Sunday, January 13, 2013

Introducing Elora, Canadian

It is my pleasure to introduce Elora, now officially confirmed a Canadian citizen.

As my daughter, she was automatically a Canadian citizen at birth. However, being born outside the country, a citizenship certificate is the only formal proof that she is Canadian. Despite predictions of six months or longer, we received her certificate in approximately four months (three months from the date they acknowledged receipt of the application). The result is a decroative letter-sized certificate declaring Elora to be a citizen, effective the date of her birth.

Documenting Elora's citizenship was certainly not a necessity, but was an important emotional step for me (Dad). While I may not live in Canada right now, many of my family and friends still do. I still visit Canada regularly, and I have a great deal of pride in the country of my birth. I hope establishing Elora's citizenship will allow Elora to share that pride with me... and of course insist that she gets to take days off school during important hockey games.

I actually get asked a fair number of questions about this topic, so the rest of this post is dedicated to FAQs.

Q: Does the US even allow dual citizenship?
A: Yes, the US allows multiple citizenships, and allows citizens to hold multiple passports. Particularly in Elora's case (where no naturalization is involved), US law and policy is crystal clear.

Q: Will you be getting Elora's Canadian passport?
A: Not right away - her US passport is more than sufficient for travel (even to Canada). Infant passports in Canada are only valid for three years, and minor passports only for five, so that's a lot of renewals for a document she wouldn't really need to use. Once she is sixteen and eligible for (what will hopefully be) a ten year passport, it may be a more interesting discussion then.

Q: What about the recent changes to Canada citizenship law?
A: The changes are specific to second-generation inheritance; so it does not apply to Elora, but would impact her children.

Q: Is Elora eligible for UK citizenship as well?
A: No, similar to Canada's (recently changed) law, the UK limits second-generation inheritance of citizenship.

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