Consulate Comparisons

Getting a French-born expat baby’s passports

STORSH at 5 weeks old, on the metro to Place de la Concorde – US Consulate

In order for my mother to open a joint bank account in the States under both her name and her grandson’s name she needed a bunch of forms and certifications. My 16-month old son, STORSH, was born in Paris (The St Felicite Clinic, in the 15h Arrt to be exact), yet he has an American passport. We thought this would be sufficient for the banks in the States, apart from the usual request of my notarized signature (they only accept US Embassy notaries… I guess Yank banks think the Frogs don’t understand stamps and red tape) on his behalf. Well, apparently not: I need to get him a Social Security number, which I neglected to do at the start when we were getting his passports.

STORSH's US Passport
STORSH’s US Passport – the envelope figures later ın the series

This whole saga has made me revisit one fine day in February 2011, for which this “Consulate Comparisons” series is devoted: getting a typical French-born expat babe’s passports. Before launching into the Consulate comparisons, a bit of background – the nickname STORSH is an acronym. And my husband is from Buenos Aires, thus his moniker “El Argentino”. However, he’s half Spanish, thus our consulate comparison between the Americans and the Spanish.

STORSH is eligible for neither a French nor Argentine passport until he is 18 and requests it / them himself (although there are certain conditions – the French, for instance, require that apart from having been born here he needs to have lived here for 11 consecutive years before asking for his French citizenship). One more point of background – for any American readers – my mother wanted to set up a joint bank account for him to avoid the gift tax. The IRS taxes any gift over 10K. Useful to know for anyone buying a flat in Paris with generous family in the States, or the like. 

Ok, enough explanation. You are now clear on what prompted the this upcoming week’s postings comparing the American and Spanish consulates in France… Today is the (very commercial) Mother’s day in the States. My mother poo-poohs it as commercial, but none of this would have come about without her (having me was among her less productive gifts to the world). I shall return to writing about the Louvre and THATLou in early June. For now, a brief respite.

US Embassy of France, avenue Gabriel 75008 Paris (the gendarmerie car is one of many constants), image from NY Daily News