Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Dual Citizenship with the United States
Dual citizenship (also called "multiple citizenship") is simultaneous citizenship in two or more countries. Some countries do not permit their citizens to be a citizen of another country, or only permit it in certain circumstances or for certain other countries. Other counties have no limits on dual citizenship.
In general, each country defines who is a citizen of that country under its laws. Some countries define citizenship based on one's descent, place of birth, marriage, or naturalization. Some of these rules include:
Since each country defines the method for acquiring citizenship, it is possible for someone to be considered a citizen under the laws of two or more countries at the same time.
Some countries may restrict dual citizenship by requiring a citizen born with some other citizenship to renounce the other citizenship upon reaching adulthood. Some countries may revoke the citizenship of a person who acquires another country's citizenship through naturalization. Newly naturalized citizens may also be required to renounce their previous citizenship. The United States requires naturalized citizens to take an oath, which includes a statement renouncing “all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty.”
The renunciation of the other citizenship in a naturalization oath may or may not be recognized by the other country. Countries that require such renunciations may differ in how they implement this requirement. In Singapore, for instance, an applicant for naturalization may be required to go to an embassy or consulate of his former country and renounce his citizenship in the manner defined by his former country's laws. Other countries take no steps to enforce the renunciation in their naturalization oaths.
Generally, dual citizens do not receive special treatment. Each country usually treats the person as if he or she were a citizen only of that country. Citizenship frequently carries with it legal obligations relating to taxes, military service, and/or travel restrictions. A dual citizen may discover that a country which considers him a citizen, but in which he does not live, expects him to pay taxes, may require military service, and may forbid travel to certain countries. While some treaties seek to resolve some of these issues (such as with tax treaties), some conflicts in laws may occur.
A country may claim a person as a citizen even if the person never requested to be considered a citizen. This type of situation may arise, for instance, when a person travels to an ancestral homeland and discovers that, under that country’s laws, he or she is considered a citizen because a parent or grandparent was a citizen of that country. The country could impose special travel requirements (such as a passport issued from that country), payment of taxes, or even military service before departure. Therefore, you may want to check the citizenship laws carefully before visiting a country where you may be considered a citizen.
Dual citizenship may also have distinct advantages. For example, someone with dual citizenship may have greater flexibility in his or her choice of where to live and work.
If you have dual citizenship, or may be able to claim such a status, you should investigate the pros and cons carefully.