American Expat Woes: Passports

Those of you that have had your child abroad know how stressful/complicated that getting them travel ready can be.

First thing is I need to get both UK and US passports to go home.

What many people who have their children in the UK do not know is that although your child is born in the UK, the child is not an automatic British citizen. The only way that the child can become a British citizen is if one of their parents is a British citizen. So Bug qualifies because of Mr B (and now that I am an UK citizen- me!). More info here.

The UK passport is pretty straightforward and quick but I just needed to make sure that I had all my documents from the US Embassy so that I could apply for it.

Talking with other expats from other countries, the US likes to do things differently like always! Obviously my situation is different from many of yours because Bugdoes not require a visa because of their citizenship. So really I only needed the UK passport so that when we returned from visiting the US, they could get back into the country EXCEPT the US requires that all US citizens must enter into the US on their US passport.

This means that I have to register Bug's birth with the US Embassy- in person with both, Mr B and me. This involves telling them  all the years I lived in the US to prove that my child has the right to claim American citizenship. I only find this mildly funny as I belonged to the US military for 10 years, they should know all this information.

For more information about what is required to report your child's birth abroad, go here.

Some of you may wonder why I would not want to do this but I have discussed the issues with this when I told you about my British citizenship. Now if Bug never moves/lives in the US, they will not be able to pass on the American citizenship. That is why I have to tell the US Embassy the length of time I spent in the US because you have to have lived in the US for 5 years (two have to be after you were 14 years old) to pass it on.

If your child is not a British citizen, then you have to apply for its visa. You cannot come and go on a tourist visa because you are living here and that is entering under false pretences. So if you are planning on going home after the birth of your child, Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to sort the US passport and UK visa out.

You have 6-9 months to plan ahead so I think that it is easy enough to arrange. One thing to think of is the Embassy appointment. These book up well in advance. So I picked a date two weeks after my due date (because the UK will not let you go more than 2 weeks overdue). That way if they were born a bit early then we had the appointment and could cancel if it did not suit us. Also you can look everyday for cancellations but I am a planner and having an appointment gave me something to work towards.

What do other expats have to do? They only have to get one passport when going home especially when they are just visiting. This was my intention but I did not want to risk the US not allowing Bug in. I was going to just fill in an ESTA like Mr B has to do when we go home.

Anyways, we got everything together in time and I left enough time for this to post so that I can give you my tips!

All the Best!

American to Britain