Eight Legs, Two Countries: Spiderman Andrew Garfield’s Dual-Citizenship Web

dual citizenship

Spider Man can do everything a spider can, and in the case of Spidey actor Andrew Garfield that means holding citizenship in two countries.

When Garfield isn’t wearing the latex suit, his U.S./U.K. dual-citizenship status means the American-born, British-raised actor holds claim to both countries.

Garfield’s father is American. His mother is British. The actor was born in Los Angeles, making him a U.S. citizen by virtue of his birthplace. All children born in the U.S. are automatically given U.S. citizenship, with the only exception being the children of foreign diplomats.

Because Garfield’s mother is a British citizen, he’s entitled to claim U.K. citizenship. Garfield’s identification as a U.K. citizen goes beyond his bloodline, however. When he was 3 years old, the actor and his family—parents and older brother—moved to the city of Surrey in England.

Even when Garfield became a U.K. citizen he was able to keep his U.S. citizenship. A 1980’s U.S. Supreme Court decision held that the government cannot take away citizenship when a person doesn’t want to relinquish it. In other words, even though Garfield decided to become a U.K. citizen he wasn’t forced to give up his U.S. citizenship—a common practice in many foreign countries. And the U.K. has a similar rule making it easy for him to naturalize without giving up his U.S. citizenship.

Before this U.S. Supreme Court decision, many U.S. citizens who went to work for foreign governments lost their citizenship. But these days, it’s much more difficult to lose your citizenship and things like working in a foreign country or taking on the citizenship of a foreign spouse aren’t enough to cause this to happen. The U.S. Department of State puts it like this: “In order to lose U.S. nationality, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign nationality voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. nationality.”

You can find more information about the possible loss of U.S. citizenship and dual citizenship on the DOS website.

With Spider-Man’s global appeal, Garfield’s dual citizenship status seems a natural to stay around.