Dual Citizenship Dreams

When Lil’ A was born in December 2006, the Dual Citizenship law for mixed children born out of marriages between Indonesian and foreign citizen parents were still pretty much fresh from the oven.

We were pretty lucky as the law stated children born after the law was implemented (June 11, 2006) should immediately granted with Indonesian citizen, while the ones that were born prior, have a more tedious steps to follow. By the time he was 7 months old, Lil’ A proudly have his Indonesian passport and the process at Indonesian Consulate in Houston was a breeze.

Although the law stated that when the child turns 18, they will have to decide which citizenship to follow and ditch the other one, it still brought plenty of happiness for mothers like myself. Prior to the law,  Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship and every children born out of a mix marriage will automatically follow their father’s citizenship. I’ve seen and read plenty of horror stories out there about nasty child custody battles resulting in children being totally seperated from their Indonesian mothers.

Several mix marriage associations such as KPC Melati and KPC Melati Worldwide are still actively lobbying Indonesian government to pass another citizenship law, this time to allow dual citizenship for the parents (mother/father). I am hoping this bill will be approve in the future as it would definitely makes life a little easier for a mix marriage couple.

Being Indonesian, it is somewhat of a hassle to travel abroad. Not only certain countries put such a strict ‘filtering systems’ for Indonesian visa applicants to avoid either illegal immigration movements or simply because of this country’s  history to terrorism activities. By all means, I do not blame the ‘other country’ as they are just trying to protect their own and yes, there are way too many people who will bail out on their tourist visas once they landed in the country of their dream. These ‘reputations’ sometimes makes it hard for ‘genuine’ people who just wants to travel to obtain a visa.

Have to admit I am somewhat jealous of Lil’ A’s status of holding two passports and after seeing how it works can you blame me if I sometimes dream I could have a ‘blue passport’ too?

One example, when we were applying for a Chinese visa from The US of course Lil’ A used his American passport and were automatically granted with a 6 months multiple entry-90 days maximum stays visa-renewable! His Mommy? Not so lucky! I only got 3 months with maximum stay of 30 days and I can’t extend it without leaving the country first. When I showed our passports to my inlaws, their jaws dropped “That’s discrimination!” claimed my mother inlaw. No…that’s just how it is, their rules and as unfair as it seems, it’s one of the thing I hate about using my ‘green passport’.

These does not only happening to me, I’ve heard stories from friends who had to jumped through so much hurdles just to get a visa and how much easier it is to travel using the ‘blue passport’. One girl I knew who travel frequently to the Netherlands told me the first time she went there with her newly obtained American passport, the immigration officer didn’t even ask her any questions (oh she’s used to being ‘partially interrogated’ on her trips there) and just stamped her passport. Nice!

Someday…yes I still have hopes that one day it will be much easier for us who chose to ‘stay green’ to travel to these places that has strict ‘filters’ or better yet, a dual citizenship for women in mix marriages.



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12 Comments on Dual Citizenship Dreams

  1. gigi
    May 10, 2010 at 2:42 am (6 years ago)

    Really informative post! I can’t imagine having to make sense of all the various laws in different countries about where you can go and how long you can stay! Your little guy will have a much easier time being a world traveler 🙂
    .-= gigi´s last blog ..Friday Flip-Offs, 5/7 Edition =-.

    • Maureen
      May 10, 2010 at 10:43 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Gigi, it’s enough to give one a headache dealing with different laws and their never ending paperwork. I’m glad my son have both passports and can enjoy the advantages of being a dual citizenship and I don’t have to drag him out of Indonesia every few months to renew his visa.

  2. Sylvia,Jake and Matt
    May 10, 2010 at 9:52 am (6 years ago)

    We don’t live in Indonesia, so we just let our kids be truly American citizens (also their mother). So many paperworks to do.

    • Maureen
      May 10, 2010 at 10:45 am (6 years ago)

      Sylvia, yes that would definitely makes life easier when you are all holds the same citizenship but I’m not ready to apply for US citizenship yet especially since we’re currently still living in Jakarta that’s why I hope in the future the bill will pass so we, the Indonesian women married to foreigner can obtain dual citizenship too 😀

  3. Katie
    May 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm (6 years ago)

    Just found you and am really looking forward to reading more about your life. I can’t believe all the hoops you have to jump through in order to travel. Wow! It’s unbelievable the things you have to do. Maybe I won’t complain so much next time I have to go through customs!

    Hope you have a happy week!

    • Maureen
      May 12, 2010 at 10:41 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Katie, thank you for stopping by and commenting. When I start getting frustrated with all the paperwork’s and all the hurdles or traveling abroad I have to keep telling myself “At least my name is not very Muslim oriented like some people here…” 😀

  4. Aaron
    June 11, 2010 at 2:34 am (6 years ago)

    This is something my wife just mentioned to me. She is an Indonesian Citizen and I’m a U.S. Citizen. Our child was born in the U.S.A. I’m concerned about this issue. If, god forbid, me and my wife ever did separate would this law allow her to take our child to Indonesia and keep him there? Who has the right to decide custody? If the child is born in America shouldn’t the US courts decide that? As the father would I have any rights in Indonesia if my child was taken there? Me and my wife were married under the assumption that our lives would be here in the US. I just want to make sure there are protections in place if my child is granted this dual citizenship.

    • Maureen
      June 11, 2010 at 2:45 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Aaron, that is a very valid concern that you have. I have no experience in the ‘worst case scenario’ but if the two of you have a prenuptial agreement it should also cover that base. Also, if you are married in the US and your marriage have not been registered in Indonesia, I would assume that it’s the US jurisdiction to decide about custody especially since both of you resides in the States because if you are not registered in Civil Registry office in Indonesia, your marriage have no legal base here. I sure do hope it would not come to child custody battle for the sake of your child.

  5. Aaron
    June 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm (6 years ago)

    Actually my wife and I have our marriage recognized in both countries. We do have a prenuptial agreement but I don’t know if it would be held as a legal document in Indonesia since it was signed in USA. I hope divorce never happens in the first place. Just trying to make sure I’m legally covered here if the worst ever did happen. I hope child custody is never an issue as well. A child needs both of his/her parents.

    • Maureen
      June 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm (6 years ago)

      That is great I think it depends on which country both parties resides but since you are both registered in the States and Indonesia your rights as father will also be acknowledge here in Indonesia. I sure do hope that it wouldn’t come to custody battle but kudos to you to learn as much as you can about being in a mix marriage. God knows it’s complicated enough so I honestly hope divorce will never happen to you both 🙂

      • Aaron
        July 29, 2010 at 6:12 am (6 years ago)

        So my wife has went on vacation to Indonesia for 3 months with our son. I’ll be going over later to meet them. She has brought our son in on a tourist Visa and extended it once already. She can only extend it once though. She wants me to agree on getting dual citizenship for our son so that she will not have to leave the country and then come back. I’ve already told her that I didn’t think dual citizenship was a good idea unless we were planning to live in Indonesia. Although having the dual citizenship would make her vacation easier I’m still wary about agreeing to it. So, from what I’ve heard it doesn’t take both parents to agree for our son to have dual citizenship, only one. Is this so? My thinking was that even in the worst case situation she could still just get the citizenship for him later so my opposition to it right now doesn’t really make a difference. If this is true I suppose it would be OK to do but I also don’t want any document stating that the father was in agreement to this grant of citizenship because that might be used against me later as well. Also, you mention that I would have rights as a father in Indonesia but what exactly are those rights?

        • Maureen
          August 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm (6 years ago)

          Aaron, one thing I learned from other friends whose children does not have dual citizenship is: they apply for a social visit visa from their nearby Indonesian Embassy/Consulates back in the States prior to coming to Indonesia. This visa is good for 3 months and can be extended from within Indonesia. So there’s no need to leave the country.
          Yes, Indonesia law doesn’t required both parents to sign the forms for passport applications like they do back in the US so your wife can still apply for it herself is she wants to.
          You said your marriage is registered in Indonesia, right? So you do have rights…such as if worst case scenario you get divorce in Indonesia you can appeal for child custody too since you are the father.
          I would suggest you to contact a lawyer firm because they seems to be able to advise you more on this especially when it comes to your parental rights.
          Here’s a link to their website Wijaya & Co
          Best of luck to you and your wife.


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