By: Katherine On: December 7, 2016 In: Uncategorized Comments: 80
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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.

Translation of Personal Documents for Dual Citizenship

When applying for US citizenship through USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services), you are required to submit copies of certain personal documents. If you are immigrating from a country that speaks a language other than English, these documents will need to be translated.

Personal documents that may require translation for US citizenship include:

  • Birth certificates,
  • Marriage certificates,
  • Passports, and
  • Immigration paperwork

When getting these documents translated, it is imperative that you work with a professional translation company such as Legal Language. We take the time to vet all of our linguists, ensuring that they are fluent in both the source and target languages. We are also able to provide certified translations of your personal documents and have years of experience in preparing documents for immigration purposes.

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

Free Certified Translation Quote

Request a free quote today!

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2 years ago

I was born in America to an American dad and an English mom. I have lived in the US all but two years of my life. My mother was born in England and moved here as an adult. There was a time that we both went to England to live with my grandmother and my mom believes that I was assigned a national health number (like our social security number). She said she was given permission for me to live in England for as long as needed. She is understanding that I have dual citizenship. Do you know if there is some way to check on this?

William A. Kuns IV
11 months ago
Reply to  Connie

I know it’s been a year, so this answer will be to benefit others reading your question having the same question themselves: Contact the UK embassy or consulate in the nearest US city. The state officials there are accustomed to handling issues like this on a regular basis.

While I do not have dual citizenship myself, I lived outside the country of my birth, the United States, for many years, educated abroad as a US Army dependent. Many of my friends and classmates held/hold dual citizenship. The people most qualified to answer your questions are British government officials. A good starting point would be to investigate whether or not you have been assigned a national health number, and go from there. There may be other requirements or issues that you may be required to meet or address.

margery cholerton
2 years ago

My husband is a Canadian citizen with a Green Card. We have lived, worked, paid taxes here in the US for the last 32 years. (and have a 17 yr. old son). He is finally ready to apply for his dual citizenship to the US, in the hopes of being eligible on time to vote in the 2020 elections. Does he need to fill out N-400 form and simply mail it in (didn’t see address supplied on online form?) or is there another process he needs to follow? Greatly appreciate your advice!

1 year ago

I’m a U.S. born citizen have been for my entire life. If I were to get a dual citizenship with India, because my parents are both Indian citizens, would that affect my voting and other U.S. citizenship rights?

Lynne Nooner
1 year ago

My son was born in UK in 1984. Both myself and his father are American citizens. He got his passport a few years ago and it says: “UK National”. Does that mean he has dual citizenship?

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