The big choice: Our Children’s Citizenship

One of the issues that we know we will have to face one day is the question of which citizenship our mixed marriage children should choose when they reach eighteen years of age. At this moment Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship as they follow the single citizenship principle and since Indonesia is more inward looking than many of it’s neighbors who also do not recognize dual citizenship then we will not hold our breath for the rules to change.

We have tried to look objectively at the advantages and disadvantages of choosing Indonesian over British citizenship but struggle to find enough positive reasons.  Of course Indonesia’s potential is undeniable, but it’s potential will only be realized when major changes occur, if ever, and I do not mean by having a modern infrastructure.

Cheap is another reason. The cost of living in Indonesia is very cheap. Education is cheap. Smart children can do well here, although many do far better when they study and work overseas. University scholarships are not so difficult to obtain if your child is smart. Also being western looking and fluent in the local language as well as in English means more opportunities in many fields, not excluding modeling or acting.

As for remaining British, it would mean receiving a top university education at a less expensive price, possibly free accommodation as we have properties in the UK, and holding a passport that requires far fewer visas than an Indonesian one when traveling around the world. Other factors such as pensions, health system and higher standard of living speak for themselves.

Finally, even though we basically consider that our children would likely remain British, there is the possibility that they might themselves opt to choose Indonesian citizenship, perhaps because their best friend is Indonesian, or that one child might want to be Indonesia while the others want to be British. And a very important question is whether a teenager really understands the significance of their choice, or would they change their minds a few months after when it is too late. Then what? Of course being still 17 years of age they are minors and hopefully will appreciate their parents advice.

Then there is the possibility that Indonesian citizens could one day be permitted to have a second nationality when living abroad. But despite some debate that has not been confirmed and night never be, and might or might not be a solution depending on how the system would work. And having to apply to become a British citizen after already giving it up is probably not an option.

As parents of mixed marriage expatriate children, this is a matter that repeatedly crosses our minds and one that needs far more consideration as time goes on and we get closer to that big choice.

Would love to know your thoughts on this matter.

Sick to death of reading “potential “ 
Means absolutely jack unless its acted on,

Smart children can do well for themselves??
I apologise but it’s that exact comment that boils my p&&s in Indonesia as many countries the uk being one of them many children get over looked for various reasons and circumstances being smart doesn’t pay the bills or give you riches and fast cars being smart to me is the kids who survive and if can thrive

Accommodation in the uk is not nor never been free, uk has a tax system, pension schemes are a legal fraud in the uk and Europe nor is health care free (tax and national insurance)
To be honest to the everyday person Indonesia is not that dissimilar to the uk price wise I took my wife 2 years ago, she couldn’t believe how cheap and quality wise the uk was

Picking a nationality is for us common people, for government and rich Indonesians they don’t have to choose, but I do believe it contributes towards brain drain in Indonesia and will continue to do so
Uni fees cost me for my son with living costs (food and accommodation and general costs) £25k a year
Thankfully he graduates next year before his career at sandhurst begins

Ha, tell me about it. I have two at university at the moment and a third one about to begin. Thankfully the fourth is not interested to attend as he is more a jack of all trades. Those four already have dual citizenship but not with Indonesia.

Sure, university costs are high, most of my friends kids in the UK in the UK have a £30k+ debt when they graduate. The free accommodation helps, my brother has a flat in London, I have a couple of places, so the kids could at least stay there, all depends where they'd choose to study.

Also, my kids are primarily English speaking and not born in Indonesia, so no brain drain there.

So are you thinking that giving up a UK passport for an Indonesian passport is the way to go?

Individual choice with regard to passports and country to country it’s probably 50/50 who allow or don’t allow it
My opinion is it is wrong to deny anyone’s right to have dual nationality and in turn make them pick one over the other and in many cases all but toss half your family away

Me personally would never give up my passport or citizenship for any other but people do it for various reasons and again it’s personal choice I certainly would be substantially worse of and not just financially

I can’t see any benefits for a young adult to just remain Indonesian, if they held dual nationality  it would benefit them and Indonesia
Whatever my children choose I’ll respect that as getting the mother to UK is a formality if that’s the choice
Short answer I think if it was me and I had to make that choice I’d be packing my bags now


I still live in hope that Indonesia will change the regulations about dual citizenship before my kids need to make a decision. But as mentioned earlier, I won't hold my breath over it. My worry is that at 17 years of age they might make the wrong decision and live to regret it. That actually is my biggest concern, And then I would feel guilty that I hadn't tried to influence them more. I know that I didn't have a clue about anything much in life until my late twenties let alone at 17.

Agree also about difficulties in moving family back home (also talking about my wife), seems completely unfair when they allow others who in my opinion deserve it far less.

And knowing that the opposition has talked about doing away with university fees and making it easy to bring non EU/Commonwealth wives to live in the UK, will just have to wait and see.

Hopefully it does change and with it can only contribute towards Indonesia and yes probably only in a small way,

I think it can potentially rob Indonesia of valuable work skills, education skills that some students could bring back to Indonesia and contribute back here, you could potentially have skills, qualifications and experience from teaching assistants to surgeons.

I also think it’s stealing a young adults chance to gain work or educational skills from world renowned organisations.
I could name 100s of positives for dual nationality, I can’t think of a single negative

I’m only going to throw in this idea/concept for general “what if” sort of “value.”

Various countries regard the declaration of cessation of citizenship differently.  What I’m getting at, is that so long as proof of citizenship in that country can be verified (for example by government files of birth certificates) that citizen never really can abdicate that “birth right.”  In other words, “giving up” one’s dual citizenship (the other country) in order to take Indonesian citizenship may not be entirely recognized (even with documents signed and passport relinquished). 

What I’m suggesting is that for any parent…and adult child of said parent(s) is considering this singular choice of citizenship, they should consult their other country’s State Department (Foreign Office) regarding re-claim of that citizenship should that be desired at a later date. 

This issue is a sticky wicket to say the least, and it requires a great deal of consideration.

I agree, however I know this can be done in the UK but only under exceptional circumstancess (reclaim citizenship) and is not straightforward nor is it cheap, they was a guy from Leeds?  who applied for some place and gave up his uk citizenship only to be refused at a later stage, even applying to give it up without a very good reason can often be refused unless your settling in another country, marriage children work etc,
Currently it helps Indonesia to the tune of Zero and in my honest opinion it makes it worse of especially for the future

For a adult to reclaim citizenship in the uk and for example is 25 and has hardly spent time in the uk with little or no family connection it’s highly likely they’ll be refused unless very wealthy

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