One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The last 3 weeks have been crazy.

The past three weeks have coincided with one module for school. For this module, we had to organize and deliver a symposium as our final exam. It was a busy and stressful project, but a great opportunity for learning life skills. Not everyone liked it, but I thought it was a cool assignment.

October 31 was Reformation Day – we had the day off, which was mostly just annoying for us. We deep cleaned the apartment.

In addition to the past 3 weeks leading up to this symposium (which was yesterday), it has also been 3 weeks leading up to my appointment with the immigration office (also yesterday).

It has been a continual struggle of contacting them to get information, them deliberately ignoring our questions and refusing to give information, and so on. We really didn’t know how it would go when I showed up for my appointment. Would they be just as hard on me as they have been on William?

Turns out, no. My appointment took 10 minutes, max. She made sure I had all the documents they needed, had me sign them, and took my fingerprints. Within a few weeks, I should have my ID card and my residence permit. Yay!

However, we took this opportunity to ask about William and Herbert, and that’s when things got messy. But hey, at least they let him talk to someone this time.

First off, it turns out that they have assigned us different case workers. Why would they assign a husband and wife different case workers? I don’t know. But there you go.

The good news: William’s work contract has been approved. He will be allowed to work as soon as he receives his residence permit!

But that’s when the good news stops. Several weeks back when we emailed asking about how much money we need to support our family, we sent along a copy of our lease. They replied that they don’t have enough information, leaving us standing around like, “What could they possibly still need?” Well, turns out they needed a copy of our lease. It was never forwarded to William’s case worker. And they weren’t going to bother to ask for it until his job contract was approved.

But now they have it, and can tell us how much money we need to support ourselves (once the case worker does some research). But wait, it’s how much money William and Herbert need to support themselves as an individual family unit. Even thought the law says that my money should be including in the calculation, they aren’t going to do that. Because I’m not entitled to bring family with me, I’m not allowed to financially support them. Or some sort of roundabout logic like that.

Ah, we say, but I am allowed to bring my family with. It says it so clearly in the law, right here. Now I’m not going to mince words here or get into German immigration law, but suffice it to say that they have decided to use the law to deliberately not allow our cases to be connected.

But at the end of the day, the biggest problem we have encountered is that they will not allow William and Herbert to apply for their residence permits until 1) they have told us how much money we need and 2) we prove that we have secured any amount over the job contract amount (this would not be necessary if they took my accounts into consideration). Only at this point will they even offer William an appointment to submit an application. Which, by the way, will be in February or March. William and Herbert will have to obtain a “fiction certificate” (that’s literally what it translates to), which allows them to stay in the country until that appointment. William will not be allowed to work until he receives his ID card a few weeks after his appointment (so March or April). His appointment that is literally just 10 minutes to sign a piece of paper and give fingerprints.

Why can’t he do this quick 10 minute process during walk-in hours? That’s a very good question.

So, yeah. We can live in the country, but it’s going to be a long road. While in Kaufbeuren, they found a way to use the law to make our situation work, here they are using the law to avoid making it work – to the extent that they are creating significantly more work for themselves, now and in the long run when we have to renew our permits.

In other news, Herbert is doing wonderful. He loves kindergarten and has 2 friends he knows by name. He is starting to be really interested in letters, which has been so much fun. He calls the letter H “Herbert,” and the letter T after one of his friends – recognizing them correctly every time. And apparently the phonics lesson that stuck most clearly in his mind is “wuh” is for “wine bottle.”

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