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.
What About the U.S.’s Oath of Allegiance?
The 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. Citizens||Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens|
|Freedom to express yourself||To support and defend the U.S. Constitution|
|Freedom to worship how, when and where you want||Stay informed of the issues affecting your community|
|Right to a prompt and fair trial by jury||Participate in the democratic process|
|Right to vote in elections for public officials||Respect and obey federal, state and local laws|
|Right to run for elected office||Respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others|
|Freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness||Participate 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.