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21. Posted by pfeiffer (Full Member 211 posts) 10y

Quoting pfeiffer

Aside from the nonsensical opinions expressed, isn't this off-topic with respect to travel in Europe?

I can't seem to edit this message anymore, but I'd like to revise it to say "some nonsensical opinions". My first comment was too broadly expressed.

That said, I believe that before one goes about arranging marriage for the purposes of acquiring citizenship, etc., one should rely on more solid advice than what we might have to say, and that appears to be what George now plans to do.

-Kevin
--
Kevin Pfeiffer

22. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 10y

What is the difference between American culture and German culture? Certain foods? The type of beer? Just how would a white American who knew the language not fit in? Many Germans have told me they do not want anymore "foreigners" in the country, but then have offered to help me get official status. They do not include a white American in the catagory of "foreigner" The word in actual practice implies Moslems or Asians. Most Germans have no problem with the relatively small number of white American, Australian, Canadian, or other foreigners who want to immigrate. [ ... ] And it is not so easy to get residence unless you have some rare skill that is not readily available in the E.U., something which is almost impossible since the E.U. is so developed a region with so many educated people.

I'm going to answer this post, and then I intend to shut up. I do not want to let this thread hit the gutter.

If you do not know the difference between German culture and the culture in the United States, why are you trying to get to Europe? Because there differences. They just might not be as noteable on first sight. But once you actually live in the other country, hold a job, go shopping, deal with the authorities and interact with the "natives", you start noticing the small and medium differences that by and by add up to a different way of life.

The "no more foreigners attitude" you encountered is directed at the large number of immigrants from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa whose sole purpose of being in Germany is to abuse the social welfare system. It is after all much easier to live in a nice flat with running water and electricity in a German city on social benefits than to herd goats in some mountain village between Syria, Iraq and Turkey where the next doctor is four hours away and animals and people must share the small one-room hut in order to stay warm in winter. You would be surprised to what criminal lengths people can go to first stay in Germany and second to avoid having to work.

So yes, in that sense "foreigner" means coloured people. But if Europe was suddenly flooded with US-American citizens with the same attitude, the scorn would be directed at them too.

This whole issue with the immigrants would not be such a problem if these people made an honest effort to become productive members of German society. Unfortunately a lot of them fail at that. To top it off, they often refuse to accept the fact that they came to Germany as immigrants. (Unlike people moving to the US, for comparision.) "One day we will go back" is the saying, until "one day" becomes never or just a holiday to see the relatives. By then, they might have spent 30 years or more in Germany and yet have never made a true effort to learn the language or taken an interest in the city where they live. There are large Turkish ghetto's where you cannot hear a word of German. Although born in Germany, their grown children define themselve as Turkish. There is no such thing as a hyphenated identity there, because a hyphenated identy means that you have a second identy to hypenate it with. Afro-American or Hispanic-American is still part American. The lack of integration causes strife and unrest, as the youngsters are badly educated (language problems once again) and thus unable to find a job in Germany. As a result, they either go criminal or take the free ride on taxpayer's money.

Needless to say, handing out "free" citizenships to new immigrants in a situation like this is sheer madness.

Germany has enough Germans who are "social benefits nobility", ie whole families in the third and fourth generation who have been living on the dole since before its existence. We absolutely do not need more of the same. Thus the normal 8 year waiting period, where a foreigner has to prove that s/he can provide for hirself (and hir family) before applying for citizenship. It protects honest working folks who are productive members of society. As you see, the "discrimination" you talk about is done for purely practical reasons.

As US-citizen you can enter Germany as a tourist and then apply for residency while you are there instead of trying to go through the process in your home country. While it is true that it is hard to get a residency and work permit, it is not impossible. It all depends upon your skills, your ability to present yourself and your determination to succeed. You need to find an employer who really wants you. Then it is up to you to prove that you are special enough. That rare skill that is not readily available in the EU might be as simple as being a native speaker of English. Or the willingness to work odd ours in a shitty job with wages so low that no German or EU-national would touch them. To top it off, you can apply as many times for a residency as you want. If it does not work out in city A in 2006, it might work in county B in 2007.

BTW, I really like what Whitehead wrote, because the comparision between citizenship and family is very good. If I want strangers to like me, I have to make an effort to get to know them and befriend them. If I want help from them, I need to promise them help in return. The first change of "citizenship" is mentioned in the bible in the Book of Ruth, as Ruth declares to Naomi that "your people are my people now; for wherever you go, I will go " and thus becomes a member of the Jewish people and the first convert to Judaism.

So - forget about getting an instant passport. If you are determined, you'll find a way to become a EU-citizen. It just might take you longer - but in light of all the above that is surely justified.

23. Posted by Nikolina (Budding Member 51 posts) 10y

I am not from EU but I agree with t_maia completely.

24. Posted by arvyt (Budding Member 31 posts) 10y

i could sooo write about this topic having spent the last 3 months studying 'the identity of europe' at uni, sponsored by the EU. But gonna stay on topic.

See where there is a need for your skills and apply to get a job there. Then you could move on from there to try and be a citizen, sure it would be easier. For example in Aus if you're an overseas chef/hairdresser theres a faster stream to working here, and we encourage people becoming Australian instead of PR's. (Citizenship & Passport)

Pretty sure many countries in Europe have blood lineage rules(with exception for footballers ;)) in relation to citizenship, so would be very hard to gain said citizenship.

But best of luck with it all mate. Have a look at works by Rifkin and Therbon on the issue if you feel like a read, seem to relate to your reasons for moving.

Cheers

25. Posted by Gerrit_BE (Full Member 83 posts) 10y

I have not the time to read all of the thread, but...

First of all I find it a bit weird to marry someone just for citizenship reasons, after all marriage is supposed to be a sort of symbolic officialising of the emotional bond between two people. I doubt if many European men/women will want to just marry for helping to get someone a EU passport. Also, know that many countries investigate the sincereness of marriages with non-EU citizens, if they don't find loads of correspondence to prove that you really married this person because of love, then they can declare the marriage invalid and you won't get your citizenship.

That said, I understand your concerns. I too, often felt (or feel) that I was born in the wrong country, and I too would love to ditch my Belgian nationality. Unfortunately UK laws require to be here 5 years, so I just temper myself by considering myself European at heart instead of Belgian. And I understand your other concern as well ; without wanting to open a can of worms, I am very uncomfortable with the United States as a political entity and it feels good to see an actual American that sees through the lies of the government, it's nice to see that there's also Americans who are against the political paths of the USA. Basically I dislike all regimes practioning death penalty, so guess that fuels my discomfort with the US as a political entity (without having any problems with the everyday American citizen)

Anyway, in my native Belgium, there are special laws to gain citizenship in a very rapid way (= less than a year sometimes), and it does not even necessarily require you to marry a Belgian citizen. I am not sure how it works, having been born with a Belgian ID (unfortunately), but I know that there is a law making a special 'rapid naturalisation' procedure possible. I would advise to contact the Belgian embassy in the US: www.diplobel.org has all addresses and also information about emigration to belgium.

I must be honest as well though: I doubt if the country is that much of an improvement. Belgium is a very conservative and to be honest narrow-minded place. It has the most beautiful cities you can imagine, but everytime I feel somewhat homesick I also think of how much I dislike the path Belgian society is wandering. It is conservative, which may not be that bad, but it is also a very racist place, especially the Flemish side of the country. The islamophobia and amount of far-right voters make me feel deadly embarrassed of my roots. I never considered Belgium the place I belong, but at the same time I love it for the good memories of all those nice places. It makes me feel sour though that all my good memories are only bricks and buildings. Belgian society is worrying me a lot, and whenever reading an online Belgian paper and see the racism progress, I feel very very embarrassed.

So it is a country with good possibilities to get a rapid Belgian passport. However, question yourself first if it is much of an improvement. If I would have the option to ditch my nationality and get an Irish/UK passport quickly, I would not hesitate a second.

26. Posted by Gerrit_BE (Full Member 83 posts) 10y

Quoting t_maia

What is the difference between American culture and German culture? Certain foods? The type of beer? Just how would a white American who knew the language not fit in? Many Germans have told me they do not want anymore "foreigners" in the country, but then have offered to help me get official status. They do not include a white American in the catagory of "foreigner" The word in actual practice implies Moslems or Asians. Most Germans have no problem with the relatively small number of white American, Australian, Canadian, or other foreigners who want to immigrate. [ ... ] And it is not so easy to get residence unless you have some rare skill that is not readily available in the E.U., something which is almost impossible since the E.U. is so developed a region with so many educated people.

I'm going to answer this post, and then I intend to shut up. I do not want to let this thread hit the gutter.

If you do not know the difference between German culture and the culture in the United States, why are you trying to get to Europe? Because there differences. They just might not be as noteable on first sight. But once you actually live in the other country, hold a job, go shopping, deal with the authorities and interact with the "natives", you start noticing the small and medium differences that by and by add up to a different way of life.

The "no more foreigners attitude" you encountered is directed at the large number of immigrants from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa whose sole purpose of being in Germany is to abuse the social welfare system. It is after all much easier to live in a nice flat with running water and electricity in a German city on social benefits than to herd goats in some mountain village between Syria, Iraq and Turkey where the next doctor is four hours away and animals and people must share the small one-room hut in order to stay warm in winter. You would be surprised to what criminal lengths people can go to first stay in Germany and second to avoid having to work.

So yes, in that sense "foreigner" means coloured people. But if Europe was suddenly flooded with US-American citizens with the same attitude, the scorn would be directed at them too.

This whole issue with the immigrants would not be such a problem if these people made an honest effort to become productive members of German society. Unfortunately a lot of them fail at that. To top it off, they often refuse to accept the fact that they came to Germany as immigrants. (Unlike people moving to the US, for comparision.) "One day we will go back" is the saying, until "one day" becomes never or just a holiday to see the relatives. By then, they might have spent 30 years or more in Germany and yet have never made a true effort to learn the language or taken an interest in the city where they live. There are large Turkish ghetto's where you cannot hear a word of German. Although born in Germany, their grown children define themselve as Turkish. There is no such thing as a hyphenated identity there, because a hyphenated identy means that you have a second identy to hypenate it with. Afro-American or Hispanic-American is still part American. The lack of integration causes strife and unrest, as the youngsters are badly educated (language problems once again) and thus unable to find a job in Germany. As a result, they either go criminal or take the free ride on taxpayer's money.

Needless to say, handing out "free" citizenships to new immigrants in a situation like this is sheer madness.

Germany has enough Germans who are "social benefits nobility", ie whole families in the third and fourth generation who have been living on the dole since before its existence. We absolutely do not need more of the same. Thus the normal 8 year waiting period, where a foreigner has to prove that s/he can provide for hirself (and hir family) before applying for citizenship. It protects honest working folks who are productive members of society. As you see, the "discrimination" you talk about is done for purely practical reasons.

As US-citizen you can enter Germany as a tourist and then apply for residency while you are there instead of trying to go through the process in your home country. While it is true that it is hard to get a residency and work permit, it is not impossible. It all depends upon your skills, your ability to present yourself and your determination to succeed. You need to find an employer who really wants you. Then it is up to you to prove that you are special enough. That rare skill that is not readily available in the EU might be as simple as being a native speaker of English. Or the willingness to work odd ours in a shitty job with wages so low that no German or EU-national would touch them. To top it off, you can apply as many times for a residency as you want. If it does not work out in city A in 2006, it might work in county B in 2007.

BTW, I really like what Whitehead wrote, because the comparision between citizenship and family is very good. If I want strangers to like me, I have to make an effort to get to know them and befriend them. If I want help from them, I need to promise them help in return. The first change of "citizenship" is mentioned in the bible in the Book of Ruth, as Ruth declares to Naomi that "your people are my people now; for wherever you go, I will go " and thus becomes a member of the Jewish people and the first convert to Judaism.

So - forget about getting an instant passport. If you are determined, you'll find a way to become a EU-citizen. It just might take you longer - but in light of all the above that is surely justified.

The situation you describe is very present in Belgian society as well. Belgium has these Turkish ghettos as well, and people always complain about them prefering to keep going to mosques, wearing a head scarve, etc etc... result is 1million votes on the far-right party who wishes a 'pure' Flemish society.

Let me say you though that we're talking about a very small minority of immigrants who see their staying as a paid holiday. They may keep their own cultural background and still live in a somewhat Turkish way, but that's not wrong, on the contrary: it creates a multicultural society with diversity, which is exciting and necessary to avoid a monocultural society of identicals.

To be honest, I find those Turkish districts not disturbing at all and never felt unsafe going into those areas (which I often did in Brussels). What makes me sick honestly is the growing racism in Belgium, narrow-minded people who want the immigrants out and rather create an insular colourless society, people who generalise and see every Muslim as a danger. It makes me sick and ashamed to be born in that country. I find those Turkish districts okay, and as long as they speak German/Dutch/whatever when interacting with locals, then I find it not the slightest problem to hear them speaking Turkish when visiting their local in the Turkish district.

Europe is growing racist and people seem to want to go back in time to the era where society was insular and minorities and diversity were disencouraged. Being different from the mass myself (I am autistic) I feel very uncomfortable with the way Europe seems to be evoluating society-wise.

27. Posted by tzindaro (Budding Member 11 posts) 10y

There is nothing strange about getting married for legalistic reasons. That is the most common reason for getting married anyplace. Marriage is a legal contract, and your motives are not the important thing. You can get married to please your mother. You can marry to get your rich grandfather to leave you money. You can get married to fool your family into thinking you are not gay. You can get married to get a job that requires a married couple. You can get married because your church requires it. You can get married because you want a child. Whatever your reasons, a marriage is either valid or not, depending upon if all the conditions of a valid marriage are met. The reason some people get in trouble with marriage for immigration purposes is not that they got married for immigration, but that the marriage was not really valid. For example, if one of them was already married to someone else, or if they did not ever sleep together after the wedding, or if they did not live together durring the three years or whatever wating period after the wedding. But if all the conditions of a valid marriage are met, there is no grounds for denial of citizenship just because they got married for that reason, whatever the immigration officials may tell the public in interviews. If a couple were really living at the same address and the wife had a prescription for birth control pills, it would be very hard for any immigration Nazi to get up in court and claim they were not really married. Under international human rights treaties a married couple have a right to live in the same country, so except for the United States, which does not recognize human rights, no country can deny immigration to a couple with a valid marriage. And even the Americans do not yet bug bedrooms. If you have the right papers, including prescriptions for birth control, joint bank accounts, etc. they will accept it, at least if you are not Moslem. Arranged marriages, as practiced in many Asian countries may violate western laws because they are not voluntary, but if someone is literate in English or the language of the country of choice, and is willing to go to court, they can be certain of winning if the immigration Gestapo try to stop them. But in actual practice, I do not think any European country is too concerned about white, well-educated Americans moving in in such large numbers and going on welfare or taking unskilled jobs. That is not going to happen and they know it. After all, the Americans who want to move to Europe are obviously not doing it for ecconmomic reasons and are well-educated enough to be able to find Europe on a map. )Many Americans cannot.) As a Belgian citizen you can live freely in the U.K., so your problem is only symbolic, not a practical one. For symbolic purposes, check out www.worldservice.org for the World Passport they issue. As far as American attitudes are concerned, you might be pleasantly surprised to knowv that the Bushista regime is very unpopular with most Americans outside the part of the country called the Bible Belt. 80,000,000 Americans think Bush and his cronies were behind the 9/11 hoax and framed the Arabs to justify a police state at home and world domination abroad. In the two days after the last election the Canadian immigration ministry website got 200,000 hits. As for Belgium or anyplace else in Europe being too conservative, you should first try living in the American Bible Belt!

Quoting Gerrit_BE

I have not the time to read all of the thread, but...

First of all I find it a bit weird to marry someone just for citizenship reasons, after all marriage is supposed to be a sort of symbolic officialising of the emotional bond between two people. I doubt if many European men/women will want to just marry for helping to get someone a EU passport. Also, know that many countries investigate the sincereness of marriages with non-EU citizens, if they don't find loads of correspondence to prove that you really married this person because of love, then they can declare the marriage invalid and you won't get your citizenship.

That said, I understand your concerns. I too, often felt (or feel) that I was born in the wrong country, and I too would love to ditch my Belgian nationality. Unfortunately UK laws require to be here 5 years, so I just temper myself by considering myself European at heart instead of Belgian. And I understand your other concern as well ; without wanting to open a can of worms, I am very uncomfortable with the United States as a political entity and it feels good to see an actual American that sees through the lies of the government, it's nice to see that there's also Americans who are against the political paths of the USA. Basically I dislike all regimes practioning death penalty, so guess that fuels my discomfort with the US as a political entity (without having any problems with the everyday American citizen)

Anyway, in my native Belgium, there are special laws to gain citizenship in a very rapid way (= less than a year sometimes), and it does not even necessarily require you to marry a Belgian citizen. I am not sure how it works, having been born with a Belgian ID (unfortunately), but I know that there is a law making a special 'rapid naturalisation' procedure possible. I would advise to contact the Belgian embassy in the US: www.diplobel.org has all addresses and also information about emigration to belgium.

I must be honest as well though: I doubt if the country is that much of an improvement. Belgium is a very conservative and to be honest narrow-minded place. It has the most beautiful cities you can imagine, but everytime I feel somewhat homesick I also think of how much I dislike the path Belgian society is wandering. It is conservative, which may not be that bad, but it is also a very racist place, especially the Flemish side of the country. The islamophobia and amount of far-right voters make me feel deadly embarrassed of my roots. I never considered Belgium the place I belong, but at the same time I love it for the good memories of all those nice places. It makes me feel sour though that all my good memories are only bricks and buildings. Belgian society is worrying me a lot, and whenever reading an online Belgian paper and see the racism progress, I feel very very embarrassed.

So it is a country with good possibilities to get a rapid Belgian passport. However, question yourself first if it is much of an improvement. If I would have the option to ditch my nationality and get an Irish/UK passport quickly, I would not hesitate a second.

28. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

Im a bit late and cant be bothered to read all the nonrelated post stuff here :) Can anyone tellme - is there an alternative to marriage? Im a USAian and livin in the UK - my visa expires in 1 year and do not wish to go back until GB is outta there!! Is there a website where we (americanos) can find more info on this process?

29. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 10y

I did not wish to open yet another can of worms, but since coldwarspy asked so nicely:

The alternative to marriage is getting laid with an EU-citizen and produce a baby in the process. Since the baby has a right to both of his/her parents, the non-EU parent is given residency and often a work permit too.

Since I can already read the outcries this information will produce, I kindly request everybody to keep things civil.

Mods, feel free to delete this post if things get ugly.

30. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 10y

Maybe you should start looking on some of the online match making sites and look for your potential wife there, but marry her because you want the person for the rest of your life and not just because you want citizenship.

I know what you're saying about that moron president who is the modern day version of Hitler. Australia aint much better either because of George W Bush's influence on John Howard. By the time George Bush has finished his term of being Hitler, the whole of the developed world will be like America in the regard of why you want to leave and even some of the undeveloped world.

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 10, 2006 9:50 PM by aharrold45 ]