15 September 2010

Legally Dutch

Because Lola has an American father and a Dutch mother, she can have dual citizenship. Ryan and I would like her to have options when she grows up, and by establishing two nationalities the world, quite literally, would open up to her. I called the Dutch consulate in Seattle shortly after she was born, and a very kind gentleman explained the process to me.

The first step was getting Lola an American passport. That part was easy. We had her picture taken, went to the post office with a certified copy of her birth certificate, filled out a form, paid a fee, and she was good to go. Step two, obtaining a Dutch passport, was a hell of a lot more complicated. For this we needed another certified copy of her birth certificate, a certified copy of our marriage certificate, and her American passport. All documents, with the exception of her passport, must be less than a year old and have an apostille attached to them. An apostille is a certificate stating the certifier of the certified documents is certified to do so. Are you still with me? We Dutch don't kid around.

Just before we left Washington last November, we gathered all the necessary documents. Unfortunately there was no time for a visit to the Dutch consulate in Seattle. Instead we were forced to travel to the nearest consulate for Hollanders living in Wisconsin, Chicago, a mere seven hours away. The event took place this weekend. We combined it with a visit to my family in Kenosha and turned it into a wonderful mini-vacation.

Our appointment at the consulate was scheduled for Monday morning. Since my passport expires in January of next year, I had made an appointment for myself as well. The most stressful part of our morning was getting our pictures taken. The Dutch have insane requirements for passport photo's. Seriously, they provide an eight (!) page booklet with instructions for photographers. And there are no exceptions. My aunt was sent back three times before her pictures were accepted. That was obviously not an option for us. The Sears portrait studio staff however, knew exactly what to do.

The visit itself went flawless. A few signatures and $132.75 plus shipping later we walked out the door with the promise of two Dutch passports delivered to our door step in two to three weeks. We bummed around Chicago for a little bit and then made our way back to the Northwoods.

Now Lola can move anywhere in the EU should she wish to do so. I know, she's only three, but she'll be eightteen before we know it. And we can take the short line at customs when we fly back for a visit to Holland...

4 comments:

  1. do they same rules apply if the mother is american and the father is dutch?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, they do. Makes no difference at all, as long as one parent is Dutch, children automatically have Dutch citizenship until they are 18. If you apply for a Dutch passport and renew it every five years, they are set for life.

    ReplyDelete

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