Aug 9, 2011
US law apparently does not mention dual nationality, and hence implicitly allows dual citizenship with every country in the world (everything else equal). However, if one becomes a foreign citizen (or serves in a foreign military, etc) with the intention of relinquishing US citizenship, then one may indeed lose it. I have been a happy US citizen since birth (in glorious california!) and have no intention of giving it up.
Meanwhile Canada, where my mother was born, for many years did not allow dual citizenship with the US (or elsewhere, I presume — but maybe they just don’t like yanks?). Later that law was changed… but too late for my mom, who had moved to the US as a child with her family. However, the law was changed again in 2009, restoring her canadian citizenship and extending it to me and my siblings by first generation descent. So this means that although I was not a canadian citizen for the first 30+ years of my life, I have now been a canadian citizen retroactively since birth; I think this is the closest I’ll ever get to time travel! See this fabulous video to find out what happens when one day you wake up canadian…
Of course being a citizen is one thing and proving it is another. Armed with my mom’s birth certificate (and US naturalization certificate), as well as my own birth certificate and various forms and photographs, I headed down to the canadian consulate in boston at the end of february. They copied everything and said I could expect my citizenship “certificate” (actually a card, as you can see above) in 8-12 months. Obviously they are good psychologists and were setting low expectations, because it just arrived. Next step is to apply for a passport, which supposedly only takes a month or so.
Why do I want all this, other than getting to feel more cosmopolitan? Or getting to feel like a spy, with an extra passport stashed beneath the floorboards? Well, I guess the guaranteed health care is fairly appealing. And then there’s the chance of adding to my country list with such notables as cuba, libya, iran, iraq, and so on. Or perhaps more practically, using one passport for israel and one for lebanon and friends (guess which one for which??). But mostly it’s the whole pretending to be a spy thing. Plus I now have a queen of my very own – hi queen! So when do I get knighted?