Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Engraved on My Heart!

The other day, I left a brief comment at Common Dreams in response to another person's comment mentioning a British politician. The original commenter had said that he/she was not British. I expanded on what the original commenter had written, and mentioned that "I am British, UK/US dual citizen". I was then asked by original commenter "How can one be a dual citizen?" (On first reading I feel certain that "one" was "you", edited later, but cannot be certain on this). My trek through convoluted and expensive US immigration and citizenship procedures, endured over some 5 years years, meant that this comment rankled. My raised hackles might have remained at ease, had original commenter not then quoted chapter and verse of the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America: "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;".....etc.etc.etc.

Sighing, I responded with : "UK is one of the countries where dual citizenship with US is possible. Here's an explanation from a British Ex-pats forum"...
What it comes down to is that the US naturalization oath does contain a statement of renunciation of prior allegiances. That being said, British law does not view that statement as having any effect upon British citizenship. Britain has specific defined procedures for
renouncing citizenship, and making a statement of renunciation to foreign (in this case American) officials does not meet the British definition of renunciation. So, even if one becomes a US citizen, one will still be a British citizen,

The US State Department, which is the the part of the government that is responsibile for determining whether a person is or is not a US citizen, has acknowledged that US citizens can and do hold dual
nationality, for a number of reasons (because they were born with both US and another citizenship, because they acquired another citizenship
after receiving their US citizenship, and because a person who naturalizes in the US may not lose his original citizenship.

So, if you become a US citizen, you will not have to do anything to hold dual nationality. You will have it simply because Britain will insist that you are still British. And Britain will have no problem with the fact that you are also a US citizen.
Details of my journey through the thorny wasteland of US immigration requirements came rushing back!

Once upon a time, my now husband (US-born) came over to stay with me in England. Initially he travelled on a tourist visa - easy enough. He returned to the US before the allowed 90 days were up. We had decided we'd like more time together, possibly to arrange to be married. This would entail his obtaining a "Fiancé Visa" in order to return to the UK for a longer period. He applied for this, and I, as his UK fiancée, had to provide evidence of my identity by sending in my original passport and/or birth certificate; and a Police Certificate, to ensure I hadn't ever been a naughty girl. He obtained the visa and entry clearance; I think it was good for a year. He then returned to England. We decided to marry, gave notice to the Registrar in the town where I then lived.

We married.

Husband had then to apply for "Further Leave to Remain" in the UK. A visit, in person, to the Immigration Office in Liverpool was required. He enjoyed our visit to the hometown of the Beatles! His passport was duly stamped with the required "Further Leave to Remain", as my husband.

I sent off my passport for surname change. On the same day, 11 May 2004, I mailed my immigration Petition, plus the many required documents, to US Embassy, London, applying for DCF I-130 (= Direct Consular Filing), which was when a US citizen Immediate Relative (spouse in this case) filed petition I-130 for their foreign family member, and the family member applied for an Immigrant Visa. I'm not certain this convoluted method still exists. This stage sounds straightforward enough, but it entailed all manner of paperwork - reams of it: photocopies, originals, reasons for this, reasons for that.........on and on and on! Oh - and a cheque, of course!

We then waited for an interview appointment at the US Embassy in London. This happened in late August, it went without a hitch, including a medical examination (of me), with chest x-ray and extra required immunisations, at a different location. We stayed in London overnight. Next morning my passport was returned to me at our hotel with the necessary Immigrant Visa attached.

I could now set house-selling in motion - something I'd been afraid to do earlier in case my petition had been thrown out or delayed for any reason.

House sold, stuff given away to charity stores, all but what could fit into two large cartons which travelled very, very slowly after us, by sea and land, to Oklahoma.

This was not the end though - far from it! Hardly mentioned thus far - the cost! It cost plenty, even up to this stage.

After two years in the USA I had to apply to be officially designated as a Permanent Legal Resident. This was the least frustrating part of the journey. As I recall it was mainly a matter of finger prints, photo, more forms, etc. and more $$$, of course.

Still not the end.

I decided to apply for US citizenship, which, as wife of a US citizen I was able to do after having spent 4 years in the USA with no significant break. This turned out to be the most frustrating exercise of all, due to a log-jam of applications at that time. A flurry applicants all no doubt trying to avoid a fee increase due shortly after. What would normally have taken a couple of months or so, took almost a year, and more $$$$! There were hiccups aplenty along the way too. My finger prints wouldn't take in sufficient clarity for the authorities, which meant that, as an alternative I was required to to obtain legal affidavits from our local sheriff and our state officials, confirming that I had not been in trouble while in the USA. I was not made aware of this requirement until the day before my citizenship interview. If it hadn't been for husband's daughter-in-law knowing someone who knew someone useful, I'd never have been able to get hold of my affidavits in time. I did, and I also passed the citizenship test easily enough.

Then - final stage - The Citizenship Ceremony in late August 2008 - described in my archived post HERE

The whole journey was an obstacle course of many stages, many hurdles, many expenses, many frustrations and anxieties. It had to be negotiated in order for me to claim my precious dual citizenship: US/UK. Queen Mary (Tudor) of England famously said that when she died, "Calais" would be found engraved on her heart. When I die they might well find "US Immigration" engraved on mine!


Sonny Gianetti said...

wow, what a run around you went thru. glad you stuck in out and made it thru all those hoops to become what you wished to be. Now if you could have just brought universal health care with you:)
I also admire your courage.. Being a UK and settling in as an Okie- omg what a transition:):)

mike said...

USA and UK are twin siblings, so it's surprising a UK citizen is deemed an immigrant when coming to the USA. Bureaucracy breeds bureaucracy. Your immigration and naturalization endeavor reminds me of my jumping-through-hoops to acquire a TX driver's license (an attempt on the state of TX's part to curtail illegals from having state identification and driving rights...so the immigrants simply drive without a license or insurance).

You didn't mention the part about being micro-chipped as part of the naturalization process.

The things we do for LOVE.

A bit off topic...you started this post by discussing a comment. Check-out this comment stream...it's become an overnight sensation. An author responds in the comment's section to a book review critique. It's sad and amusing at the same time. Some of the comments are good and I know you enjoy comments.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Were you under a heavy Neptune transit at the time?

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Yeah! What was I thinking, eh? ;-)

I could never have negotiated the twists and turns of the process if I hadn't had a home computer back in the UK, at the time it all began. Going into it all "cold" was confusing and scary, but I got lots of information and help from the people at a British Ex-pats forum who had been through it before me.

Twilight said...

mike ~ They treat us all the same - if not born on US soil - one is under the same kind of suspicion as every other potential terrorist from the get go.

There's an awful lot of duplication going on too - waste that could be avoided, left hand not knowing what right hand is doing etc.

Bureaucracy can be a royal pain in the ass can't it? I still recall the reams of paper we had to sign and initial pages when we bought this house. I couldn't believe the idiocy of it!! Dozens and dozens of pages.

Micro-chipping will probably be part of the process in the near future, if anyone still desires to come here that is! I guess there'll always be the long distance lovers. :-)

Thanks for the link - will take a look.

Neptune WAS in Aquarius all through the period involved, though not near my Sun at 6* Aquarius, which was actually in Sept. 2001 (a time living in infamy for the USA).

LB said...

You have natal Jupiter in Pisces in the 9th - is that right, Twilight? If so, it sounds like your frustrating experience fits.:)

Much like my own natal Neptune-Jupiter conjunction, Jupiter in Pisces can sometimes mean BIG confusion, in this case having to do with the *legalities* related to your *emigration*, both ruled by the 9th. I think your dual citizenship fits too in that Pisces has two rulers, Neptune and Jupiter. The fish swim in two different directions.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Yes, Jupiter at 6 Pisces in 9th, natally. With relocation it moved into 1st house. I hope I'm not destined to be dazed and confused for the duration. ;-)

Hadn't thought of that before.

Uranus (my Sun's ruler) was transiting Pisces at the time and was conjunct natal Jupiter in May 2004 when the journey began. :-)

LB said...

I didn't mean *you* were confused, though understandably, you might've been.:)

When I left my comment, I was thinking more about the legal process itself and all the hoops you had to jump through - to borrow from mike's comment.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I know... I was being a wee bit
facetious there, that's all. :-)

LB said...

I'm glad you knew what I meant, Twilight.:) In retrospect (and even before you responded), I wondered if I was clear.