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IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
For some people, a to-do list gets the job done: just seeing their projects or errands laid out in black and white is enough to get them buzzing. But for other things, the ones that sit and percolate in the back of your mind, but never seem to get bumped to the top of the priority list, it might take something a bit more drastic.

One way to get motivated when you have things to get done is to set yourself a deadline. Another way is to dare yourself...or better yet, have someone else dare you. People procrastinate for all sorts of reasons: laziness, fatigue, lack of time, fear, frugality, forgetfulness.

I've been eligible to become a Swedish citizen since July 2001. 10 years ago! I've been meaning to do it since it passed into law, but never seem to get around to it. The requirements are pretty simple. To become a Swedish citizen, you must:
  • be able to prove your identity
  • be 18 or older
  • have a permanent residence permit
  • have lived in Sweden for a specified time period (in my case, 3 years, because I'm married to and living with a Swede)
  • have conducted yourself well in Sweden
Oh, and pay 1500 kronor.

I have a US passport as well as a Swedish driver's license. I am over 18 (assuming 29 for the 13th time counts). I've had a permanent residence permit since before we moved to Sweden, though the proof of it (a sticker in my passport) actually expired 2 years ago. I've lived in Sweden for 15 years. And I have no debts and have committed no crimes during those 15 years.

What does Swedish citizenship get me? It doesn't seem like much at first glance. I'll be able to vote in the national elections, instead of just the local ones. But I can barely keep up with the 2-party system in the U.S.; Sweden has SEVEN major political parties. And I'll have a ABSOLUTE RIGHT to stay in Sweden; to live and work here. No one can kick me out (not that anyone would, but still).

There are other, less tangible, benefits: if the case came up, it would be easier to move around to live and work elsewhere in the EU. I would be able to travel using a Swedish passport, to places where I might not be able to go as a US citizen (Cuba, for example), or places where my US citizenship might not be...a plus. (This point is admittedly mostly theoretical, since I have little desire to travel to most of any such places anyway). If I WAS traveling and something should happen, I could not be separated from my husband and/or family because of my citizenship and the fact that I might not be allowed help at a different embassy than one or more of them.

Whenever anyone has asked me why I haven't gotten my Swedish citizenship yet, I usually answer, jokingly, that I keep finding more important things to spend that 1500 kronor on.

But I think it's time. Past time, really. I live here, I work here, I contribute to society and pay taxes here. I speak Swedish, and am raising half-Swedish children. Since they make it so easy, really, and simple, why shouldn't I? I don't have to give up my American citizenship (though with the recent tax and banking laws, it's becoming more of a question for many of us expats). Isn't having more than one citizenship really a way of starting the process of becoming a citizen of the world? Who knows, maybe someday, we'll be able to say we're citizens of EARTH, and not have to deal with nationalities anymore.

The Squam Art Workshops blog posted a challenge recently: the Double Dog Dare and I thought, heck, why not? Most of the people who commented on the dare were looking for ways to kickstart their creativity or plan to attend SAW itself, or make lifestyle changes like losing weight or whatever. But I figured, maybe this particular to-do is something I need to be dared to do, since I haven't managed to get it done for 10 years, though I've had it in the back of my mind that entire time.

So, I've taken the Double Dog Dare to become a Swedish citizen this year.



I've already sent an email to the Swedish Migration Board to find out about getting my permanent residence card (which replaces the expired sticker in my passport), and downloaded and completed the application form. As soon as I hear back from them, I plan on sending it in. If I get this DDD done in a short time, why, there's no knowing what I might dare myself to do next!

Do you have something YOU need help getting going on? Why not head over to the Squam Blog and get a Double Dog Dare yourself?
 busy
mood: busy
music: Julia Sheer ft. Kevin Littlefield—Far Away


Comments

Yay for you! I've appreciated having a Swedish passport on more than one occasion, most memorably on a bus tour Björn and I took through parts of Europe where the tour guide told us that it would take two hours to cross certain borders if we had any American passports on board and only 15 minutes if everyone had Swedish passports. I was certainly grateful not to be the reason the whole bus tour got held up!

And I haven't reentered Europe from the US with a US passport but it sure does go quickly and painlessly with my Swedish one.

Anyway, as I said, yay for you!! Sushi will be on me once you finish your dare!

:) All the more incentive to get this done! :D

I feel like I have several things to double dog dare myself on. But I think it's great that you're getting citizenship, and I envy you too, because I'm gonna try getting double citizenship myself this year, only here in the US, and it's so much more intricate, more hoops to jump through and a test to take. I admit, I'm doing it to vote, there really is no other prominent reason, but still. I'm SO glad that double citizenship between Sweden and the US is allowed today, because I don't think I'd want to give up my Swedish one.

I've never seen the test questions, but I know there are classes to help with preparing for it, anyway. It's kind of funny that it's harder to get a driver's license in Sweden than it is to get citizenship. :D

From Megsie

I went over there the other day and read some of those dares. I have SO much on my plate right now, I can't be dared to do anything...except get more sleep! Does that count? Congrats on your dare though. It sounds like once the ball gets rolling it will be a snap!

Re: From Megsie

I double dog dare you to get more sleep! There! Sweet dreams! :D

Good for you! I wish G would get US citizenship but he has no desire to do so.

Anders sent me an interesting editorial today on what the whole point is (for Swedish citizenship anyway). It mentioned that there is an initiative in the Swedish government to review exactly what benefits citizenship should confer (as opposed to cultural & traditional reasons).

Could you send me that link? I'm interested where that will end up.

G's main point is that he doesn't need US citizenship and he doesn't feel like a citizen, doesn't think he ever will, so why should he?

Any idea on how long it takes them to process your application there? Here in Finland it takes 1-2 years. I've lived here for 6 years, so I can apply now, but somehow I can't get myself to the police station..

1-2 years?! That's insane! I've heard everything from a couple of weeks to several months. I have to have my passport back by end of June, so I'd like to get it sent in well before then, at least. I still haven't heard back from them yet, so plan on calling this week to find out about the residence card.

That double-dog dare is a good one!!! I can't believe you don't have a Swedish passport -- or, er, aren't recognized as being Swedish -- yet!!! Wow ...

Your icon cracks me up :) And yeah, I think so, too. 10 years! Obviously, I needed that DDD!

(Anonymous)

Absolutely! When we moved to Australia it took 9 months to get permits. A few years later we went in to apply for citizenship on a Friday, and got approved the following Monday! I've always been glad we did, because we'll end up there again one day, and it's nice knowing our connection to Oz is official. Remember to always use your Swedish passport when entering Sweden, and the US one in the US.

The Cuba question is one I've thought about for years, but never found an official answer for. From what I've read, my best guess is that, yes, you can travel to places using a different passport, but you're still subject to all the rules of BOTH countries you're a citizen of, at all times. The embargo is a strange one because it affects your behavior outside of the USA, rather than in it. So i wouldn't plan on going to pick up cigars for Anders just yet. On the other hand, I've read that the embargo only says you can't spend money there, not that you can't visit. :-)

Russell

They can't revoke your citizenship because you don't live there anymore, right? I knew about using the different passports to entire the countries; it's surprising how many people I hear DON'T realize that they have to use their US passport to enter the US.

(Anonymous)

Nope, unlike voting and taxes, citizenship is completely separate from residency.

Russell

Good luck on your citizenship application. That DDD is awesome! Maybe that's what I need to get this major paring down/decluttering/organizing job done.

I called today and don't have to wait on the residence card to get the application for citizenship in, so that's good! :) Now I just have to get the rest of the paperwork in order and cough up the money!

(Anonymous)
another benefit?

as a Swedish citizen you can help me have a squam in SWEDEN!!

heee--- yay!!! GO YOU!!! xoxo, e

Re: another benefit?

Haha! I can help you anyway :) Citizenship isn't a requirement for having FUN!

(Anonymous)

Good for you! For some reason I'm insanely jealous - I've always wanted dual citizenship. I think you said it best - it truly shows you're a citizen of the world.

-Heather

You just need to move on over here! :D

(Anonymous)

Find me a hot and available Swede and I just might! :)

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