My first Document of Identity for Visa Purposes, short for DI is a travel document for people who freshly arrived in Hong Kong. It’s a temporary residency permit that needed to be renewed periodically, and getting a visa with it was difficult. For those who had lived longer than Seven Year Itch mark were issued CI: Certificate of Identity, which is a permanent residency permit with black chop mark. Of course on top of the pecking chain were British passports but the proud holders only to discover they weren’t welcomed when Madam Margaret Thatcher signed over Hong Kong to China in the 1984. There were outrages and protests, but the stiffer lips didn’t budge. Yes, the British passport issued in HK needed to apply to visit the Great Britain, very funny. The provenance is the key.

My first DI was issued on July 28, 1981 and it would expire on July 27, 1988. However, due to frequent travel and also the fact I applied for US visa in Paris (6/27/1983) but got turned down, so I figured a new passport would erase the mark the US Embassy marked on my old one. (I didn’t think they used computer at the time.) The second one was issued on May 30, 1984 and expired on May 29, 1991.

An American in Paris

The next phrase was Chinese passports that I obtained in New York. I had to trouble Auntie Wang to get me a notarization birth certificate in Beijing. First one was issued on Feb 21, 1989 and the second one was Oct 12, 2000. I was very attempted to keep my Chinese passport valid after I became US citizen but was unable.

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