Does the United States recognize dual citizenship? How does getting dual citizenship as an American work? What are the advantages of dual citizenship for American citizens? This guide covers everything you need to know about getting dual citizenship as a US citizen.

Does the US allow dual nationality?

The short answer is yes; the US permits dual citizenship by default. The US government does not require naturalized US citizens to give up their citizenship in their country of origin, nor does it require natural-born US citizens to relinquish US citizenship before obtaining alternative citizenship. As a dual citizen, you can enjoy the perks of holding citizenship in the two countries. US dual nationals have access to health care, education, and the right to vote in the US and the second country of citizenship.

US dual citizenship rules

If you decide to pursue dual citizenship and are already an overseas citizen (a United States citizen living abroad), you won’t lose your American citizenship. Your residency status abroad, including your application for citizenship status in another country, has no impact on your United States citizenship.

That said, it’s essential to recognize that the USA follows a ‘master nationality’ rule, meaning the USA acknowledges only the US nationality of an individual, regardless of whether that individual holds any other citizenship.

Note that if your parents have citizenship from another country, you may be able to secure citizenship automatically, although this will depend on the country’s nationality laws.

Advantages of Dual Citizenship for Americans

american dual citizenship rules There are many advantages of dual citizenship for Americans. As a dual citizen, you’re a citizen of two countries, providing access to the privileges and benefits of both the United States and the second country that allows dual citizenship.

Some of the benefits of being a dual citizen include:

  • The right to live, work and study in two countries
  • Enhanced economic opportunities
  • A second passport protecting your personal and financial safety
  • Family security
  • Expanded visa-free travel freedom
  • The right to vote and hold office in two different countries
  • Access to more health care and increased social security
  • Increased property ownership rights

US Dual Citizenship Countries List

As an American citizen, you have the right to dual citizenship in numerous countries. To name a few, the following countries allow dual citizenship with the US: Australia, the United Kingdom, Dominica, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, and Denmark.

Do note that the countries list is not exhaustive and is subject to change at the government’s discretion. Foreign nationals should check the most up-to-date nationality act and the immigration procedures in the country that they are interested in acquiring citizenship.

Countries that prohibit dual citizenship with the US

Numerous countries globally enforce regulations that prevent their citizens from possessing dual nationality, consequently restricting the option of US dual citizenship. These countries include Austria, China, Japan, the Bahamas, the Netherlands, and Kuwait.

Dual Citizenship Passport Requirements for a US Citizen

Dual citizens with US citizenship and two passports must use their US passports to enter and leave the United States. Dual citizens may also be required to use their foreign passport to enter and leave their second country of citizenship. Using a foreign passport does not threaten US citizenship at all, it’s permitted.

Tax Obligations and US Dual Citizenship

One of the downsides of holding dual citizenship is US citizens living outside the USA may face double taxation. US citizens must pay federal taxes whether they’re permanent residents or citizens of a foreign country. Should the foreign country impose its own income taxes, citizens and residents can face double taxation.

As a US citizen, you are liable to pay US income tax, even though you may have residency in another country. Nevertheless, US citizens living abroad can reduce their tax obligations through tax credits on US-earned income and exemptions on income generated in a foreign country. While US citizens may be unable to avoid double taxation altogether, these tax concessions reduce or eliminate income taxes in some situations.

Dual Citizenship by Investment

The best way to get dual citizenship is through citizenship by investment programs (CBI). Also referred to as economic citizenship or passport by investment initiatives, countries from across the globe provide the opportunity to obtain dual citizenship by investing in their economy.

CBI programs allow individuals who invest in another country to obtain dual citizenship, provided that all program requirements are met, which includes making a qualifying investment of a minimum amount. By far, the most popular way to qualify is through property investment. For example, by making a shared property investment in St. Kitts and Nevis of at least $400,000, you and your family can obtain dual citizenship and passports in four months.

Countries that offer second citizenship Countries that offer second citizenship by investment include:

If you are interested in gaining second citizenship, it is essential to understand that both your home country and the other country that you are interested in securing citizenship accept dual citizenship.

For those uncertain about which citizenship by investment program is best or how to get EU dual citizenship as American citizens, check out our Citizenship by Investment Comparison Guide.

Speak to One of Our Second Citizenship Consultants

As a boutique consultancy firm with years of experience delivering citizenship by investment solutions for international families, we offer assistance with several different citizenship by investment programs worldwide. Operating across four countries, our second citizenship consultants understand the intricacies of navigating past investment program requirements.

With a 100 percent success rate, we can help you from start to finish in your journey toward citizenship. Schedule your free call here.

Dual US-EU citizenship

The Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES) is a highly competitive option for obtaining US-EU citizenship.

Dual US-EU citizenship is an opportunity of a lifetime, offering many advantages, including: 

  • Visa-free travel throughout the European Union
  • The right to study, work and live anywhere in the EU
  • National healthcare benefits and an EU health insurance card to use in other European countries in the EU
  • The right to consular protection by EU member states
  • World-class educational opportunities and access to grants and scholarships for your children
  • Tax breaks, including paying taxes at reduced rates and concessions import/export duty through EU trade agreements

Dual Citizenship with Caribbean countries

Caribbean citizenship by investment programs are a desirable and cost-effective option for Americans and foreign nationals seeking second passports. You obtain citizenship from as little as $100,000 in countries like Dominica or St. Lucia, with excellent visa-free travel options and tax advantages. Many of these countries have no residence requirements, meaning you don’t have to go to the country and live there to qualify for citizenship.

Caribbean citizenship is priceless, offering key advantages like: 

  • Luxury property investments at affordable rates
  • A relaxed pace of life on paradise islands
  • Dual citizenship permitting global travel entry to up to 153 destinations
  • The option to apply for passports remotely
  • No residence, stay, or language requirements
  • Fantastic tax benefits, such as no income, capital gains, or inheritance tax
  • Proximity to the US

Easiest Dual Citizenship for an American

The Dominica CBI program is one of the easiest foreign citizenship opportunities for an American. If you have an outstanding character and no criminal record, you can qualify for Dominica citizenship by buying real estate to or exceeding $200,000 or contributing $100,000 to Dominica’s government fund. The best part is you and your family all qualify for citizenship, and obtaining citizenship takes three to six months.

Take a look at our Dominica Citizenship Ultimate Guide By local experts

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Dual Citizenship through a Golden Visa Program

If you’re in no rush to acquire dual citizenship and are looking for a quick way to get permanent or temporary residency in another country, applying for a Golden Visa is ideal. Golden Visas allow you to secure residency by investment, which is tradeable for citizenship after a period of residency.

Both Portugal and Spain offer Golden Visas. These are residency by investment programs allowing qualifying investors temporary residency permits in exchange for making a financial investment. While you don’t get a Portuguese passport or Spanish citizenship directly, acquiring permanent residency and citizenship after a certain period is possible. Family members can also be included in the application.

Investors can become permanent residents or apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years, provided they fulfill all the requirements. Permanent residency offers an array of perks; however, with citizenship, you have the same rights as any other citizen of the country. This includes political rights to vote, which you would not have as a permanent resident.

Holding citizenship in Portugal and the USA opens doors concerning global mobility, investment opportunities, and tax benefits. Plus, the right to EU citizenship provides complete access to the European Union and Portugal’s excellent healthcare system and social service programs.

Find out whether Portugal’s Golden Visa or Spain’s Golden Visa suits you best.

What Golden Visa to pick?
Compare our Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Programs

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Other Ways to Obtain Dual Citizenship

United States dual citizenship can be acquired in different ways, namely:

Citizenship by birth

Should you be born in the US to foreign parents, you automatically acquire US citizenship and, potentially, your parents’ citizenship.

Citizenship by marriage

A United States citizen married to a citizen of a foreign nation can become a naturalized citizen while maintaining American citizenship, depending on the citizenship of their spouse.

Citizenship by descent

Many countries grant citizenship through blood relatives (jus sanguinis). If you’re an American with parental ancestors from countries that practice jus sanguinis, you could be eligible for dual nationality based on ancestral ties.

Citizenship by naturalization

You can qualify for citizenship after fulfilling the immigration requirements to become a naturalized citizen. For example, by being first a temporary resident, then a permanent resident, you can qualify for citizenship after a certain period of continuous residency. This is known as the naturalization process.

Other articles that you may be interested in are: 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dual Citizenship for US Citizens

Can I have dual citizenship as an American?

US citizens can have dual citizenship without difficulty, but it’s important to note that not all countries recognize it. Other countries may not permit dual citizenship, meaning you would need to relinquish your US citizenship should you wish to gain citizenship in that particular country. If your country of birth recognizes dual citizenship, second citizenship with the US is straightforward.

How do I get dual citizenship as a US citizen?

You can get dual citizenship as a citizen of the United States through marriage, descent, birth, the naturalization process, or citizenship by investment. Citizenship by birth refers to a child born to parents born overseas. A person born in wedlock to two US national parents can obtain United States citizenship.

What are the advantages of having dual citizenship?

Holding dual citizenship has many advantages, including increased global mobility, double investment opportunities, and the right to study, work, and live in two countries. A second passport in a foreign state enhances your quality of life, and personal and financial security.

Remember that if you are interested in gaining second citizenship, it is imperative to understand that both your home country and the other country that you are interested in securing citizenship accept dual citizenship.

How to check if I have dual citizenship?

Contact the consulate or embassy of the foreign country where you think you might have a right to citizenship. Present them with all the information and documents they request to assess your citizenship status – for example, proof that you have a citizen parent.

If you apply for dual citizenship, the government authority will usually issue an approval letter inviting you to apply for a passport and acquire citizenship.

What countries can have dual citizenship with America?

Many countries permit dual citizenship with America, including, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, the UK, Australia, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis, African countries like Egypt, and Ghana, and countries in Asia like the Philippines, and Cambodia. Other countries will have their own immigration laws. It is worth checking with the immigration authority of the country that the country in question accepts dual citizenship, or if you would need to give up your original citizenship.

Certain countries may not allow you to work in specific federal jobs or public office if you are a dual national.

Does the United States recognize dual citizenship?

The United States recognizes and permits dual citizenship. It is best to speak with the citizenship and immigration authorities in the country that you are interested in seeking citizenship to ensure eligibility and that you would not be required to give up your original citizenship.

It can also be a good idea to consult a law firm specializing in immigration law to understand the eligibility requirements for second citizenship and assist you with the citizenship application.

Can you get a US security clearance with dual citizenship?

Yes, you can get US security clearance with dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship versus dual nationality: What's the difference?

Dual citizenship refers to being able to hold citizenship in two countries, and dual nationality means you have the nationality of two countries. Some countries like the United States make you pick a ‘primary nationality’ over a foreign nationality/other nationality.

Can you have US dual citizenship with Canada?

Yes, if you are an American citizen and become a citizen of Canada without renouncing your US citizenship, you will have dual citizenship. Dual citizens can enjoy the advantages of American and Canadian citizenship, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

It can also be a good idea to consult a law firm specializing in immigration law to understand the eligibility requirements to gain second citizenship in Canada if you are an American citizen.

Can you have American dual citizenship with Australia?

Yes, you can have dual citizenship in the US and Australia.

Can you have American dual citizenship with Ireland?

It is possible to have dual citizenship in America and Ireland. Dual citizens can enjoy the advantages of citizenship in both countries.

Can you have American dual citizenship with Italy?

Both the United States and Italy allow dual citizenship. Italy has allowed dual citizenship with America since 1922. Dual citizens can enjoy the advantages of citizenship in both countries.

Can you have US dual citizenship with Mexico?

If you have Mexican nationality, it is possible to have dual citizenship. While America does not encourage dual citizenship, it is possible to have dual citizenship as an American and Mexican citizen.

Can you have American dual citizenship with the Philippines?

Both countries allow dual citizenship. Dual citizens with Filipino and US citizenship can enjoy the advantages of both countries.

Can you have American and Chinese citizenship?

Obtaining dual citizenship is not permitted in China. You must relinquish your American citizenship if you wish to obtain Chinese citizenship.

Are dual citizens required to do military service?

Depending on the country’s law, you may be required to fulfill military service requirements. Certain countries allow nationals who have been living elsewhere to avoid mandatory enlistment.

Can you have Indian citizenship and American citizenship?

The Constitution of India does not formally acknowledge dual citizenship. While certain Indian citizens by birth can acquire citizenship in another country – referred to as ‘overseas citizenship’ – this status diminishes their rights as Indian citizens.

Can you have triple citizenship?

Yes, you can have triple citizenship – or multiple citizenships – and the same rules apply to dual citizenship. You will need to check with the citizenship and immigration services of each country to ensure they allow more than one nationality.

Can you have American and British citizenship?

It is possible to have both American and British citizenship as both countries allow dual citizenship. A legal citizen of both countries can enjoy the advantages of both countries. With two passports, you have increased personal and financial freedom.

Can you have American and El Salvadoran citizenship?

Salvadoran citizens who naturalize in the US can maintain their Salvadoran citizenship, but only if they were born in El Salvador. Being a United States citizen means you will have access to an array of perks, including excellent career opportunities.

Why does the US not encourage dual citizenship?

The United States does not explicitly discourage dual citizenship but does not actively promote it either. This stance is rooted in historical and legal considerations. The US is primarily concerned with the allegiance and loyalty of its citizens. The country strongly emphasizes the notion that a citizen owes permanent allegiance to the United States above any other nation.

Do I need to inform the US government if I obtain another citizenship?

It is not required to inform the US government upon obtaining dual citizenship. The US government does not require notification, but it’s considered good practice for transparency to avoid accusations of immigration fraud and other legal issues surrounding immigration.

Will having dual citizenship affect my rights and obligations as a US citizen?

Having dual citizenship can potentially impact the rights and obligations of US citizens. While the United States allows dual citizenship, it emphasizes that all citizens must fulfill their civil responsibilities, including paying taxes and obeying laws. Possessing dual citizenship might subject you to the legal obligations of both countries, such as military service requirements or tax regulations.

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