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Wives of Foreign Nationals Protest Age Limits in Deciding Children’s Citizenship

Wives of Foreign Nationals Protest Age Limits in Deciding Children's Citizenship

Indonesian wives of foreign nationals who have children from mixed marriages are protesting against the age limit for deciding their children’s citizenship.

Analia Trisna Stamenkovic, the chairwoman of Perkumpulan Masyarakat Perkawinan Campuran Indonesia (PerCa Indonesia), told the press that, on behalf of the Indonesian wives of foreigners who are also members of PerCa Indonesia, the Indonesian government should reconsider the age ceiling imposed on children when deciding their citizenship. Instead of 18 years of age, Stamenkovic believes that 23 years of age would be more appropriate for children to start making up their minds about their eventual, fixed citizenship.

“If it is limited to three years after turning 18, on average, our children are still studying abroad in their father’s country. It is better to be five years after the age of applying for the child’s citizenship,” explained Stamenkovic on Tuesday, the 21st of May, during an event dubbed “Sosialisasi PP 21 Tahun 2022: Kemudahan Pewarganegaraan bagi Anak Berkewarganegaraan Ganda” (lit. “Socialisation of PP 21 of 2022: Ease of Citizenship for Children with Dual Citizenship”) at JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya.

According to the current regulations established by the Indonesian government, in a nutshell, every child resulting from a mixed marriage between Indonesian citizens and foreigners must eventually determine their citizenship status, choosing between their father’s citizenship or their mother’s citizenship as their own. The age window for citizenship determination starts at 18 years of age, followed by up to three years of processing.

Stamenkovic found the age window and the ensuing processing period difficult to comply with due to the children generally pursuing higher education between the ages of 18 and 23.

“The most reasonable age [to start the process of citizenship determination] is 23 years old because, at this age, we could ensure that all children from mixed marriages would have already graduated from university, making it easier for us to finalise the children’s citizenship status,” Stamenkovic continued.

Despite Stamenkovic’s suggestion, Ramdhani, currently the Head of the Surabaya Immigration Office, nonetheless believed that the socialisation conducted by the Immigration Office concerning children from mixed marriages and their citizenship status was paramount and that the children’s parents should be well informed.

“With this outreach, it is hoped that the public will better understand the requirements and procedures for applying for citizenship for children with dual nationalities,” Ramdhani concluded.

Established in April 2008, PerCa Indonesia is a civil society organisation based in Jakarta, consisting of Indonesian citizens and foreigners from mixed marriage families as defined in Article 57 of the Marriage Law No. 1 of 1974.

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