Wow, that was quick!

I sent a letter off to my ancestral home in European Union Country X on February 12 to request the birth certificate of my long deceased ancestor.  I need this document to complete my dual-citizenship application.  Today I got a response.

Gulp!  I about swallowed my tongue.

This document arrived from EU Country X *faster* than all the documents I have sent for inside of the United States.  With what I have heard about the incredibly bureaucratic method of conducting business with EU Country X I expected I would never hear from them and that I would have to actually travel there to retrieve this document.   So I was pleasantly surprised to make this discovery in my mail box this afternoon.

Maybe I got a response back so fast because I wrote the letter requesting the document in the language used in EU Country X?  Thereby they sent a letter off to this American promptly since I had the respect to conduct business in the native tongue instead of English.   I suspect if I had been rude and written in English that I never would have received a response.

Let this be a lesson to my fellow ugly Americans – if you are conducting business overseas, be a goodwill ambassador and do your best to conduct it in the language native to the country you are visiting.  You will likely be rewarded with better service and respect for making the effort.


6 Responses to “Wow, that was quick!”

  1. hooray for dual citizenships! i will warn you, it can be a pain. last time i renewed my american passport they denied me based upon their records saying I wasn’t a US citizen infact I had no citizenship. Funny how that works. After sending in all previous passports and a letter with copies of birth certs, they finally found it in their hearts to send me a new passport. 😀

  2. Gee, sounds harsh. Me, I think I’ll conveniently forget to tell them that I’ve done this. From what I can tell the only way they would find out about it is if I suddenly departed to live in the EU and stopped paying taxes for a number of years. Then again, they would know I left and didn’t return based on entry/exit at border crossings. This is something I’ve been trying to figure out is how to leave the US on my US Passport and enter the EU (or anywhere else) with my EU Country X passport without raising suspicion.

    I’m sure there are little traps everywhere. Just this morning my boss told me to watch out for double taxation. Near as I can tell the US is the only one that taxes its citizens when they live and work overseas. However at my level the agreement is not to pay taxes unless the income exceeds $70,000 in a year. With the crappy exchange rate I could see how that could happen. *shrugs*

    As for passport renewal. I think I’ll just plan to renew my US Passport and have the new one sent to a US address. IE if I’m living abroad, renew it when I am visiting the US and send off for it here. I can have my folks mail it to me abroad.

  3. So I guess you are a Euroman now. If you go to Europe you will have the run of the place. LOL. Just don’t forget your American Heritage. We once were a country to be proud of. (BB)=before bush. I hope Clinton will be able to restore some of our respect. President Clinton sounds good to me. Bill will make a nice first ladyman. hehehe!

  4. I’m not there yet Ed. I still have about 18 months to go. I have to get paperwork back from the US Government, amend one of the documents I received (it has an incorrect birthdate), and get an appointment with the consulate of EU Country X. After that I get to wait some more until I know that the papers have been filed in the town where my great-grandfather came from. Once that is done, I can send for my citizenship document and get a passport.

  5. OH, Oh my mother had an incorrect birthdate on her Social Security records. It created ten times the hassle we expected. Finally she had to relent and change eveything over to the new incorrect birthdate. Then S.S. office were happy. Only then did they begin to send her checks. Bureaucratic assholes know no bounds.
    It is a shame that you get stuff back from —– fast and the U.S. send documents by snail power.

  6. I think the US authorities send all this stuff on Federal Express 3rd month Yak.

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