I’m from the Czech republic. My wife is from Canada. We got married in Canada. Our son was born in the United Kingdom. Our daughter was born in Canada. Both of our children are by birth Czech and Canadian at the same time.
We want our children to be able to prove both of those citizenships and the following is the process.
Our son Wyatt was born in the UK. He has a British birth certificate but is not a British citizen. In order to travel out of the UK, he had to get a passport. Because we now live in Canada, we decided it would make more sense to get the Canadian one done first.
In order for someone without a Canadian birth certificate to get a Canadian passport, you need to get a proof of citizenship. This is a piece of paper that Wyatt will have to use for the rest of his life to prove his Canadian citizenship instead of a birth certificate like all normal Canadians.
So, to get a passport, you first need a proof of citizenship. Wyatt is a Canadian citizen because his mother is Canadian. In order to get the proof of citizenship, you need to send a superlegalized British birth certificate to the Canadian government and include the mother’s birth certificate to prove the she is Canadian. Super what? Superlegalization is a process whereby Canada and the UK agree to authorize the use of each other’s legal documents. Wyatt’s British birth certificate must be stamped by a Canadian embassy in the UK to say that this is in fact a legal document issued by the United Kingdom. Also, along with his application we had to send in our marriage certificate.
Once he’s obtained the proof of citizenship, we can apply for a passport. Fortunately, the Canadian government is nice enough to allow you to apply for the proof of citizenship and the passport on one application. We had his passport in a few weeks.
Now we are living in Canada and want to get him all the papers he needs to be a true Czech citizen. This means that we need to have his British birth certificate legalized by the UK, then translated into Czech by a government-approved translator, then approved by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech republic and then we can apply for a Czech birth certificate. Of course, the application requires us to send in our marriage certificate. Since we got married in Canada, we have a Canadian marriage certificate. This means that we need to have to superlegalized, translated into Czech and approved by the Ministry. More fees and translators aren’t cheap.
Once he has a Czech birth certificate, he needs to apply for a birth number which isn’t unlike a social security number except it’s derived from your date of birth.
Our daughter Eliška was born in Canada. This means she can fortunately get a Canadian passport without any issues. She is a real Canadian like most people and doesn’t need to have any special paperwork to prove that she is. Piece of cake.
When it comes to the Czech side of things, it’s seems it’s much more complicated than with our son.
First, she needs to apply for a proof of Czech citizenship. Her Canadian birth certificate needs to be superlegalized, translated and approved. This is fortunately done at the Czech embassy in Ottawa and you are allowed to translate the document yourself and they will verify it for you. One of the forms that you need to send in with the application requires you to have your signature verified by a notary. No big deal, right? Well, good luck finding a notary in Canada who speaks Czech and is willing to notarize your signature. I was emailing back and forth with the embassy that they allowed me to photocopy my ID and take that to the notary instead. I’ll sign it in front of him and he can verify my identity and signature. I’ll send this in along with the application. The application process takes about 4-6 months according to their website.
I have yet to apply for this. But when it comes back, we will have to apply for a Czech birth certificate and a birth number. More forms, more fees, more superlegalization, etc.
No matter what you do, do not romanticize international families. It’s not all that fun all the time…
This article was first published on April 10, 2013. As you can see, there are no comments. I invite you to email me with your comments, criticisms, and other suggestions. Even better, write your own article as a response. Blogging is awesome.