Having dual citizenship or dual nationality - means being a citizen of two countries simultaneously and sharing the rights and responsibilities as a citizen in each country. Not every country will allow dual citizenship as the rules vary among those countries that do. Not sure if you qualify for dual citizenship? Start by checking your eligibility.
Does the U.S. Citizenship Oath Prohibit Dual Citizenship?
Before becoming a U.S. citizen all foreigners must take an oath of allegiance at their naturalization swearing-in ceremony. The Oath Ceremony would easily make anyone think that they were agreeing to giving up all other citizenships right then and there. The new citizen promises that he or she will, “..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..” However, the fact of the matter is that the U.S. will in no way stop anyone from maintaining citizenship in another country after becoming a U.S. citizen. Nor will it cancel the U.S. citizenship of someone who becomes a citizen of another country. The key is whether the other country’s laws allow it. Hundreds of thousands of people successfully hold dual citizenship today, that is they are simultaneously U.S. citizens and citizens of another country.
Rights as a Dual Citizen in the U.S
Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, in addition to keeping citizenship in another country, provides many rights that could help you meet your goals and those are:
- You can work from anywhere in the country.
- Dual citizens can apply for employment in the U.S. without first obtaining a work visa. As a dual citizen, however, you could be overlooked for certain federal jobs, which may often require a security clearance and the ability to maintain confidentiality of classified state information. That could be a challenge if you’re also loyal to a nation that has conflicting interests with the U.S.
- Naturalized citizens can travel without restrictions. Any U.S. citizen can travel overseas for as long as they would like without having any risks of losing their naturalized citizenship. A re-entry permit will not be needed in order to return if you so chose to stay outside of the country for longer periods of time as is the case with Lawful Permanent Residents.
- Petitioning for other family members (like your parents, adult children and siblings) to obtain their U.S. green card is possible.
- Voting in any U.S. election is allowed.
- Any dual citizen can attend school at any institution in the U.S.
- Public benefits are accessible if needed granted that eligibility requirements are met.
Can a Foreign National Apply for Dual Citizenship with the U.S. Government?
Being that the U.S. government does not formally sanction dual citizenship, there are no specific procedures to follow if you become a naturalized citizen but you still may want to keep your old citizenship. No one will give you a certificate or other evidence that the U.S. government recognizes and approves your dual status. Your home country, however, might require more. Before applying for U.S. citizenship it is important to first find out whether your home country will cancel your citizenship from your home country if you become a naturalized citizen of the U.S. If cancellation is automatic, find out whether you have to take special steps to keep your home country’s citizenship.
Consult with an Immigration Attorney
When applying for U.S. citizenship visit with an immigration lawyer to learn more about the application process and to see if having dual citizenship is a possibility. Contact Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 for more information and to schedule an appointment.