How hard is it to prove that I am married?

Man, having issues with Swiss bureaucracy. Getting quite frustrated so I thought I would let off some steam by telling you all about it.

Here is the story…

We arrived in Switzerland, 3 days later we went to the local government to register our intention to stay in Oberentfelden (and if we leave this town, we have to de-register and then re-register in our new town!). We also applied for Daniel’s work permit (which he automatically gets because he is married to me but has to ‘apply’ the proper way and wait about three months). The council wanted all our passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, Daniel’s job contract and a report from NZ to say that Daniel wasn’t a criminal. We provided all that plus ordered a couple of other things that I don’t understand but had to pay for! And fill out a lengthy form.

The local council then sends all this stuff to the regional migration office.

Well, since then, I seem to get a letter each week from these people. No, they don’t phone or email, they send letters by snail mail in proper complicated German.

First I was told that I needed to prove that I was born here (no – a passport, birth certificate, etc. is not good enough) They want me to give them a ‘Heimatschein’ a certificate that says where I came from, and my ‘forefathers’ too. Ok, so I ordered that, never saw it but paid the bill of $30.00 Swiss francs.

Then I get a letter saying they need me to prove that I am married. What? I only sent them our marriage certificate 8 years ago to register my marriage and then again to get a passport under my new surname. Grr. Don’t they have that in their records? And anyway they should have a copy of my marriage certificate from when the local council sent it to them a couple of weeks ago.

So I send them another copy of my marriage certificate (by snail mail as they requested).

Today I get another letter. They simply put it that that I am considered ‘unattached’ or ‘single’ by Swiss law. And a NZ marriage certificate does not prove that I am married. I need to get a ‘Familienbuchleins’ (family booklet) which proves my family consists of me, Daniel, Toby and Noah and no other children or marriage partners, divorces etc. Where do I get one from? Probably have to pay for that too. Man. AND, they say the reason is because bigamy is illegal in Switzerland and they want to prevent bigamy from occurring.

So offended and confused.

Well, 5 weeks later, I am back at square one. Going to the local council again to start from the beginning. It is dumb too, cos Daniel doesn’t get any of the benefits (cheap train tickets etc) until he has that permit.

Daniel and I are now considering what to do about my ‘single’ status, perhaps we can get married or maybe I could find another husband, maybe I will ask Toby and see what he thinks of his father and if he wants to keep him. Ok, totally joking. But it would be cool to get married again (to Daniel of course) and in Switzerland. I think my bridesmaids would wear purple, I would have a simple white dress and get married up some mountain surrounded by Edelweiss, eat Schnitzel mit Nudeli and dance the night away to the sounds of the alphorn. Hmm, wedding planner in me going crazy…

Ok, back to reality.

This is a full time job for me, all this paperwork. And having two kids to tow along doesn’t make it any easier!

8 Responses to “How hard is it to prove that I am married?”


  1. 1 Jessica

    Wow – nightmare. I think that chocolate tally is going to keep going up rapidly so long as you have these kinds of dramas. ;)

    When I moved and got married in Australia, and then later moved to the US, we didn’t have any issues, and the US is renowned for causing trouble in regards to immigration. Who knew the Swiss were so tough! Then again, they are sticklers for details!

    If you do get married again though, I would definitely be in favor of the purple. Take photos! ;)

  2. 2 Priscilla

    Wow crazy amount of red tape to get thru! Can’t believe they use snail mail so much there! Hope it all gets sorted soon :)

  3. 3 Sarah

    obviously the swiss aren’t treehuggers with all the paper work… that or your government owns large shares in a papermill and the postal service.

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  1. 1 Just a little bit of progress at The Adventures of Swiss Family Willis

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