So now it's five months later and how are we doing?
- German birth certificate - the hospital took care of sending in the appropriate information to the correct office in Munich. However, they would only issue it with Pea having my last name as the Saffa and I were not married. It would have been ok if the Saffa had his birth certificate, however, he needed to request a copy from South Africa and this did not arrive until we already had a birth certificate for Pea with my last name.
- Once the Saffa's birth certificate arrived we applied for the German acknowledgement of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkennung) and had the birth certificate re-issued with Pea's last name changed to the same as the Saffa's.
- We then had a separate appointment to file a German Statement Regarding Custody (Sorgerechterklärung) and for this one we were required to bring an interpreter as neither of us are fluent in German and they want no misunderstandings in this area. We made the acquaintance of a very nice lady who helped us with the interpretation for a reasonable rate and if anyone in the Munich area needs her contact info, please feel free to drop me an email.
- After all this (plus being a new mom) we were down to about three weeks before our planned trip to the US and needed to get Pea his passport. We decided to go with the American passport first and spent the morning at the Munich consulate. In the end they cared nothing about most of the documents we were told to bring and didn't even look at them. They were most interested in whether or not I was really an American. I brought my graduate school transcripts to prove I had been in the US for several consecutive years and also my first passport, which was only issued in 2003, meaning I should have spent my first 30 years in the US.
- In less than two weeks, we had Pea's report of birth abroad and certification of citizenship through 'documentation' and his US Passport. His social security number arrived last week.
- We clarified that he is not eligible for German citizenship as I have not had a permanent residency for the required 8 year minimum and German citizenship is not conferred through location of birth.
- The Saffa is just starting the process to apply for Pea's British citizenship but the Brits seem downright disorganized about this compared to the process we went through with the US, so we'll see how long this takes. The Saffa is still deciding about South African citizenship.
Regarding Kindergeld and Elterngeld, I also used the interpreter's help for the applications. The Kindergeld application I could have done on my own, this was relatively easy. We also received the feedback after a couple of weeks that we were approved and the back payments were already made and now we should receive the monthly payment going forward.
The Elterngeld was considerably more complicated to fill out. I sent it in at the same time as the Kindergeld but received a response that we did not submit one document. Unfortunately, I am nearly certain I put it in the application and it is no longer in the house that we can find. It is a document that cannot be re-issed in copy to us but must be directly requested now by the agency responsible for Elterngeld. Hopefully we are not at an impasse as this is this more significant money we are entitled to that is meant to recoup some of my wages that I do not receive while on maternity leave.
So all said and done, we are slowly making our way through the process and learning bit by bit. My advice to any expecting parents is to first make sure you have all your own documents in order (birth certificates, divorce papers if applicable, proof of citizenship if you are going for American citizenship for your child and so on). If you are bored on maternity leave, I would also recommend to fill out as much as possible before the baby comes. Afterwards it gets a little busy!
Posted from Munich