ast forward - now 2018. I am living in Germany and (still) trying to get all the documentation together. After hiring an attorney early in 2017 and getting a court order, I have finally received the amended California marriage certificate in January.
At this point, I think I have everything done and I want to turn the rest over to my agency to complete the process. There are still documents from Italy and France that need to be hunted down as well as translations. So, certainly, things that I cannot really do myself.
But in reality, I am still a long way off.
An email from my agency now asking for some forms to be notarized (some more amendments that need to be made). The issue is, I am in Germany. A quick response to my inquiry; no, a German notary will not work – it must be a US notary. I need to have these documents notarized at the US embassy/consulate. There is one in Berlin, one in Frankfurt, it seems the one in Hamburg (arguably the closest) is closed as is in the one in Bremen and Leipzig. Frankfurt is 4 h away by train and Berlin is only 2…so Berlin it is.
Looking online, I see that this is a complex process. In Berlin, they only do “citizen services” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-3:00 on a first come-first served basis. Also, you will not be let in before 12:30 (meaning you must line up outside) and no bags/purses/backpacks/or phones will be allowed in. Oh, and no lockers – meaning that you cannot store anything.
I book my train ticket and my Berlin mass transit pass for the day. I am conscience that I cannot bring everything I might want to keep me occupied on the train and I will have several hours between the time the train arrives in Berlin and the time I can get into the embassy. The day is cold, and most everything proceeds uneventfully except a U-Bahn stop – where I need to change trains – is under construction causing me to walk for 15 minutes to get to the other U-Bahn train line and missing my connection so I had to wait. Oh, and each notary costs $50 (!) so if you include the train ticket and other costs, and a day lost, this was an expensive undertaking.
I hope I don’t have to do this again…