Are you a dual citizen? “I can honestly say that becoming a dual citizen was one of the best things I ever did”

Here’s the next installment in our series of blog posts about consular team members’ experiences in the United States.

I was born in England. My dad was English and my mum was American.  As a kid, I was always told that I was half American and it never occurred to me that I might not be.  When I was born it wasn’t that easy to become a dual citizen, but a Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s changed that.

Photograph of an English town

When I was 20, I looked into how to claim my U.S. citizenship and started gathering the necessary documents.  We thought it might be difficult to prove that my mum had been physically present in the United States for the required amount of time before I was born.  Luckily, however, her schools still had a record of her.  Once they sent her school transcripts, I was ready and booked an appointment to apply at the Embassy.

As I was over 18, I was simply applying for my first U.S. passport. The appointment went smoothly and I got my passport within four weeks.  When my siblings saw that the process was straightforward, they applied too.  Both my sisters got their U.S. passports.  As my brother was under 18, he applied for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad certificate as well as a first passport.

When I left school, university wasn’t for me at the time.  I told my mum I could always join the Navy, and since I was a dual citizen, maybe I’d join the U.S. Navy.  I don’t think she took me seriously at first, but that’s exactly what I did!  The day I left home was the day I went to boot camp – I’d never even lived in the United States before!

Photograph of a Navy cap and dogtags

After basic training, I was stationed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). I was a member of the ship’s crew for some truly amazing moments including home porting to San Diego, and the ship’s maiden deployment. As a result, I am a veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom supporting our troops in Afghanistan.  Whilst in the Navy, I made the greatest friends of my life and had experiences that most people couldn’t even imagine – especially not a girl from Hertfordshire!

Photograph of an aircraft carrier in Florida

I can honestly say that becoming a dual citizen was one of the best things I ever did.  There are not too many people that have the freedom to simply move across the Atlantic when they feel like it, but, more importantly, becoming a citizen of the United States made it possible for me to do the things that I am most proud of in my life.

U.S. flag flying over Rio De Janerio

If you’re wondering whether you or your child may be eligible for U.S. citizenship, visit our website athttp://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/passports/citizenship.html

U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, are required by law to enter and exit the United States on a valid U.S. passport only.  If you have any questions about which passport to use to enter and exit another country, we suggest you contact the immigration authorities of that country for clarification.