Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
NikosF

Hello

Recommended Posts

Glad to have found this forum.

 

Quick background:

From Durban - went to University of Natal. After graduating went to work in Ngodwana in the (then) Eastern Transvaal. After two years went to Jo'burg then in 1997 moved to the US for the first time (Boston) - for what was meant to be a two year work assignment. In 1999 moved to London then back to Boston (briefly) in 2003. Moved back to London (ended up meeting and marrying an American there) and transferred with work to Illinois in 2008. Got a green card in 2010 and passed my N400 interview in February this year and waiting for notification of when my oath ceremony will be.

 

It was always strange - because I never deliberately 'left' South Africa - a two year posting just grew longer and longer. My other immediate family live in Australia so no real close links to SA anymore.

 

I applied for retention of SA citizenship only after passing my interview and didn't think I'd get my permission before the oath - but the SA consulate impressed me by getting me the letter and certificate within two weeks. I'm glad I got it for emotional reasons, but doubt I will move back.

 

Now living in Chicago suburbs and about to graduate with a MBA from the University of Chicago. Quit my job at the end of last year and currently on the lookout for something new.

 

Would love to meet up with other Saffers in Chicagoland - I've heard about a 'meetup' group - but all they wanted was $10 and didn't seem particularly active.

 

Nick

Edited by NikosF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nick, welcome to SAUSA. :)

 

You are fortunate to have received such prompt reaction from the SA consulate - we are not so lucky. Ten months have passed since we submitted the paperwork to get our SA passports renewed, and so far... nothing. We have been in touch with them (Los Angeles) on a few occasions, but their "diplomatic bags" continue to be empty. We have our Green Cards, but we also need our SA passports to travel abroad.

 

One of SAUSA's members lives/lived in Chicago, but he disappeared from this forum. I would suggest scouring Facebook to see if there are more groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Janneman, In my experience, the LA Consulate is very efficient - the letters to retain citizenship are issued by them here in the USA, so they have no dependency on Home Affairs in SA - I also received mine very promptly. I guess they have no control over the wonderful institution of Home Affairs in SA.

 

One thing you could do to try and figure out the status is ask a SA friend/relation to enquire by SMS (I think the SMS has to come from/be sent to a phone in SA)

 

The would need to send a SMS to 32551 with the following text

P XXXXXXXXXXXXX (P for passport, followed by a space, followed by your ID number). It is an automated system, and at least you will know if it is issued yet or not. You can also call the call center.......but I think we all know how that will go..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's really weird, I constantly see complaints of how long it takes to get a passport from overseas (6 months or more seems quite common regardless of where you apply) yet in SA, even with the slowing at Home Affairs because of the new smart IDs, a passport is usually still issued in 2-3 weeks. So I wonder where the hold up actually is - maybe applications from overseas get sent to the back of the pile, or something?!

We all got new passports before we left becasue we had seen so many complaints about the delays. By the time they expire we should all have US ones :) (yes I know we wil still need SA ones to travel back there!)

 

 

 

There is also an online check for passports on the dha.gov.za website somewhere btw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... because of the new smart IDs...

 

Out of interest - what are the 'new smart IDs'? I've still got an old green book (which has my old SA drivers license in it still)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of interest - what are the 'new smart IDs'? I've still got an old green book (which has my old SA drivers license in it still)

I think it's like a driver's licence type card. So far it is only being rolled out to those getting an ID for the first time, and seniors.

 

I'm not sure any drivers licenses in ID books are still valid to drive on btw? I may be wrong...but the card ones have been around since I think 1999 now? Though you could always just use a US license if you go back for a visit :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is also an online check for passports on the dha.gov.za website somewhere btw

There is - but it has been unavailable for some time (months, at least) - so you can use the SMS or the call center (!) to find out status.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SJ27, on 05 Mar 2015 - 1:00 PM, said:

 

There is also an online check for passports on the dha.gov.za website somewhere btw

 

 

Thanks SJ27

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is - but it has been unavailable for some time (months, at least) - so you can use the SMS or the call center (!) to find out status.

Actually, my experience with the call centre is that it has been seriously jacked up. When I called them, they answered in a few rings, the lady was really polite and out of her way helpful ie went and looked up exactly where it was (waiting for me at the local office who was supposed to sms me but hadn't) and even gave me the details of when the courier had dropped it off! With the result that I walked into Wynberg, they looked at my slip and said "we don't have your passport yet" I said "oh yes you do" :) walked out with it a few minutes later !! (And as I left got the sms from wynberg, haha)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's like a driver's licence type card. So far it is only being rolled out to those getting an ID for the first time, and seniors.

 

I'm not sure any drivers licenses in ID books are still valid to drive on btw? I may be wrong...but the card ones have been around since I think 1999 now? Though you could always just use a US license if you go back for a visit :)

Thanks SJ.

 

I've got a US and a UK licence so I think I'm covered. Disappointing not to have a third though.

 

As an aside, having taken driving tests in both Illinois and Massachusetts I'm frightened how easy it is to get permission to drive in the US (combined with the fact 16-year olds can drive solo)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks SJ.

 

I've got a US and a UK licence so I think I'm covered. Disappointing not to have a third though.

 

As an aside, having taken driving tests in both Illinois and Massachusetts I'm frightened how easy it is to get permission to drive in the US (combined with the fact 16-year olds can drive solo)[/size]

I'm not sure what the Illinois requirement is, but in CA a 16-year old has to have had drivers ed, I think 10 hours of driving school supervised lessons, and 50 further hours logged with a licensed driver including 10 after dark, before they can go for their drivers licence. I don't know about you, but I had nowhere near that amount of practice before I got my SA drivers and I doubt many people did... Also of course there are restrictions on a 16 yo licence eg no driving after a certain time (9pm?) etc. it sounds young but hey coming from somewhere where people buy their licences... But ask me again in a couple of years how I feel when our oldest gets her license :) Edited by SJ27

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: Got a letter yesterday telling me my US citizenship oath ceremony is next Wednesday. Final step of a journey that started 18 years ago. Now I've got to pay $195 to get an expedited US passport so I can travel (since can only use US PP to enter US from now on)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy for you Nick! :)

 

My turn will come towards the end of 2018 - a full 14 years after we landed here in the US.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...