Getting dual citizenship in the United States can offer you many benefits. However, before applying, you need to be aware of the rules regarding dual citizenship for both the U.S. and your home country. The U.S. technically allows for dual citizenship despite wording in the U.S. Oath of Allegiance that implies renouncing any previous allegiance.
While dual citizenship is allowed by the United States, the same might not apply to your country of origin. While the U.S. recognizes dual citizenship, some countries do not and will strip away your original citizenship if you become a citizen of another country.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship means that you share the rights and responsibilities of the citizens of two separate countries. Another name for this is dual nationality. Most people obtain their first citizenship at birth in the country in which they are born. However, this is not always the case.
For example, if your parents were in a country where neither of them held citizenship at the time of your birth, you may instead end up obtaining your first citizenship through their home country. Of course, this depends on the country. You could end up with dual citizenship at birth. The paths to obtaining dual citizenship are even more diverse and typically much more difficult.
People who already have dual citizenship with two other countries can also get a third citizenship in the United States. There are no specific limits on how many citizenships you can have as long as you meet all the requirements for the countries in which you are maintaining your citizenship.
Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship
Learning what countries allow dual citizenship is critical in deciding whether to apply for U.S. citizenship. In 2022, there are 61 different countries that allow for dual citizenship. However, the rules for these countries can vary. It is critical to be aware of the laws for both countries where you intend to hold citizenship to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements.
The following is a list of the countries that currently allow for dual citizenship:
- United States of America
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
If you do not find your home country on this list, you will need to think carefully about whether applying for U.S. citizenship is right for you. While obtaining U.S. citizenship could be helpful to your future, you need to consider the drawbacks of losing your citizenship in your country of origin.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
When considering applying for dual citizenship, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of doing so. While dual citizenship is generally considered an advantage, there can also be drawbacks that must be taken into account.
Advantages of Dual Citizenship
There are many benefits of dual citizenship. Some of the most significant advantages of applying for citizenship in the U.S. and obtaining dual citizenship include:
- The ability to vote in both countries
- An easier time helping your family members get green cards and come live in the country as permanent residents
- The ability to work anywhere in the United States or your home country without having to worry about obtaining a work visa
- The option to enroll in a U.S. school without obtaining a student visa or paying international student tuition rates
- The ability to travel more freely for as long as you want without having to worry about your immigration status in either country
- The option of applying for public benefits that are only available to U.S. citizens, if you meet the eligibility requirements
- The ability to buy property in either country
- The option to become fully immersed in a new culture
Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
While the above advantages can be significant, you should also consider the drawbacks of applying for dual citizenship in the United States. Some things to consider include:
- Double taxation: You may be subject to double taxation. No matter where you live or make your money, U.S. citizens are required to pay U.S. taxes. Depending on the rules of the other country where you have citizenship, you could pay dual citizenship taxes to two countries for the same income.
- Selective Service: If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, you will be required to register with the Selective Service System and may have to serve in the military if the country goes to war.
- Jury duty: U.S. citizens must serve on a jury if summoned. However, if you are living abroad when summoned, you can inform the court and be excused from jury duty.
- Government jobs: Dual citizenship may prevent you from applying for certain government jobs where you have access to classified information.
- Significant fees: You will likely be faced with significant bureaucracy and fees. Any immigration process is going to require a lot of paperwork and time and will likely be an expensive endeavor.
Additional Responsibilities of Dual Citizenship
An additional responsibility when applying for citizenship in the United States is to disclose any previous run-ins with the law. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will run thorough background checks on all applicants. Certain offenses could bar you from gaining citizenship and even result in deportation.
If you have a criminal history, you should consult an immigration lawyer before applying for citizenship in the United States.
You may also face additional responsibilities in the other country in which you hold citizenship, depending on their specific rules for dual citizenship. You should check with your country of origin to learn more about their regulations concerning dual citizens.
Proving United States Citizenship
There are certain situations in which you may be required to prove your U.S. citizenship. These can include when applying for a passport or sponsoring a family member to come to the United States. There are many different documents that can prove citizenship, and which documents you have available for this often depends on how you acquired U.S. citizenship.
When you obtain citizenship by right of being born in the U.S., your birth certificate can serve as proof of U.S. citizenship. However, if you were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents, a copy of your citizenship certificate can show that you are a U.S. citizen. A certificate of citizenship can also be obtained if you automatically became a citizen after birth but before turning 18.
Alternatively, if you became a citizen through naturalization, you may need a copy of your naturalization certificate to prove your citizenship. No matter what path you took to U.S. citizenship, a United States passport may also suffice to prove your citizenship in most situations.
How to Get Dual Citizenship in the U.S.
When you apply for dual citizenship, you will not fill out a form specifically for this request. Instead, you will simply apply for citizenship in a second country, the same as those from countries that don’t allow dual citizenship and must renounce their former citizenship. The only difference is that you will retain the citizenship of your birth country when you apply.
To ensure that you don’t lose your citizenship status in your country of origin, you should consult your embassy or consulate to check whether dual citizenship is allowed in your country. Our list of countries that allow dual citizenship is a good place to start. However, there might be specific criteria you must pay attention to for your birth country to retain your citizenship there.
After figuring out your eligibility for dual citizenship, you must ensure that you meet all the naturalization requirements and begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen by filing Form N-400: Application for Naturalization with USCIS. You will need to attend an interview, pay fees, and pass the citizenship test before taking the Oath of Allegiance and getting dual citizenship.
Does the U.S. Require Me to Give Up My Previous Citizenship?
The U.S. does not require applicants to renounce citizenship in their country of origin when applying for U.S. citizenship. However, there is much confusion about this. Many people worry that they will have to renounce any prior citizenship when they become U.S. citizens.
This confusion stems from the fact that dual citizenship is not mentioned in either the Constitution or the Immigration and Nationality Act. Additionally, the words of the Oath of Allegiance include the phrase:
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.
However, multiple Supreme Court rulings acknowledge the right to dual citizenship, and the wording in the Oath of Allegiance is more about the spirit behind the words.
Situations Where U.S. Citizenship Can Be Stripped Away
Citizenship is not something that can be easily lost. However, while the United States will not require you to abandon your citizenship from another country, there are certain extreme situations in which they will strip away your U.S. citizenship. The U.S. may revoke your citizenship if:
- You run for public office in a foreign country, depending on the circumstances, including the current relationship between the U.S. and the country in question
- You enter military services in another country, following the same general guidelines as with running for office
- You commit an act of treason against the United States
Additionally, you can choose to renounce your U.S. citizenship when you apply for citizenship in another country. However, you should be aware that if you do, you will not be able to recover your citizenship later if you change your mind.
The other country in which you hold citizenship may also strip away your citizenship for various reasons. You should check the dual citizenship rules of that country carefully so that you are aware of what acts could result in the loss of your citizenship there.
Does the U.S. Care for Dual Citizens of Other Countries?
The United States is generally indifferent when it comes to whether or not people choose dual citizenship. The government neither encourages nor discourages people to become dual citizens. Whether you have single or dual citizenship, the country will view you as an American citizen first.
The only thing the U.S. government cares about is that you do not violate any of the requirements for U.S. citizenship. As long as you uphold the Oath of Allegiance, they are satisfied and won’t concern themselves too much with any other citizenship that you may hold, as well.
Get Help Applying for U.S. Citizenship and Becoming a Dual Citizen
If you have decided to apply for dual citizenship in the United States, we can help you ensure that you meet all the requirements for dual citizenship and get your paperwork filed quickly and correctly. Obtaining citizenship can be a long and complicated enough process without having to resubmit forms that contain mistakes.
At ImmigrationDirect, we provide hopeful citizens with all the tools they need to successfully file their application and obtain U.S dual citizenship. Learn more about how to get U.S. citizenship and become a dual citizen.