Imagine not meeting your family for almost four years. Yes, the thought of it gives you goose bumps, doesn’t it? Samer Al-Hakim, a Syrian software engineer, living in Germany has experienced it. Al-Hakim last met his family in 2013 and then at the end of 2016 all because he became a German citizen and got his hands on the world’s strongest passport.
Samer Al-Hakim went to do his master’s in the telecommunication from Germany in 2009. The degree was for two years, after which he was supposed to return to Syria in 2011, but the Syrian war broke, and he couldn’t go anymore. His family who lived in the Damascus decided to move to one of the Gulf countries around 2013. The last time he went to Syria was in August 2010 during his summer break from the university. After his family moves to the Gulf country, he visited them once in 2013 after his mother passed away.
After that, it became challenging for him to visit family since he held a Syrian passport. Refugees from Syria sought asylum in the Gulf countries often crossed borders illegally. So any hope of meeting his family was dead. It took a toll on his health and was admitted to a hospital once. That’s when he decided that he didn’t want to give up and thought about becoming a German citizen. In 2015, he became eligible for that and petitioned for citizenship. Syria doesn’t let its citizens drop their citizenship, so he went for the dual citizenship.
Flying to meet his family
In October 2016 Al-Hakim took his oath and applied for an express German passport. He got it within four working days, booked tickets and met his family for the first time in four years. Al-Hakim considers meeting his siblings and their children as the most significant relief of his life.