Dual Citizenship in the USA: Everything You Need to Know

Immigration Practice Areas > Dual Citizenship in the USA: Everything You Need to Know

What is Dual Citizenship?

Dual citizenship – formally known as dual nationality – means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. In the United States, there’s no law that mentions dual nationality, and its citizens are not required to choose just one nationality. But what about other countries? Do all countries allow dual citizenship, and what are the rules about calling two nations “home”?

Guide to Dual Citizenship in the USA

As a U.S. citizen, you’re not prohibited from holding citizenship in another country. If you’re a naturalized citizen, there’s no requirement for you to renounce your citizenship from your home country, either – at least, not as far as the United States is concerned. Some countries forbid their citizens from holding dual citizenship.

Information on Dual Citizenship in the USA - Davis & Associates

What Countries Allow Dual Citizenship?

If you’re pursuing United States citizenship, you need to be aware that your home country may not allow you to keep your citizenship once you attain it in the U.S. That means you will lose your passport from your home country while gaining an American passport; you could lose your right to vote in your home country; you may no longer qualify for national programs in your home country, such as healthcare; and you may lose other rights, as well.

If you’re not sure whether your home country allows dual citizenship, consult the table below and speak to a Dallas or Houston immigration attorney about your situation. If your country is not represented here, your attorney can point you in the right direction.

Country of OriginAllows Dual U.S. Citizenship?Additional Information
AlbaniaYesIn most cases, you may hold dual citizenship as a citizen of Albania.
AustraliaYesAustralia allows dual citizenship – and, in fact, the Australian government says that you can hold citizenship in as many countries as you’d like.
BahamasNoYou cannot hold dual citizenship in the Bahamas.
BarbadosYesBarbados’ government often encourages foreigners to acquire citizenship and allows its nationals to do the same.
BangladeshYesGenerally, you cannot lose citizenship in Bangladesh unless you are a naturalized citizen who has earned a long-term prison sentence or incurred a criminal fine.
BelgiumYesBelgium has allowed its citizens to hold dual nationality since 2008.
BulgariaYesEthnic Bulgarians may maintain citizenship in multiple countries, but those who choose Bulgarian citizenship must renounce citizenship from their home countries.
CanadaYesCanadian citizens are encouraged to hold dual nationality, particularly with the United States.
ChileYesIn most cases, Chile allows dual citizenship.
ChinaNoA Chinese national will automatically lose Chinese citizenship upon gaining citizenship in another country. You may also be barred from receiving a Chinese visa or even entering the country at all.
Costa RicaYesAll Costa Rican citizens may hold dual nationality.
CroatiaYesEthnic Croatians who obtained citizenship through birth or descent through at least one parent may hold dual nationality, but those who are naturalized Croatians must renounce all other citizenships.
CyprusYesCyprus does not restrict citizens from holding dual nationality.
Czech RepublicYesThe Czech Republic has allowed multiple nationalities since 2014.
DenmarkYesDenmark has allowed its citizens to hold dual citizenship since 2015.
EgyptYesEgypt allows citizens to hold dual nationality, but citizens must inform the Egyptian government of their intent to maintain Egyptian citizenship within a year of obtaining foreign citizenship or risk losing their nationality.
FinlandYesFinland has allowed all of its citizens to hold dual citizenship since 2003.
FranceYesFrance is a bastion of dual nationality, where citizens have been allowed to hold two or more citizenships for generations.
GermanyYesGermany tends to discourage dual citizenship, but the law does not forbid it – and German citizens do not have to renounce a foreign citizenship to hold citizenship in Germany.
GreeceYesGreek citizens are permitted to maintain dual citizenship unless they ask to renounce Greek citizenship after serving in the military.
HaitiNoIf a Haitian citizen acquires citizenship in another country, he or she automatically loses Haitian citizenship.
HungaryYesYou may hold dual citizenship in Hungary and another country.
IcelandYesIceland has let its citizens hold dual nationality since 2003.
IndonesiaNoIndonesians can be dual citizens until the age of 18, but at that time, they must choose a nationality.
IrelandYesIreland allows dual citizenship in all cases.
IsraelYesIsrael allows dual citizenship and has a strong program called the Law of Return to enable Jewish people to obtain Israeli citizenship.
ItalyYesItaly does not require you to renounce your citizenship if you gain citizenship in another country.
JamaicaYesYou are permitted to hold dual citizenship if you’re a Jamaican citizen.
JapanNoJapanese dual nationals must choose one nationality between the ages of 20 and 22, and failure to do so can result in the loss of Japanese citizenship.
KosovoYesKosovo recognizes dual and triple citizenship, as many Kosovars already hold Serbian passports as a matter of course.
KuwaitNoThere are no exceptions to Kuwait’s dual citizenship prohibition – and if a parent loses his or her citizenship, the children do, as well.
LaosNoYou may not hold dual citizenship in Laos.
LatviaYesLatvian citizens may hold other nationalities.
MalawiNoYou cannot hold dual citizenship in Malawi if you’re over the age of 21.
MaltaYesMalta allows dual citizenship.
MexicoYesMexico allows its citizens to hold dual nationality but requires Mexican citizens to exit and enter the country on a Mexican passport.
MyanmarNoDual citizenship is prohibited in Myanmar.
NepalNoThere are no exceptions to Nepal’s anti-dual-citizenship stance.
The NetherlandsYes and NoIf a Dutch national over the age of 18 willingly obtains citizenship or naturalization from another country, he or she will lose Dutch citizenship. However, if you’re a citizen of another country and marry a Dutch national or a refugee, you may hold dual citizenship.
NigeriaYesFor the most part, Nigerians may hold dual citizenship.
PakistanYesThe Pakistani government recognizes dual nationality for most people under most circumstances. However, if you hold dual citizenship in Pakistan, you lose some of your voting rights, you cannot serve in the military, and you cannot hold some public offices or civil servant jobs.
PanamaNoThe Panamanian government, by law, forbids dual citizenship.
PeruYesPeru allows citizens of other Latin countries to maintain dual citizenship and doesn’t explicitly require people to renounce their Peruvian citizenship upon gaining citizenship in another country.
PhilippinesYesFilipinos who obtain citizenship in the U.S. or another country do not automatically lose citizenship in the Philippines.
PortugalYesPortugal allows dual citizenship.
RomaniaYesRomanian citizens do not automatically lose citizenship upon gaining it in another country.
Saudi ArabiaNoYou may not hold dual citizenship in Saudi Arabia – you give up your Saudi Arabian citizenship when you accept it in another country.
SerbiaYesSerbian citizens can maintain dual citizenship.
SingaporeNoPeople may remain dual citizens until age 21; within 12 months of a Singaporean’s 21st birthday, he or she must take the Oath of Allegiance and Loyalty to Singapore and renounce foreign citizenship or lose Singaporean citizenship.
SloveniaYesNative Slovenians, in most cases, are permitted to hold dual citizenship – but it’s typically a one-way street. Naturalized citizens of Slovenia must usually renounce their original citizenship.
South AfricaYesSouth Africa has allowed dual citizenship since 2004, but it requires South Africans to enter and leave the country with a South African passport.
South KoreaYesYou do not lose South Korean citizenship when you gain citizenship in another country.
SpainYesSpain allows dual nationality, but you must inform the Spanish government within three years of obtaining citizenship in another country.
SwedenYesSweden has allowed dual citizenship since 2001.
SwitzerlandYesSwiss citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenship. In fact, as many as 60 percent of Swiss citizens living abroad hold two nationalities.
SyriaYesTypically, Syria allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship.
ThailandNoYou may not hold Thai citizenship and citizenship from another country simultaneously.
TurkeyYesTurkey permits dual citizenship.
United KingdomYesThe UK has allowed dual citizenship since 1948. However, people who are citizens of British Overseas Territories, such as Anguilla, may not be permitted to hold a British passport if they are dual citizens.
VietnamNoVietnamese citizens may not retain citizenship in Vietnam if they acquire citizenship in another country.

What About the U.S.’s Oath of Allegiance?

Dual Citizenship in the USA - Immigration Help - Davis & AssociatesThe United States’ Oath of Allegiance requires you to say that you “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,” but that doesn’t explicitly address dual citizenship in the USA. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kawakita v. United States that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both.”

Rights and Responsibilities for Those With Dual Citizenship in the USA

As a U.S. citizen, you’ll acquire certain rights and responsibilities. They may conflict with the rights and responsibilities you hold in your home country, as well. Here’s a quick run-down.

Rights of U.S. CitizensResponsibilities of U.S. Citizens
Freedom to express yourselfTo support and defend the U.S. Constitution
Freedom to worship how, when and where you wantStay informed of the issues affecting your community
Right to a prompt and fair trial by juryParticipate in the democratic process
Right to vote in elections for public officialsRespect and obey federal, state and local laws
Right to run for elected officeRespect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others
Freedom to pursue life, liberty and happinessParticipate in your local community
Pay income and other taxes honestly, on time
Serve on a jury when called upon
Defend the country if the need arises

 

What is the U.S. Naturalization Timeline Like?

In order to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you must first become a lawful permanent resident. Usually, you must remain a lawful permanent resident for three to five years. Lawful permanent residents – commonly called green card holders – can apply for naturalization as soon as they have met the requirements. From that time, it can take a little over a year (and longer, in some cases) to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About Dual Citizenship in the U.S.?

If you’re considering becoming a U.S. citizen, we can help. Call our office now to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney – we’ll answer your questions and give you the advice you need.