I’m a proud New Zealander – a rugby-mad Kiwi bloke who loves “fush and chups”, jandals, baches, hakas and gumboots. I’m also as British as Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.
But I didn’t need the How British Are You? quiz at BuzzFeed to tell me that, because I’m the proud owner of not one but two passports – a New Zealand one and a British one (my dear old mum was born in England). That’s right. I have dual citizenship.
But it’s not all fun and games (or, in this case, Union Jacks and fluffy white sheep). These are the pros and cons of having dual citizenship in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The perks of being a dual British/Kiwi citizen
- Having two passports means I get to pretend I’m a spy. “Which identity will I use this time?” I ask myself before I land in a new country. “The rugby-mad Kiwi or the overly polite Brit?”
- I get to live anywhere in the European Union, or in Australia or New Zealand. That’s the obvious benefit, I suppose – but I still think playing spy is the number-one benefit of dual citizenship.
- It’s great for winding up my British mates. “I’m as British as you are, bro!” That’s what I like to say to my English friends every time they hassle the way I say fish and chips.
- Sometimes in Southeast Asia it’s cheaper to cross the border from one country into another if you’re a New Zealand – or vice versa. It’s another opportunity to play secret spy.
- It was kind of funny the time I had my passport stolen in Spain (that’s obviously not the funny part) and when I went to the British Embassy to get another one the guy behind the counter told me I was in the wrong building – the Australian Embassy was next door.
- If I was any good at rugby but not good enough to play for the All Blacks, I’d be a certain starter for the English side.
The bad things about dual citizenship
- When I applied for a new British passport in Spain I had to tick a box that said, and I paraphrase here: “by applying for a new British passport you agree that, if deemed necessary by law, you’ll swear allegiance only to Blighty and cast off all other nationalities”. Scary. Here’s hoping for both New Zealand’s and my sake that we’re never on opposing sides of a war.
- I had a weird little run in with the UK Border Agency in Calais, France, before I caught the ferry back to England. The grumpy old man behind the counter asked me which team I supported – England or the All Blacks. Thinking it was a joke, I answered the latter. “So you’re just English by convenience are you?” he spat. Lovely chap.
- When you have two passports that’s one more that you’ve got to renew when it expires and one more you’ve got to keep safe.
- My wife and I have to split up at immigration in most European countries – I have to join the British/European line and she has to join the one that says “Other”. But at least we know how to queue really well in the British line.