Germany offers visa-free access to 177 countries and territories out of a total of 218, as stated on the article I linked above. That sounds promising for business people whose jobs are traveling a lot to many countries. That fact sounds tempting for those who are into traveling for fun, who consider traveling is their food for thoughts, their complete desire.I myself have been asked some questions related to citizenship and passport.
Many of my friends have asked me whether I have changed my citizenship, now that I have lived here in Germany for 4,5 years. When I stated my answer, they were somehow doubtful. I assume that what they know after all this time is that when one has already lived in a foreign country for a year or two, let alone longer than that, s(h)e will most likely change the citizenship. The fact is changing nationality is not merely a matter of how long you have stayed in a foreign country.
Is your daughter Indonesian or German?
As of I am writing this,Indonesia still doesn’t recognize or allow dual citizenship yet.If it did, of course I would gladly have the German passport alongside my Indonesian one.Our 3,5 year old daughter has two passports; Indonesian and German. German nationality law is based on a mixture of jus sanguine or right of blood and jus soli or right of soil. In other words, one usually acquires German citizenship if a parent (in our case, the father is a German) is a German citizen, irrespective of place of birth, or by birth in Germany to parents with foreign nationality if certain requirements are fulfilled. Based on that fact, our Princess has the privilege of holding two passports. She can hold her dual citizenship until she is 18 years old, unless I decided no longer to be an Indonesian, she would be automatically lose her Indonesian citizenship.Oh by that time, I hope Indonesia will have allowed dual citizenship!
I am sure there are some fundamental reasons that ‘force’ people to let their Indonesian passports go. I have an Indonesian friend here who works in a dentistry, I don’t remember on which year she told me she started working here in Germany, but she told me that she was not allowed to work unless she had a German passport(that must have been a long time ago, because I have many Indonesian friends too here who can work in almost any fields now).So, she got to let the Indonesian passport go, and decided to be a German passport holder. She is married to an Indonesian, who has been living here I guess more than 15 years, but decided to keep the Indonesian passport.
Another case is from a friend when I took a German course here in Germany 4 years ago. He is from X country (for the sake of privacy, and safety I did not mention the country), and he told me he was happy that he is now a German. He told me the disaster happening in his country, and what happened to his brother. He admitted he did not want to go back to his country where there was nothing to hope for the better life. In the end, he said ‘Ich liebe Deutschland, oh Ich liebe Deutschland.’, and I saw a beam of happiness on his face. A conflict within a country is a possible fundamental reason for someone to change her or his citizenship.
Is that okay not to change to a German citizen?
Believe me, I’ve got a lot of this question as well when I go back to Indonesia. Fortunately, as far as I am concerned that there are no laws that force someone to change his or her citizenship even if that someone has lived in a certain country for 50 years or more. There are no laws that tell me to change my citizenship or else I would be kicked out or I would not be getting the same facilities as the locals.Some countries don’t complicate people who want to have naturalisation. For Germany, one has to live here for at least EIGHT years and holds a permanent resident before she has the right to hold a German passport and finally travels easily without the hassle of visa applications.Sounds tempting? it does!
Why don’t you change? Isn’t that nice compared to having Indonesian passport?
Yep! Another question comes up! Some of My Indonesian friends seem less pride of their Indonesian passports, because they think it’s often problematic when they have to apply holiday visas to certain countries. It’s probably true!
I have mentioned above one fundamental reason why I even don’t bother to check the requirements of how to be German citizenship. My curiousity level is not even there at all. I am however glad that I am already a permanent resident here. My ‘German ID ‘ (Aufenthaltstitel) -Niederlassungserlaubnis,does make me proud! Yeaah finally!
Being a permanent resident is not the same as being a German citizen. Permanent residency refers to a visa status; the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. So visa is not needed anymore! I only need to show my permanent resident ID and my valid passport; Yes, my Indonesian passport that I always need to prolong every 5 years through an Indonesian embassy in Frankfurt.
Holding an Indonesian passport somehow gives me a beam of pride! Oh, yes, I am a foreigner here who mingle, acculturate, and assimilate! I am one of those Indonesian people who feel proud of my country, no matter what. Some people say, you can still love your origin country even if you have become a German by paper, not by heart. Exactly!, in my case, I would say I hold my Indonesian passport for as long as I live I guess. I am willing to take all the hassle with visa applications to countries, which require me to have visa before I can enter their country. I keep my passport to let my daughter realize that she will be forever connected to Indonesia where her mom is from. I keep my Indonesian passport, because in the meantime, I do not find the significant reasons that make me change to be a German passport holder. I would consider it a careless decision, if ‘Traveling will be easier’ is the reason of changing your passport.
So, even German passport is the world’s most powerful passport, the questions are how often you are traveling, how much time you spend visiting those 177 countries, are you living nomadenly? To me the temptation of traveling to many countries without hassle will not beat my determination to be an Indonesian citizenship. It’s the sense of pride I still have of this powerless passport, yes my Indonesian passport.