(It’s funny how the yellow of the flower makes my blue sapphire look green!)
Monday I went to the Ausländerbehörde (aliens’ office) to get my visa renewed. Thankfully, during that 4-hour long process, Tobias came and waited with me. And since the Standesamt (Office of Vial Records) is in the same building, and we still had a long way to go until my number was called, we decided to kill two birds with one stone and went over there to get some information on what documents are needed to get hitched!
Cultural Differences & Paperwork
Unlike in the US, where you just go to the courthouse to pick up your marriage license and don’t actually get married there, it is a necessary first step here in Germany. Everyone must get married at the Standesamt first in order for the marriage to be legal, and then if you want to later, you can have a church wedding.
It’s different depending on where you live and other factors, but the lady told me I only need three things: my birth certificate with an Apostille (like an international notary stamp), an “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis” (a Single Status Affidavit) and my last paycheck. All Tobi needs is his birth certificate and his last paycheck.
The paycheck is needed because I think how much you pay to get married at the Standesamt is on a sliding scale. The more you earn, the more you pay. The lady told us it would be approximately 180€ for us.
Then there’s this Single Status Affidavit. I am not entirely sure how this works, but basically you have to get proof that you’ve never been married before. It’s strange, because how can you prove that something hasn’t happened? I’m interested in seeing how they find this out. Hamburg unfortunately doesn’t have a consulate here which does citizen services anymore, so I’ll have to go to Berlin.
The more complicated part is that my birth certificate needs this Apostille. Which you can only pick up in your home state. Which means that when I go to the consulate next week, I’ll also be getting a document notarized that says my mom is permitted to pick up a birth certificate for me. It’ll take about a week for that to get to her via mail, although I may pay more to expedite it or make sure it’s more secure/reliable. After she picks up the birth certificate, Mom will have to go to the treasury and get this special stamp, and then send it back to me…which altogether makes a good month of just getting the official documents.
I’ve also heard that in general, documents in Germany must be no older than 6 months. And I may have to get it translated into German, as well! Sure is a lot more than we’d have to do if we just got married in the US…but our desire to do it in Hamburg where we live together is pretty strong nonetheless. Oh well.
Paperwork aside, we’ve been discussing ideas and looking at dates. We may have found one, but still have yet to ask the church, so…no news for you guys yet. 🙂 Otherwise, I’ve been doing a lot of browsing online and gleaning inspiration, and trying to enjoy these early stages of my engagement. And kissing my fiancé a lot, of course!