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Understanding Dual Citizenship In The United States

Understanding Dual Citizenship In The United States

In today’s globalized world, dual citizenship is becoming popular. These “dual citizens” enjoy both countries’ advantages, culture, and economic growth but also have to comply with two national laws. A dual citizen is a person who holds citizenship in two countries. For instance, a British citizen may become a US citizen.

A dual citizen has full rights in both countries. They have the right to vote, live, and work in both countries. They have two security systems. When you are a citizen of any nation, you enjoy the greatest set of rights and obligations: the right to vote, stand for public office, purchase real estate, and live and work in that nation for an indeterminate period of time.

When you are a dual national, all of these rights and obligations are yours in both countries. Becoming an American citizen is a major milestone for many immigrants. It marks the end of their immigration journey. If you are not born in the US, naturalizing and becoming an American citizen is the only other option.

The number of applications for naturalization tends to increase during election years, and with the 2024 election looming large, this year may be no exception. For years, the public in the United States has been against dual citizenship, with many opposing it during the campaign.

People believed that dual citizens are less loyal to the United States than solely American citizens. There is no prohibition of dual citizenship in US law, and the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of it multiple times. Currently, 193 countries are members of the United Nations.

Many of these countries have different citizenship requirements. If you were born in a foreign country and plan to become a citizen of the United States, you will need to research your country’s dual citizenship rules. This is because although dual citizenship is allowed in the US, it may be prohibited in your home country.

Therefore, you should always check the laws of your home country before becoming a US citizen by naturalization. An immigration lawyer can help you with this. If you are worried about dual citizenship issues in the US, here is some vital information you should know.

What is dual citizenship?

If you are a natural person who is a citizen or national of multiple countries, you are a dual citizen. However, you are subject to the same rights and obligations as if you were a citizen of your country of birth. It is important to note that dual citizenship is a complicated legal status with its own responsibilities.

Each nation has its own definition of what a “national” is. For example, in the United States, every “person loyal to the United States of America” is a national. But with dual citizenship, another country can enforce its laws on you if you are a citizen of that country.

Is dual citizenship allowed in the US?

Yes, the US allows dual citizenship. US naturalized citizens do not need to renounce their citizenship from their country of origin. US immigration law does not prohibit dual citizenship. In addition, the United States Supreme Court held that individuals have the “right to have and hold the citizenship of two countries.”

Your country’s citizenship laws may or may not allow dual citizenship. In some countries, you may not be recognized as a US citizen. For example, both Canada and Italy allow dual citizenship, but China does not. In addition, you may automatically lose your foreign citizenship after completing the American naturalization process.

In other cases, you may need to file for “citizenship retention.” Therefore, it is very important to hire an immigration lawyer to help you check the citizenship laws of your home country before applying for US citizenship.

What confuses people about dual citizenship in the US?

If dual citizenship is allowed in the US, why do people still wonder if Americans can be dual citizens? There are three key reasons why people wonder if US citizens can be dual citizens in more than one country.

It is not clearly provided for in the US Constitution.

According to the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” This is the only provision in the Constitution that mentions citizenship.

The Constitution does not regulate dual citizenship, but many Americans want a dual passport. When the Constitution does not regulate something, it leaves it up to Congress to pass laws. If there are no laws on it, we look at the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. The Court has ruled on the question of dual citizenship more than once.

This was in the cases of Afroyim v. Rusk and Vance v. Terrazas. So, US law states that you are an American citizen first, even if you have a second citizenship. While other countries may require that you renounce your American citizenship, the United States does not have the authority to do so.

Dual citizenship cannot be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The INA is a US law. It does not control the citizenship of foreign countries and does not prevent Americans from becoming dual citizens. According to the US Department of State, US law does not mention the concept of “dual citizenship,” nor does it require individuals to select one or the other citizenship.

A US citizen can become a “naturalized citizen” in another country without affecting their US citizenship. US law requires a dual citizen to comply with the law of both their countries of nationality.

The wording of the oath taken during naturalization.

At the final stage of naturalization, permanent residents take an oath. The wording of the oath is very explicit about what it entails to become an American. The oath reads as follows: “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…

Many individuals who are considering applying for US citizenship are concerned about what this means. Because the oath talks about renunciation, it can make people feel like they are giving up their earlier citizenship to another country. However, the interpretation of the oath in case law is that “it is the thought that counts,” meaning that no US officer will ask you to renounce your other citizenship.

The dual citizenship process

There is no specific application form for dual citizenship. It is simply a naturalization process, just like other eligible foreign nationals who want to become US citizens. Before applying for dual citizenship, you should contact your country’s embassy or consulate to find out if your country permits dual citizenship and its rules.

You don’t want to lose your US citizenship without knowing, so check with your consular officer. Once you know the rules, you must ensure you meet all of the US requirements for naturalization. This process usually takes 18.5 to 24 months after getting your green card.

If you are the child of a US citizen, there are various requirements for naturalization, and you won’t have to wait 3 to 5 years. You can now submit your application for naturalization using Form N-400. You may need to include additional documents, such as birth and marriage certificates.

The benefits of dual citizenship

Dual citizens enjoy the advantages of being a citizen of two countries. For instance, they may be eligible to vote in both countries or receive lower tuition rates for schools in either country if the law allows. They can carry two passports: one US passport and one foreign passport.

This allows dual citizens to travel between the countries easily. They do not need to obtain a visa for extended stays and do not have to answer specific travel intent questions during customs processing. They are also entitled to enter both countries and have the right of entry to both.

This may be useful for travel to family members or business or school. They may own property in both countries. In some countries (e.g., Mexico), property may only be owned in certain areas of the country.

The downsides of dual citizenship

Even though you get all the advantages of both your countries of nationality, you also get all the liabilities. For instance, you may lose your US citizenship if a third country makes you an officer in an armed conflict against the US. However, different countries have different policies for this.

You may also be subject to double taxation. The US requires income taxes to be paid to two countries, regardless of where the income is earned. However, some countries have tax agreements with the US to avoid this. For instance, people with dual citizenship in New Zealand or Canada can avoid double taxation.

However, you may still need to file income taxes, so it is best to consult an immigration lawyer. You might also face obstacles to certain jobs. For instance, some federal positions in the government may require a security clearance that excludes dual citizens.

Get help!

The laws surrounding dual citizenship are complicated and hard to understand. The application process for dual citizenship is often confusing, especially if you are new to US immigration law. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for it. If you or someone you care about has questions about your application for dual citizenship, contact Gehi and Associates. We can help you with specific answers that are specific to your situation.

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