Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dual citizenship

Yesterday, when we collected our mail from the little post box in front of our house after a morning out running errands, we had a postcard stating that there was a package waiting for us at our local post office that required a signature. This could only mean one thing - the boys' citizenship paperwork had been approved! So after lunch and nap, we drove up to the post office to collect the envelope. Our hunch was correct - it was an envelope from the citizenship office in Tasmania. Vincent was very excited as we opened up the envelope just outside the post office. I pulled out the certificate to show him. However, I don't think he was all that impressed by the slip of paper - I think he was hoping that it meant that he got a train or a dinosaur or something!

"Now you and Desmond are Australians," I told him. "You are just like daddy."

That made him happy - he always loves to be compared to his dad. "Yay!" He grinned from ear to ear and went jumping and skipping down the sidewalk.

A lady walking towards us looked at him and smiled. "Must have been something exciting from the post office," she said.

"Their citizenship paperwork was just approved," I replied.

She smiled. "Congratulations! Yay!"

I sort of felt like we should wave a mini-Australian flag or sing the national anthem - or at least "Waltzing Matilda."

The boys qualified for Australian citizenship by decent because their dad was an Australian citizen at the time of their births. We could have applied for their Australian citizenship at any time after their birth. We probably would have done so eventually while living in the US, but the move happened so quickly that it was just easier to take care of it once we arrived in Sydney.

Both Paul and I were quite surprised at the speed at which this process happened. After finally assembling all the paperwork that we needed (birth certificates, proof of Paul's citizenship, proof of address, and the application form), I put the envelope in the mail on Tuesday. The date on the citizenship certificates was Thursday - 2 days after I mailed it. And it had to go all the way to Tasmania to be processed.

So, what does this mean for our boys? Well, they now have dual citizenship with the US and Australia. Once we get them Australian passports, it will make travelling in and out of either country much easier. They are now eligible for Medicare (the universal healthcare system in place in Australia...a future blog post) as well as any other benefits afforded to citizens of Australia. And they will be required to vote when they reach voting age (voting in Australia is compulsory...I think that will be another good topic for a future blog post).

According to both US and Australian laws, dual citizenship is legal in both countries (prior to 2002, if an Australian citizen became a citizen of another country, they automatically lost their Australian citizenship). So the boys will be able to retain both citizenships for life. 


  1. Awesome!! NOW I get the several references to your favorite Aussies... I guess I thought you had already done that paper work, at least for Vincent. And you are right--amazingly fast turnaround time!
    Congratulations to Vincent and Desmond, official citizens of both the US and Australia!

  2. Clare, will you be applying for citizenship, too? Can you get healthcare coverage through Paul? What does it take for you to become a citizen of AU and would you have to give up your US citizenship? Just curious...

    1. I don't know yet if I will apply for citizenship - I have to satisfy certain residency requirements first. But I won't have to give up my US citizenship when/if I do. I do qualify for Medicare because I am a permanent resident.

    2. Thanks for explaining that.