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Author Topic: Spouse Citizenship  (Read 3624 times)

Just Like Mr Benn

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Spouse Citizenship
« on: July 27, 2010, 01:19:48 AM »
This is going to sound like a 'My friend has erectile disfunction' situation, but I assure you it's not about me.

A female Chinese friend has married a westerner. I think she assumed that she could spend a little bit of time in her husband's country and secure the foreign pasport, but she didn't know that this would mean giving up Chinese citizenship. (By the way, she didn't marry in order to get his nationality) They will want to live in his country, but she'll need to regulalrly return to China for work.

This has made me curious, as who knows, I may one day wish to marry a Chinese woman.

I can't find information about this area (spouses gaining western citizenship) on the site or anywhere else, so could folk either kindly post informative links and / or share their experiences. Is it feasible to hide the fact from the Chinese authorities that someone has obtained a second nationality? What problems do spouses have if they give up Chinese ctizenship?

Pashley

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 03:22:01 AM »
Rules are going to be different for each country. Nations built on immigration -- US, Canada, Australia, NZ -- might be easier. I'm told getting citizenship for Switzerland is almost impossible.

Googling "Canada citizenship site:.gc.ca" turns up this:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/index.asp

Similar searches should work for any country. For the US, use site:.gov
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 04:09:32 AM »
JLMr. B,
There is discussion of this topic on here, but it's generally mixed deeply in with other stuff. bjbjbjbjbj

I don't know what country your friend will be moving to, so some issues I may not know about. In most cases the issue arises from the Chinese side. China does not recognize dual citizenships, so Chinese who take citizenship in another country are required by the Chinese government to give up their Chinese citizen status.

Most countries require residency for two years or more before they grant citizenship, so your friend shouldn't have a problem at first...she'll still be a Chinese national and able to at least re-enter China freely. (She'll still need the proper Chinese passport and foreign visa in order to leave again...)

Once she's a citizen of her new home, though, she'll be viewed by the Chinese Consulates just like any other national of her husband's country. She'll need to obtain and maintain the correct Chinese visa in order to cross the border or stay in China, just as we must. For many countries, this is no problem...citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most Western European countries, and many others can get a Chinese visa quite easily.

Can Chinese people hide a second citizenship? Sure, and a fair number of them do. There are some risks, but it can be and is done.

Problems? Probably not. If she's going to South or Southeast Asia, maybe.
Or if she wants to come back to visit for an extended time, for example to care for an ailing parent, it's possible that she'd have a hard time keeping a visa. Of course, she'd probably lose all access to any Chinese social benefits she may have had. There are also some individual variables...some police and bureaucrats tend to harass Chinese women who marry foreigners. But none of these seem terribly likely or terribly worrisome.

All in all, from what I know of the situation she doesn't seem to really have too much to worry about.
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LaowaiSaosao

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 04:44:11 AM »
Like RD said, some Chinese do get citizenship for other countries without giving up their Chinese citizenship but it's not legal. My (Chinese) husband has never changed his citizenship but when he went to renew his passport at the Chinese Embassy in London they gave him a hard time, asking for "proof" that he didn't have a British passport! He quite rightly pointed out that it wasn't his responsibility to prove this and eventually they gave up and issued his new passport, but there was definitely suspicion that he would live in the UK for so long, married to a British citizen, without getting UK citizenship.

With regards to getting visas to visit/stay in China once you have gained citizenship elsewhere and given up your Chinese citizenship, the Chinese government introduced new regulations on June 1 which are intended to make it easier for foreign spouses/children of Chinese citizens and overseas Chinese to stay in China for extended periods so she should look into these. As I understand it, provided she has family in China, she should be able to get a one-year multiple entry tourist visa for the purpose of visiting this family.

Certainly I, as a foreign spouse of a Chinese citizen, can get a one-year multiple entry tourist visa provided I do the health check (without it I can get 6-month 2-entry L visa). And our kids can get two-year, multiple entry tourist visas once their birth certificates have been notarised by the Chinese Embassy in the UK. Best of all, these visas are renewable IN COUNTRY so I can stop making visa runs to Hong Kong, which might be fine on my own but is a pain in the butt when I have to take all three kids with me and my husband can't easily get a visa to Hong Kong cos he is from the middle of nowhere.


zero

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 01:34:46 PM »
Sounds like your "friend" will need to decide which citizenship is going to work better over the long term. Trying to maintain both is a possibility, but can't be counted on as a secure proposition year after year, decade after decade. There is always the possibility of losing the Chinese citizenship if the Chinese find it on you ... I mean your "friend." There is also the possibility that computer systems and databases will be a bit better linked in the future, making cross-referencing a possibility.

The difficulty arises when you want to spend extended times in both countries, as in a couple of years here, a few years there, etc. It's also tough if you want to live in the foreign country but someday retire back to China. There is really no good solution. If you take the foreign citizenship, you can only stay in China on L-visas or find a job that will give you a work permit. You won't have the kind of stability you might like in the case that you want to buy a condo, settle down and so on. If you retain the Chinese citizenship, you can stay in the foregn country on a green card or whatever. In the U.S., that's find, but too much time spent outside the U.S. and you'll end up with the green card revoked.

The topic is also discussed on Candle for Love and in the "visas and legalities" forum of Shanghai Expat.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2010, 09:38:15 AM »
I've known people who covertly held onto their Chinese passport, but like everyone else pointed out, it is illegal.

My husband is going to apply for a greencard sometime within the next year (we're looking at eventual repatriation I suppose) but he doesn't plan on giving up his Chinese citizenship. Really the only advantages of him doing so would be that he could sponsor his relatives to my country (the USA) and, of course, vote.

In China, as the wife of a citizen I can get a yearly renewable 1 year long multiple entry tourist visa. If my husband were also an American citizen I wouldn't be able to get this visa, and both of us would have to have jobs here in order to stay long term. If we wanted to buy property here, we'd both be foreigners, which means we'd have to pay a larger down payment.

My husband would only take American citizenship if we were absolutely sure that we were going to be staying in my country and China would only be a place we'd visit sometimes. While the greencard also means that splitting time between the US and China will be a hassle, it won't be the same kind of hassle as it would be if my husband didn't have his Chinese citizenship.

I wouldn't risk doing it the illegal way and trying to keep two citizenships. Perhaps one day China will recognize dual citizenship, but until that day our Chinese spouses really need to choose one and deal with the inconvenience.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Spouse Citizenship
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 06:49:49 AM »
If your marriage to a Chinese person is happy and healthy (as, sadly, mine was not ananananan ) then I generally advocate getting citizenship for your spouse pretty soon, while you know you have that ability.

You never know what tomorrow might bring. War might break out.(?)  Immigration rules can change suddenly for no apparent reason. Or, worst of all, God forbid, something could suddenly happen to you. In such an event, your Chinese spouse will usually have more choices and more control over their fate if they have Western citizenship in hand.

A friend of mine back in my Dalian days died suddenly, a few weeks after marrying a nice Chinese girl...he apparently had massive heart disease that had never been diagnosed, so that no one knew he even had a problem. ananananan

The aftermath for the nice Chinese girl was pretty horrific. They had just bought a new car and taken on other such financial obligations. The American Consulate offered her little or nothing in the way of support, sympathy, or recognition. The local Chinese authorities handled the whole thing from a "Ha ha, here's what you get for abandoning your own people and marrying a filthy foreigner!" approach...they slapped her with an impossibly huge bill for mortuary costs and various fines (Dead Foreigner Tax? A Littering citation? The mind boggles...), were insulting and vindictive in their treatment of her, harassed her constantly and mercilessly, and generally treated her like a traitorous whore.

Sure, there's not much that can be done for such a brand-new marriage, but perhaps this story is still an argument for doing what you can, as soon as you can. aoaoaoaoao
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)