My little Canadian born abroad

The last 4 weeks have been hectic when it comes to paperwork. Theo, born here in New Caledonia needed a passport to fly home to Canada. Although he was born here in New Cal he is a Canadian citizen. He is the child of two Canadian parents. So, how does he go about getting those documents?
Luckily, I had a friend who had recently had a baby and she had just went through the process. It really isn’t terribly complicated but living in Koné makes it a little trickier and the timeline we had was narrow, 5 weeks!
First on the check list was a birth certificate. In the hospital they give you a declaration of birth which allows you to go to the Mairie aka city hall and apply for your birth certificate. This part was easy as the office is across the street from the Koumac hospital so, Keith just strolled across and filed the paperwork. We had been forewarned we would need our passports, long form birth certificates, and our marriage certificate. The birth certificate takes 4 hours to issue. It's a piece of paper that is signed and then stamped by the office, the official copies. There are no barcodes, holograms etc. just 8x11photocopies. The original paperwork remains filed in Koumac. Step one complete. Step two, passport and citizenship card. All these forms were found online and we filled them out, albeit with some help. I took care of his photos for both. Try having your 6 day old close his mouth, keep both eyes open and not move as Keith would say, it’s like herding cats! Luckily, my sister was still here to help with at event! So, with the pictures, forms, and supporting documents all set then you need to get it to the Canadian High Commission in Canberra, Australia. The is no Canadian Consulate here in New Cal but Canadians use the Australian consulate (perks of the commonwealth) Your choices the become the following, option A, drop of documents at consulate in Noumea, they then travel by diplomatic bag to Australia or option B, send it by DHL to Australia. Either way it has to head to Noumea. There is no DHL service in Koné. So, at the same time as we brought my sister to the airport we sent it DHL from Noumea. Then you wait. The citizenship card takes about a year to process but because we submitted both together, along with our booked airline ticket we were able to have a limited validity passport made.
Twenty-one days later and we travelled back to Noumea to pick up the passport from the Australian Consulate. It travelled there by diplomatic bag and needed to be picked up by one of us. Phew! That was a relief! I must admit after 18 months here I find little stresses me out anymore. My patience has grown exponentially. This was one of those things that caused me to lay awake at night. With expensive planes tickets waiting and plans made, you have one shot. If you mess up the form you are pooched!
So, it’s done. We can breathe a sigh of relief and now we can look forward to heading home in vacation!


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