"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.