Thursday, May 31, 2012

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I've kind of been neglecting this blog because I really have no idea who, if anyone, actually bothers to stop by and read it. So if anyone is reading this, hello! :)

The big news is that Felix and I are officially engaged and have been since the 12th. We haven't gone "facebook official" with it yet, but I hope we will soon.

Because getting married in Germany is a lot more labor intensive (ie. tracking down and translating paperwork, then having it approved), we still do not have a solid date set. We went last week to the US Consulate in Frankfurt to get my affidavit. That was a bit of an adventure. You walk up and tell one of the officers what you are there for. Since I was only there for an affidavit and not an immigrant visa to the US, my wait was extremely short. Then you are called up to a window where they ask what your purpose there is and check your passport. We had made an appointment online a couple of days earlier, so they had my name on a list and checked my passport against it. The attendant gave me a number tag and told me to get back in line. Every time some people exited the building, a new group was able to enter. I went in with some German citizens and we went through security. They seemed clueless how it works, so I got to jump the line. It's the same as going through an airport security except they let you keep your drink after you take a sip in front of them. I gathered up my belongings and left that small building, walked through a courtyard area, and entered a much larger building. A woman greeted me at an info booth and asked to see my number. Then she told me to take a seat and watch the monitors for my number so I would know which window to go to. I presume they have the windows organized by purpose and my window was down another hallway, up some stairs, and back down a hallway. It was $50 (or 40 euro) for my affidavit. Turns out, I could have actually had this done while I was still in the US (I didn't think I could because they don't know what this form is) by going to a public notary. In the end, I think it's best that we did it here because we still would have needed to get it translated if I had done it in the US. The one I received in Frankfurt is in both languages.

We met with Herr Scherer at the Standesamt to discuss translators and the documents we need. I was really hoping we would be able to set a date during that visit. As it turns out, before you can set a date you must gather all of your papers and documents, give them to the Standesamt who sends them to Koln where they approve or deny your request.

Felix only needed his German ID card and birth certificate. I, on the other hand, need my passport, an affidavit, my Aufenthaltstitel, and the long form of my birth certificate complete with an apostille. And all of these documents (minus the passport) must be translated by a government translator to German.

I have 3 of the 4. I had ordered the long form about 2 months before I moved from Texas. Once they sent it to me, I had to turn around and sent it back to Texas, to another office, to have the apostille added. The apostille is essentially an official seal the government can add to a document. Because of an agreement between the US and Germany, Germany has to accept any document as authentic if it has an apostille. My birth certificate with the apostille didn't make it back to me in time for me to bring it with me, so my parents have sent it on to me about a week ago. Once it arrives, we will take it to someone to have it translated. Finally, we can pack up all of our documents and drop them off at the Standesamt. Herr Scherer said said it usually takes 3-4 weeks to get approval. He also said we shouldn't have any problems with getting a date in our desired time frame of end of August or early September.

Eventually we plan on having a US wedding, but probably not until we move back. We will be inviting all of Felix's family and my family, but we most likely won't have a solid date for at least another month. We aren't expecting anyone from the US (besides my parents and sister) to have the time or money for a trip here on such short notice. I'm really disappointed that we can't have both of our families at our wedding, but I can't imagine a scenario where that would be possible. Felix is upset by it too. We aren't really planning the wedding we want because we just don't have the time or money to do so right now.

Anyway, now it's out in the open and you've heard it straight from the horse's mouth. :)