We received an interesting email from a reader the other day. At first the question he asked sounded far too simple. But as I thought about the problem of getting answers from government bureaucrats I realized there are few guidelines that fit the facts for cruisers like ourselves.
“If I set off cruising and find I like it and stay away for five or seven or more years, what happens to my Canadian citizen ship,” he wrote. From our experience (Larry was born in Canada, I was born in the USA, we both now hold duel citizenship with New Zealand and carry four passports at all times.) I was able to state categorically, once a Canadian always a Canadian. Once an American, always an American with the only caveats being that you can loose your citizenship if you fight in a foreign army or, actually renounce your citizenship in writing before appropriate witnesses or if you are naturalized and commit a felony in the country of your birth. We do not know of any country that removes your citizenship rights for any other reasons. Both U.S. and Canada allow for duel citizenship, but be sure to renew your passport six months before it runs out when you are voyaging overseas. (Sometimes it takes that long to get all the documentation correct and to the proper offices.) We try to make passport renewal times coincide with our work periods so we did not feel hassled as we waited for the new passport to arrive.
Our correspondent then asked, “But what do I put down as a residence when I fill out the forms to get a passport renewal?” For many years we used my parents address as our permanent residence address (with their permission.) During later years, we have found we were usually settled in somewhere such as a marina, or place where we set up a mailing address. We simply listed, Yacht Taleisin, plus the local address where we received our mail. We never once had a query from the officials who are used to dealing with the many people who work or live overseas.