Daniel's Travels

Passports

Passports

I received my first passport (USA) when I was nine years old. My parents got it because there was a chance that my mother's job would require us to move to the UK (MCI and British Telecom were working together). This never happened, and I didn't travel on it until 1999, when I left the United States for the first time. This first foreign vacation was to the United Kingdom.

Becoming British

Interestingly enough, I have not been back to the UK since then (except for about an hour in the international section of Heathrow Airport) yet I am a British Citizen by birth. Indeed, my mom was born in the UK on a US military base and she was therefore born a dual national. She has never claimed her British citizenship, but that didn't stop me. I claimed my British Passport at about the same time that I was graduating from high school (although the British Embassy in Washington took about two months to issue the passport). But now it's official, I am a citizen of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Power of a Paper

It is really amazing that I am so lucky. To be both American (3rd most populous nation, high human development index, lots of liberties, tons of opportunity) and to be British (smaller country, but same story and the ability to reside/work anywhere in the European Union) is amazing. However, the thing that is amazing is that the only thing that gives me certain rights and priveleges are a few convenient occurences: 1. I was born in the USA, 2. My mother is "British" Having these two documents, two pieces of paper really gives me a huge advantage over so many in the world and was arbitrarily given to me because I was born in a specific place at a specific time and to my specific parents. It is unfair that I was born in such a lucky position. At the very worst, I will always have the right to be in the United States and the United Kingdom, something that many spend years trying to do ("Green Card"/"Leave to remain indefinitely"). It is ridiculous though how many rights I earn just by holding these two pieces of paper. I can enter many nations much more easily than most of the world's population, I am not targeted in airports, I am not asked as many questions at immigration (except in Canada). I would never think of giving away either of my citizenships, their rights are too dear to me. However, it is somewhat unfortunate that the piece of paper that a person bears is used to determine so much about them and how they will be treated regardless of who they may be.

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