As you know, we recently took a trip to Beijing to apply for a new South African passport. It seems that when you live abroad and travel a lot, the 10 year validity on a passport is ridiculously long. Elijah, who is only a day or two old in the picture that his U.S. passport contains, has to get a new passport when he is five. Those baby passports only last for five years – obviously since the little squishy newborn face is vastly different to the face they have when they begin school. I’m surprised that they are even allowed to use their birth passport for that long! Since we were at the South Africa embassy, we decided to ask if they would allow us to register Eli as being South African as well as American (we were previously told that we had to choose between one of our nationalities). They said that dual-citizenship was allowed, so we went ahead and started filling out all of the paperwork. There was a guy there who was trying to apply for a South African passport because his mother was South African, and as I watched his frustrations in trying to fill out all of these dates and facts that he could probably never ever know… I realized that even though I was feeling overwhelmed by the 12 forms that lay in front of me, I knew that Elijah would appreciate that we had made this effort for him.
Things are quite rocky in South Africa at the moment… Sadly the government there is unpredictable, corrupt and heading for a meltdown. We do however know that things change and nothing is forever, so we want to give Elijah all of the options that we can in life. Maybe one day we will want to live in SA (we often think about moving there!) and then we would only have to worry about a visa for Justin.
This dual-citizenship would also work as an advantage for us in certain situations since there are different rules applying to Justin and I when we travel to various countries. We wanted to go to India this year (we can’t because my passport won’t be back in time) but the visa fee was substantially lower for South Africans, so in that case it would have been nice for Elijah to have applied as a South African.
Who knows where those little feet will take him,
So at least he can now say that he is both American AND South African.
*Well, we can when his SA passport arrives… We like go with the “believe it when you see it” approach when it comes to South Africa. As gorgeous is the place is – they sure are hopeless when it comes to administrative matters!
Justin and I have a paperwork trail a mile long, and with our son born in a third (non-English speaking) country, well…
But hey, that’s what makes our life so crazy and special, right!?
We will update you when little man can call himself a Saffer!