Honey! Surprise! I Think I’m British!

I was explaining to Lime this evening about how I’d gone through some papers, while preparing my passport application. (I need a new passport in about six weeks and it takes three weeks for the new one to arrive, so I’m trying to get organized and get the application in as soon as possible.)

Anyway, I was mentioning how I had examined my Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, both the little wallet-sized card and the larger certificate document. On the passport form, a date was requested for these documents, but no date was given on either document, so I resorted to looking at the other papers enclosed with it.

It turned out that the certificate was accompanied by a letter, you know, with a fake signature from the Secretary of State of Canada at that time. The letter had only one thing by way of a date: the year 1979. Now, I was born in 1974, and the first thing Lime asked me when she saw that letter was: “What were you before you were Canadian?”

She’s a smart one, my Lime.

So I fished out the other little document that had been bundled with the certificate by my father many years ago. It was… lo and behold… the form that certified my landed immigrant status in Canada. There’s a passport number on the form, and the passport was issued by Britain. And seeing that, a memory flooded back into my mind, of a British passport I had as a little kid, and long-ago (maybe) lost.

I was too busy this afternoon, but tomorrow afternoon, I’ll definitely be calling the British Consulate and asking them what I should be doing next. I’ll probably have to wait a few weeks, till I get my Canadian passport back, but… if I understand things correctly, by sometime next year, I should have a British passport in my possession as well. Which opens all kinds of doors for work and residence in Europe, for example, right? So they say. Which is cool. If that turns out to be correct, I’ll carry back all the other documents I have in my possession, from my father’s and grandfather’s birth and marriage certificates to the family papers dating even farther back.

Sometime, I should post about Robert Penman Sellar. Those Sellars… publishers and booksellers, the lot of them. Fittingly.

UPDATE (24 Oct 2006): Well, I talked to someone in Consular Services at the British Embassy in Seoul, and it turns out I’m going to need all of those documents to establish my citizenship in Britain after all. Once I get my new Canadian passport, in November, I’ll start in on this process. Hopefully it won’t take too long. I’ll be finding out more later this week, when The Person To Talk To About These Sorts of Things gets back to the office.

6 thoughts on “Honey! Surprise! I Think I’m British!

  1. Fantastic Gord! Pursue that line of inquiry (as the Brits would say).

    If you have British citizenship you can work anywhere in the EU, and be entitled to full rights with the country you choose.

    Best of luck with that. :)

  2. It’d be nice, at least as an option. At some point, Lime was talking about living in Spain — I have no idea what put that into her head, but this way, it would be quite possible. :)

    Anyway, as it turns out, I’m pretty sure I have a right to British citizenship, inherited through my grandfather, and I have (I think) all the documents I need to demonstrate it. Either well, I’m sure to get it, if I understand the situation correctly. So I think either way, whether or not they have previous record of my citizenship — though I was told they should — I am thinking I will be getting a passport sometime in the next few months… but as with everything, we shall have to wait and see…

    Thanks for the luck wishes…

  3. Welcome to the club….

    (Not that I have done anything to exercise my rights, but my birth certificate and all the stuff identifying me as yes, that same person, ought to do it….)

  4. Yay! Well, I plan on doing something about it, though I have a feeling there will be a lot of hurry up & wait. I was told to mail a letter to an office in Liverpool, and that’s never good news.

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