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American passports......AAAARRRRGGHHH!!!!

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Yes, this is a vent.

I am taking a trip overseas (home is Australia) with my family in June/July. We are dual Australian/US citizens (the kids & i anyway) & we are going to France for a few weeks, & then travelling on to the US to see my family & to go to a friend's wedding. All up we will be in France for 25 days, & the US for 19 days. Both children were born outside the US. DH is straight-up AUstralian.

THe upshot is that we are not allowed to travel into the US as Australians, but we must pay US$290 in passport fees to get US passports in order to travel back through the United States. Expired passports won't do. And I have to find a special US passport photographer, & we have to fly to SYdney (we live a looooong-assed way from Sydney- at least $600 in flights!) to have a personal interview to get a US passport to re-enter the country that i was born in, & where we three still retain citizenship. Confused? I am too, tbh.

Hell, a frickin' Australian tourist visa is FREE, & lasts for 90 days! But for me & my kids, dual citizens that we luckily are , we get to fork out around AUS$1000 for the priviledge of visiting our family & my 'home' country for 19 days. We aren't allowed to enter the US as Aussies.....

Cranky as all hell.
post #2 of 38
Both my kids are dual (Danish/American) and I had to pay a wad as well - though the Danish ones are just as expensive.

I think the term is "prefer" - America prefers you enter with your american passport. But if you all 4 have Aussie passports, why can't you just enter with those? You are coming on vacation to visit friends and spend your money on nice, touristy items.

On the other hand, I am jealous you are allowed dual citizenship. Danes and Norwegians allow no dual citizenship for americans married to Danes/working in Denmark.... Dual citizenship is only allowed for our children. And dual citizenship, imo, is worth a lot more than 1000dollars (though, yes, that is a big fat chunck of money.) I have a canadian/danish friend, who used one passport to visit Isreal and another to visit Iran a month later. Interesting trips I will never be granted. Use the dual citizenship to your advantage.
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
The US requires by law that anyone with US citizenship enters the US on a US passport.

We are welcome to try & enter the US on Australian passports only, but if border control gets any inkling that we are dual citizens without a US passport, then they have the right to deny us access to the US.

THat is our reality, & I did think about trying to 'pass' as 'just' Australians, but I am concerned that we could be turned back at the border in D.C, & sent back to Australia without seeing our friends & family, yk?
post #4 of 38
You have to have an interview to get a passport? Erm… why? Yeah, I'm confused now too!

We are going to the US in December and I am giving birth in September. So I think I just have to not apply for citizenship for the baby until after the trip, because that's not enough time to process all the BS to get baby a US passport. Getting a Danish one will be relatively straightforward.

And yeah, I'm jealous you can do dual too!
post #5 of 38
If you have kids you need to do the interview. It's generally a piece of cake, just a pain. Not sure about US citizen with expired passport though...maybe they need to do an interview too?

3 months is plenty of time to do US passport stuf, alcyone. you write in when your trip is and I think they generally speed up the process a bit for you. Just don't quote me on that as i'm sure it varies from country to country's consular. *grin*
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Alcyone, my advice is to be really careful when it comes to travelling with young dual citizens.

And yes, after spending hours online & on the phone with various US authorities in Canberra & Sydney this morning, I'm pretty damn sure that we need a US passport to enter the US. It's like one big 'f*ck-you' to the expat community, to be honest & as far as I'm concerned........

And for others, tell me again why anyone is jealous of the dual citizenship status.... because from my pov is it absolute crap right now.....
post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 
and just as an afterthought- alcyone, my dd's first passport photo was taken at 6 weeks. It took at least an hour for me to balance her on the chair, with the right colour background, without any visible influence from me. It was a requirement that she sat up straight. At 6 weeks .


You'd think I'd be used to this sort of thing, eh? :
post #8 of 38
It is not just getting the passport that has to be processed in three months. I have to get a certificate for the birth, submit an application for the citizenship, and wait for that to go through before I can apply for the passport. I don't really see the point in doing that when I have 18 years to apply for the citizenship for the child.

If having Australian citizenship has no benefits, then why did you do it? I don't know what you get with that but to get Danish citizenship would open lots of doors for me across the EU, as well as obviously being able to vote and such here.
post #9 of 38
Hijakking thread - Alcyone - if you are in Kbh - go to the embassy. Otherwise the consular from Kbh visits Århus and Fyn 2 times a year - you can call the embassy and they will refer you to the on-line website that clearly lists what forms are needed and what paperwork you need to bring (wedding certificate..) Both you, DH and baby need to be present. I've done it twice and it is rather straightforward. Then you get a passport and certificate of birth abroad, and it didn't take 3 months.

The only thing I really had issues with was the passport photos - which had to be exactely x by y, head size exactly x by y, forward facing, both eyes open, mouth closed, on a totally white background with no shadows. Um, totally unrealistic with a newborn. But they also know that, and if babe is crosseyed and drolling... they'll let it go. The size and background were manditory though - so go to a photo shop and say it is for USA passport, not danish (which is three quarter view, not staight on...)
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcyone View Post
It is not just getting the passport that has to be processed in three months. I have to get a certificate for the birth, submit an application for the citizenship, and wait for that to go through before I can apply for the passport. I don't really see the point in doing that when I have 18 years to apply for the citizenship for the child.

If having Australian citizenship has no benefits, then why did you do it? I don't know what you get with that but to get Danish citizenship would open lots of doors for me across the EU, as well as obviously being able to vote and such here.
MY dd was born outside of the US and it took us approximately 2 weeks (starting a few days after her birth) to process her Consular report of birth abroad (US birth certificate equivalent) and her US passport. It was very quick and easy--in fact, we submitted the passport application along with the docs for the birth certificate, so they CAN be processed simulataneously (you do not need to do one first before you start the next). It was a VERY simple and quick process. Like I said, we had the passport in about 2 weeks. No problems with the picture either--we just took her to one of those photo shops that does passport photos. Dh ducked down behind her, propped her up by holding her firmly below the rib cage, and although she looked a little smooshed, the picture was fine and accepted without problem.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcyone View Post
It is not just getting the passport that has to be processed in three months. I have to get a certificate for the birth, submit an application for the citizenship, and wait for that to go through before I can apply for the passport. I don't really see the point in doing that when I have 18 years to apply for the citizenship for the child.

If having Australian citizenship has no benefits, then why did you do it? I don't know what you get with that but to get Danish citizenship would open lots of doors for me across the EU, as well as obviously being able to vote and such here.
Be very careful trying to get a child into the US without a US passport. I know someone who tried to bring their kids in on the UK passports and they were refuesed entry since they are "potential" citizens (even though they weren't citizens at the time). Since they qualified for citizenship, they couldn't get in on a non US passport.

Here they went to an appointment system and it takes about 6 months for an appointment. I have to bring the baby at some point, but we aren't planning on traveling any time soon so I'm putting it off and hoping they work the kinks out of the appointment system soon
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiemum View Post
and just as an afterthought- alcyone, my dd's first passport photo was taken at 6 weeks. It took at least an hour for me to balance her on the chair, with the right colour background, without any visible influence from me. It was a requirement that she sat up straight. At 6 weeks
We went through this with all of our kids. They were all around one month when we got their first passports. Somebody later recommended to me that I put a white poster board on the ground, and lie DC on it. Worked much easier... and no worries about a little piece of my hand showing.
post #13 of 38
both my little ones are dual and they have to travel on their US passport, pain in the butt, but there you go.

Advice to all you ladies about passport photos with babies, my daughter was 4 months old in her picture and they photographer (bless her), placed a white piece of poster board paper on the floor, we laid her on it, the woman stood above her and wa-lah, the picture was taken without having to prop her up or deal with the logistics of the whole thing.

Good luck!
post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
For me, taking up Australian citizenship was beneficial because I can now vote, & it gives me peace of mind that I am officially a citizen of the country I call home. It's the American citizenship that is a pain in the bum right now. Because the kids were born to an American, they automatically must be registered as Americans & use US passports to travel into the US.

It used to be a lot easier when we could renew via the post, but now it requires a physical trip to the consulate for all childrens passports. In my case that's either a 3 day drive, or a minimum of $600 in air tickets- in reality it's probably going to be closer to $800, depending on how much warning they give me on the appointment time.
post #15 of 38
That sounds like it blows.
There's some website that's set up to to US-legal passport photos at home.

http://www.epassportphoto.com/

http://www.epassportphoto.com/Blog/p...hotograph.aspx
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
We went through this with all of our kids. They were all around one month when we got their first passports. Somebody later recommended to me that I put a white poster board on the ground, and lie DC on it. Worked much easier... and no worries about a little piece of my hand showing.
Yeah, I have taken both of the first US passport photos for my kids just by putting a white cloth down onto the floor and laying them onto it (regular digital camera, regular photo printer). Honestly so long as you have a photo with a clear, centered view of their face on a white background it's probably fine. There was even some shadow for kid #2 and they never complained. There are the requirements for the size online.

Think of it from their point of view, having multiple travel documents is a pretty big deal from a security standpoint. The US passports will last for 5 years (which is pretty funny when you look at their pictures) so it isn't as if you are going to have to do this each year. I've never thought of it as much work since I do all the paperwork together, Certificate of Birth Abroad, Passport Application and SS#. One trip to the embassy per kid didn't seem that bad to me. I can understand how the traveling part is a pain in the butt though.
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 
That is a great link- the one where you can make your own passport photos. Unfortunately I don't have a photo printer, but it is a very good tip for those who do.

Also, what an excellent idea to lay babies on a white background! I'm not sure whether or not they used a digital camera on my dd all those years ago, but a good idea nonetheless!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I simply have no choice but to fork out the money for the US passports (plus flights to collect passports) for this trip to the US. It still galls me to think that if we were allowed to travel as AUssies the visa would be free.

Funnily enough, even worse shit than passport dramas has happened this week (today). Internet banking fraud. $5000 gone. Far out, you know.....

I think I'm still in shock, tbh.



I've run all the scans on my computer & come up clean, contacted police, banks, changed passwords, etc. etc.....



.....................................





What crap the last three days have been.
post #18 of 38
post #19 of 38
oh no! I'm so sorry.
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiemum View Post
The US requires by law that anyone with US citizenship enters the US on a US passport.

We are welcome to try & enter the US on Australian passports only, but if border control gets any inkling that we are dual citizens without a US passport, then they have the right to deny us access to the US.

THat is our reality, & I did think about trying to 'pass' as 'just' Australians, but I am concerned that we could be turned back at the border in D.C, & sent back to Australia without seeing our friends & family, yk?
If you come up to them and are like "G'day m8! Let's go get this show on the road because I want to go fire up the barbie!" they'll totally believe you.

:

And edit after seeing a later post: I know dealing with all the US laws can be a pain. I wanted to go on a visit to see some family after not seeing them for 3 years. My husband, daughter (dual citizen) and I couldn't go because they labelled my husband a "Russian bride" (they even used those words in his interview) and said he was too risky and we'd have to apply for the greencard. Which is what we had to do. Russian Bride my ass! We've been together for five years, married for three and we have a baby. If it was a joke, don't you think we would have gone to America in the first 3 years we were together? I fought with them, it did no good. Bah on them.
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