Friday, November 4, 2011

Stateless No More

 I was born in South Africa.

To a British Mother and a Canadian Father.

I was registered as a Canadian at birth and have had a Canadian passport since before I could write. Seriously - my first passport at 12 months old, blonde curly haired me in the photo (smiling) and where the signature should be it says "bearer cannot write".

I sponsored my spouse (a South African) when we moved here. And trust me when I tell you that was no.small.thing - medicals, forms and forms, a 7 hour trip to attend an interview on a date determined by the Canadian embassy (too bad if you had a university final exam on the same day), more forms, fingerprints etc etc......

So let's just say the Canadian government thought I was a good bet as a Canadian citizen to sponsor my husband - they likely did a fair bit of checking on me.

A couple of years ago I went to renew my passport with my "Certificate of Birth Abroad" which has always been my primary proof of citizenship.

I was told that the Canadian Government had decided that this certificate was no longer valid proof of citizenship.  I was told to apply for a citizenship card.

I did.

A year went by....and after inquiring several times I was told it could be another 16 months as there had been some concern with my identity and the application had been sent for secondary screening. 

Problem: My passport is going to expire in 90 days.

And we are going to Hawaii before then and immigration gets a bit antsy when you travel on an almost expired passport.

So I have been freaking out - we looked into getting legal advice - talking to our MP......I couldn't imagine being unable to travel at all, not even to the USA. (Because without a citizenship card you cannot even get the enhanced drivers license which would allow cross border travel at least).

And then .......Today - out of the blue and about a year sooner than they told me......My first ever citizenship card ARRIVED!

Yahoooo.......I am here to stay people - I am yours now Canada...... deal with it!!!

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