That Time I was Married… But Not

C’mon, Holland, make up your mind! Am I married or not?

To fill everyone in…

Our marriage is not recognized here in Holland. So, here, we’re just friends living together. ‘”Partners”as the Dutch refer to it. In order to get the marriage legalized, we need an apostille stamp from the Secretary of State (as in the one in Maryland, not Condy Rice or — in a few days — Hillary).

After a long journey (perhaps I shouldn’t have had the post forward all mail to “Tiffany Jarman” to the Netherlands), we have said stamp and Hubs went in this past Thursday to the gemeente (city hall) to have our marriage certificate —¬†complete with apostille stamp — legalized. Here’s where the you-know-what hit the fan.

Right now, Gemeente Utrecht is back-logged where marriages of Dutch to non-Dutch citizens are concerned. Whereas it usually only takes a few weeks to complete the process, it may now take a few months. After his visit to the gemeentehuis, Hubs stopped by the Immigration Department where he learned the following:

Every 180 days, a foreigner is allowed to stay 90 days in Holland, spread out or consecutively, on a tourist visa. Once those 90 days have accumulated, that person is not allowed back into the country for 3 months.

We did not know this. My 90 days expire on March 7th. At this point, we have no idea when the marriage will be legalized, but if I hang out here and it takes longer than March 7th, I have to leave my home, husband, and dog for 3 months. To avoid this, I’m coming home to the U.S. and staying until Hubs gets our marriage certificate back from city hall and we have the go-ahead to apply for my residence permit.

Once we’ve applied for my residence permit, I can stay here indefinitely (well, unless they don’t approve me, at any rate). But we can’t apply unless we’re both single (which we’re not in Maryland) or our marriage is recognized in the Netherlands.

So I have plans to return in February to avoid the expiration of my 90 days, but no return plans until I hear from Hubs that the gemeente has recognized our marriage in Holland. Keep your fingers crossed that they’ll finish before long!

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