The Queen’s Newest Subject: Me
It’s official (finally)! I am a British citizen.
How strange is that? I’m feeling immense relief that it’s over, after a nervous day yesterday waiting for the 5:30 ceremony. I kept thinking, “What if I turn up and they tell me I never registered for the ceremony? Or what if they tell me my check didn’t clear?” It felt a little bit like getting married. Once I did arrive for the ceremony, it still felt a bit like getting married: they gave us all a fresh flower to pin on, ran us through the ceremony, gave us the oath we were required to read. We processed in to some bit of dramatic music, listened to a little speech by the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent County (whatever that means, I really have no idea) and the Vice-Chair of the local county council, swore our oaths, had our photos taken under a portrait of the Queen, signed the official register and–that was it. We were “in.”
I was surprised to discover I wasn’t the only American–I think there were at least two others, as well as individuals from Canada, Australia, Poland, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, South Africa, Pakistan, and a few other countries I’ve already forgotten.
So, I’ve pledged my oath to do my duty to Queen and country–now what? I’m sure my invitation to dine with the Queen is in the mail.
Yep, that’s me, the newest (almost) citizen of the United Kingdom. I am no longer going to be the odd one out in my family of dual citizens. I have mixed feelings about it–it’s just, well, weird. But it makes sense because now all of us can move freely from one country to another, if we need to, without having to fill out anymore application forms (and write hefty checks), permission for permanent residency documents (more hefty checks), take any more tests, ask for any more character references, and write any more checks! (Well, except for the check for £50 for the citizenship ceremony, and the check for £72.50 for the new passport.)
Here’s the part where I could do a riff on the old American Express commercial (it was American Express, right?)
Citizenship application + residency application fees: (approximately) £2,000.
Citizenship ceremony fee: £50
Cost of moving 3,500 miles: Don’t even ask
Emotional cost of international move: A price too high to be counted
Finally becoming a dual citizen? Priceless.
Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? Maybe not, but I’ll let you know how the oath-swearing to the Queen goes just as soon as it’s over. I’ll be official on January 8th at approximately 6 pm.
Wish me luck.