Saturday, October 2, 2010

At The End of the Day

At the end of the day, it's all up to me. At the end of the day, it's all about me. And why should it be easy to move to another country and prepare for a life there? Why should said country make easy for me to move there and eat up its resources? Belgium doesn't know me and has its own people to take care of. And so, at the end of the day I have to do everything I can to get through the paperwork, red tape and bureaucracy, just like a foreigner would have to do to move to the US. I'm a realist and realize this. This is my reality.

There's so much information on the world wide web about love and travel, and I happened to find love while traveling. I happened to fall in love with a Belgian and plan to move to Belgium. I also happen to be a woman who refuses to ever take no for an answer if I really want something.

I've been running around in circles and getting all kinds of (sometimes wrong) information but I won't give up. Nothing good comes easy and I have something great so I will keep pushing until I am recognized and living happily in a country as foreign to me as Belgium.

When I started my research and begged for information like a bum on the streets, I was told there were four options:

1. Have a job ready when you get there. Meaning, if a company in Belgium wants to hire you, they must provide paperwork to the local Employment authorities and submit documentation for your residency eligibility in Belgium (basically you get a work visa type residency). It should be good for a year, if not two. You will not only need the work visa to get a Belgian Visa...you ALSO need to get an FBI criminal background check at 1 Police Plaza (near Ground Zero). This is great, except the job search is unbelievably hard even with the network of people I've built up over there. And honestly, I can't expect any decent company to believe in my "love" and give me a job 3-4 months before I'm supposed to even move there. So this option #1 is dead now.

2. Get married right away - in the US. City Hall in NYC does it for you in one day if you your passport with you and $35. Once you get your marriage certificate from NYC you must get it translated/authenticated and then notarized/apostilled (right across the street how convenient). You must also get your Birth Certificates, and whatever other documentation the local City Hall in Belgium requests translated then authenticated then notarized then apostilled. Once all this is done, when your ass gets to Belgium, within ONE WEEK, you MUST go and start the registration process at the local city hall. US and Belgium recognize each other's marriages but that's IF you've got all your documentation in check. To be valid in Belgium, and recognized as such, the marriage celebrated in the United States of America needs to be validated in Belgium by the Civil Registrar. There is also medical documentation needed as well.

ONCE YOU START the registration process, you MUST stay in Belgium for 6 months for the process to be approved at the end of all the paperwork.

3. Get married right away - in Belgium. Yes, the US and Belgium accept each tIt's not just about marriage. It's about getting the PROOF of marriage right once you do it. Also, Belgium requires documents that don't even exist in the US (proof of being single?! Like, ummmmm...but you never know what they'll ask for until you get there so ). Meaning, just because you physically get married in Belgium doesn't mean t takes anywhere from 3-6 months to get everything registered and recognized PLUS you must live together for 6 months to be eligible for anything.

In order to do this, there has to be a PARTNERSHIP CONTRACT made so that we can be ALLOWED to even stay in Belgium for 6 months (otherwise, it's 3 months maximum out of 6 months, and once you leave the country, the Marriage registration, etc...is null and void.) And the thing is this thing called the Partnership Contract is an Option #4 but there are so many conflicting reports on how valid this contract actually is and the expiration date on it (some ay 6 months and some say there is no expiration date, but it's not like I'm going to trust in this alone and "hope" my ass doesn't get kicked out of Belgium after six months) so again, at the end of the day, there are only 3 real options.

And then, if/when you do get married in Belgium (which is harder to do than get a nun to participate in a gang-bang): you MUST stay in Belgium for 6 months for the process to be approved at the end of all the paperwork.

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So. On top of everything else (and to make things more complicated) I was born in Korea in 1975 where there were no Birth Certificates issued, just something called a Family Registry which my parents had translated and authenticated and the whole nine yards when they wanted their marriage to be recognized when they got to the United States. Which is great, I have that original documentation, but it was done in 1984 SO who the f*ck knows if Belgium will accept it and so now I have to drag my momz with me to the Korean Consulate here in NY and ask them if they can help in any way and gosh, I'm not a pessimist, but all this is really trying me.

But, I refuse to give up. Besides, if I've learned anything from Moulin Rouge: "Love is a many splendored thing, Love lifts us up where we belong, All you need is love!" + A Hell of a lot of work!

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