Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in the United States?

By Katherine at Legal Language
Updated on 08/11/2015
In Citizenship, Immigration

statue of libery immigration newsDual citizenship is a confusing issue, and the United States’ stance on being a US citizen and a citizen of another country can be pretty complex.

Dual citizenship is allowed in the United States, but only under certain circumstances. There are many things to consider before you seek citizenship in another country besides the one you were born in.

What Is Dual Citizenship?

Your citizenship is often determined by where you were born — if you were born in the United States, you are more than likely a US citizen.

Of course, it’s not always that simple.

Your citizenship also depends on the citizenship of your parents or other family members. Many people gain dual citizenship at their birth through their parents.

Say that a US couple has a baby while in Canada. The child born abroad is a Canadian citizen due to the place of birth, but the child also gains US citizenship because the parents are US citizens who fulfilled residency requirements.

Parents’ citizenship is almost always taken into consideration, as are the citizenship laws of the country the child is born in. Keep in mind that not all countries give automatic citizenship to a child born within their borders.

It used to be common to gain dual citizenship through marriage — but this is increasingly uncommon today, as countries around the world have regulated processes that often require applications, fees and translations of personal documents for immigration. Obtaining residency in a country through marriage is still common, but it is no longer automatic and often can’t result in dual citizenship.

Naturalization is the most common way to gain citizenship in a different country than the one where you were born. While many countries allow naturalization, they may also require that candidates for naturalization renounce their previous citizenship.

Dual Citizenship in the United States

Dual citizenship had previously been banned in the United States, but in 1967 the US Supreme Court struck down most laws forbidding dual citizenship.

However, the US government remained disdainful of dual citizenship for some time. To this day, candidates for US citizenship through naturalization are forced to (at least hypothetically) renounce their previous citizenship at the United States naturalization ceremony.

The renouncing of one’s previous citizenship is part of the oath that new US citizens must take, and failing to honor that oath could result in the loss of citizenship in the United States.

Some cases that have been brought before the Department of State in the past involve people who became naturalized US citizens but maintained a residency and life in their country of previous citizenship.

While most countries recognize the Oath of Allegiance in the United States to be a binding contract regarding one’s citizenship, other countries have stated that the oath has no effect on their own citizenship laws. The US government used to aggressively pursue these cases to get the dual citizens to renounce their citizenship, but this is no longer the case.

Additionally, young children who naturalize in the United States along with their parents didn’t take the Oath of Allegiance — even though their parents did — and can technically still hold on to their previous citizenship.

People who have held dual citizenship since birth or childhood — or who became citizens of another country after becoming a US citizen and were not asked to renounce their previous citizenship — can remain dual citizens in the United States.

19 Responses to “Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in the United States?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

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  2. Charles Says:

    I am a US citizen from birth, joined the United States Air Force, married my German wife in 1999, and brought her and her two German children to the US in 2001. My stepson was 9 at the time, and now he is 22. He joined the United States Marines and got out after 3 years. He could have received his US citizenship after serving 6 months in the military only if he denounced his German citizenship. He refused to do that. Now he is trying to get a dual citizenship. How does he go about making this happen?

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  4. Dolphin Says:

    Is it not true that the push in the courts to allow dual citizenship came from Zionists? Our tradition of renouncing past citizenship was a proud one and stood the test of time. This bastardization of our laws is a disgrace. Any US citizen who wants to become a citizen of another country should be allowed to do so – concurrent with renouncing his US citizenship. Loyalty should not be split.

  5. KT Says:

    I agree with Dolphin! The US should not recognize dual citizenship. My husband is a naturalized citizen and he took the oath to renounce his SA citizenship and defend the US Constitution. Technically, he still has a passport from SA but he always travels on his US passport. He mentioned renewing his SA passport before it expired, but really what’s the point? Given a choice between a US passport and a South African passport, there really is NO choice!

  6. Frank Goodman Says:

    One country at a time. That is the standard to avoid all ambiguity. One vote in the precinct applicable to the country of citizenship. One valid pass port at a time. One vote and one citizenship. Automatic renunciation with automatic notification of the country of previous citizenship that their claim will not be honored in American courts. That is in accordance with the Universal Code of Human Rights. Each person has both the right to leave his country and to return. Each person has a right to choose the country of his loyalty. That automatically gives each person the right to renounce all in favor of one and to move from one to another. Keep it simple. Dual citizens who vote in two countries violate all principles of nationality and loyalty. Dual citizens who hold and travel on two or more passports violate the principles of nationality and loyalty. I don’t agree on any condition of no country or universal alien status from all jurisdictions. A country for residence only is theoretic but has not been established in the world. It is probably impossible for how could one be a citizen of such a jurisdiction without laws to establish and support it?

  7. timothy twomey Says:

    Will application for dual Irish citizen in any way jeopardize my US citizenship? I was born in the U.S. and have resided here exclusively all my life. I have served as a National Guard/USAR reservist for six or more years during which I applied for and accepted a commission as an officer. This required me to give an oath of allegiance upon enlistment and upon accepting a commission as an officer and upon promotion.
    Given the above will my application for and or securing dual citizenship (US and Irish)in any way jeopardize my U.S. citizenship?

  8. Eye-roll Pleez Says:

    Hey dumba$$ – this is a COMMENT board, not a Q & A forum.

  9. Muriel Says:

    Dolphin, you are a proud US citizens, but you also are a racist for blaming “Zionists” for pushing dual citizenship.
    I have dual citizenship because I was born in the US by Swiss wealthy parents, but grew up in Switzerland from 11/2 years onwards.
    Your US Tax authorities have benefited greatly from this deal, because even when I lived abroad, I still payed (heavy) US taxes. Don’t call me a bastard and don’t play the blame game. Thanks.

  10. Ken Says:

    Zionism is not a race but rather a racist political ideology. Zionists are the Racists. People who oppose Zionism are the Anti-Racists. I find it hilarious when Jewish Supremacists and their brainwashed lemmings try to turn black to white and white to black. I believe this is called Chutzpa, which is a sickening quality applauded by the Jewish Supremacist community, similar to “The Big Lie” propaganda technique that they use. A really good question to investigate and ponder is…. Why have Jewish Supremacists had to be kicked out of over 109 territories throughout history? Why did a town in Guatemala just last month have to kick out ALL their Jewish Supremacists? It appears that no matter the time in history, location on Earth or people involved the Jewish Supremacists have been a sickness to all territories they infect.

  11. lucifer Says:

    Most of you are morons, I wish other countries would do the same to you idiots

  12. McKavitt Says:

    @Ken. I cannot agree w you, as I have not once met a Jewish Supremacist in all my long life, whilst your comments appear to me to be anti-Semite supremacist in the extreme.

  13. J.R. Says:

    If you read the oath naturalized citizens take you can be certain naturalized citizens do not have dual citizenship immediately after they take the oath. I don’t know how else you can interpret “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”.

  14. corners Says:

    Sounds like the main way to get a duel citizenship is to have a US citizenship first. Otherwise they make you denounce your past countries citizenship.

    There are a lot of us Israeli citizens because Israel has given many out and did not require them to renounce their us citizenship.

  15. Brazilian Says:

    “To this day, candidates for US citizenship through naturalization are forced to renounce their previous citizenship at the United States naturalization ceremony.”
    This is complementary inaccurate. Most US foreigners keep their original citizenship. My parents are Brazilian, became American citizens, and kept their Brazilian citizenship.

  16. abraham Says:

    Which side will i brose

  17. Douglas Says:

    LOL. To the nudnicks trying to blame dual citizenship on “Zionists”, read some history on a subject before throwing out some blame-game paranoid theory. Dual citizenship was being upheld by the SCOTUS as early as 1795. Many rules, laws, and policies have popped up through the years forbidding it, and they have mostly been curbed by SCOTUS, many different judges and nationalities and over centuries…so there’s no blaming of any party or political ideology. It comes down to the Constitution. There is currently no provision there for removing one’s citizenship involuntarily. Lobby for an Amendment if you think it’s worth your time. Cheers.

  18. Ted Cruz Birthers Are Morons | The Hayride Says:

    […] who has never been stripped of her citizenship. The U.S. laws prohibiting dual citizenship were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. Canada allows dual citizenship as well. Even if Cruz’s mom was a Canadian citizen, […]

  19. Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in the United States? – Citizens Across Borders Says:

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