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Pregnancy in Germany Part Three: A First Hand Account

One thing that was completely foreign to me from having my other two children in America was the seemingly endless amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out when you have a child born outside of the United States. Oh. My. Goodness! My husband needed to submit less information to get a top-secret security clearance! If you take it one step at a time though and make sure you have all the required documents it is doable. It just takes time and a bit of patience.

Paperwork for Your Newborn

There are four main things to apply for once your little bundle of joy enters this world. They are your German birth certificate, called the Geburtenregister, your Consular Report of Birth Abroad (RoB), which is basically your child’s U. S. birth certificate, passports, and a Social Security card. The RoB and passports cannot be applied for until you receive your German birth certificate. Both the RoB and passports are applied for at the same time and can take up to 12 weeks to get back to you. If you have any plans to head out of the country sooner than that with your little one in tow be sure to tell the passport office when you apply to see if you can expedite the process. My advise though is to just count on it taking the full time and plan accordingly. Once your RoB and passports are completed you can then apply for your child’s Social Security card. This can take an additional 12 weeks to come back to you in the mail.

Each document has different requirements to obtain. Here is a blow by blow of what you will need to complete to get each one.

Geburtenregister (German Birth Certificate)

To apply for the baby’s German birth certificate you will need to fill out the birth certificate application form. This you can get from a patient liaison or at the registration office at the hospital. A few tips about filling this out—make sure you spell your child’s name correctly. It sounds silly but in your sleep-deprived state it’s always best to double-check. Because you are here on orders and not a true German citizen don’t worry about filling in your religion. In Germany there is a special tax that goes to the church. Your religion is designated on your birth certificate to determine who gets that money. Put your German mailing address on the application, as the birth certificate will be mailed to you.

You will need to provide the following documents in order to submit your application:

  • Your original marriage license,
  • Both mother and father’s passports,
  • Both mother and father’s original birth certificates.
  • You will also need around 28,00 Euro in cash for the application fee and postage to mail it back to you.

When it is mailed, generally in 1-2 weeks after applying, you will need to be present to sign for it or it will not be delivered. I would put all these documents in a large envelope or folder along with the cash in a safe place so you can just grab them when the times comes.

Consular Report of Birth (RoB)

This is the most time consuming of all the applications. Most of the paperwork is pretty straightforward, however, there is one section in particular that may require some thought and digging into your past. This application (DS-2029) must be filled out using a computer. NO HANDWRITTEN APPLICATIONS are accepted. You can find the application here or visit the U.S. State Department’s webpage. The most confusing section of the application is where they ask the parents to list EVERYWHERE they have lived since BIRTH to the exact date. What?! Yes, you read that correctly. If you didn’t move around too much as a kid this may be fairly easy, however if you were a military brat or something similar you may need to do some digging. The most important thing is that the dates have no gaps and they are as accurate a possible. One thing that we surely hang up your application is if you list every new location with say the first of the month. They will red flag you as you are most likely not telling the truth and start asking questions that make the process take longer. Be as honest as you can with this section and if you have any questions at all just give your base passport office a call. DO NOT SIGN THE APPLICATION UNTIL YOU ARE MEETING WITH THE PASSPORT OFFICE!

You will need to submit the following documents with this application:

  • Geburtenregister (German Birth Certificate)
  • Your original marriage license
  • Original divorce decrees if either mother or father had previous marriage(s)
  • Both mother and father’s birth certificates
  • Both mother and father’s passports
  • Both mother and father’s ID cards
  • Money order for RoB for $100 made payable to the Department of State

BOTH MOTHER AND FATHER OF THE CHILD MUST BE PRESENT WHEN SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION!

United States Passport Application

You are probably somewhat familiar with this form (DS-11) as at some point you had to apply for a passport in order to get over to Germany. The application is the same as the one you most likely filled out. You can apply for it at the same time you apply for the Consular Report of Birth and will need the same documents listed above to complete the application process along with the following items:

  • Passport photo of your child. If you are active duty you can get a passport photo free of charge in the Photo Lab on Panzer Bldg 2948. No appointment is necessary, however they would like the baby awake and also be sure to dress him/her in a color other than white.
  • Money order for Tourist Passport for $105 made out to the Department of State. This amount can be combined into one money order if also getting the RoB.

BOTH MOTHER AND FATHER OF THE CHILD MUST BE PRESENT WHEN SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION!

Again, this application needs to be completed on the computer—no handwritten applications will be accepted. Also, do not sign the application until your meeting with the passport office.

If you are applying for a tourist and no-fee of SOFA passport, you will need to complete two DS-11 forms and submit them. This means you will need a photo for each application. The passport office provides a nice step-by-step tutorial on how to fill out the application correctly.

If you are applying for a SOFA passport for your newborn be sure the service member gets the child on his/her Command Sponsorship Orders. They can talk to their admin officer to get the details on how to obtain these orders. They are necessary to get the SOFA card in the child’s passport when it is returned to you.

Social Security Card

The last and final step in getting all of your newborn’s paperwork completed is applying for the Social Security card. The application can be found here or you can get an application at the base passport office. All of the documents that you will need to submit when applying for the card will be with you when you pick-up your child’s RoB and passports so I suggest taking care of the application at the same time. The following documents need to be made into certified photocopies at the passport office and those copies must be submitted to the United States Consulate in Frankfurt.

  • Your military ID
  • Your passport
  • Your child’s passport
  • Your child’s German birth certificate
  • Your child’s Consular of Report of Birth

The passport office will give you an envelope with the German mailing address on it. You must get a German stamp to mail the envelope off. Be sure to put your APO address on this application. The Social Security card will be mailed to you in about 12 weeks.

And that is it! You have successfully obtained all the necessary documents for your child to be a legal U.S. Citizen living aboard. Pat yourself on the back! As always if you have any questions when completing any application, always contact your base passport office.

RoB application ss application

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