Living in Britain as an American ex-pat has plenty of advantages. Football (or soccer) is on at a reasonable time of day, people always are interested in where you’re from, when you say California they treat you like some sort of mystical creature who shuns sand and sun for grey and rain. In my nearly six years living in London as an ex-pat, I’ve learnt that there are some serious advantages and disadvantages that the UK has over the US and vice versa. These differences are what make each place great and worth living in.
While I don’t have permanent citizenship in the UK, yet, I do see the value of being able to live in both the US and UK. Fortunately, this is a gift I am giving my children. Being born to a British mother and American father, it is pretty straight forward to get dual citizenship to these two great countries. While they automatically qualify as Brits since they were born here, there are a number of forms, consultations and good old American greenbacks that go into getting the twins their US citizenship. Here’s some of the ins and outs that you need to consider if you find yourself in this situation.
The US Government Is Really Helpful
The US Government via the US Embassy in London has a wealth of information on what is required and needed for all of your US services while living abroad. Their website is pretty easy to navigate and does a great job of linking to all of the forms you’ll need as well as the information that is required to make filling these in easier. Surprisingly, they do offer a contact us option via a web form that gets replied to quite quickly. In the few instances I’ve used it, they’ve responded in less than 24 hours.
Twice The Kids, Half The Appointments*
*Sort of. If like me, you have twins that need to have their birth registered, passports or social security cards issued, these can all be done either by mailing in a form or making two appointments at the same time with a consular officer at the embassy. Their online system is quite clear and simple for when it comes to booking appointments, with some even available the same week.
The Embassy Is Your Friend
Just remember to overlook the fine men and women standing guard with large guns and with all your papers in order, it’s smooth sailing. In preparation for registering the twins’ births, getting their first passports and applying for a social security card, I am constantly going back to the Embassy’s ‘Children Born In the UK to U.S. Parents‘ page, which has all the info you need for those three tasks in one place, simples! I found it only took about half an hour to fill out the main forms (in PDF version) and booking a slot is simple as referencing their availability calendar and booking the appointments.
Live Long and Prosper
After the appointments, weeks of waiting for all the forms to go through, my twins will be able to live and work in the UK and the US without hassle, which I think is amazing. It feels as if we’re effectively giving them a big chunk of the world to make their lives as they want, which is pretty cool from a parent’s perspective.