Visiting the US Consulate!
Since Wesley is the child of a US citizen (me!) he is a US citizen himself. In order to claim that though, we had to file some paperwork, since he doesn’t have a US birth certificate. The paperwork is fairly simple, especially in comparison to some of the government paperwork I’ve filed in the past (Canadian Permanent Residence, I’m looking at you). One question, however, requires that both parents of the child list every period of physical presence in the US. Living close to the border, that was a fairly long list for us (and I never even crossed said border until 2004!). Still, we got it all sorted out the night before- the application for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, the application for the Social Security Number (which I’ll need to file my taxes) and the application for his US passport (which will be his proof of US citizenship).
In order to file this stuff, we had to make an appointment at the US Consulate in Toronto. We made an appointment for the latest time they had available (10:30 AM) since we’d have to drive there and the morning drive into TO is a bit rough.
We got out of the house at 7:30, and after the drive and then the subway ride downtown, we barely made it in time. It was Wesley’s first subway ride! We took him in the Boba carrier because we didn’t want to deal with taking the whole big stroller and everything on the subway, and we didn’t know if we’d have space for the stroller at the consulate either. It worked really well for the trip.
Once we got downtown, we quickly hit up a Canada Post outlet to get a prepaid Express Post envelope (which you have to submit with your paperwork so they can mail you the passport and report of birth abroad). After that, we headed up to the consulate, which is on a shady sidestreet that is closed to car traffic.
MAN, was that place crazy. The line for visas was way out the door and down the street, and then there was another line inside, then another line after that. The people getting visas there had a long wait in front of them. We had an appointment so we were able to head in and up to a different area, but we had to throw away the ice packs we were using to keep the baby’s milk fresh, at security. Oh well. At least we didn’t have to waste any of his food (it was still good when it came time to feed him, shortly after).
After getting through security, we headed upstairs to the designated office. There were a bunch of windows, and we had to sign in at one, and they checked our paperwork. We had to fix a few things, and then wait to be called. After that, a second person checked our paperwork again, and we were told to wait again, and then we were called again, for our final paperwork check and interview. All told it was about an hour, which was a bit faster than we were expecting. We were the last ones out. The waiting area had a lot of children (naturally), and the washroom had a nice changing table and we were able to feed the baby there, which was nice.
All in all it was an interesting outing! We hope to get Wesley’s paperwork and passport in a few weeks, and his SSN sometime after that (it takes much longer). I’m glad we got it done now and not later when he would be harder to handle in a government office sort of situation. 🙂