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We're Having an American/Danish/German-by-Association Baby!

Hey everybody! Big news: Ich bin schwanger or I'm pregnant! That means, if things stay on track, I should be having a baby in Berlin this summer. And not just any baby, but a half-American, half-Danish, and German-by-association baby. I'm already confused by this multi-country-combo and what this could all mean for the kid so I wanted to hash out the citizenship details with you all here:

According to United States Nationality Law, the rules for "Birth Abroad to one Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock", which is a pretty ridiculous way of saying a kid born abroad to a US citizen married to a non-US citizen, is automatically granted citizenship if the US citizen "was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required." So basically, since I'm a U.S. citizen and lived in the U.S. for 35 years, this kid will automatically have U.S. citizenship. Good to know. I will be sure to instill upon them legit American-ness including unlimited access to Disney movies, hotdogs, baseball, and a work ethic deemed completely unhealthy by every other progressive nation.

According to Danish Nationality Law, citizenship is granted "automatically at birth if born outside the Kingdom of Denmark and at least one of the parents has Danish citizenship." That means that the kid will automatically also be a Danish citizen since my husband (the father) is a Danish citizen. And since Denmark is part of the European Union, that also means they will have the benefits of being a E.U. citizen. But, I also read that this citizenship could be lost "if a person acquired Danish nationality by birth, but was not born in the Kingdom of Denmark and has never lived in the Kingdom of Denmark by the age of 22 years." To me, that just reads like either we're going to have to live in colder-smaller-darker-Denmark for a stint (I vote in the summer) or, when they turn 18, ship this kid off to receive the compulsory and complimentary Bachelors plus Masters degree Denmark likes to give all of their citizens. Maybe if I ask real nice they’ll let me get one of those too, who knows. What I do know is that as a half-Dane, this child will enjoy eating rye bread, will have to answer to Queen Margrethe II, and, with their inherent love for candles and hygge, will have a knack for creating excellent lighting schemes for any occasion.

According to German Nationality Law, "Children born on or after 1 January 2000 to non-German parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent: has a permanent residence permit and has been residing in Germany for at least eight years." We fulfill neither of those requirements. Neither one of us have a permanent residence visa here in Germany (both of ours are considered temporary) and we will only have been living here about 1 year and 4 months by the time this baby shows up, nowhere near the 8 years required. We don't know how long we will be staying in Germany but there is a possibility this kid will spend their first years living in Germany, going to German preschool (it’s called Kita), hearing German, maybe one day speaking some German, but they won't have German citizenship. Talk about confusing. I hope they’re at least able to appreciate the German mainstay of punctual and efficient transportation and Berlin’s excellent Turkish food. But for the sake of their health, I would not be bothered if they didn’t grow accustomed to Berlin’s disgusting and dated love for cigarettes and processed pork products. I imagine if we live here long enough the kid might also also develop an irrational love for castles.

So that’s the break down. This kid will officially be half-American and half-Danish, with an unofficial hint of German. I’m pretty excited about them having both a U.S. and E.U. passport, meaning they can travel, study, and work freely anywhere in the European Union or the U.S.. That is an amazing opportunity for anyone, in my opinion. Despite what many people from the U.S. probably think, Americans cannot work or live in any European country they want. And the same is true for Europeans who would like to work in the States. Receiving permission to work or reside in Europe is not guaranteed to U.S. citizens and requires tackling a lot of bureaucracy: paperwork, applications, interviews, and money. Even being married to an E.U. citizen doesn’t necessarily guarantee me anything. I’m thankful that despite any benefits my U.S. citizenship offers our to-be-born kid, they will also have things like guaranteed health care and tuition-free university education available to them throughout their lives. Not to mention the inherent coolness/James Bond-ness of having two passports! This kid still has 5 more months of being trapped inside me and I’m already jealous of it!


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