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Passport Problems: Dubai Resident Explains One of the Challenges of a Global Lifestyle

British passport (Image credit: Ethan Wilkinson via Unsplash)

It’s a symbol of patriotism. It’s full of pages that get stamped from all over the world. It’s a piece of identification. A passport is something so small, yet holds great value.

However, for British citizen Chris, obtaining one for his son has been harder than normal.

Passport blues

Chris lives in Dubai and is a British citizen. He was born while abroad. His wife is a Chinese national. This dynamic complicates things for their son.

British passport (Image credit: Ethan Wilkinson via Unsplash)
British passport (Image credit: Ethan Wilkinson via Unsplash)

“There’s some law sitting in the United Kingdom that says if an individual is born outside of the country and they haven’t been sent there for military or government purposes they forfeit the right to pass the nationality onto their children unless they live in the United Kingdom for five years prior to the child’s birth,” he said.

Chris wasn’t aware this law was still being applied. His understanding was you would be able to argue your way around it. Unfortunately for him and his family, this problem is becoming more prevalent as humans become more global.

Chris shared that a couple of years back he read online about a couple facing a similar problem in France.

Right now, the family is trying to figure out steps to move forward.

“If we want to apply for a British passport, we’ll need to move to the United Kingdom and live there for five years,” he said.

Lack of a safety net

Another concern with not having a British passport is a lack of security.

British passport (Photo by Ethan Wilkinson via Unsplash)
Photo by Ethan Wilkinson via Unsplash

In the long term, it’s a concern because we don’t have a safety net. If something goes wrong here we can’t go to the United Kingdom.

In addition to being an inconvenience, the lack of a passport presents financial and emotional burdens. Financially, Chris explained that if he and his family want to visit the United Kingdom, he needs to process a visa for his wife and son. However, processing the visas adds up quite a bit.

Expat life in Dubai

Although the lack of a passport has given him and his family a headache, Chris appreciates his life in Dubai right now.

Dubai (Image by Olga Ozik from Pixabay)
Dubai (Image by Olga Ozik via Pixabay)

“Dubai is very comfortable. It’s an expat country,” he said.

On top of being designed for expats, Dubai also provides great weather with friendly locals. Regardless of the difficulties with having several nationalities in the mix, Chris loves the life he lives. He is thankful for his family, his job, and Dubai.

“I like living the global life,” Chris said, “this is all I’ve known. I’m happy with this environment and this lifestyle.”

NOTE: Chris’s last name has been omitted to respect anonymity.

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