..just to get our newborn registered! That’s exactly what we almost had to do.
As you might have read in some earlier blogs, my beautiful wife gave birth to an almost as beautiful daughter five weeks ago. When that happens you need to get the child registered. That’s fairly standard across the World. It will allow you to apply for a passport – obviously and it also helps if you want to get child benefit.
I still think it is silly to give kids below the age of four their own passport. In all honesty, a baby’s face changes a lot in the first 12 months alone. So, the child/baby could get arrested or could be denied entry. Even my face as an adult changes from time to time. That’s mainly because I’m getting a little more roundfaced as I’m getting older. Sometimes my face changes as well when I attempt to grow facial hair, although I still cannot grow a full beard. My late dad always made fun of this, and he probably still does.
One morning, after having dropped off the two eldest kids at their schools, the rest of the von Trap family journeyed into the local council office to get our newest member registered. My wife was, as always, well prepared and had all the usual certificates copied and folded neatly in an envelope. That should make the process quicker – we thought. We handed the envelope to the civil servant sitting behind the greasy class partition and she “quickly” started the process. Just as we were waiting for the document to be stamped and processed, the civil servant said that our wedding certificate was no longer valid. WTF! I calmly explained to the numbskull that we had used the same certificate to register our two other kids, where to she said “well, that was before January 1 2007, right?” Church certificates are no longer valid, we were told. And, this comes from a country that has been manipulated and run by the Catholic church for centuries! The only option, she said, was to get a civil marriage certificate or the wedding certificate legalised by the government/country we were married in. That just made it so much easier … NOT!
When we came home, I contacted my embassy, only to discover that this rule had indeed been agreed by most European countries to prevent fraud and human trafficking.
I then contacted the foreign affairs office in Denmark and discovered that I had to get our wedding certificate renewed, as they only accept certificates that are less than 4 months old. FFS, this just got worse.
At this point, we seriously considered getting married in city hall, in Ireland, in our swim wear, (I in my speedos and my wife in her bikini) just to get this famous certificate. Just one minor problem…we had to get divorced to get married. And, in order to get a new certificate, I had to go to a Danish church, IN Denmark.
For personal reasons, I had to go to Denmark, so I brought the famous wedding certificate with me in order to get it upgraded. My path would cross another civil servant again – damn it – this time disguised as a “friendly” clerk in the church office. She turned out to be just as helpful as a kitchen sifter emptying a bucket full of water.
She could not find our certificate on the computer, despite it being the church where we got married. She then said my wife would have to come to Denmark too to get registered as a resident. Interesting! Do they suggest that we leave our newborn alone in Dublin? Remember, you can’t travel without a passport, and to get a passport you need a birth certificate… Alright, I’ve always tried to be diplomatic and understanding, but in this case I had to tell the lady a few truths about the IT systems they were using and her inability to provide alternative solutions. These were truths the church haven’t heard since the dark ages (the language of mordor), letting my dark side shine through. Obviously, it didn’t help at all and I was no further in my quest to get our daughter registered.
My dear mum heard my heartfelt story and stepped in to help her son. Within 40 minutes, she had secured me a new wedding certificate and processed the payment to get the document legalised. Now we just had to get the certificate legalised by the Danish Foreign Office, and pay to have this done of course … I even had to pay for the postage stamp to send the certificate back to me!
Within 7 working days, the “new” certificate arrived. It looked exactly like the one I sent them, with the only difference that it now had a small A5 sized stamp on the back. Hopefully the Irish civil servants accept this one. Something tells me that they will be looking for something else, e.g. video footage of the wedding, letter from priest, blessing for local parish priest – anything to delay the process further.
We can only keep our fingers crossed, hoping everything is in order, so we can get our daughter registered and get her a passport. We are relying on civil servants.. Lord have mercy on us.
… and they didn’t accept the new marriage certificate!
The legalized and stamped certificate arrived as promised. We travelled far distances across town to get our daughter registered. Yes, back to the house of evil civil servants and their medieval processes.
My wife joined the queue and were soon face-to-face with a glazed looking male. He starred at the newly stamped certificate, with the Danish seal on it, and passed it back .”No good!”. “It doesn’t state it’s a CIVIL Marriage certificate.” he said. My diplomatic wife attempted for a long time to remind the civil supervisor muppet that we had done EXACTLY what they asked us to do. She also suggested that he should contact the Danish embassy since they were not accepting the Danish Foreign Affairs office stamp. We should have known that he wasn’t going to be of any help, so I contacted the Danish embassy instead, hoping they would be able to assist.
BTW, we did ask the question if we could re-marry to get this process completed, whereto the civil drone said we would be breaking the law! We would have to get divorced first to remarry. However, we could also be charged for tax fraud since we have been registered as married for years which means we have been taxed as a married couple… But, he wasn’t following the legal EU directive himself!
So, I persuaded the assistant ambassador to write a letter to the Uber-clone, stating that our wedding certificate in fact was a legal civil document. We just received that letter and now we just have to see if that letter is good enough as well. All these obstacles just to get our daughter registered!
My wife went to the registration office, again, walked up to the hatch and spoke to the same “helpful” civil servant again. She showed him the legal wedding certificate (again), the birth confirmation form from the hospital (again) and the newly acquired letter from the embassy. Drumroll please.
Believe it or not, we finally managed to get her registered. 3rd time lucky as they say. Now, off to the passport office. Let’s hope they are not on strike!