So I have not been posting as I have been dreading Part 3 of this series. In my head, I felt like this was going to be a long and drawn out post and after many months of putting it off, I am going to be very lazy and simply post
(verbatim) a slightly edited version of an email I sent to someone back in July who had inquired about getting their baby a US and UK passport.
Here is our experience – I hope I didn’t leave anything out but if I did, feel free to comment or drop me an email and I will try to respond with whatever memory I have left…
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United Kingdom: PROCESSING TIME WAS 7-10 DAYS. It was fairly easy to get the UK passport and birth certificate. Only issue we had was that for the birth cert, you have to provide the birth certificate for BOTH parents. Since I was not a UK citizen, I didn’t think they needed mine but they did b/c they put all the details onto the baby’s birth cert.
I don’t have any birth papers so I had to provide my US naturalization paper but I had to wait for my dad to send it over from the US. So in summary, you just have to make sure that both you and your husband have your birth certs or equivalent (NOTE: your UK birth certificate must be the “long form” not the “short form”).
The Embassy was quite fast at issuing Wee Scotch’s passport but that was back in December 2009. I have since heard that starting summer 2010, UK passports will no longer be issued at the local Embassies but will be centralized from a European location which means it will take longer than the original 7-10 days.
Both the child’s passport and birth cert can be applied at the same time. For us, we applied for the passport first (since I did’t have my naturaization paper as previously mentioned) and then went back a month later for the birth cert.
Also, they keep all the originals during processing so be prepared to hand over your original passports, etc. and you won’t get them back until you pick up your baby’s passport/birth cert.
BTW, parking is just across the Embassy at a paid lot and there was always plenty of spots available. Each time we went, we were in and out in 30 minutes, if even that much.
Regarding passport photos for baby, Wee Scotch’s were taken at a photo shop in MOE – he was one week old, I held him on my lap and was photographed with him but then I was photoshopped out.
Also, I found the UK Embassy website pretty helpful.
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United States: PROCESSING TIME WAS 6 WEEKS (but we had a few issues). There didn’t seem to be much issues with getting all the necessary documents for the the US passport and birth certificate but we had to go to the consulate 4 times because their process is NOT streamlined! I hope you will have a better experience than me.
The first time we went to the US consulate to submit our documents we were told that everything looked in order but our application had to be reviewed by a consular officer and that we would be contacted should we need to be called in for an “interview.”
Well, we were called within a week but were told that no interview was necessary, just to show up and pay and sign some papers.
So we show up for visit #2 where we paid the application fees but were told there was no consular officer available to witness the signing of the papers. Grrr!
So we went away and came back a week later for visit #3 to sign the papers and were asked why we didn’t sign it when we paid??? bc there is “always a consular officer available”. Oh, and they misplaced our application so we sat waiting for 10 minutes until they found it. Anyway. Application found, signed, witnessed, and sent away for processing.
But then they called, again, and said that we forgot to sign something (obviously not our fault b/c we signed wherever we were asked) but that we could sign the missing parts when we picked up baby’s new passport.
Finally, at visit #4, I picked up baby’s passport and CRBA (Certificate of Report of Birth Abroad) and signed the missing portions.
US Consulate parking is valet at the door (20 dhs per hour) or you can self-park at the convention center and walk through the air conditioned convention center. But it’s not really worth it b/c it ended up being 15 dhs b/c walking time each way is about 10-15 minutes so it’s worth it to valet – especially in this intense heat with the baby. I have never had to pay more than the 20 dhs b/c we were usually in and out in 30 minutes or less.
Also, there are 3 (yes, 3) security checkpoints at the US versus only 1 for the UK. So best not to bring too much with you. One time I was asked to take the baby out of the stroller and the other 3 times, they did not. And they didn’t even let me take my diaper bag to the waiting room! They said I could take out a diaper or two if I needed though but I didn’t bother. At the US consulate, they do not hold on to any of your original documents – they only take copies.
One caveat about the US process. If only one parent is American, which is the case for us, you must pass the “Physical Presence Test” by providing documentation that the American parent was physically present in the US for 5 years before baby was born (2 of those years must be after age 14). I was under the impression from the US Embassy websites that you could provide tax returns with corresponding W2 forms but when a friend of mine tried that here, he was rejected. Go figure.
I already had my university transcripts (which spanned 4 years) so I requested my high school transcripts from NYC (which spanned 6 years) and that was sufficient proof. Both transcripts were official copies in that they both had the school’s seal embossed on them. None were attested by the US Embassy.
More details can be found on the US Consulate in Dubai website.