Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bureaucractic fun

Germany is a funny country about certain things. And when I say funny I mean they are anal retentive about certain things..... and some of those things they also suck at handling... take bureaucracy for instance. The Germans are horrible at handling things of that nature.... kinda of reminds me of Futurama. If you have not seen any of the episodes of Futurama that deal with bureaucracy let me give you this short video to give you an idea:

I feel as if Germans give you paperwork solely on the basis that they like paperwork. One instance is registering your TV, because guess what? In Germany there is a TV tax, you have to pay a tax just to own a TV. They may come to your door and actually ask you how many TVs you own, and you will have to pay taxes on each one.

Now something that every Fulbrighter is required to do while they are here in Germany is to register in the city that they are living in. And if you don't... they know!! We received a letter in the mail just shy of living in BS for one month, it stated that we had three weeks to register with the city. They keep on top of these things, and you can't lie to these people.... I almost believe that they have tiny little surveillance bugs in every living place in the city. They are watching you!

And of course registering for the city isn't as easy as sending in a piece of paper, like all bureaucratic necessities you must do it in person. Luckily the professor that Mariko work for has a secretary that was able to help us with everything. This was our experience:

  1. We met her at 8:30am and walked down to the registry office.
  2. The office opened at 9am, and we were 20 mins early and the second person there
  3. By 9am there was over 40 people waiting in the small foyer for the doors to open.
  4. Ding doors open
  5. Mad rush from everyone to get into the doors as fast as possible, including old people trying to run over in the hopes they get your spot in line
  6. Everyone trying to figure out where to go- 1st floor was for nationals, 2nd floor was for foreigners 
  7. To the 2nd floor we go!
  8. 2nd floor is a long hallway with scary looking doors. Above each door are letters, random letters from what I can tell. You are only allowed to go to the door that has the letter for your last name.
  9. Door number 102 is for M. That door is not working, you must now take a number from the correct door on the list.. for us it was Door 103
  10. Wait for 5 people to go before us
  11. Enter (knock and then open) and give our info to the Civil worker.... wait what we didn't fill out the form?
  12. Take form back out into hallway to fill out.... luckily for us no one else is to be helped while we fill it out.
  13. Go back into room and give our info back to worker..... wait we have to go student section? Even with a non-student? Yep
  14. Go to different hallway, and take a different set of numbers.
  15. Wait some more
  16. Enter when our number is called and give information to new Civil Worker (including the ORIGINAL copy of Marriage license)
  17. Copies of everything made... 3 times
  18. Registry complete 10:45am
The length of time wasn't too bad considering it was a bureaucratic office... but much longer than I would have liked to say "Hey Braunschweig, we live here". That was all they wanted to know....


  1. Wow that stinks! D-dorf was much easier...filled out the form ahead of time, waited at the office for ten minutes and then registration took only 5. Sorry about all the BS (haha I am so witty!)

  2. We didn't have quite as much of a pain with the bureaucratic process of registration here in Berlin, but we too did not register right away. I swear, every time I deal with another bureaucratic thing here, I hear Joachim in my mind say, "Bureaucratic CRAP!"

    By the way, we finally got our online banking information from Deutsche Bank yesterday.