Another friend asked me last night if I am nesting yet. In the traditional sense, that hasn't hit me too hard so far. The Saffa and I did a more small steps approach to preparing for the baby over a longer stretch of time so we could savor the experience rather than be overwhelmed. We have clothing, an awesome pram (I can't believe the Saffa has me calling it a pram now), almost everything for the hospital bag assembled, the nursery is painted, critical furniture is bought, birthing class is finished, midwife has been found, hospital selected and so on. We have narrowed down the Pea's potential names to two options, one we chose two weeks after I found out I was pregnant and the other that seems to fit Pea's pre-birth 'personality' a little better - final decision will be after birth. Mom's ticket is booked to come over for 10 days in October. All in all quite a bit has come together and I thought we were ready.
This weekend the Saffa was on his annual camping trip in the UK with his two older children so I had some time. And google. And therein lies the problem. What started as a simple query to find out how we can get Pea an American passport for our trip to the US over Christmas and New Year has resulted in my entrapment in a tangled web of internet information and misinformation around Pea's options for nationality, passports, birth certificates and extra documents needed because both parents are expats, divorced, and (horrors) not married (yet). Most worrying of all, it looks like Pea can never run for US president! Ok, I joke on the last point but nevertheless I seem to have opened a nasty can of worms.
My hormones conspired to increase my anxiety by prompting me then to look into Pea's health insurance options, daycare options, how to apply for my and Pea's benefits and soon enough, the spin out was complete. Well done on my part!
So, a taste of the fun that has just begun:
As a short background, we have potentially four options for Pea's nationality (US, British, German and South African). I wanted Pea to have American citizenship no matter what, no question, as there are various situations I could imagine where Pea would want/or need it. I also thought it would be a good idea for Pea to have dual citizenship and after discussion with the Saffa, who had no strong preference to go for South African citizenship, we decided an EU citizenship would be most beneficial in providing additional options (so either German or British, preference British).
As mentioned, while having a little time on my hands this weekend, I decided to look into what is required to take care of the American citizenship. I went to our friendly Munich consulate webpage and found out that it is not a given that Pea will be an American citizen. Huh?! Brief panic attack.
After more extensive researching of all the relevant links on the State Department's website, it seems for our specific case we need:
- Application for Consular Report of Birth
- US Passport Application Form
- US Social Security Application Form
- German Birth Certificate
- Both of Our Passports
- Both of Our Divorce Decrees
- Evidence I lived in the US
- German Acknowledgement of Paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkennung)*
- German Statement Regarding Custody (Sorgerechterklärung)*
Once I could boil down all the info and compare some anecdotes on the internet it doesn't seem to be too bad actually but it took awhile to get to that point. We are missing some of the Saffa's documentation so he now is on the mission to acquire them. The only stress there is how long some of it will take to gather. Some websites actually suggest bribes as the only means to get a copy of a South African birth certificate in the next year, for example!
I have no clue how to get the last two items so need to check into those more but they surface again in other places due to the way German law works around paternity rights and obligations for unmarried couples. (Sidenote, we plan to get married and it might seem easier just to do it before Pea is born but don't even get me started on what would be required in Germany for two expats, both previously married, to get a marriage license and certificate in Germany - no chance to make that happen before Pea is born).
The gathering of info and documents to get other documents is similar across the board for all the things Pea needs. Only way I can deal with this bureaucracy, the internet confusion and language challenges is by breaking it down step by step in a trusty excel spreadsheet. The Saffa's approach is to make phone calls. Easier and faster but I have been caught out in the past when I actually show up and the story has changed.
I feel like I can't relax until everything is clear and sorted. Is this a special version (expat style) of nesting instinct or just another bout of German and International bureaucracy anxiety attack?
We will get there step-by-step and hopefully are not way too late with anything!