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.

An Update for Translation of Documents

Today I was conversing with someone on the topic of having marriage documents translated into German and whether they will be accepted at face value or sent back for translation. During this conversation, I came to know something I had never heard before. Apparently, it is possible to have documents translated and directly verified by the German diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) in your country of origin. For a fee, the Germans will translate and verify your documents. While submitting the documents to your local Standesamt, you can let them know that you had this done and paid for it.

I have no idea if this is just a rumor or fact. If anyone does, please comment and let me and others know. However, this could be a way to circumvent the process of verification which would normally go through layers of bureaucracy in Germany and your country and would result in lengthy verification times. If true, this could be a good solution for those wishing to marry urgently.

Visit to the Standesamt – III

I forgot to mention earlier that before having the documents submitted for translation, I took them with my fiance to the Standesamt. The lady at the Standesamt went through them and I explained what each document was to her. She told us that everything seemed to be in order and that these documents should be translated. As I have stated in earlier posts, my local Standesamt is a bit clueless about things and are really going to send the documents to the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) in Düsseldorf under whom they operate. The OLG Düsseldorf will have the final say for the whole case.

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 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.