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Original post made
by Legal Alien, Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 15, 2007
That Marguerite Grimmond might be deported from Scotland to the United States is, of course, absurd. I am confused by one detail in the BBC story, however. Mrs. Grimmond said, "I wasn't aware that I wasn't a British citizen." although she went off, applied for, and was granted a United States Passport. Even if she thought she had dual citizenship, wouldn't it be more natural to apply for a British passport?
I ask only out of curiosity as I can see no justification whatsoever for deporting her to the United States. I just feel like I must be missing something.
Well maybe I can explain a bit. I have dual citizenship (I am French, thus from the European Union) and my US born children have dual citizenship as well.
First, to live and work in the European Union you must be a citizen of one of its member countries or have an appropriate work visa. Otherwise you are there illegally. As a US citizen you can go there as a tourist for a few weeks with just your passport. Above and beyond that you need to obtain a valid visa.
Second, to be a citizen of a EU country, you generally have to be born there. Now, if one of your parents is a citizen of a EU country, you can be a citizen as well even though you were not born there.
However, to do so, your parents must take some steps. They have to be registered with their local EU consulate. In my case I am registered with the French consulate in San Francisco. They further must have their marriage cerfiticate registered officially with their birth country through the consulate (if the wedding took place in the US), and finally they must have their children's birth certificates registered officially as well. I took all those steps for my family and my children. Furthermore, if a boy (and a girl as well nowadays), the child has to fulfill some sort of military obligation to retain its European citizenship. When turning 18, my child had to attend a one day workshop in San Francisco on what it means to be French, what France is all about, and about its military.
From reading the above mentioned article, I am under the impression that that woman's parents never took the necessary steps to have her officially registered as a UK national. Thus, she would have to apply for naturalization to gain her UK citizenship.
It does appear that she has lived all those years as an illegal alien over there.
The only reservation I can give to my explanation is that I don't know which rules would apply to her, current rules or the ones that applied at the time of her birth and/or move to the UK. They may not have been the same as today. Furthermore there may some slight differences between the rules in France and those in the UK. However I am sure there is some similarity.
I wish her good luck.
British citizenship is complicated. For a child born outside the UK it is dependent (or at least was and may have changed now) on whether the father is a British citizen at the time of the child's birth. If the father was British, she would normally have been British even though she had a US passport. If just the mother was British then she would have the type of citizenship that is the same as for those people who were born in the British empire, which means that they were British but did not have the right to be resident in Britain. There is a type of British citizenship which can give you many of the privileges of citizenship without the right of residency, e.g. joining the military, getting protection of a British consul, etc. The people who have these types of citizenships are those from the old colonial days of India and Hong Kong, etc.
I imagine that this lady only had a US birth certificate and not a British one which meant that it made more sense for her to apply for a US passport. If her birth had been registered at the time she moved back to the UK with her mother then that would have altered her citizenship, but to have lived in Britain all these years was technically illegal, although if she had done it when she turned 21 or at the time of her marriage there probably would not have been a problem.
I am a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from the U.K. I don't have too much sympathy for Mrs. Grimmond, she has had 80 years to sort out her citizenship and fill out the necessary paper work to become a British citizen (or due to Scotlands recent independence, maybe a citizen of Scotland) in any event a citizen legally able to carry an EU passport!!! I wonder if she ever registered to vote? Does she have a British driver's licence?
To Legal Alien if one of your parents is British by birth and you were born outside the U.K., you have the choice of becoming a British citizen so long as the decision is made as a child before you turn 18 and all the necessary paper work is filled out. However, Mrs. Grimmond was married to a citizen of the U.K. so that should allow her to apply for U.K. citizenship, but she's got to fill out the correct paperwork, and not wait until she leaves the country. I don't have too much sympathy for this lady.
I wonder if Mrs. Grimmond has been paying 10% of her taxes to the U.S. government over the years, and applying to her host country for a rebate, if not she may own the U.S. Treasury quite a lot of money.
"(or due to Scotlands recent independence, maybe a citizen of Scotland)"
Wow, I never knew that Scotland had left the United Kingdom. So does the United Kingdom just refer to England, Wales and Northern Ireland now?
Bemused, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each formed their own independent parliaments - members are elected. They are governing all internal affairs, and recently they were given more influence in deciding EU and foreign policy. No these countries have not left the United Kingdom of Great Britain. They have joint military etc. The Queen opens the Scottish Parliament annually.
Oh, I guess California has also declared independence then.
Well, looks like all is well that ends well. She can stay, and gets her citizenship papers, and even gets her money back for the application.
Question: Didn't it occur to her to ask why she was traveling under an AMERICAN passport, not British, BEFORE she left?
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