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Facts About Dual Nationality

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on September 4, 2013

Depending on the laws of the countries involved and the circumstances of a given case, it is possible to be regarded as a citizen of two countries simultaneously. Dual nationality may automatically be awarded to a child born in a foreign country to United States citizen parents or as a result of the naturalization process or through marriage. Certain countries have placed restrictions on dual citizenship, while other countries do not allow dual nationality under any circumstances.

Dual Nationality in the United States

When the citizen of a foreign country is granted U.S. citizenship as the result of marriage or naturalization, they are not required to renounce their status as a citizen of a home country. In fact, United States immigration law does not specifically address the matter of dual nationality. Moreover, a U.S. citizen does not lose their legal status when they are automatically awarded citizenship by a foreign nation. It should be noted, however, that any U.S. citizen who applies for and is granted foreign citizenship could lose their status as a citizen of the United States. According to the U.S. Department of State, the following criteria must be met for a U.S. citizen to have their American citizenship revoked:

  • Voluntarily make application to become the citizen of a foreign country
  • Demonstrate an intention to renounce U.S. citizenship as the result of freely determined actions or statements

U.S. Immigration Policy

Although dual nationality is possible in the United States, U.S. policy does not encourage dual citizenship. There are certain problems associated with dual nationality since the two countries involved may have conflicting laws. People tend to honor the laws of the nation where they currently reside, but conflicting laws can make it difficult for United States officials to assist dual nationality citizens who reside in a foreign country. Both nations possess the legal right to enforce laws that may be in conflict with one another.

Dual nationality citizens must still present a valid U.S. passport to enter or exit the United States. The same may be true for other nations that allow dual nationality status. The United States does not penalize dual nationality citizens for holding a foreign passport.

Renouncing One’s Legal Status

Most countries allow a citizen to renounce their citizenship status. Renouncing citizenship and other dual citizenship issues can be difficult to investigate or understand.

If you have questions about dual nationality, do not hesitate to contact the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114 and set up a consultation.