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Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship

According to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, no state shall deprive any United States citizen of life, liberty or property without due process of law. To be a U.S. citizen, a person must have been born in the country or have met certain requirements for naturalization. Naturalized U.S. citizens are allowed to have dual nationality.

What is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process by which a person not born in the United States becomes a citizen. A person must fill out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Before filing for naturalization, a person must ensure that he or she meets the eligibility requirements:

  • Is at least 18 years of age
  • Is a green card holder
  • Has resided in the United States for at least 5 years
  • Has been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months
  • Is of good moral character
  • Speaks, reads, writes and understands English
  • Passes U.S. history and civics test
  • Takes Oath of Allegiance

What is the Oath of Allegiance?

The Oath of Allegiance has been in place, as it is, since 1952. A person must make the following oath to the United States during the naturalization ceremony:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

The very first sentence might worry some people who would like to have dual citizenship. What exactly is meant by "entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance to any foreign...state?" Does it mean that a person has to give up his former nationality? No, it doesn't. In the United States, naturalized citizens are allowed to have dual citizenship.

What is Dual Nationality?

Dual nationality was once outlawed in the United States. The Oath of Allegiance seems to reflect that. In 1952, it was still outlawed. It wasn't until 1967 that the Supreme Court made dual nationality acceptable.

Between 2000 and 2010, close to 7 million people became naturalized citizens of the United States. Many people have the benefit of having dual citizenship. This just means that after a person becomes naturalized, he or she does not lose his or her citizenship from the country of birth. The reason why not all people benefit from this is that laws are not the same in all countries. Some countries do not allow dual citizenship and therefore require a person to completely let go of all ties to another country. The laws of each country must be examined before pursuing dual citizenship.

In the United States, naturalized citizens are not required to give up their dual citizenship. The U.S. law also states that if someone is a native born U.S. citizen and he or she is given citizenship anywhere else in the world, he or she does not have to give up his or her U.S. citizenship and his or her rights as such. It must also be noted that if someone is born in a different country but is born to U.S. citizen parents, he or she is still considered a U.S. citizen by birth.

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