Today I got a new passport, probably a good thing when you consider I will need one soon. I shelled out the extra money for the thick jumbo 48 page passport giving me plenty of extra pages for country stamps. I hope this is not wishful thinking!
Yes, it is a British passport. I am often asked why I have never given up my British Citizenship to become a US Citizen. After all, I have lived in the USA for over 30 years. I am eligible for dual Citizenships, but this comes with more problems than benefits for our planned travel style. When faced with this rather personal line of questioning, my simple answer is a question: Would you give up your US Citizenship (or, the Citizenship to wherever you call home)? I thought not.
As a Resident Alien (Green Card) I pay the same taxes and have most of the same benefits as a US Citizen. I pay into and can draw social security. I pay state and federal taxes. I cannot vote. I cannot be a fireman. I cannot be an FBI agent. I cannot work for the CIA. I cannot be POTUS. I’m okay with all of that.
The process of passport renewal has been dramatically simplified since my last renewal 10 years ago. My previous renewals required me to obtain the appropriate forms from the British embassy in Washington DC. They were not available for download ~ government red tape. The forms required two witnesses in addition to my signature. No mistakes allowed. Once completed, I had to send the forms, my old passport and check along with current photos back to the embassy. It took about 8 weeks to get the previous passports. This time was very different. From start to finish, it took less than 3 weeks to get a new passport. When I consider I am on another continent, I must say I am now very impressed with the efficiency of the British Government.
I filled out the online form and using my credit card prepaid the £110.86. This equates to about US$188 and includes the passport and return courier fees. I sent in my current photos (Costco: $5.34), old passport and a special bar-coded form I printed from my online application. The priority mail to Great Britain was an additional $46.50. Yikes! Good grief, I’m into this thing for almost two hundred and forty bucks. God Save the Queen!