Person with a "does not appear" citizenship. (IAMA)
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.