Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Belong to Both

Back in October I received the most unexpected e-mail from my Dad. It was a forwarded e-mail, and only contained one comment from him:

"Hey Claire,

Would you like to become a Czech citizen? 

- Dad"

Underneath these words was a copy of a new law that had been passed just this January, explaining a very unique and mind-blowing opportunity. 

"We wanted to share that one of the provisions of a new Czech citizenship law Prohlášení o nabytí státního občanství ČR podle § 35 zákona č. 186/2013 Sb, passed in January 2014, allows you to qualify for Czech citizenship if you meet the following requirements.

a) Between the ages of 18 and 21
b) Permanent Resident in the CR
c) Two thirds of life spent in CR (from the age of 10)
d) No criminal record

Under this provision it is then also possible to maintain dual citizenship depending on the requirements of your current country of citizenship - for US and EU countries it is fully permissible."

My heart started racing when I read through this list. 


It's a small window, but I qualify for all of these things, and now could be allowed to become a dual citizen. Could this really be true??? 

Growing up my whole life in Czech until college, I always wondered what it would be like to be a Czech citizen too. Could I possibly belong to both countries legally, as I already do in my heart? Before this law was passed, it wasn't possible. People ask me all the time which country I prefer or where I would like to live one day. Honestly, both are part of who I am. 

Even though I was born in Germany, and grew up in the Czech Republic my entire life, I still only held an American passport. I am incredibly grateful to be an American citizen, and would never give up that right. But now that this new law was passed, could I really have citizenship to both countries?

That brings me to today. Two days before Christmas, Caleb and I received a most wonderful and surprising gift. 

Because we both qualify for the terms, we went into the government offices in Ostrava with our passports, visas, report cards from all of our years at Czech school (to prove we lived here that long), and birth certificates, and sat in an office with two kind ladies who are able to put in a request for citizenship for us. 

One hour later, Caleb and I are on our way to becoming Czech citizens. 


It almost seems too good to be true. 

Once the documents are processed and we sign one last confirmation paper, we will officially be Czechs (and still Americans!). I. can't. wait. 

I finally will get to even legally belong to both of my heart homes. I will forever have access to Czech, and to all EU countries. It completes a gap that just didn't feel right and I am now connected to both homes. The lady who helped us in the government offices, said it better than I ever could: 

"In today's multinational world if you can be a good citizen of several countries, you should be."

Yes. I will now have the chance to be a good citizen in the States, and in Czech. And that makes my heart so happy. I am overjoyed that I will have two passports, two home countries, and yet one story and identity. 

Caleb and I grew up in Czech, and we are so excited to continue to be connected here, and to the rest of Europe.

(For an explanation of the whole process and window of opportunity, read what Mom wrote about today.)

1 comment:

  1. What? No comments on this post?? It's such an amazing one!!! Still celebrating the fact that you get to connect both parts of yourself and be a Czech citizen too!! What a memory that will always be from this Christmas at home.


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