First Children Made Dual Citizens
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A group of 13 children of transnational marriages with foreign fathers, obtained Indonesian citizenship Tuesday, the first children to do so following the passage of the citizenship law in July.
Before the new law was enacted, children of transnational marriages automatically had to follow their fathers' citizenship. Children with Indonesian fathers are still denied dual citizenship.
Currently there are some 300 to 400 other children are waiting for dual citizenship applications to be processed.
Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin handed over Indonesian passports to the 13 children at a ceremony here.
Hamid said the children, aged between one and 14 years and currently holding only foreign passports, were given Indonesian citizenship less than 28 days after they made their official applications.
The children were exempted from paying any fees for the passports because of a transitional administration period, said Melati Transnational Marriage Community (KPC Melati) head Enggi Holt, who attended the event.
Hamid said the process of obtaining dual citizenship takes at least 28 days.
The immigration office needs 14 days to process the required documents before handing them over to the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, which will take up to another 14 days to grant local citizenship, the minister added.
The newly-enacted citizenship law gives children of transnational marriages with Indonesian mothers the right to dual citizenship until they are 18 years old.
At 18, they can choose whether to stay Indonesian citizens or follow their foreign fathers' citizenship. They will be then given three more years to decide on which nationality to choose.
If they are married before the age of 18, their dual citizenship will be revoked.
Before the passage of the law, transnational parents had to pay up to Rp 12 million for a temporary living permit for each of their children every year.
"Those wishing for their children to have Indonesian citizenship must register at local justice offices. We have been sending registration forms to our provincial offices," Hamid said.
He said that the immigration office was not charging any administration fees for the time being.
"Please report any unscrupulous officials to KPC Melati and they will forward the complaints to us," the minister said.
However, he said, applicants will have to pay an administration fee after he and the finance minister agree on an amount.
In response to the plan, Enggi said her association urged the government to charge a fair amount, arguing that in reality officials often collected extra levies.
Dual citizenship applicants must provide four copies of each of the required documents, all to be certified by the relevant authorities.
The documents include a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, the mother's identity card, the mother's family identification card and a photo of the child.
A letter stating that the child in question is not married is also required for the application. The applicant must also fill in the registration form.
The KPC Melati said the certification process would be a burdensome, particularly for transnational children living outside Indonesia.
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
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