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Can Americans Have Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship may be a matter of interest to many Americans, not just to immigrants who want to hold on to their citizenship in their home country when they become naturalized. The simple answer is that the possibility of dual citizenship rests on the laws of the two pertinent countries. Both countries must permit it.
When it comes to the list of acceptable statuses in the United States, the Immigration and Nationality Act is the main reference. It is the federal law that addresses naturalization and other immigration questions. Unfortunately, dual citizenship is not recognized in it.
Is Dual Citizenship Allowed by US Laws?
The US immigration law has an interesting take on dual citizenship. The oath of allegiance taken during the naturalization ceremony indicates that new citizens have to renounce their allegiance to countries or sovereigns of which they have been citizens or subjects. This, of course, implies that a foreigner must relinquish any foreign citizenship in order to be a citizen of the United States. The US State Department, however, follows a different approach, taking into consideration that US courts heed the immigration policy that allows a naturalized citizen to also retain his or her original citizenship.
In effect, this means that renunciation of another citizenship is not actually required of naturalized Americans. It also means that an American citizen may become a citizen of a second country while holding on to his or her US citizenship. Additionally, it indicates that a United States citizen may keep citizenship in the US despite becoming a citizen of a foreign country.
What’s the attraction of being a dual citizen anyway? Besides the expected sense of loyalty and nationalism, dual citizenship offers benefits in two countries. For instance, dual citizens may exercise the right to vote both in the US and in the second country.
It’s important to keep in mind that Americans who have dual citizenship are not awarded any special treatment. In the US, they have to abide by the laws and heed what they promised in taking the naturalization oath. They have to use their US passports when leaving the country, as well as present them to the Customs and Border Protection officers upon their return. In the event of being sentenced with penalties in the US for a criminal conviction, it’s not likely that the country of their second citizenship will intervene.
Do Other Countries Allow Dual Citizenship?
Each country has its own laws, and in some countries, the laws do not permit multiple citizenship. If your country of origin does not allow dual citizenship, then you lose your citizenship to it when you become a US citizen. If you’re not sure whether or not your home country allows dual citizenship, verify this information with your embassy or consulate. There are countries that require certain steps, such as first securing permission, before allowing their citizens to also become a US citizen.
Do You Want Dual Citizenship? Consult a North Carolina Immigration Attorney Today!
If it’s important for you to retain your original citizenship, consult an immigration lawyer to find out if you can hold dual citizenship. You’ll probably also have to speak with a lawyer from your home country to ensure that dual citizenship is a possibility for your particular case. If ever dual citizenship isn’t a possibility, you may have to choose between becoming a US citizen and staying a permanent resident. An immigration law attorney will help you identify your remaining options and figure out which course of action is best for you. Call us now at Diener Law to consult with one of our experienced immigration lawyers on any matter concerning citizenship and immigration.