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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The One Who Got Away (Part 6): PLOT TWIST

Quick Translation: This confirms that German citizenship will not be opposed, if within two years it can be verified that the aforementioned person no longer possesses citizenship for Trinidad and Tobagoe and/or has fulfilled the requirements for the loss of this citizenship and that nothing has happened in the meantime, which would forbid naturalization. 

I almost forgot what it felt like to receive a industrial size dose of 100% homegrown German bureaucratic pedantry. Luckily, the German authorities will never leave you too long without a fix. You can count on that.

As you can see from the picture above (and from my previous posts), Trinidad and Tobagoe  had only been mentioned once in passing up until now, when I finalized my application and paid the fee.

Mr. S: Your mother was naturalized in the U.S. after you were born?
Me: Yes, but she never applied for Trinidadian citizenship for me, which would have had to have been done by my 18th birthday. 
Mr. S: Ok. (Accepts my papers and my 255€)

Six months later:

So, imagine my surprise when I was handed not one, but two assurances of naturalization (EinbürgerungszusicherungEN  -- plural, y'all, pluuurrrraaaal). I also enjoyed how my appointment notice letter made no mention of this additional, time-consuming thing I have to do.

I won't lie. I had some feels about this. Strong ones. Like I mentioned at the top, it's been a while since I got wrecked by some German bureaucrats. In hindsight -- and, remember, not very much hindsight since this happened just yesterday -- I think I know what thoroughly tit punched me in that moment:

Ten years ago, when I was in the middle of immigration hell, I looked into the possibility of gaining Trinidad & Tobago citizenship by descent and was told it wasn't possible for two reasons: 1.) my mom was no longer a Trinidadian citizen and 2.) I was over 18 years old at the time and no prior application had been made. Why does this matter? Because then I could have potentially gone the path of Trinidad/British Commonwealth Citizen to British/EU Citizen (and still switch to German later and much easier)...
Avoiding this whole crap in the first place... well... except maybe the Trinidad and U.S. renunciation things would still be things...but at least not surprise things and ohmyfuckingodthisbullshitisfuckinkillingme.
I could also get into the whole thing about how it's super bizarre for Germany to constantly be asking for proof of things that you AREN'T. It's called a Negativbescheinigung (negative certification) and it's totally a common thing here.

Single, never married, but would like to? Welp... bring us a piece of paper that says that you've never been married. Also you might be a ghost, so go ahead and bring us a copy of your birth certificate that is no more than three months old. What's that you say? Your country doesn't have these kind of papers and you're bleeding from your eye sockets and therefore can't possibly be a ghost? Ha! That's precisely what a ghost would say! Be gone, ghost!

And that's what it feels like talking to German bureaucrats. Utterly ridiculous things come out of their mouths, yet you're somehow the one that feels like a tonto (that means dumb dumb).

On and on it goes... but I have learned somethings in the past two days:

  • There are no proper Trinidadian consulates or embassies in Germany
  • There are only Honorary Consulates and Consuls -- this guy is the one for Hamburg
  • Unfortunately, he had to (in the end) direct me to the proper embassy in London (which is the next closest one)
But mostly this last thing I learned this evening:
  • I asked my godmother to call Immigration in Trinidad to ask what should be done and they informed her that I do have automatic citizenship through birth. Of course this means that either something has changed in the last 10 years or I was misinformed. Or it could also mean that my aunt maybe explained the situation wrong. So, I'm still going to double check for myself. 
At any rate, looks like there's another step that has to be done before I can renounce my U.S. citizenship. And that would be renouncing my secret, unbeknownst to me Trinidadian citizenship that I just found out about today. Oh BOY!

Projected costs: 
Renunciation fee: $20
Renunciation application notarization: TBD
Certified translations for any supporting German documentation that I need to send: TBD
Miscellaneous: TBD

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