Would having kids dictate my choice of Nationality?
by missP on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:38 am
“You are my 11 am, right?” The lady inside the room asked me when just when I entered the small office at 10 past eleven. The office was an old building in the middle of the town proper. I was summoned with a letter to report for my permanent settlement visa. Not that I didn’t have one. Here in Germany, as a foreigner married to a local, the spouse is entitled to a one to three year visa. Only after this time, can the spouse apply for the settlement visa. But one has to take care to apply for the permanent settlement visa during the last year that the current visa is valid. The reason being: it takes them several months to process the issuance of the permanent one.

“Yes, I am. I am sorry for being late.” I said, as I gave a weak smile. She didn’t say anything. Well, what did I expect? That she shakes her head, taps me in the shoulders and while looking straight into my eyes she would say: “that’s fine” and “no problem and let's get-down-to business?” This is just not how it is here. People have to be on time. A colleague told me once, that there are some doctors here who charge you when you try to cancel an appointment at the last minute. I find that weird. But then again, if I was on their shoes, I would probably also think, that I am a very insensitive client. So, it actually depends on which shoes you are in, I guess.

In my case though, I am the client. I am also the taxpayer. If I am late to an appointment simply because I have to go and earn a living so that the government employees can get their salary and the old folks, their pension, then the latter has to be sympathetic to me. I am being Humbug here? Being arrogant perhaps? Okay, okay, I'm just bitching around. I was the one late for an appointment. And I digress.

“So, I need your passport photo.” The lady said to me, without adding the magic word. Of course not, I am the one who seems to be in need of a favor. I showed her several ones and asked her which one she would be happy with. To which, she replied, “I don’t care. I just need one.”

I finally chose something which looked like it was taken yesterday and not last year. Gave it to her, together with my passport and she then told me to wait outside briskly. As I was waiting, hubby came in from parking the car. He asked what I was doing outside because he thought I had an appointment that I should not be cueing up. But, as I have mentioned, I am the one that they are giving a favor. On top of that I am the foreigner here.

There was no reason to fuss though. Within 5 minutes, the lady came out of the room. She was holding my passport on her right hand, opened at the page where the visa was attached. She congratulated me for getting the visa and smiled. Well, I was a bit surprised. I thought at first that this lady was some sort of a robot and doesn’t or is not capable of giving a smile to their guests. I said my gratitude and slowly stood up to leave. Hubby asked where the ID was. In Belgium, I was not only given a Visa but I also got my 5 year yellow ID card. This way, I didn’t have to carry my passport with me all the time. And this I didn’t have to wait for 3 years to obtain it.

The lady said that because I am not applying for the German Nationality, I don’t get an ID but just a permanent settlement visa that is valid forever…or at least as long as I choose to stay in Germany.

Well, I was not surprised with this reply. Hubby did not push the issue anymore and when we got to the car, we slowly discussed again the pros and cons of me changing my Nationality. I am very much opposed to it. Heck, I didn’t even want to carry the sole German name of my husband. I choose to carry a double-name, meaning my maiden name and hubby’s name because I didn’t want to loose my sense of identity. I am a Filipino and will remain to be one until the end, I told hubby firmly before we even tied the knot. He respected that.

What would I gain in obtaining the German nationality? Well, with the German passport, I can travel unrestricted to any country in every continent. I don’t have to go through the hassle of going to the embassy of the country that I would be visiting, because if indeed necessary, I can also get the visa upon arrival of the country. Next is, I would probably be interrogated less at every customs/immigration. If I have the German passport plus I can speak the German language, I don’t see any reason why they would detain me for further questioning. Now, this is probably not such a big trouble if we are just travelling on holidays. But if I am accompanying hubby to his business trips, the unending stops at every border control can get really annoying for him. Unless, I am convicted of a crime that they can hold against me, there is no other reason to hold me. So far, these are the only reasons I came up with why the change is advantageous for me.

Fact is we don’t plan to live the rest of our lives here in Germany. As I may have mentioned in my blog earlier, hubby and I have a plan to stay here only for a certain number of years and then we would relocate to the Philippines for good. So, what would I need the German passport or Nationality for? Besides, there are also certain properties that I have to take care for in the Philippines. If I have a nationality other than Filipino, I may get headaches from the BIR. I want to avoid that. I am quite aware that if I would change nationality, I am still entitled to buy a certain amount of property. The thing is what I am THEN entitled to acquire would not suffice our need. We have dreams and we have plans. And we cannot afford to have legal authorities running after us, because of the irregularities in our papers. No way! With this, I am even the more convinced that I don’t need to change anything else in my status here in Germany.

Only question left to answer is: What if we have a child or children? This would mean staying here longer than originally planned. So does this mean that I would have to change my status? The kids have to go to school. This would mean we would have to stay here longer or at least until they finish studying. Truth is, given the choice, I would rather send my kid/kids to school in the Philippines. But would my child or children want this? Honestly, I really have no answer yet. I think, in this case, I would like to quote the overused saying: “I will cross the bridge when I get there”. Or they will, hehehe.

Something to ponder: How come I sound like I am trying to convince myself? Can it be that subconsciously, I really, actually want to change my nationality? Hmmnn…if this is the case, whom am I kidding, hubby or me?