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.

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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.

Questions I had

At the beginning of this year, I sat down with my fiancee and we talked about which questions we had about the whole process that still need clarification. I also consulted my parents on this because they’re the ones who have to do all the documentation needed from Pakistan on my behalf. I had the following questions:

  1. Because the Union Council system in Pakistan is relatively new and did not exist when I was born, I wanted to know if I still need to have a paper verifying my birth issued by the relevant Chairman of the Union Council.
  2. Can my father declare on my behalf that I am single? Because if not, I would have to spend money and go to Pakistan to declare myself.
  3. Does the Certificate of No Objection to marry need witnesses on it?
  4. Do the documents need to be verified by the Pakistani embassy/consulate in Germany?

Been a bit busy latey

Hello to the readers out there! Sorry for not being active for a while. Stuff has been happening in the real world and I have been a bit swamped lately. First things first, then. I got engaged to my girlfriend at the end of last year and we are now officially fiances. So really wonderful news there. I wonder every day what she’s doing with a bloke like me.

This and the fact that I had some stuff to take care of at the university resulted in not many posts since the end of November last year. Now, however, I do have things to report.

What other people say

In recent days, I have had the chance to speak to some of my friends who have German spouses about their experiences and I’m sharing them here.

A good friend of mine who comes from a non-EU country was working as an Au pair in Germany when he met the girl who would be his future wife. Due to visa restrictions, he had to go back to his country and apply for a Marriage Visa. This resulted in a helluva lot of paperwork both for him and his wife but eventually he made it here and they got married. However, in order for them to get married, one spouse had to have enough money and an apartment a certain size for a couple. His wife was luckily able to prove both things and it ended positively for them both. I hope they ask nothing of the sort from me because I haven’t finished studying yet and neither has my girlfriend and it could be problematic for us to show sufficient funds.

A second person I spoke to was a student when he met his German wife. They got married within 3 months of starting the process. However, because it was taking too long for them to get the green light in Germany, they both got hitched in Denmark instead. By the way, Denmark is really popular as a ‘get hitched quick’ destination for Germans and the Dutch.

I really hope my experience is quick and easy and painless. As I said before, I want things to be romantic, not stressful. However, I have found the German system to be a biased with a lot of bias directed toward non-EU spouses. I know there have been marriages of convenience but they should at least get it into their heads that two people can actually fall in love and decide to spend their lives together for that very reason.