Monday, January 18, 2010

A man with no country

While the novelty and political freedom of being stateless were compelling reasons not to apply for citizenship, we figured Cyrus would have enough challenges spelling his own name. So last weekend we flew to the US Consulate in Melbourne to make Cyrus a US Citizen. Here are answers to the questions we asked prior to buying airline tickets, making the appointment and having David's mom overnight our 2005 US tax documents.

1. No, Cyrus was not automatically conferred Australian citizenship for being born in Darwin.
2. No, there is not a US Consulate in Darwin.
3. No, the forms cannot be submitted online or by mail -- they must be submitted in person.
4. Yes, the child must be present.


5. Yes, the child must be present.
6. Yes, we must detail our physical presence in the United States. This includes documenting Jenni's spring break trips to Cozumel, Mexico in high school.
7. No, Jenni did not remember the exact dates of the above trips.
8. Yes, we had to bring our marriage certificate (to prove Cyrus was not born out of wedlock?)

Of course we had other questions, but the e-mail response from the US gov't said, "Please do not respond to this e-mail."

So we shelled out the money for plane tickets, reserved a room at a hotel across the street from the Consulate, made the appointment and completed the paperwork for Cyrus's citizenship, passport and social security card.


...a week before our appointment, the Consulate called to cancel. Apparently the "Secretary of State" (whoever that is) was going to be in Melbourne and this took precedence. But our anger won out and they agreed to keep the appointment after all. Turns out Hillary had to cancel her widely anticipated Australia-New Zealand tour because of the Haiti earthquake.

Cyrus was very excited for his first plane trip (even if it was operated by JetStar).

We promised to leave enough food for our cats, but this didn't pacify poor Hugh who wanted to come along. He even tried to disguise himself as Cyrus, but we weren't fooled.

We thought we were clever, packing everything the three of us needed into two carry-on suitcases -- but the flight attendant at the gate wasn't impressed. Apparently one of our carry-ons was too large. (If we'd cut off the wheels it would have fit in the strange metal cage that bears no physical relation to the overhead compartments.) So our bag was confiscated and put on the next flight to Melbourne and arrived at our hotel at 12pm the next day for our 3 day trip.

Cyrus slept through the whole flight to Melbourne. He was awake during most of the flight back to Darwin, but he didn't cry once. "He never does that at home."

Cyrus and Dad (who was less than happy about the confiscated luggage). Perhaps there will be a future blog solely about our hatred of JetStar airlines.

At the Melbourne airport, waiting for the shuttle bus.

The first thing Cyrus wanted to do was order room service.

Cyrus wore his favourite Darwin shirt to the US Consulate

Our cameras were confiscated by the first tier of security. Cyrus's bottle was taken at the second. I am surprised they didn't want to test my breast milk for nitroglycerin.

Continuing the tradition of going to the local Mexican restaurant. This one, called Fiesta, was actually surprisingly good, although poor David had to choke down the margarita.

Father and son at the art museum

It was so quiet in the museum, you could hear Cyrus sucking on his pacifier.

Melbourne skyline


Richard said...

Great story! So it all went as planned then? I was waiting for some crazy twist -- sounded like maybe all the answers you had been given were going to be incorrect. Is Cyrus a citizen? Dual?

David S. Lamb said...

Nope, no crazy twist. I just lost momentum as the blog went on. Cyrus did get his US citizenship and, no, he won't have Australian citizenship -- we would have to apply for residency and live her for 5 years, I think, in order for that to happen...

Richard said...

I hear ya about momentum. Still, a crazy twist would've been fun...

Hurrumph on those stingy Aussies! I'm still using him to claim that I know an Australian kid.

K 'n B said...

That's insane! And I think it's so stupid that you don't automatically get Australian citizenship by being born in Oz anymore. Glad it worked out, though.

Claire Lewis said...

I am also an expat (Brit girl moved to Oz) and I am creating a blog about the Australian visa process.I am writing articles to help others who are looking to move to Australia.If you would like to submit a story to my blog I would love to hear about your experience of the Australian visa process, especially if it can help others. I would love to hear about whether you did it yourself or if you used a Migration Agent to help you, and what problems orpit-falls (if any) you experienced.Thanks a lot and i love your blog.
Australian Visa Advice

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