Hello dear reddit users, I've been born in Russia in 1995. And despite being born there, I have no nationality/citizenship nor even stateless papers. I'll further and largely explain my story so you can have a grasp on why the burocratic processes and differences in laws across countries can be a real pain in the ass. And if you want to ask something I'll try to answer as soon as I can.

Born in a taxi while my parents were coming back from their holidays travelling across the then-gone soviet russia, my birth certificate was registrated in the city Rostov-na-donu. 1 million habitants and near to Ukraine, it was there where my parents lived their whole life. In August of 1998 the economy crises arose in Russia, devaluating the ruble to a point of 1 dolar/6000 rubles became 1 to 36000 dolar/ruble ratio. Knowing that the economy would receive a huge blast, my parents sacrificed it all for a better future for me and my sister, and sold the house and everything we had so we could travel with all of the money we could gather to Argentina. Those were conflictive times for the russian nation, and Argentina was the only country that had their embassy open and expeding travel Visa's. My parents didn't hesistate on it and booked tickets to Argentina as soon as they could, so we flew there on February 1998.

Travelling to Argentina from Russia being 2 and a half years old means you don't need a passport to do it, and it's the only document you will have in Russia and they're given when you reach 9 years old. Well, I only got a nice appointment on my mom's passport in which it was written that I existed as a living thingy and I was travelling with my family. We don't treasure really much those times besides some anecdotes, like we still have a dictionary russian-spanish my father bought at the Rostov airport back in 1998. Still uses it after 19 years.

Argentina welcomed us well in a one bedroom apartment in Retiro, Buenos Aires, inside the metropolitan area of the "City". No long after, my father found a job as power shovel driver earning the minimum wage, and we moved 50kms outside the city to a cosy house in Monte Grande. That's when he began the procedure to obtain the legal documents to achieve better jobs as a driver or mechanic. Inmigration policies in Argentina were always welcoming. So, in about a year he left the job and began working as a mechanic at Cliba, the trash-collecter company, which operated in the metropolitan area of buenos aires. That same year my little brother was born, in Septembre of 1999. 2001 hit hard the economy of Argentina, making the ratio 1dolar/1 peso drop to the point of 1dolar/3 pesos (and nowadays it is nearly 1dolar/17.5 pesos or so). Exportations took it rough and foreing money couldn't be bought. We lived throught it once, so my parents began saving money for the future "just in case" and in 2005 they received the Argentinian citizenship. They became naturalized Argentinians, which meant they were Argentinians not born there, but still had the right to vote for the president and all the rights and duties that came with it. After receiving it, my parents decided that we must flee the country because it woudln't get any better (which happened with Russia), and we deceided to go to where all people prosper: Europe. My parents were insecure about their learning skills, given the fact they learned little spanish in 7 years living in Argentina, so a Spanish speaking country was a must for us. By that time I was 9 years old, and still hadn't any documentation besides my birth certificate and the non-resident documentation Argentina gave me on 2003. With it I could go to school and live normally. To become a citizen of Argentina you must be 18 years old, to swear for the flag and be conscious about your citizenship. And if you want to travel they can give you a foreigner passport valid only till you are 18 years old. That pesky document was my only valid option to travel to Spain and my parents obtained it in 2005. This document validated my existence as a citizen whoever I went abroad, and it did for a long time.

In june 2006, my parents took me and my little brother, booked tickets to Spain, and we all flew to Spain without any prior job contract, or apartment rent, or any kind of information about the legislation of the country on inmigration matters. Still don't know why, but I guess my parents have a survivalist complex wherever they go but without the "I will gather useful information " part. We lived here and there, travelled across the country for a place to definitely stay. In the end we finally arrived to Alicante, a mediterranean city 400kms of Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and all the world-wide know cities of Spain. Right in the middle. Here my mother found a "typical" job for foreigners, taking care of old folks living in apartments near the beach. In late 2008, 2 and a half years after we came to Spain the economy crashed when the real-state bubble exploded. As you can perceive, my family has a long story of ruining the economy of a country by just living on it with a charging rate of 2.5/3 years till the full effect works on. It also affects to hotels and apartments, but that's for another post.

Years later, my mother obtained the "right to live and work", the permission document or foreigner identification number (NIE), and with it mine and my brother's was trammited. In Spain they give you one that lasts for one year, then you renew it with one that lasts for two years, and finally one of five years that it must be renewed periodically. Turning point came in 2012 when my mother finally was able to tramit the spanish citizenship. I'll detail some points needed to comprehend the whole situation: -- My passport was due to expire on june 2013 with my 18ths birthday. Being it my ONLY valid document in spain, besides the "permission of residence" given to me thanks to my mother. -- That document had an expire date set to december of 2014. -- In spain only minors (below 18 years old) can get the citizenship by parenthood. -- You need a prior document to renew any document. DNI (national document), passport, census certificate, anything.

So, march 2013 arrives, my mother is accepted to have the spanish citizenship. Then on june 2013 my passport expires, and 3 months later my mother swears to the flag and gets the official spanish citizenship with the corresponding national identification document (DNI). As soon as my mother gets it, we go to the "civil registration" building, and a large debate begins for about 3-4 months with the final resolution of denying me a citizenship, hence the argument that I was older of 18 years old when the whole citizenship process my mother was in finally ended, regardless she was a spanish citizenship since march 2013, when I was 17 years old.

Funny times come, my passport expires and I am no Argentinian to have a new one. December 2014 comes with my "right to live and work" or NIE document expiring, and with it my final identificative document. Before that we explored what options I had with various lawyers and experts on international law (with red-cross, one that we paid for, ONG's that helped foreigners), and everyone gave us different solutions, which finally none of it worked. I needed an identificative document, to study in college, to live legally, and renew my NIE. The spanish one was the best option because living here I could be a normal citizen and live properly. I had other 2 options, Argentina and my natal nation: Russia.

Argentina had nothing to do with me. I just live there as a stranger and that's all. Being son of naturalized or converted Argentinians gave me no right to be one. So that option was discarded, as they confirmed with a document that said, briefly, "hah lol no". Russia was the other option, and oh boy. Russian embassy, whoever it is established, it's just a hellish mess. Embassy's administrators surely hate Russia so much that they left the country, but what they hate the most is russians, even if you are not one. Gettin russian citizenship was a "no no" since the begginning because of the mandatory army period. My parents didn't escape the motherland for a better future for us just to give me to the army at the first turn of events. But well, it wasn't needed, as everything went worse than we expected. We went to barcelona, I guess in early 2014, where the russian embassy designated to the mediterranean "provinces" was. We arrive there, we present our case of asking for my citizenship, and the guy there cheked the documents we presented and talked to his companions.

And the first thing he said was: "No.". A hard, dry "no".

My father speaks fluently on russian so he was the negotiator the whole time. It's fair to guess by my legal situation that he isn't the best one refering to laws, papers and burocracy. Also he hates city life and everything asociated with it, so much he was just turning red on anger and incomprehension as his beliefs of "this must be efficiently easy" were collapsing by the long-lasting burocratic process. The embassy worker finally stated that: -- 1) My father wasn't capable of representing me as a russian citizen, stating that his passport expired like 15 years ago and he didn't even try to renovate it. Also, he was Argentinian now (something he didn't mention just in case), but he couldn't represent me legally. -- 2) My birth document didn't seem REAL (wtf), because the apostille wasn't clear. I needed to get a new one. -- 3) I DIDN'T EXIST in Rostov's register, and when he checked with the Rostov's register center they said that there wasn't anyone with my register number born there. But it seem they may had lost me in 2004 when they traspassed all the paper documents to the database server. Messed up.

SO, we left the embassy and I wasn't spanish, nor argentinian nor russian anymore. The place I was born didn't recognize me as a citizen, so the ONLY option left was to get the stateless citizenship. You know, without a country. December of 2014 came, I had no longer the foreigner identification number documentation (NIE), so I applied for stateless recognition sending my petition to the office of internation affairs and assylum at the Home Department. I send them the argentinian document that stated they had nothing to do with me, a russian document that stated I never got a passport of any kind to Russia (original and officially translated to spanish), my expired documents and a petition signed and written by me. The russian embassy couldn't gave me a document stating they "lost me" until they found out that I was really not there, so that document was the best option I had.

Of course they responded "haha lol you're russian, fck you". Why? Because by 2002 ratificated law regarding to russian citizenship, those who are born in Russia are russians and have the right to get russian documents, even thought I didn't ask or had a previous russian passport. Couldn't get anything better. So here I am, with literally NOTHING to identify me as a human, as my birth certificate wasn't even valid to the eyes of the russian embassy. To me it was all just a bad comedy, and I was living in some kind of Truman Show because too much coincidences can't happen to the same person and give this kind of resolution. But well, gotta get out of it. I went to the national police office, explained my situation, the guy understood me, talked to the home department center, said that I must bring him EVERYTHING I had, translated and original, and every document stating that I really was someone with no documents at all and that I couldn't get one by staying on the country. I gave him all, months of processes and tramits passed by, and finally I obtained a "Registration card", which meant I was a living human. And on the citizenship part there was written "Unknown country". I always joked that I was a citizen of the world, and I had no citizenship at all. But now it became partially or totally true, since I didn't know what it represented. I applied for a NIE with my new identification document, and I was given one (finally) valid for five years, in which you can read I have a "does not appear" citizenship. That isn't even legal, I mean, that option is set on every Government form because it comes by default on the software. It really was ridiculous. Had to say, I could apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of continuous residency no matter my legal state, but my "census registration" expired before I could renew it with my new document, so 10 years living in Spain legally restarted as 0. And now I have to wait another 10 years (currently 8) to legally apply for spanish citizenship. Life, eh.

In the end, here I am with my "does not appear" document, living and breathing, studying at college and with the right to work or buy a house. I can't travel abroad freely, I need to get a special document every time I want to travel anywhere, with a 3 month prior period and explaining why I am going where, but well. It's something. As years pass, I'm sure something will happen that will alter my legal state, because something always happens. But at least I am happy with my current legal state, as I really identify with it. Never felt russian, argentinian or spanish. I like to feel outside and in of it all. A world citizen, human.

Here I leave all the fotographic evidence (with my personal data covered). Cheers:

Argentinian passport interior: http://imgur.com/D8fPfMK

Rejection of home department of stateless recognition: http://i.imgur.com/3pR0lvF.jpg

The cause of rejection ending: http://i.imgur.com/DWGkMvq.jpg

Registration card: http://i.imgur.com/MI3QJ7N.jpg

"does not appear" document: http://i.imgur.com/LAOCaMX.jpg

Argentinian foreigner document outside: http://i.imgur.com/t9BWWp0.jpg

and inside: http://i.imgur.com/ArNXkFm.jpg

birth certificate (blurry): http://i.imgur.com/t1lw9kT.jpg

Argentina saying they can't give me citizenship: http://i.imgur.com/efL8TQv.jpg


--Speaking with my parents about this, gotta point out some details:

1) Back in 1998, babies and little children needn't a passport to travel abroad, but nowadays they have a passport with their footprint.

2)When going to the embassy I was underaged, so I couldn't ask myself for an investigation about my lost birth certificate, and my father couldn't represent me as a russian citizen since his passport expired long ago. However, they asked for it because we insisted and the reply was that I never asked for a passport before or ever had one, so I couldn't get one, that I wasn't on their registry.

3)Even if they found me on Rostov's register, I would still need to travel to Russia to obtain my first passport, and I couldn't travel abroad at the time (with no exceptions) without a previous passport. Couldn't even book tickets for it.

4)And even if I had gone there (somehow ilegally), I would be instantly sent to the mandatory army, and stay for a period of 1-2 years on Russia, losing my right to come back as a legal citizen to spain because I would turn 18 in Russia if that happened. I would have lost it anyway while waiting for my passport and coming back, because my census registration would be expired without me being able to renovate it, so when coming back I would have to live in Spain for ten years again, and study or work to obtain the right for the spanish citizenship.

5)Now that I have a registration card I can ask for a travel paper and fly abroad, but for a limited time (I believe the maximum period I can stay outside the country is about 6 months or so). And I have no relatives that can support me in Russia. Also, now that I am in this state, receiving russian citizenship would only give more problems, as it woudln't change the 10 years period state I am in right now to obtain the spanish citizenship.

Comments: 37 • Responses: 14  • Date: 

ironman8229 karma

first off i wanted to say you did a great job telling your story in english and you have this cool russian english spanish mix going on def understood everything but can tell the russian and spanish influences. second i think you should enjoy your status and hey at least if "they" are looking for you they might have a hard time finding you! i bet you can just buy some fake passport and go from there but i also heard that like you could buy a real passport from the venezuelen embassy and maybe you cant anymore but i bet you can buy a real deal passport from other corrupt embassy. so can you do me a favor and after the spanish economy collapses can you let me know where your family is moving next so i can avoid that place too?

SteamRide15 karma

Hahhahahah I think our next "objective" will be Poland, so be careful if you go there in about 4 years ;). Economy in Spain is still recovering from 2008 construction crisis, so it is already vaccinated of us. You can come here whenever you want :D.

TeaShores9 karma

It was an interesting story to read, thanks for sharing. A few questions: would you prefer your parents stayed in Russia then? What languages do you speak? I can see your English is wonderful and I assume your Spanish is fluent, however, your dad had to help you with Russian? Don't you speak Russian at home?

SteamRide11 karma

Thanks for the "your English is wonderful" part, wasn't very confident while writing it. And...

a)would you prefer your parents stayed in Russia then?

Answer: I guess that if I was raised there I wouldn't mind, but since I experiencied 3 different cultural views, I appreciate my present "open-mindness" and the experiences I live, which would have been censored in Russia.

b) What languages do you speak?

Answer: I speak and think in Spanish mostly. English comes with my digital part mostly, as it is spoken in most of the media I consume. Also I read and write on "Valencian", which is a local language here were I live.

c) however, your dad had to help you with Russian?

Answer: They only taught me to read the alphabet when I was 3 years old. The spoken part I learned it by speaking with them my whole life and corrected a bit my accent by speaking with russian people I met throughout my life. In Argentina and here we were mostly secluded from russian interference so the russian I speak is partially mixed with spanish.

d) Don't you speak Russian at home?

Answer: Yep, I do. We only speak in russian since it's the language they are most comfortable with.

the_bubbleh3 karma

What a wonderful read! I'm the opposite, I have two citizenships. If I could I'd give you one!

I'm assuming once you get your Spanish citizenship, you'll be able to live anywhere in the EU as well. I'm not entirely sure if an obtained citizenship differs from a "birth right" citizenship, but I believe you still receive that right.

Your story is very interesting. What are you studying in college?

SteamRide3 karma

hahaha like my mother, she has 3 citizenships now. Wish their were "sellable". There's no difference between one citizenship or the other, you obtain the same rights and duties as any citizenship else. I can live anywhere in the EU right now, I guess, but I can't vote for anyone anywhere, neither have any parlamentary "seat".

Right now I'm studying Multimedia Engineering, which is a mix of web-pages and videogames, and planning to do a master/postgraduate on artificial intelligence; and then the physics degree in Barcelona.

Thanks for reading it, btw :)

the_bubbleh2 karma

Oh, that's good to know! I wish the best of luck on your journey to a Spanish citizenship!

Oh wow really!? I'm studying almost the same, but it's more back end, so Hardware and software engineering! I'm hoping to write my thesis about artificial intelligence!!

SteamRide2 karma

Thanks! Now the only thing I have to do is wait, or to marry someone (haha), or ask another country for a special citizenship, but I guess mediatic solutions aren't the best and surely not the easiest to get.

Oh man, that's so interesting. I will write my career thesis next year too about AI, focusing on strategic AI for games and developing mine, or maybe neuronal networks for gaming (as there are few games using these techniques). Good luck on that!

annuges2 karma

So your family basically just showed up in Spain without any real preparation and just told them "we want to live here" and they let you in? Did it help that your parents were Argentinian citizens and Spain having some special relationship with South America (although I don't think there were really involved in Argentina)?

Or did you guys live there more or less illegally at first and managed to switch to proper status later on?

But good on you for finding an outcome that works for you. Since your new ID should allow you travel in the EU at least you won't be locked into Spain for the next eight years. I can understand that you are not pushing the Russia angle too hard. From what you wrote in my understanding you are definitely Russian citizen but I guess it doesn't mal sense to fight hard to make the Russian government understand that.

SteamRide2 karma

Like most inmigrants, you don't need to justify why do you travel to the country, just the amount of time you'll stay. If justification is needed you just show up as a tourist, find a job and stay. As you say, we stayed for a while legally as tourists, but then achieved a proper status later on.

It helped my mother to obtain spanish citizenship earlier because of the iberoamerican treatment. With it you can apply for citizenship when 5 years living legally are reached, instead the 10 years minimum for every other country.

I'm not thinking on "fighting" for a russian citizenship, at least till I am 30 years old or so and the mandatory army inscription expires. There could be solutions earlier but thanks to misinformation it all turned out like this. Thanks for reading it, btw.

satiric_rug2 karma

This was an incredibly interesting read - thanks for sharing your story.

Are there any consequences because of this that you didn't expect - e.g., random papers you couldn't fill out or bars that wouldn't let you drink without a "proper" ID?

Also, from all the moving around you've done, what kind of accent do you have?

Thanks so much!

SteamRide7 karma

Thank you for reading it! Now it doesn't affect my daily life, knowing that now I live legally, but it's a cool story that I can tell when meeting people. (Really burn that cartridge off). At bars no one asked me for an ID since... I was 15 due to my height, and in Spain you can legally drink when you turn 18.

Funny story is, by mistake also my "medic card" is a pensionary one, and I can't marry or travel anyone, but not planning on doing it anytime soon.

And my accent is kind of a mess too because I adapt really fast to my envirorment, that much so that at a music festival I went with people with a funny accent of a town nearby and ended speaking like them in 5 hours. But I have a "linguistic lazyness" in spanish, and here they differentiate S, Z and C sounds, and I pronounce them all as S (like in latin america spanish), and I was born with my tongue glued to my palate, so I pronounce the R like germans/french do. So, kind of a messy french/german spaniard that lived in south america for a while.

1d0nt3v3nn02 karma

Do you have to apply for documentation to travel inside the EU?

SteamRide3 karma

Across the EU I believe it's not needed, because of the mobility treaty across countries you don't need a passport to travel between EU nations, so with my NIE it's enough. But to travel abroad the EU I need a VISA and a special permit, called "travel paper" given to those with a registration card. Also, thanks for reading the text.

zebra_humbucker1 karma

Excellent and gripping story. Will you consider yourself Spanish after you eventually get citizenship? Do you plan to leave as soon as you get citizenship?

SteamRide3 karma

Probably, but not as soon as I get it. I'm planning to keep studying on for 14 years, more or less. But surely I want to travel to attend the erasmus program (which I believe I can right know) or to visit other countries. Then when my career is fully formed, work wherever I want, no matter the country.

I guess I won't ever consider myself from a country or patriotic ever. Now I believe that countries don't held ideals, and if they did noone of them would held all of mine. So I'd rather consider myself just like a human, without patriotic etiquettes. My afinity to a country only comes with how much people I care about are living in there, but not by the cultural similarities I could have with the people that live there.

zebra_humbucker1 karma

You stance on national identity is very interesting.

Do you follow any sports? If so, does that mean you feel no affiliation to any national team during international events, e.g. the football/rugby world cups or the Olympics?

SteamRide3 karma

I am in no way a sports guy, and hardly ever followed any of them besides if you accept Chess as a sport (and even so not hard-followed it). I'm curious enough to have watched soccer, basketball, american football, tennis, and so on; but don't like any of them in particular.

I don't follow the Olympics either, but last time I watched it I valued more the performance of every participant, applauding those who seemed to do it better or with more effort, without regard of the country he/she was from.

ustase1 karma

I wouldn't consider myself a patriotic person either! It's cool how you consider yourself a citizen of the world.

Really hope your siblings have had better luck. I'm guessing your little brother is Argentinian by birth, but how about your sister? Is she still Russian?

SteamRide3 karma

My little brother is Spanish now, because he was underage when my mother was granted her citizenship, and my sister is just visiting us right now. She built her life in Argentina and she lives happily there. She's Argentinian too since 2005.

feuerrad1 karma

Your story reminds me of one from America which I learned about on an Episode of Radiolab(http://www.radiolab.org/story/invisible-girl/). Alecia Pennington has lived in America all her life but has no identifying documents, and no way to obtain them.

She made a video about it a few years ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPtpKNyaO0U

I was surpised to hear about her case, doubly so now with yours. Do you think there's more people in a similar situation out there, as unlikely as it may seem?

SteamRide1 karma

Her case is much worse. I mean, she is in a really bad situation. Her restrictive parents rendered her resourceless, without a chance of getting superior education, a job, anything. At least I can live through a normal life with some "minor" lack of free-ness. But she is unable to... nearly anything that needs identification.

But she got out. Reading her facebook page she finally made it.

And yes, there are a lot of people in this state. People born from crazy parents about the government or the system, people that lost everything on paper and have no digital record of any kind due to warfare or just by accident, people that are "erased" from the registers in little towns, etcetera. It's not common, but stateless recognition exists.

GoatHerder30001 karma

I read all of it, what was your school life like?

SteamRide2 karma

No troubles, besides the average teenager problems. Studied in Argentina till 4th school grade, then passed in Spain to 6th grade, and it was not much of a change considering Argentina's school preparation was higher than here's. I always fitted in the typical description of average weird guy, so hadn't had much trouble through high school, and lived lots of experiencies. My stateless nationality form didn't affect my relationship or school performance. However I was worried when college started, as I couldn't enroll without a document, and had to "bypass" college to get in.

ryannapoleon-24 karma

Do you really expect anyone to read that massive wall of text? Edit your thoughts my friend.

SteamRide10 karma

Not so massive compared to a book, and I hope so now knowing some have read it.

readysetjojo8 karma

I found it all relevant and well written. Worth the read.

SteamRide6 karma

Thank you :)