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Man without a birthday: Passport shows an „X" instead of birth date

Man without a birthday : Passport shows an „X" instead of birth date

Hassan Abu Shayeb from Sankt Augustin has been fighting for years for a correct entry in his identity card. The year of birth is written in there, but instead of day and month there are four „X"s. And that creates many problems.

Hassan Abu Shayeb has lived in Germany for 21 years. Born in Syria, the Jordanian came to Bonn in 1999 and received German citizenship three years later. Since that time, the 44-year-old has had a problem: only his year of birth, 1976, is entered on his identity card and passport; the day and month are not shown. The letter "x" appears four times.

Because he has problems with this in some situations, he wants a new ID card with his date of birth on it. But all attempts to get new papers have so far failed, both in his former place of residence Bonn and in Sankt Augustin, where he now lives with his wife and seven-month-old daughter. He has not yet been able to find out why his date of birth is not completely recorded. "However, I can prove my birthday with my birth certificate, marriage certificate and a letter from the Jordanian embassy in Berlin," he says.

Problems with travel and room bookings

When he goes on holiday abroad, he is treated "like a criminal" on entry, says Abu Shayeb. During the check at the airport in Antalya, Turkey, the inspectors even laughed at him. There were also problems in the USA, Belgium and France. If he wants to rent a room, as he recently did in Berlin, where he wanted to work, it doesn't work out because the date of birth is not complete. Airbnb demanded that he scan his passport, but did not accept it. "Even if I want to activate a new SIM card, an ID card is now required. Mine is not accepted. Then I'll have to run it through my wife."

Hassan Abu Shayeb initially lived in Bonn with his German ex-wife and his three daughters, now 21,19 and 15 years old. But the marriage failed. During an argument, his wife tore up his certificate of German citizenship, as he relates. A document that might help him today. He did not get a replacement.

Wish for clear circumstances

He came to Germany to work here and "improve his life", he says. This has worked quite well so far, even though he has been registered as unemployed since the beginning of August. Until then, he had various jobs as an unskilled cook. Now he is looking for a new job. It is quite possible that he will have difficulties again if he has to show his ID card. "I did not receive a corrected identity card in Bonn. This was refused. Then at some point I resigned." But now he wants to create a clear situation at last.

Abu Shayeb has been living in Sankt Augustin since December 2014. His passport valid today was issued on 30 March 2015, his passport on 16 October 2018 - in Sankt Augustin. Shayeb cannot say why the day and month are not shown in it. He stopped by the passport office in Sankt Augustin several times. According to his own statement, the staff there referred him to the Foreigners' Office of the City of Bonn. "That's where I'm in the system, and that's where it has to be changed, because that's where the mistake was made," says the 44-year-old. In Bonn, on the other hand, he was told that this had to be sorted out in Sankt Augustin. "All I get is sent back and forth.“

Existing data were transmitted from Bonn

What happened there, and what is behind the "X's"? At the GA's request, Sankt Augustin's alderman Ali Dogan, also responsible for the Citizens' Service, took up the matter in order to clarify it. "It's positive that a year of birth is entered," says Dogan. The available data had been transmitted from Bonn. It is possible that something had been determined in the naturalisation process. He is no longer able to reconstruct why the entry of the date of birth in the registration register was rejected. He assumed that Hassan Abu Shayeb had not yet been able to submit a certified translation of a birth certificate with a legalisation note to the Bonn office. "If he has this in the meantime, he can present the original at the Citizens' Service and will receive the date of birth changed," Dogan promised.

He suspected that Abu Shayeb had made this effort only for the notarisation of the children as otherwise they would not have received a birth certificate. "If his birth certificate is correct, I see no reason why the complete date of birth cannot be entered in the register of residents.”

The General-Anzeiger presented the birth certificate of Hassan Abu Shayeb to Dogan. "It seems that the date of birth has been entered in full," said the alderman. Should the years of attempts now come to a happy end the 44-year-old will vigorously celebrate his then "first" correct birthday.

Original text: Michael Lehnberg. Translation: Mareike Graepel