Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Not-Quite-Canadian Kids

This week, I learned that, because we haven't applied for Mya's citizenship card yet, we couldn't easily bring our family back to Canada to live.

She would be allowed entry but she would not be eligible for health care, nor could we register her for school. Well, who knew?

We are in the US on an immigration visa and that visa is dependent on having an employer sponsor us. Should Craig lose his job, we are instantly thrown out of status and would be required to leave the country. No ten day grace period - no grace period at all. My back-up thought has always been, if an application for a visitor's visa were denied, worst case, we pack up and go back to Canada. Not a bad plan at all.

My plan now has this hitch. Even though both kids are automatically granted Canadian citizenship by nature of being born to parents with Canadian passports and birth certificates, it would seem all is not quite as it appears.

Weird to realize a Canadian can't just waltz in and partake of all benefits with ease. Then again, not weird at all. If I have learned one thing as a Canadian living outside Canadian borders it's that bureaucracy reigns supreme.

In fact, I had a hunch there would be some hang-up to getting this citizenship card and that's why I was calling the Canadian consulate in the first place. "Do I have the correct application form? Where do I mail the application?". When I asked, "By the way, can I just return to Canada to live with my American-born Canadian kids?". "Oh no," was not all that surprising to hear.

No matter how hard I might try to cross all my "i's" and dot all the "t's", I am constantly coming up against more and more hoops to jump through. If it's not US immigration requirements, it is the US tax system, or the Canadian re-entry requirements and on and on.

You might think this has a quick fix. Just go apply for the silly card and be done with it. Lucas received his in only a few weeks, surely this will be easy. Ummmm .... no.

Due to immigration changes made in 2009, what used to a be a quick process now has a year-long wait. Again, who knew?

My perception while in the US has always been, "well, we can always pick up and return," and I have to admit it is a bit disconcerting to realize that it wouldn't be that easy. My Canadian kids are not so Canadian after all.

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