Never ending bureaucracy in German(y)

Although, I am a citizen of a neighbouring EU country (Belgium), I can certainly confirm the never ending paperwork that I had to complete to have a 'normal' live in Germany.  I moved to Germany 9 months ago, finally I see the light at the end of tunnel of bureaucracy.

The latest example was a letter from the 'Deutsche Rentenversicherung'.  The cover letter was 14 pages long. Of course, all in German.  In summary, the Deutsche Rentenversicherung requested a detailed description of my working history going back to 1979.  As a Belgian citizen all that information is readily available with their colleagues of the Belgian social security.  No no, a form had to be completed, with the usual number of boxes to be ticked, etc, etc... The name of the document was 'E207 DE Angaben uber den Beschaftigingsverlauf des Versicherten' with an equally kind reminder 'Bitte Hinweise auf den Seiten 3 und 4 beachten!".   Of course, there was an attachment with the title 'E 202 Einlegeblatt 8 BE'.  That document had to be completed if you had been married more than once (not married at the same as is common in muslim countries, but married subsequently). Funny enough, you could tick the box if you had been married : once, twice or three times (!). The next question was even more hilarious. You had to declare whether you were widowed or not.  Again, you had to option to tick a box, once, twice, three times or even four times. To be fair, what is the likelihood that you are widowed 4 times ? It must be common in Germany I guess.

I had to sign, date and stamp(?) each document and send it by courier to them. Of course, as a good citizen, I completed all documents.   

I am lucky as I have very friendly German colleagues who help me out with the paperwork.  I can also confirm that they are embarrassed to see the never ending flood of documents coming from Germany authorities.

This country has a bureaucracy worse than India.

Hmm, I heard the same kind of complaint from foreigners living in Belgium (your home country).
In fact, I think, bureaucracy is too much everywhere in the world. (Even in Singapore, which is ranked to have the most efficient administration in the world and where I lived for 12 years, the complexity of formalisms has increased in recent years.)
Unfortunately, complaining about it won't change anything. Exaggerated administrative demands existed for ages and will continue to haunt us also in future. In case it is a (small) consolation, it could be worse: Read Franz Kafka's "Der Prozess" (written in 1914/15).

P.S.: Data protection laws prevent German authorities from getting the information your home country systems already know. You have to fill in all these forms again to protect your private details from abuse. Really! (Sarcasm alert!)

Good idea, let's move to Singapore ! I love it there but still the local leaders are dictators. Please be aware that that the German authorities do check/exchange data with other EU countries (f.e. both the tax man and social security) despite what data protection laws let you believe.

It is not fun to fill out forms but the purpose is that you get the proper retirement. There are agreements between countries on such things. The alternative would be that there would be no agreements and no exchange of information - and then you would have to fight to see if you would ever get retirement money from the countries you worked in earlier. And of course there is an exchange of information about taxes and retirement paid, how else do they calculate things properly and stop fraud? Any expectation of privacy in such matter is naïve. Like filing taxes, one has to give in information about one’s income. You can’t just claim privacy and avoid reporting. Not in Germany nor any other country. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of privacy laws.

And since it can impact one’s situation, why should there not be multiple boxes available to check off about marriage partners or being widowed? This is no way suggests that people have had many partners, it merely gives one the opportunity to report it if they did. What do you suggest; a form where one can only fill in having been married once? So what would the people with multiple marriages behind them do? Better would be an open possibility where one simply lists all marriages and cases of being widowed regardless of number. And of course the forms are in German in Germany, what else would one expect? Belgium, like Switzerland has multiple official languages because it citizens are from different linguistic groups. Most countries have one language and conduct official business in it.

It's no fun, but you get used to it! The paperwork generally slows down to a trickle after a while :)

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