…The authorities in Germany really have a sense of humour”.
A Kenyan official told me when I sent a request to compile evidence for the German authorities of our marriage.
One of them was a birth certificate, which could not be older than 6 months.
If you want to get married in Germany and one of you is non-native, you have started the test of your life.
You will be put through your paces.
In fact, you realize that there is a fine line between humor and thoroughness.
First of all: congratulations on wanting to get married.
Your love is being put to the most difficult test by the authorities.
Do you think I’m exaggerating?
Here are some other examples of required evidence:
1️⃣A marriage certificate: Here you have the feeling that the term assumes that you are not able to get married.
2️⃣Proof of Income
3️⃣Handling obstacles at the clerk’s discretion if you’re unlucky.
As if the list isn’t “Mission Impossible” enough; your documents will need to be translated and sent back to the German embassy in your home country to be checked for credibility again by a trusted body.
You need an appointment for any clarification.
The back and forth is uneconomical and sometimes takes a year. But you earn enough money, otherwise you’re not allowed to get married.
Emotions and anticipation have little space on the way to saying YES.
You’ll be brought back to earth: the celebration must be earned.
What helps you now? Clearly: the power of choice.
In our case, we knew that the case worker we met could not be a reference.
We therefore went to a neighboring registry office: The legal requirements were the same, but the handling and dealing with us as “customers” were completely different. It was in between.
What lessons do I want to share with you today:
📍 You always have a choice. If you get married, you can change your registry office if necessary.
When dealing with other cultures, even if marriage isn’t a factor, you always have a choice to choose how to play along, rather than making life difficult for yourself or others.
📍 This almost impossible paper and nerve journey takes you back to your home country. You realize what you appreciate so much about Germany, even if not exactly the way to the registry office.
📍 You get to know the laws so that you can argue factually
Don’t just assume your first bad experience. This helps you to keep giving others and yourself a chance.
Don’t such alliances between cultures create a wonderful world of diversity?