From time to time I am asked what administrative acts are undertaken in my capacity as Honorary Consul for Germany within my district, which includes the conurbations of both Leeds and Manchester.
Firstly, some background. The Federal Republic of Germany relies on a network of over 300 Honorary Consuls worldwide, 18 of whom serve in the United Kingdom. Honorary Consuls are volunteers who do not have to be German citizens. Honorary consuls do not receive a salary for their services and may combine their official role with private activities. Aiming primarily at securing the interests of Germany and its citizens in the United Kingdom and fostering the relations between Germany and the United Kingdom, Honorary Consuls support and complement the work of the German Embassy in London and the Consulate General in Edinburgh in a broad way. They are responsible for consular duties, cultural cooperation, promotion of trade and commerce, as well as building a positive and modern image of Germany abroad.
The following list sets out my principal consular activities:
- Passport applications
It is possible to apply for a German passport in my Leeds office.
Passport applications are normally dealt with in Leeds on Wednesdays, strictly by prior appointment. Please note that, due to the high number of enquiries, appointments might sometimes be given for a date that is up to two months after the date of request.
The applicable fees, including an additional consular fee for applications processed in Leeds, are fixed by Berlin in Euros but have to be paid in British Pounds. The amount varies frequently due to fluctuating exchange rates, so applicants are recommended to check the German Embassy website, shortly before their appointments.
During the appointment, all copy documents produced by the applicant are compared against all the original documents brought by the applicant and then certified. All relevant personal data is taken digitally, including finger prints and a facial photograph, and forwarded to the Embassy in London within 24 hours. Normally, a new passport is issued in Germany within 6 weeks. The time needed for processing applications depends entirely upon the German authorities and cannot in any circumstances be influenced by the Honorary Consul or the German Embassy in London. Following receipt by the Embassy, new passports are then forwarded directly to applicants by special delivery post.
The Honorary Consul can certify signatures on a document for its intended use in Germany or on applications for certificates of Good Conduct (i.e. no criminal convictions). The current consular fee is fixed at Euro 15.00 (to be paid in British Pounds).
When certifying signatures for powers of attorney and declarations of ratification in connection with the purchase or sale of property in Germany the consular fee is calculated by reference to a statutory fee table, by reference to the value of the underlying legal transaction.
The consular fee for certifying the authenticity of copies (as compared against original documents) is Euro 10.00 for up to 10 pages (to be paid in British Pounds).
- Name Declarations
Due to its complexity, the completion of the form for a name declaration is undertaken by the Embassy in London; nevertheless, all signatures and copies of all original supporting documents can be certified by the Honorary Consul. The current consular fee is EURO 25.00 for certifying the signature and EURO 10.00 for certifying copies of up to 10 pages.
For all questions related to Name Declarations please refer to the information provided on the Homepage of the German Embassy at: http://www.london.diplo.de/Vertretung/london/en/07/04__Name-Declarations/0-Namensrecht-Personenstandswesen.html
- Pension matters
Recipients of a public pension from Germany must normally produce an annual life certificate to the pension provider. The signature of the pension recipient on the relevant form can be certified by the Honorary Consul, free of charge.
- Renunciations of Inheritance
From time to time heirs wish to renounce their inheritance in relation to German estates. As a general rule, the heirs can declare their renouncement to the competent German probate court within six weeks after being informed about the death and their entitlement as heirs. The deadline is six months in case either the heir stayed outside of Germany (irrespective of his/her actual residence) at the time of death or if the deceased had his sole residence outside of Germany. All signatures on the relevant form must be certified by the Honorary Consul. The current consular fee is EURO 20.00
After certification of the signature, the form has to be sent to the competent probate court (Nachlassgericht) in Germany. In case the heir has children, the right of inheritance would usually pass on to them under intestacy rules and they would have to sign a separate renouncement form. In case of children who are under age, their legal representative(s) (i.e. usually both parents) will have to sign. In some cases the approval by the family court is necessary to renounce for children. The family court’s approval has to be submitted to the competent court of probate within the above mentioned deadline. The family court’s approval is not necessary in cases when the minor becomes an heir where the parent, who legally represents the minor, has renounced the inheritance.
The Honorary Consul unfortunately cannot offer legal advice regarding inheritance matters including the legal consequences and validity regarding a renouncement. You are therefore kindly asked to check with the German court directly whether the form has been received and accepted within the deadline. If necessary you may wish to avail yourself of a lawyer for detailed legal advice and further assistance.
If you require an appointment with the Honorary Consul please apply by email or post to the consular assistant as follows:
Consular assistant: Mrs Sue Mageean
Address: c/o Gateley PLC, Minerva, 8th floor, 29 East Parade, Leeds LS1 5PS
Appointments for all consular matters other than passport applications take place by prior appointment at above address without long waiting times normally Thursdays between 9:30am and 4pm, other than on Public Holidays and annual leave days.
Appointments for passport applications normally take place on Wednesdays by prior appointment at the above address, between 9:30am and 4pm, other than on Public Holidays and annual leave days.
Honorary Consul Green and consular assistant Mageean look forward to your visit.