What is Dual Citizenship?

Holders of dual citizenship may possess multiple passports.
Holders of dual citizenship may possess multiple passports.

Dual citizenship, also known as multiple citizenships, dual nationalities, or multiple nationalities, refers to the citizen status of an individual where that individual has citizenships of different countries at the same time. Currently, no form of international law determines multiple citizenships. Instead, individual laws of different countries determine whether a person is a citizen of that state or not. In some cases, the different laws concerning citizenships in different countries may conflict. Not all countries in the world permit its citizens to have multiple citizenships. In some nations, the renunciation of a citizenship is not allowed. Whatever the case, each country has procedures in the law to handle such situations.

Does the United States Allow Dual Citizenship?

As a matter of policy, the United States does not endorse dual citizenships for its citizens. However, the US government is not actively against dual citizenship so it tolerates it among its citizens. In the past, there were plenty of conflicts that arose for dual-national citizens of the US as there were plenty of conflicts. For example, a US dual nationality citizen may find himself or herself in a position where both countries require military service. In recent times, however, the conflicts have been slightly less as most countries have removed most of the conflicting issues.

There are several ways that a person in the US can obtain dual citizenship. One of these ways is for parents who are not citizens of the US to have a baby in the US. As the United States recognizes citizenship by birth, the child is automatically recognized as a US citizen by the law and the child can also obtain the citizenship of the parents. Another birth scenario is if one parent is a US citizen but ends up having the baby in another state.

A person can also acquire the dual citizenship status in the US by becoming a naturalized citizen of the US, while at the same time having another country’s citizenship. A process that also involves naturalization is if a person decides to regain the citizenship of a different country after becoming a US citizen by naturalization.

There are cases where a dual citizen can lose US citizenship. Such situations include when someone renounces their US citizenship in the presence of an authorized official from the US. Any act of treason against the US government is also grounds for losing the US citizenship. In addition to these reasons, someone may lose their dual citizenship status should he or she be in service to a nation that is actively hostile against the US. In past times, it was a requirement that someone had to renounce any previous citizenship for him or her to become a citizen of the US. In recent times, however, this regulation is no longer active.

Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship

In Africa, dual citizenship is allowed in countries like Angola, Kenya, Djibouti, Gambia, and Mozambique. Canada allows dual citizenship. The Asia-Pacific region is notorious for restricting dual citizenships for its citizens. However, for nations like Australia and Fiji, it is permitted. Europe is more complicated because of the European Union.


More in World Facts