flags from several countries including the USA, Germany and Italy
By: Katherine On: December 7, 2016 In: Citizenship, Immigration Comments: 31
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Dual 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.

If you’re applying for US citizenship and require certified translations of your personal documents, contact Legal Language today.

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    • Christina
    • July 06, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in the UK. and am a naturalized US citizen. Father American. Mother British. Do I have dual citizenship? Must I apply for it?

      • Peter O
      • September 21, 2017
      • Reply

      Something much the same is my case. I was born in the U.S. been a U.S. citizen all my life but my Mother was born and raised in the U.K. I registered as a U.K. citizen to assist with the ability to work in the U.K. You need not “naturalize” per say in the U.K. you should simply register as a U.K. citizen and retain your U.S. citizenship.

    • Jorgen Nielsen
    • July 08, 2017
    • Reply


    I am a US citizen, born in California, my wife is a US Permanent Resident from Denmark. Our daughter was born in Denmark and when I applied to the US Embassy I was told that she could not be given a Permanent Residency status but must be given status as a US Citizen Born Overseas.

    Denmark gave our daughter Danish citizenship so she holds citizenship and passports for both countries.
    Under current EU law, (and current UK law), you can apply for UK citizenship as a person born in the UK.

    • Poo
    • July 09, 2017
    • Reply


    • Rosalea Taylor
    • July 20, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in Canada, moved to Us in 1965, husband past, now living back in Canada with old friend, whom I’m going to marry, went to turn in Resident card n Officer told me to apply for citizenship of Us, using my sons address as C/O, so I did, now will I be able to get citizenship of US and have dual citizenship and live in Canada, my children are all in US, but my daughter said when she became a citizen they asked her do you give up all your rights to Canada, I can’t lie to a Judge so can you help me, they have taken my money out if bank acct. and send its in process, please help, as Border@Tthousand Island Bridge Officer Bell was real rude n scared me, after I was told by Officer Kirklin st Immigration at BWI to apply, please help me understand, ty.

    • Mariana Mihai
    • July 25, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in Romania and emigrated 36 years ago to United States. To do so I was asked to give up my Romanian citizenship. Right now I am an American citizen and proud it. I’m about to retire in 7 years and I will have time to visit and probably leave in Romania more often. Because of that I was thinking of getting my Romanian citizenship. Doing so is going to affect in any way my American citizenship? It is possible to have dual citizenship?
    Thank you so much

      • Beatrix Wagner
      • August 06, 2017
      • Reply

      Hi Mariana! I’m in A similar situation if you would like to contact me I will leave my phone number and also my email so we can maybe talk about this together I was born in Brasov and left for Germany when I was 3 years old. I now currently live in Phoenix Arizona my number is 602-295-6657 and down below you will find my email thank you !

      • Jennifer
      • September 11, 2017
      • Reply

      Hi Mariana, My daughter’s caregiver was surprised to be told today, after taking the test, that she would need to give up her Romanian citizenship. She had specifically told the lawyer preparing her paperwork that she wanted to keep dual citizenship. What have you found out?

        • Sophia Markowitz
        • November 03, 2017
        • Reply

        Most people keep their old citizenship. Just they do not tell anyone about it,

    • Bud Parker
    • August 02, 2017
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    If a US citizen marries a non US Citizen (Cuban) in the USA and they emigrate into Canada (1968) becoming Canadian citizens, is the woman a dual citizen? Or, did her swearing allegiance to Canada prevent that?

      • Pamela
      • November 30, 2017
      • Reply

      Yes, she is a Cuban and Canadian dual=citizen. Both Cuba and Canada allow that.

    • WJA
    • August 08, 2017
    • Reply

    Dual citizenship should be illegal. Dual citizenship=divided loyalties.

      • Eliz
      • October 20, 2017
      • Reply

      As far as I know, the United States is not, has never been, and is extremely unlikely to be at war with Ireland, so what difference does it make?

        • M
        • January 21, 2018
        • Reply

        That works until it doesnt

      • Carolyn Zhang
      • January 19, 2018
      • Reply

      Citizenship is conferred by countries and may not even be desired by the person receiving it. A country can also refuse to allow its citizens to renounce citizenship. So if a law was passed such as what you suggest, then North Korea or Iran could simply give a “gift of friendship” and immediately proclaim every American to be a North Korean or Iranian citizen and then where would you be? Everyone would instantly have dual citizenship whether they liked it or not. In other words, your proposed “law” does not and cannot work. All you can do is say that you do not honor or recognize dual citizenship and you can require them to pledge their loyalty to the United States. You can also decide that if you take out citizenship by naturalizing you lose your US citizenship (though the Supreme Court actually has said that you can’t but this is what some countries do happen to do). However, you cannot tell people they cannot have dual citizenship when they were born with both another citizenship and US citizenship or because they were born with another citizenship and then later became naturalized US citizens but the foreign country does not recognize the US naturalization oath as a renouncement of its citizenship.

    • Jean brown
    • August 10, 2017
    • Reply

    I I was born in the us my dad immigranted from Sweden when he was16 and became a us citizen , can I get citizenship in Sweden and maintain my us citizenship I heard this can be done. But how

    • mary Kennedy
    • August 20, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in Australia lived in the USA for 3 years in the 1960’s my father was American mother Australian when I went to USA I had 2 passports Australian and USA. I thought my dual citizenship stop after living in the USA for a long period is this correct or do I still hold dual citizenship?

      • HMG
      • November 03, 2017
      • Reply

      Duel Citizenship in the US and Australia doesn’t go away unless you relinquish it
      If you travel between the countries it makes it very easy to have both passports that you don’t need visas

    • Tip gm
    • August 24, 2017
    • Reply

    I’m Thai and got citizenship and Carrie 2 passport. Is okay and how I should do when I travel to Thailand?

      • Penny
      • November 30, 2017
      • Reply

      Easiest way is use the Thailand one to enter Thailand. That way no questions asked.

    • Dania
    • October 15, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in California and automatically became US citizen. I obtain the second citizenship form my parents as Syrian citizenship. Now i am in Turkey and the Turkish Gov. offered me to become Turkish citizen without dropping and previous citizenship, that means i will have three citizenship. Is that affect my US nationality? Thank you

      • HMG
      • November 03, 2017
      • Reply

      Only the US immigration can answer that for you It would be in your interests to check it out before obtaining a 3rd passport Plus why would you need it? Plus the extra expense to maintain

    • Marion Ceruzzi
    • November 05, 2017
    • Reply

    I was born in the US as was my father. But my mother was born in Italy and became naturalized when she was 4. My maternal and paternal grandparents were also born in Italy (now all deceased) and became naturalized. I assume this means I cannot obtain dual citizenship because all these relatives were naturalized. Is that correct.

    • Val
    • December 31, 2017
    • Reply

    My children’s father obtained his citizenship through another marriage. He votes in the US BUT he is also a citizen of BRITIAN as he was born on a British island. Can he lose his British citizenship for voting in the USA ?

    • Essie
    • January 11, 2018
    • Reply

    Hello, Here is my situation: I was born in the US. Father is Guatemalan, Mother Bolivian. I wish to obtain my Guatemalan Passport. My father lives in Guatemala currently, so is willing to go to whatever Gov’t offices with me to undergo this declaration and such. Does anyone know if 1) I need to do this all in Guatemala City, 2) Can I do it via the Consulate here in NYC, 3) Can it be done within a few day (short trip?). I hear this is possible, I just have had a hard time gaining clarity and the Guate Consulate gives me varied information. Thank you in advance for any information shared.

    • Claire
    • February 05, 2018
    • Reply

    Still confused! In reading these messages and the blurb above, I am non the wiser as to my status. I am a UK citizen, gained US citizenship/naturalisation, years ago, and now live back in UK. Do i have dual from a US stand point, (I know England recognises it).

    Thanks for any clarification

    • Donna
    • February 10, 2018
    • Reply

    I am 67 years old. My father was born in the United States and my mother was Canadian. My father moved to Canada when he was 8-10 years old. Do I qualify for dual citizenship? My father had dual citizenship. If I do qualify, do I need to go through an attorney to obtain it? Thank you for any assistance you can give me.

    • Mike S
    • February 15, 2018
    • Reply

    My UK born father has recently successfully applied for dual citizenship having lived in the USA for over 20 years and also married a US citizen a couple of years ago. Does his status help me apply for a visa or green card or even US citizenship ? Planning ahead I’d like to retire to the USA if I’m able to. Thanks

    • Abby Scott
    • February 21, 2018
    • Reply

    Wow, I think I jumped through every loophole. I was born in England with one British parent and one American parent. . I lived in England until I was 4 and then moved to the US with my mother after she divorced my father. I now have duel citizenship.

    • Abby Scott
    • February 21, 2018
    • Reply

    As a person who is a dual citizen in England and US and lives in the US for 11 months out of the year, can I go to college in England?

    • Tasha
    • February 26, 2018
    • Reply

    Is it possible to get a citizenship certificate for my newborn son who was born in Canada? I would like for him to have a US citizenship certificate. His father is US citizen by birth and I am Canadian. We are currently residing in Canada but travel often between countries. Even though we are not currently living in the USA can he still obtain a certificate?

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