Thursday, February 27, 2014

In search of an EU passport

For me, a passport for an EU country would be a gift from God, the holy grail, a map to Shangri la. So many fears and anxieties about staying in Europe would be lifted if I could somehow get my hands on that lovely burgundy booklet. Unfortunately, the countries that I have resided in, Denmark and Germany, do not make it easy. At all. 

To qualify for permanent residence in Denmark, one has to to first qualify for a residence permit and then keep it for at least 5 years. Only then are you eligible for a passport from that nation. Considering that even getting a residence permit in Denmark is, in and of itself, a great feat, keeping one for 5 years seems to reside in the realm of impossiblity. 

Germany also has a 5 year residence rule required for permanent residence, but it is possible to have this waived if you are a highly qualified immigrant. 

I have not lived in any one place for five years and while I think of myself as extremely talented, others have refused to refer to me as highly qualified. Therefore, obtaining permanent residence at this point in time seems unlikely. 

That was, until I remembered my father.....

My mom, dad, older brother, and great grandmother

He and my mom separated when I was really small and I have had no relationship with the man since then. No birthday cards, no well wishes, no child support for more than 25 years. But, he was Portuguese. And Portugal is part of the European Union. So there is the smallest sliver of hope that I can jump over the waiting periods and other arduous requirements and procure that sweet piece of immigrant gold. 

Since he and I had no relationship, this route is only marginally easier that my other options. To obtain my Portuguese citizenship, I have to prove that he was one. That means finding his original passport or naturalization papers and Portuguese birth certificate. Then I have to prove that he was my father by providing my long form birth certificate and my parents' marriage license. 

A preliminary search revealed his petition for naturalization. From there, I have to track down his naturalization application to find out where in Portugal he was born. Then I have to contact authorities in Portugal to request his birth certificate. The search also revealed that he passed away in 1997, so I'll have to supply a copy of his death certificate along with my birth certificate in order for them to release such sensitive information to me. Is your head spinning yet? 

I have no idea where this adventure is going to lead and I have no idea if it is going to be successful. But considering that I packed up all of my belongings and made the trip to Europe with little more than a hope and a dream, this part seems easy. And the worst thing that could happen is I discover more about a part of my identity that has long been ignored. Fingers crossed.


  1. Fingers crossed for you Hallie! Lots of love!

  2. Thanks Karen! I'll keep you posted

  3. Sending up my prayer! This would be incredible!!! It'll take time to collect the documents, but keep at it. You'll manage and it'll pay off.