Dual Citizenship Explained


Understanding perfectly how dual citizenship works in the U.S. is a huge advantage for a foreign national who is considering filing for a dual citizenship application at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.

Dual citizenship or dual nationality for the U.S. can be acquired either by naturalization or birthright. Obtaining a dual nationality through these two options requires following a rigorous process as mandated by U.S. immigration laws.

The application process for U.S. citizenship can be complicated, and if you have any legal concerns, a Greenville immigration attorney can help.

What Is a Dual/Multiple Citizenship?

Dual CitizenshipDual Citizenship or multiple citizenships is when an individual is regarded as a citizen of two countries under the laws of those countries. In most countries, individuals are allowed to become dual citizens as long they comply with their immigration laws and meet all the citizenship requirements of the two countries. There are a couple of ways of acquiring citizenship in the United States.

The first of which is by birthright. Children born on U.S. soil to parents from a foreign country are automatically given American citizenship at birth. They also claim citizenship of the country in which their parents are from. However, children of diplomats who are born in the U.S. are not recognized as U.S. citizens. Children of American citizens born abroad also get dual citizenship of both their birth country and the United States.

The second is naturalization. Foreign nationals who apply for naturalization in the U.S. or have stayed in the country as permanent residents have the option to keep their citizenship in their birth country. Similarly, a U.S. citizen can choose to become a naturalized citizen of another country while still maintaining their U.S. citizenship.

Another way to obtain dual nationality in the U.S. is through marriage. An alien can gain citizenship in the U.S. by marrying a U.S. citizen while maintaining their citizenship in their origin country. In the same way, U.S. citizens may gain foreign citizenship by marrying a foreign individual.

If you have any questions regarding citizenship applications, contact one of our Greenville North Carolina immigration lawyers today.

Applying for a U.S. Dual Citizenship

Similar to other countries, there are steps to be followed when applying for dual citizenship in the U.S. When applying for naturalization, you must first obtain a green card or an immigrant visa to prove that you’ve qualified for all the requirements to work and live permanently in the United States. Here are the steps you need to follow to get U.S. dual citizenship as per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Must be at least 18 years of age by the time of the application
  • Provide documents proving that you’re a legal permanent resident of the United States
  • Provide evidence that you’ve been consistently in the country physically for five consecutive years or at least three years if you’re applying through citizenship through marriage 
  • Good moral character, and have been compliant to the statutes and principles of the U.S. constitution
  • Able to speak, read, and write at least the basic English language 
  • Have fundamental knowledge of the country’s civic values and history

Once qualified for second citizenship in the United States, you must take an oath of allegiance to the United States. You will then be provided with a certificate of naturalization, which confirms that you are officially a citizen of the United States. Citizenship of the United States comes with the privilege of carrying your own U.S. passport in any part of the world, voter’s rights, and many other privileges given to a bona fide American citizen.

Got Questions? A Greenville North Carolina Lawyer Can Help

The process of gaining citizenship can be arduous and confusing. Here at Diener law, our experienced attorney can help with your legal concerns.

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truth about immigrants and the law

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