An interesting part of having a baby here in Israel is dealing with all the paperwork to obtain citizenship. Here are a few things that you may be curious about when it comes to citizenship for a baby born abroad in Israel.
1. Adina does NOT have dual citizenship. It used to be that a baby born in Israel was automatically a citizen, but in 2005 the law changed. Now at least one of the parents needs to be an Israeli citizen and since neither Adam nor I have made aliyah, Adina is not an Israeli citizen. If she wants to become one, she will have to make aliyah in the future.
2. Adina is an American citizen because Adam and I are American citizens. However, her citizenship isn’t automatic since she was born abroad. We have to claim citizenship for her, which means that we need to fill out a bunch of paperwork to prove that she is ours and that we are citizens who lived in the US before she was born. We had to take her to either the Embassy (in Tel Aviv) or the consulate to give them the paperwork and show her to them. We brought her to the American Consulate in Jerusalem this past Tuesday, which is about a half an hour walk from our house.
3. Adina can run for president if she wants to, although we won’t be disappointed if she decides not to. At the Consulate, we applied for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which officially states that Adina is an American citizen that happened to be born in another country. I believe John McCain had one of these because he was born in Panama or something like that.
4. When you apply for a passport for an infant, you have to follow all the picture rules that an adult has to. You have no idea how annoying it is to try and get a one month old baby to look at directly at the camera with a straight face. Adina was amazingly cooperative, and not only did we get a good picture (although the guy at the consulate initially said her head was a little too big in the photo but they accepted it anyway), we got a series of photos of her making really silly faces.
5. At the Consulate, we also applied for her social security number which takes 6-8 months to get. It is not a huge deal, however, because here in Israel the most important number for her to have is her passport number. We should be able to pick up her Consular Report and passport sometime next week.
Adina was pretty good at the Consulate. She was calm and awake for the walk there and started to cry once we arrived because she was hungry. I basically fed her while Adam went through the paperwork with the guy. I didn’t feel too out of place since all the other American citizens at the consulate were there for the same reason and almost every mother was feeding their baby while they waited. She just finished eating when we met with the consular officer to finalize the paperwork, which was good timing because he needed to actually see her. She is such a good girl!
If there is anything else you might be curious about, just let us know. We will do our best to share the information that we gathered.
Until next time…
Here are a few of the silly faces she made when we tried to take her picture! None of these qualify for a passport photo!