Last week, Paul and I went to the U.S. Consulate to report Maggie’s birth and apply for her passport. With Max, we applied for his straight away when he was two weeks old because we had no idea how long it would take for him to receive it, and we needed it to return home to the United States.
Since I know you are wondering if she has dual citizenship, no, she doesn’t. Neither of our children have dual citizenship. In Germany, you only qualify for citizenship by blood. Or, if you have lived here for seven years, you can apply for citizenship. A funny little quirk on that rule is that a friend of mine who lived here for seven years was able to get dual citizenship for her child when he was born, though neither she nor her husband have German citizenship. Once our children are here for seven years, we can apply for citizenship for them, but I believe they would have to choose between the two countries as adults.
I’m getting off point however, so back to passports. We had to get the kid’s photos for their passports, which are good for five years. Because everyone knows that an infant is very representative of what they are going to look like a year later, much less five. The photos couldn’t be just any old photo of their face; oh no they have to be biometric photos with mouth closed, no smile, eyes wide open, and no obstructions.
A two week old baby only keeps their eyes open for a few minutes a day, so I originally tried to take the photos myself. Here are examples of my first attempt at photographing Max for his passport photo.
I thought I did a pretty good job at meeting the biometric requirements, and I even had them sized right for the biometric requirements, but we couldn’t get them to print out to the right size on the do-it-yourself photo printer at the photo studio. So we finally took him into a photo studio to have them done.
Max adamantly slept the entire time we were trying to get his photo taken. He slept through fire truck sirens on the street; he slept through my mother and I undressing him. We tried turning him upside down, everything. Nothing woke this kid up. Of course the whole time I was wondering why wouldn’t he sleep like this at home?
Finally, we had to leave the studio and come back when he was awake. Of course a two week old baby is usually only awake when they are hungry and want to eat. And, if you don’t feed them right away, screaming usually follows, which doesn’t work out so well for the biometric photo either. Finally I was able to feed Max back to calm, and we got the photo which will represent him for five years.
And just for kicks, this is what Max looks like now, two years later.
With Maggie, I wasn’t going to mess around. I took her straight to the photo studio, and got her photos taken and printed out. Only I forgot they needed to be a different size than the standard German passport photo, so I spent 16€ on photos that are too small, which of course I didn’t realize until the night before our consulate interview. However, now we have six perfectly darling biometric photos of Maggie.
So in desperation, since there are no 24-hour photo studios here, I did the only thing available to me, I tried to do the photos myself. This time I had a photo printer, granted it is a cheap photo printer, not commercial quality, but I would be able to get the photos the right size this time. Anyone, who has tried to photograph a two month old, knows how difficult it is to get them to smile for the camera. Of course, when you are trying to photograph them not smiling, they seem to do nothing else but ham it up for the camera.
We weren’t sure if the consulate would take a home-printed photo, but they were quite happy with them, so, this photo is going to her passport photo for the next five years.