity to Marry” which mine wasn’t, even though they admitted in their own letter that the gist of my title was the same as well. Their second objection was that this same document should have had my fiance’s name mentioned specifically. Ergo, that there is no objection for me to marry her. I told the lady at the Standesamt that I would speak to my father and ask whether these changes are possible or not. My father told me that hell would freeze over before the Union Council guys would make a new document for me. Note that they did it once and then again for the District Coordination Officer to sign it. Third time won’t be a charm because they might suspect that something suspicious is going on.

We told all this to the lady at the Standesamt and asked what other possibilities we might have. She answered us in one word: Denmark. She said that the OLG is really strict and will keep on putting hindrances in our path. It’s better if we just get married in Denmark and get that marriage recognized in Germany. This is now what we have planned to do. The wedding requirements in Denmark are fairly simple. Here’s the link to the Copenhagen commune’s website. If you want a marriage where other people take care of your hassle, check out these guys.

I started out this blog as a sort of a guide for people who want to get married to a German in Germany but now it’s become about marrying in Denmark and getting the Germans to recognize that marriage here. I will keep you all updated on what happens next. My quest continues.

Documents Submitted: The Long Wait Begins

Sorry about not posting anything on this blog for some time now. But I have an update on my situation.

Last month I went to the Standesamt to hand in my documents after having them translated by a certified translator. I was told I had to pay €70 which is the fee for the Oberlandesgericht. Additionally, I was handed a paper prepared by the German Embassy and Consulate in Pakistan. This document is available here. The documents for other countries are available here. Now, on the document for Pakistan, it says clearly and in bold letters that if the Certificate of No Impediment is not signed by the District Coordination Officer, District Commissioner or Deputy District Commissioner (for your local district in Pakistan), it will not be valid. Therefore, I had to send my document back and have it signed by the relevant guy and then have it sent back again. All this took me roughly a month.

But last week I handed in all documents finally, paid my €70 and sent them on their merry way. Oh, and they checked my passport and residence permits and made copies. So, the procedure is apparently as follows now:

  1. The documents are sent by the Standesamt to the Oberlandesgericht (OLG).
  2. If the OLG needs anything additional (I hope to God they don’t), then they ask the Standesamt who asks us.
  3. The OLG gives a decision: it can be yes, no or that the documents need to be checked.
  4. The documents are sent back to the Standesamt which contacts the German Embassy or Consulate in Pakistan and asks for a cost estimation for having the documents checked. For Pakistan, it’s usually around €260.
  5. The German mission replies and sends a bill. The Standesamt calls us, we pay and the documents are sent to the German Foreign Office in Berlin who forward it to the relevant German mission.
  6. The proofing process can take up to 6 months for Pakistan. The requirements and info is all in the PDF file whose link is above.
  7. The documents then come back to the Standesamt with an official report that they’re (hopefully) fine. At this point, the German mission will also tell how much money was spent. It could be that more was spent, in which case you pay a bit more. It can also be that they spent less money than anticipated and they return the extra money to you (not very likely though).
  8. The Standesamt at this point grants us a Permission to Marry which is valid for 6 months and allows us to marry in any Standesamt in the Federal Republic of Germany.
  9. We marry and live happily ever after.

Through the experiences of other Pakistanis, I have come to know that usually (but not always) it takes 5 months to get the Permission to Marry. So it seems like a long wait. All I can say is, I’m gonna keep them fingers crossed. I will keep my loyal readers posted. Until then, have fun.

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 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