What’s my nationality?

My Australian passport is still under my maiden name. I wanted to change it when we first got married but it ended up in the too hard basket. I decided to give it another go this week but it’s proving very difficult. I was not born in Australia so they want to see proof of citizenship. Evidently an existing Australian passport is not proof enough (unless you were born in Australia which I was not). I do not have a certificate of Australian citizenship. I am able to renew my passport without any difficulty but I cannot get a new one in a different name. It is perfectly legal however for me to travel under my maiden name but it means I always have to remember to book tickets in that name and to sign in that name and one day, I may get it wrong.

Meanwhile, I can get New Zealand citizenship without any difficulty at all. In fact, it’s easier for me to get New Zealand citizenship than for me to get proof of my Australian citizenship, despite being 5th generation Australian which includes convict ancestry. You don’t get more Australian than that. If I get New Zealand citizenship, does that give me leave to make fun of New Zealand?

7 responses to “What’s my nationality?”

  1. Nothing wrong with your maiden name, Rachel. Many women to-day prefer to keep their own surnames after marriage. I wouldn't worry about changing unless you want Aussie passports for the children? Does your lack of citizenship mean they can't get them?Does this also mean that every child born to say (as in your case) fifth generation Australians living and working overseas is not deemed to be an Australian citizen? And in your case, what happened to the record of your birth in the Australian Embassy, Bangkok?

  2. Any child born overseas to an Australian citizen parent can get Australian citizenship by decent, but it doesn't happen automatically. One must apply for it and have a certificate which is what I don't have for myself. I think I can still get this certificate for my children though as they will accept my passport as proof. Weird, huh?

  3. You mean "descent", don't you. Am not familiar with all the rules but in your case, one wonders if your birth was registered at all. Why else would it be so difficult if you are on our national births register?

  4. Yes, descent, of course. I have a birth certificate so it must have been registered, but a certificate of citizenship is also required. I don't know whether my parents applied for one and if they did, they don't remember and the certificate is lost.

  5. Ask your father. Sounds like a male stuff up to me. Mum's at that time usually spent the first week in hospital, unlike mothers to-day.

  6. Hi Rachel,
    I ‘bumped’ into your post while trying to find help with getting Australian citizenship in particular circumstances. I am wondering if you manage to resolve your case, and how.
    I don’t know if you’ll read my comment after such a long time, but I decided to try.
    I like your blog. I live in Australia. I went to New Zealand a few years ago, only for a few days, and I loved it. I hope to visit this country again.

    1. Hi Silvia,
      Yes, I did resolve my problem and now have a certificate of Australian citizenship by descent. I applied through the office in Auckland, New Zealand and gave them a fair amount of documentation including my father’s birth certificate and passport (certified copies of these). It didn’t take very long in the end. Good luck!

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