Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Spanish citizenship for Sephardic Jews
- Interested in becoming a dual Dutch/American citizen
- Trying to get British citizenship
- Dual Citizenship-German/American
- Renewing my Dutch passport after becoming a US citizen
- Daughter born in the US; parents are British and Australian
- German dual citizenship for baby - how to start the process
- South African parents, baby born in the US
- Can my son have dual US/British citizenship?
I am interested in figuring out how to get my kids Spanish citizenship with the new Sephardic Jews law. Has anyone started this? Can anyone recommend a person or synagogue to help with the process? It is very confusing for a person who is not fluent in Spanish. I am hoping to do this for my kids and not myself since I am not fluent Spanish speaker.
There seem to be lots of FAQ resources online, including www.rhodesjewishmuseum.org. I don't know though, it sounds kind of hard and not geared to kids (see the exam + special connection to Spain). How about you or your husband (whichever of you is Sephardic) do it, then the kids can easily get it through you? We just went through something similar-ish to get Irish citizenship for our kids; my American-born husband already had his and it was still a lot of work. But, maybe I'm just jealous since I happen to be descended from conversos so it's not an option for me!! Plan B mom
Hi there, I'm US-born to a formerly Dutch mother and interested in becoming a dual Dutch/American citizen. I can do it from the NL side; if you are an American who's become a dual citizen, do you have any advice? Thanks!
I'm not a dual citizen myself, but my son is, so I know a little about this! Firstly, if you were born here then you are automatically a citizen. If your mother was born in NL then you should be able to get a NL passport - if you have a passport, you are a citizen. Since you say that you can arrange it on the NL side, that seems to be all you would need to do, so I'm not sure you need further advice. Good luck! T
My wife is going through this exact same process right now and can share her experiences with you. We just got back (yesterday afternoon!) from a visit to the Netherlands and she worked on it a bit while there.
My father is a natural british citizen, and still lives in the UK. I am over the age of 18, and was born in the US, to an American mother. I'm trying to get my British Passport. I've been trying to research this online, and file the appropriate applications, but I've found it to be very challenging. Can someone tell me if there is any place in the US i can contact with questions? Or, recommend the process for me to go through? I've found numerous websites but they haven't been very helpful. Lily
You need to call the passport office at the British Embassy in Washington DC. http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/passports/
Both my son (US born) and I have dual citizenship and the embassy staff have been very helpful with navigating through the paperwork, etc. to get our passports. Sara - UK and US Citizen
My husband obtained dual citizenship (U.K.-U.S.) for himself and our kids recently, though his circumstances were different than yours. He worked through the Home Office http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/ and the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. It took a long time, and the forms were sent back over and over again for more documentation, but he finally got the passports. Whether you qualify depends on the circumstances and what year you were born. You can download the forms and start the process, but expect it to take a while. I think it's well worth it -- he and our kids now have the ability to work and live anywhere in the EU or the Commonwealth. Carrie
Have you tried calling the British Consulate in San Francisco? Here's their website: http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/other-locations/sf/ My husband tried this a few years ago but it was not possible because the request had to be made before he was 35 years old. Good luck. Anne
I posted in the last newsletter that ''My husband tried this a few years ago but it was not possible because the request had to be made before he was 35 years old.''
I learned today that the law around becoming a British citizen based on having a British parent has changed since he tried. It changed in 2009, and there is no longer any age limit, at least if your British parent was your mother and you were born before 1983. (The change is to rectify the unfairness that before 1983, only men could pass on their British citizenship to their children born abroad, not women.) It was reading the other answers in this newsletter that prompted me to do some more research. This is really important information for my family that I would likely have never known except for this newsletter. Berkeley Parents Network Rules! Anne
I have a 15yo son whose father is a German citizen (lives in Germany). He was never a part of my son's life until he was 12, and even then, it has been through letters, emails, phone calls and Skype. But they do talk once a week and he helps financially. They have had regular contact for 3+ years. OnJune 20, my son will be flying out to Germany to meet his father for the first time. (I lived with his father in SF for 3 years but left when I got pregnant and he moved back to Germany-my son was born in the US).
I want to get my son Dual Citizenship so that he has as many opportunites as possible. I did investigate the laws regarding this. It states that any child born after 1993, whose Father is a German citizen can obtain Dual Citizenship. I plan on going to the German Consulate in SF, but I wanted to see if any other parents/parent has gone through the process, are you glad you did? Do you regret it? What questions should I be asking myself and the German Consolate?
Another question: my son has my last name. His father is on the birth certificate, and I am looking at changing my son's name to reflect his father's. I would just add his fathers last name as a middle name, giving my son two middle names and keeping our last name, or should I do the hyphen thing? My purpose for this was two fold, to make it easier on the Dual Citizen process and so my son can identify with his German roots better. Mom to a half German kid.
Hi, My mom through the same process to get me French citizenship (she is French and I was born in America). I think the process was a bit of a pain, but I am so grateful that she did it. I really appreciate the fact that I can travel more freely and even move to France (or anywhere else in the EU) and benefit from the safety net that the US just doesn't have. Personally, I don't really advertise it since some Americans are really patriotic and could perceive the dual identity as a lack of dedication to America. Regarding the last name, I would talk to your son and see how he feels. He might be pretty attached to his last name. You might also have the option of using his father's name in Germany and your name in the US (which would be really handy since it might help him keep his identity here and still feel more ''accepted'' in Germany. Good luck! Dual Citizen
I'm a dual national, English-American, and I secured dual-nationality for my daughter (born in Berkeley 2 years ago). It's very straightforward, it's not about building a case for citizenship. This is something the child is entitled to if one parent is born in Europe. Proving that the father was born in Germany, and his name is on your son's birth certificate, that should be all you need (plus all the processing fees). The best way to apply for citizenship is to simply apply for a German passport. I wouldn't recommend changing his name solely for the citizenship process....it's not necessary - unless, as you stated, it would be for cultural reasons.
I recommend going ahead with the process. It's fairly easy - and the payback is enormous. Your child will have the advantage of access to school, college and work in other areas of the EU, not to mention the travel process is easier. I take two passports with me, travel out on the American, into the UK with the British!
Having said this, I'm talking from experience as a British national. I assume the same EU process applies to Germany, but they may have their own red tape to sift through. Rachel N
Maybe you plan to do this anyway and just didn't mention it in your post, but if it was my 15-year old, I would definitely consult him or her before making any changes to the name. It is *their* name, after all, not yours!
I can't speak to the passport issue, but as to changing your son's name, you will have certain restrictions. When my German sister-in-law married my brother, she could not take a double or hyphenated name on her German passport. She could stay Greta Ann Gershwin or become Greta Ann Jones but a combination was not allowed. She ended up dropping her middle name and becoming Greta G. Jones. Perhaps this is different now, but I would check before going to a judge. Greta's sil
I am an Italian Citizen, married to an American. We have two daughters: the older already has dual citizenship/passport, the younger is a newborn and I'm in the process of getting her an Italian passport. The process is likely the same for German citizens, since both Italy and Germany belong to European Union.
You will need to get an Apostille on the birth certificate. If your son was born in California you can get it from the California Secretary of State office in Sacramento. There used to be an office in SF, but it was recently closed.
If you want to modify the birth certificate, however, you should probably do that first, and it is not a quick process. I have to correct my daughter's because I found an error: I requested the forms 2 weeks ago and I'm still waiting. The amended birth certificate will consist of two pages: the old and the new (corrected) certificate. Once you have that, you can get the Apostille.
Since the father is the German citizen, but he is not in the US, you need to ask the German consulate what kind of paperwork they need from him.
I hope this helps. vmf
My partner is also German and we got German passports for our two children when they were infants, also at the Consulate in SF. We are not married, the children have my last name, my partner is listed on the birth certificate -- so it sounds like a similar situation to yours, other than that my partner is physically here which probably made it easier. I don't remember the exact details of the paperwork but I imagine you will need the proof of your child's father's citizenship (hopefully a copy of passport will work? but of course you will find out). I think dual citizenship is a wonderful advantage to give your child, especially now when being a German citizen allows you to work anywhere in the European Union. My partner and his siblings are actually dual citizens -- Germans, but born in the US -- and it has been very useful to them. Only One in the Family with One Passport
About 5 years ago (when I was still a Dutch citizen), I renewed my EU passport. Since then I have become an American citizen but would like to renew my Dutch passport, as it will expire in the fall. Does anyone out there have any experience with this? I have looked on the Dutch consulate website for the steps to do this, but it looks sooo complicated. I guess they really have no reason to make it easy on you. Basically, if you don't have a green card/permanent resident card, you have to renounce your US citizenship and THEN you can renew your EU citizenship? The lady at the consulate here in San Mateo has been zero help and very rude. Any sage word of advise would be greatly appreciated!
My husband has dual citizenship (U.K. and U.S.) He was not required to give up either one. I don't know how it works for the EU, but I would keep trying to talk to people until you get a solid answer. If the first person you talk to at the consulate doesn't help you, then ask to speak to a supervisor. Dual citizenship is a real bonus, and not something you want to give up easily. Anon
I am a little confused by your post. i have dual french/american citizenship and this has been a non-issue for me. When your dutch passeport expires you simply follow the steps to renew it. it's the same for everyone weather you are a dual citizen or not. unless maybe it's different with holland than france but i would be surprised. magaliusa
I have dealt with that woman in San Mateo - rude indeed! My mother has retained her Dutch citizenship and not become a US citizen because Holland does not allow dual citizenship, I think, unless you are a US citizen by birth who then additionally obtains Dutch citizenship (in my case because I have a Ductch parent who is still a Dutch citizen). In this case, you have to complete a relatively short form that I got by contacting the Dutch consulate in LA. They then base their decision on that. Good luck! Anon
I am Dutch as well (hoi!) and have been a green card holder for about 20 yrs now. Last year, when I needed to renew my passport, I was told by the same lady at the Dutch Consulate that I could have both citizenships. I haven't done it yet, so I'm curious to find out what others have to say about your issue. But I wanted to let you know that over the years I have had to deal with this lady at the Consulate numerous times and she's horribly rude. I have several Dutch friends and they all complain about her. You're not alone :))) Groetjes, Joke jj
I asked my Mother-in-Law about this, since she is a Dutch citizen but has been living here in the US for the past 30 years. Here is what she wrote to me:
''I can give some advice! This person should skip the lady at the consulate in San Mateo. I believe her name is Joy or Joyce. She IS rude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the word ''service'' has never entered her mind and I have dealt with her since 1983. A ''Joy'' she isn't!! Even last month when I went there to renew my already re-issued Dutch passport she gave me a very difficult time. Fortunately I had all the paperwork with me from my dealings with the L.A. Consulate (five years ago) and I was able to drop the name of the vice-consul, and the fact that I had met him in person, etc, etc. and I had an official paper with me with a stamp from the L.A. consulate.
''Five years ago I went straight to the consulate in Los Angeles when I wanted to have my Dutch passport re-installed. Tell him that he can google their website, email address and telephone number. Tell him to talk to Mr. Nico Van Vemden. The process might be difficult. They will email him the required forms if he is eligible. Person X should always keep his/her American passport, because if you own any property/bank accounts in California, and you are not a citizen, the State of California will acquire it when your spouse dies. The Dutch Government will re- issue your Dutch passport when they are sure that you are not going to be dependent on their social system. I had to notarize all documents, from birth certificate, wedding certificate, husband's birth certificate, tax information, bank accounts in the U.S., etc. So it is a long process. With all those papers I personally went to Los Angeles, to make sure that this ''Joy'' would not ruin it for me.
''I hope this all helps.''
If you have any more questions feel free to email me and I can put you in touch with my MIL and she'll help you.
My husband and i are working in America on visas and we both hold British and Australian passports. My little girl however was born here and we got her a US passport as we are travelling soon and it seemed the easiest option. I'm not sure what the best thing to do is in terms of applying for dual nationalities - can she have all three? Will we run into problems later if we dont bother applying for UK/Aust citizenship for her just yet?
An Australian friend recently pointed out that if i take her back to Australia on holiday, she wont have automatic health cover there until she becomes an Aust citizen - this was a wake-up call for me as i had never even considered this (I'm getting her travel insurance just incase). Has anyone else been in this situation? I want to avoid these types of unforeseen complications.
If it's relevant, we dont intend to stay in America long term but dont really know where the next move might be either.
Any input appreciated Erica
Speaking only from experience....
To get British citizenship of your child you just need to get them a UK passport after you get the American one, I don't think there is a time limit, my friends oldest who recently did it was five and a half at the time. My buddy's father is from Jamaica and she could only have two citizenships so I think you may have to choose when the time comes.
If I was traveling back home to England I would get health insurance even though I am a British citizen, aside from not paying stamp duty for a few years now, I just think it's a better choice to be prepared than wish I had.
Good luck! Rachael
Can she have all three: Depends on who you ask and which website you check out. You'll find conflicting answers all over the web, and I am sure you will get conflicting answers from the BPN. It's just part of dual citizenship, sorry!
Waiting on applying for citizenship: not sure if it will cause you problems, but why wait?
Regarding health insurance for only Australian citizens, again, why wait on applying for citizenship?!? Do it now!
Regarding coverage in Australia for your non-citizen daughter, why not check with your health insurance company that is based state-side and ask, ''Is my daughter covered in Australia if we go there on vacation for 4/6/8/x weeks?''
I've sort of been in this situation: our German health insurance company insists that we cannot cancel our policy until we submit proof of new health insurance... so... this means they'll cover us in the states indefinitely? Good luck figuring this all out! kevin
Our kids hold 3 passports - US plus 2 others (my husband is bi- national and I am US). It's never been a problem at all and is actually very common these days for people to have dual or more citizenships. Go ahead and apply at the consulates here in SF. The paperwork is a bit of a headache but you definately should do it.
Mom of tri-national kids
I'm Australian - married to an American. Our kids were born in Oz and have dual citizenship. The earlier the better for sorting this stuff out. The consulate in SF is pretty helpful with these questions and giving them a call, or even just checking the FAQs on the web site, will be worthwhile. The more passports the better!I am the only member of our family who has just one. Trish
Ooo your daughter has the 'triple crown' (US, UK, AU), how she will be envied when she's older.
I am British (husband is American/Israeli). When my son was born it was important to me that he have dual nationality/passports, mainly as a safety issue (you never know where is safe in the world), so I checked into the citizenship situation. Essentially as your daughter is your daughter she automatically gets British citizenship, in fact the ONLY way Britain would 'denounce' her is if when she's 18, she formally denounces her claim to British Citizenship. To get her UK passport you just need to send a copy of her birth cert and yours (and/or your passport) to the British consulate in DC, and within about 6 weeks she'll have it.
Not sure if this is the same for AU, but as they generally follow the same law it probably is.
However officially the US does NOT allow any dual etc. nationality. Not that they ever do anything about it.
To be honest as the US requires that you pay taxes on your earnings if you're a citizen, no matter what country your in, or they were earned in! If she settles somewhere else it's probably the best to give up.
Secret Agent #0489
I'm a dual citizen of the US and a South American country (my parents are American and I was born in South America). Now my children are dual citizens even though they only visited my home country for the first time a couple of years ago. I did not obtain birth certificates or passports of the South American country until a number of years had passed, and in my older child's situation we will need to travel back to the country to regularize her citizenship because we didn't do it when she was younger. Obviously each country has their own rules regarding obtaining birth certificates and passports--in my situation I wish I had done it when my children were newborn, as it would have been a lot easier than getting it straightened out now.
My recommendation would be to get at least one of the UK or Australian citizenships in place now, particularly since you don't imagine your family living in the US long term. In my opinion, you'd want to give your child the advantage/security of being able to visit/live in one of your home countries without having to deal with citizenship issues later in life. Like being a dual-citizen
I am American and my husband is Swedish. Neither of us lived in our home country when our children were born. We both went to our respective consulates and applied for passports for the children. So our children have both American and Swedish citizenship. It is very straightforward. You can look up information on the consulate websites. It should tell you how to apply. I do not know about Australia, but for Britain and America, it is no problem to have dual citizenship. Again, it will probably tell you on the website. As a British citizen, I believe your child may be entitled to some money. Ours, just by virtue of being born there, was given an account with £250. It is some kind of savings account which they cannot access until they are older.
There can be issues with having more than one citizenship, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Also, if your child doesn't want one of the citizenships, he/she can always get rid of it later. And of course, there is health care in Britain, as well as Australia, as well as potential retirement benefits. 3 better than 1
My husband is a resident alien from Germany. We have a 9 month old son and are interested in applying for dual citizenship for both of them. I'm wondering if they are any ex-patriots out there who have dual citizenship and how did they go about applying for it, how was the process (difficult v. easy), and were there any costs involved. I have looked at the S.F. German Consulate website where they say it's possible to have dual citz. but they don't clearly state how to start the process. Thanks! Kim
The US allows dual citizenship and so does Germany (the German citizenship laws just changed on this). For your American born child, just take his/her birth certificate and fill out a passport application form (available online at the US state dept website) and go through the whole application process. You should not have any problems with this at all - any child born on US soil is automatically granted US citizenship period. Regardless of the citizenship of his/her parents.
The U.S. has absolutely no problem with you or your child having dual, triple or quadruple citizenship -- you do not have to renounce citizenship of the other country(ies). But some countries -- India, I think, and Italy until a decade or so ago, among many others -- will not allow you to hold multiple citizenships.
Triple citizenship holder Anon
If your child was born in the U.S., he or she qualifies for American citizenship. Rules for dual citizenship for U.S. citizens vary, but in cases in which one parent is from the U.S. and the other from another country, the child always qualifies for dual citizenship. Parent of triple citizenship children
I've heard that the U.S. will officially tolerate dual citizenship with only two countries-- Israel and Ireland. The U.S. will force any child at age 18 to choose between U.S. citizenship and any other country's citizenship.
That said, I know lots of people who ostensibly chose to keep the U.S. citizenship but hung onto their passport from the other country.
There's an immigration lawyer in SF named Jim Mayock who's experienced in European immigration issues.
''Expatriate'' (''from another country'') is not the same as ''ex- patriot'' (''formerly loyal''). anon
I have dual US/UK citizenship and my kids have dual US/Mexico citizenship. For us, it was simply a matter of bringing their birth certificates along with their Dad's Mexican passport down to the Mexican consulate. The Consulate then issued us Mexican ''birth certificates'' for each, which we can use to get them passports. That was it. The process is probably easy for German citizenship as well - as long as your child qualifes for German citizenship. The big question is whether your child does qualify. You need to find out the citizenship rules for Germany. For example, does Germany recognize a child as German if only one parent is German? Do you have to be born on German soil to be a citizen? Assuming your child qualifies, there should be a way to just register his birth with the German consulate here. You can call them for details. One thing you might want to look into though is whether German citizenship carries with it any obligations that you don't want to subject your child to. For example, I believe, but am not sure, that all Germans may be requried to serve one year in the German armed forces or doing civil duty. That rule may or may not apply to a German citizen living overseas but it's something you would want to know! Been There
My husband is German and I'm a U.S. Citizen. We successfully applied for and got a German passport for my first son two years ago, and are now working on it for our second who is 6 months and will be traveling to Germany in September. I have to admit that I haven't done the work for the passport myself, but my husband got the application from the German Consulate in SF and filled it out. We just needed copies of our marriage certificate, my husband's German passport, and our son's birth certificate. I think we have to get the copies notarized and the form notarized, then we just send it in to the consulate with a check. It doesn't seem like a big deal. Feel free to send me e-mail if I can be of more help. Kara
I didn't mention in my earlier response that my husband is actually dual already; he was born in NYC to German parents. I don't know how to go about filing for dual as an adult, but a German friend of ours who got a Green card years ago has decided he wants to become an American citizen without giving up his German citizenship. I think he found a way to do this by getting a letter from the German government saying that they had no problem with his becoming an American, and the Americans aren't forcing him to renounce his German citizenship, either. Maybe there's something about this online, and I'll ask my friend in the meantime. Kara
My husband is also German, and has looked into how to ''sign up'' for German dual citizenship a bit for our baby--but we haven't gone about the process yet. From what my husband gleaned from the German Consulate website, the way to get German citizenship for a child born of a German parent is just to apply for a passport for the child. See http://www.germany.info/relaunch/info/consular_services/passport /erst_u18.html. Chelsea
Hi, We are South African citizens on J-visas living in the US for the past 4 years. This January we were blessed by the birth of our delightful daughter. We would like her to have dual South African-US citizenship. This status is no problem from the South African side but from the US side we are meeting with some resistance and would greatly appreciate any advice as to websites, books, legal resources and/or affordable immigration lawyers to help us navigate the labyrynthine citizenship/INS regulations, especially at this sensitive time. Thanks. in two states
This is in response to the South African family living in the US. If your daughter was born here, she is automatically a US citizen, regardless of her parents' citizenship status. What you should do is get her a US passport as proof of citizenship. You will need to fill out the application, and get a birth certificate and photos, but then you simply need to mail it in. You do not need to deal w/ Homeland Security, immigration lawyers, etc.
Once she has her US passport, you should deal w/ the South African embassy in getting her South African passport. You wrote that South Africa has no issue w/ dual citizenship; that's why I would recommend getting her US passport first (again, if she was born here she is a US citizen regardless of whether she has a passport, but a passport is the most convenient proof of citizenship). When you travel, you might want to carry both passports -- if you travel to the US from abroad, and you were born in the US, generally customs will want to see an American passport.
Good luck! Traveling Mom
I am an American woman married to a British citizen who has a Green Card. We have a one year old. I am curious about establishing dual citizenship for our son. Is this still done or does one have to choose which country they would like to affiliate themselves with? My husband does not plan on naturalizing. Do I contact the British Embassy? If not, who should I contact?
Thank you for any information you can share.
To Brit, or not to Brit
My son was born in California and both my husband and i are British Citizens. Almost as soon as he was born we registered him with the British Embassy and he now has two passports! I am also a citizen of Canada and am hoping to register him there as well. I think it is great for them to have dual or even triple citizenship, especially for when they are older. If you register him in Britain he will be able to work anywhere in Europe. So great idea and I think all you need to do is contact the British Embassy. There is quite a bit of paperwork (they will need your husband's birth certificate etc) but worth it. Good luck anon
Your son CAN have dual citizenship. I'm English, but a naturalized US citizen and my son was born here. My son has a US passport and will soon have a UK passport. I had called the British Consulate in San Francisco when my son was born and they suggested we get the US passport first.
Off on a slight tangent - It's a suprisingly common misconception that a naturalized US citizen has to give up their original country-of-birth citizenship - It depends which country you're from (the INS has a list) but many countries do not require you to forfeit. Anon
When we got our daughter's Russian citizenship established, dual nationality was not an issue on the US side (see http://travel.state.gov/dualnationality.html for more info). The second country may have rules about it however, so you need to mainly be concerned with that. In our case, I had to sign a permission form and have her birth certificate translated and apostilled. Carolyn
I'm a naturalized American, also British and have a third passport, too. It is absolutely legal. If your child is the son of a British subject he/she will have no problem with establishing citizenship, nor will he/she be forced to relinquish American citizenship. Anon
Hi! I am Italian amd my partner is american. Our daughter has both citizenship. I believe that your child shouldn't have problems since we both come from Europe. You need to contact the british consulaten insan francisco. Look for in internet and ask themi information.your child will have both citizenship and he wont need to choose ever. bye elena
Having dual citizenship depends on the regulations of the two countries concerned. US allows dual citizenship, but I don't know if Britain does. I know that Germany does not, and Turkey does. So long as Britain allows it, your child can have dual British/American citizenship. The best way to find out is to call the embassy probably. With double citizenship, you will also want to have two passports for your child, so s/he can benefit from being a citizen of both countries, especially if you are planning to travel a lot. nuriye
This may not apply to you as I did not read your post and you and your spouse may have the same citizenship of the country/ies for which you will be applying for your children. However, if not, my husband and I just had this discussion because we are thinking of applying for citizenship for our children from our respective countries, and one concern he had was that of custody rights in the other country/ies of citizenship. What if, heaven forbid, we decided to divorce and one of us took the children to the other country of citizenship, what would be the rights of the other parent who may not have that citizenship? Just a legalist spin on things. Beyond that issue think it is a great idea given the globalistic nature of the world today. Sharron