Passports ~ Much More to Me Than a Book with Cool Stamps

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Flickr Creative Commons – By: J Aaron Farr

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you’ll know that my family and I immigrated to the United States from Canada. In 2010 we became US Citizens, after a very, very long paperwork process. When you become a naturalized citizen there are only two documents you can use that prove your citizenship, your naturalization certificate and a passport.

A funny thing happened to us the day we became citizens – it likely wouldn’t have occurred if we lived in a metropolis, in NYC passports can be issued expediently without a very long wait at all. But we live in a small city and the only place you can apply for a passport is the post office.

So back to my story. The immigration officer that processes the cases here specifically mentioned to hold on to our naturalization certificates as if they were gold. Lock them up in a safe place and don’t lose them, because not only are they expensive to replace, it can take YEARS to get another one issued. We took our oath, and with certificates in hand went home made copies of them and headed out to all the government agencies we needed to change our status with.

Social Security, DMV and then to apply for passports. When we got to the post office, we handed over our copies and the official said she needed the originals. WHAT?! We were just told to safeguard them with our lives. “Don’t worry,” she says, “they’ll be returned.” Well what were we to do? We needed passports so, with great concern we handed them over, and expected to either never see them again, or get them back with coffee mug imprints all over them.

And then we waited, and waited and waited. One day I open the mailbox and there’s an envelope addressed to my husband. Inside is his naturalization certificate. Sent first class USPS mail, no delivery confirmation. I was aghast, but oh so thankful it made it back to us. And then proceeded to panic because it was just his and mine didn’t come. A few days later, mine was returned, with staple holes in the corner (blah!).

In any case, I’ll never look at a passport in the same way as I did before I became an American citizen. I always viewed my Canadian passport as a little travelogue of all the interesting countries I had visited, and not much more that that, because I could prove my citizenship with a wallet sized birth certificate if I had to. Now though my passport is so much more than just a book with cool stamps in it – it’s my proof of citizenship!

This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.

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