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 US dual citizenship and obtaining dual nationality as a US citizen.
Does the US allow dual citizenship?
The short answer is yes, US citizens can legally hold dual citizenship. Although the United States Constitution doesn’t officially recognize dual citizenship or Americans as dual nationals, it does not prohibit US nationals from seeking a foreign nationality.
This means a US citizen may gain foreign citizenship through naturalization or other means while maintaining their US citizenship, effectively becoming dual nationals. US immigration law does not mention dual nationality or impose restrictions on dual citizenship.
As a US dual citizen, you can enjoy the perks and exercise rights that come with holding citizenship in the two countries. US dual nationals gain consular protection and the right to vote in federal elections in the US and the country of their foreign nationality.
US dual citizenship rules
If you decide to pursue dual citizenship and are already an overseas citizen (a citizen of the United States living abroad), you won’t lose your American citizenship. Your overseas residency, including citizenship applications submitted to other countries, does not impact your United States citizenship.
That said, it’s essential to recognize that the USA follows a ‘master nationality’ rule, meaning the US government’s position on dual citizenship is that the US nationality of a person must take priority, regardless of whether that person holds citizenship in another country.
Note that if your parents have citizenship from another country, you may be able to secure citizenship and a foreign passport. However, this will depend on their country’s nationality act and immigration laws.
Advantages of US Dual Citizenship
There are many advantages of dual citizenship for Americans. As a dual citizen, you are a citizen of two countries, providing access to the privileges and benefits of the United States and the other country allowing dual citizenship.
Some of the benefits of being a US dual citizen include:
- The right to live, work, and study in the United States and foreign country of citizenship
- Enhanced economic opportunities through access to multiple markets
- Ability to hold dual passports, protecting your personal and financial safety
- Dual nationality for family members, enhancing family security
- Expanded visa-free travel with two valid passports
- The right to vote and hold public office in two different nations
- Access to more healthcare services and increased social security
- Increased property ownership rights
Disadvantages of US Dual Citizenship
While it may be hard to perceive the disadvantages of obtaining dual citizenship in foreign countries, there are specific cons Americans should be aware of when seeking dual nationality.
- American citizens are subject to citizen-based taxation, meaning you owe US taxes on your worldwide income, regardless of your immigration status in a foreign country.
- US dual nationals with certain nationalities are restricted from working specific high-security clearance jobs based on federal regulations.
- The United States Constitution contains provisions requiring US citizenship to be prioritized over any other foreign nationality, potentially leading to conflicts for dual nationals.
US Dual Nationality Countries List
As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to dual citizenship in numerous countries. To name a few, the following countries allow dual citizenship with the US:
Antigua and Barbud
St Kitts and Nevis
Do note that the list is not exhaustive, and a foreign country may amend its citizenship laws at any time. Foreign nationals should check the most up-to-date nationality act and the immigration procedures of the country they are interested in acquiring dual nationality.
Countries that prohibit dual citizenship with the US
Numerous governments globally enforce regulations that prevent their citizens from possessing dual nationality, as no international law states that any country must allow dual citizenship. Consequently, this restricts US dual citizenship in that specific country.
Some of these countries include:
- The Netherlands
- The Philippines
Passport Requirements for a US Dual Citizen
A federal regulation for US dual nationals with two valid passports is that they must use their US passports to enter and leave the United States. This requirement may extend to the foreign country’s rules, as dual citizens are often required to use their foreign passport to enter and leave their second country of citizenship.
According to the Supreme Court of the United States, dual nationality is a well-established legal status that permits a person to possess and exercise the rights of their two nationalities while also bearing the responsibilities of both. This includes tax obligations.
While American dual nationals must present their US passport upon re-entry, the rule does not form part of the potentially expatriating acts as determined by the US Department of State. Therefore, using a foreign passport does not threaten US citizenship.
Tax Obligations and US Dual Nationality
One of the downsides of holding dual citizenship is US citizens living outside the USA may face double taxation due to the US citizenship-based taxation system. 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 be double-taxed.
The United States Supreme Court has stated that dual nationality is “a status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both.
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 dual nationals 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 (CBI). Also referred to as economic citizenship or passport by investment initiatives, several countries worldwide provide the opportunity to obtain dual citizenship by investing in their economy.
CBI programs allow individuals to obtain dual citizenship, provided that all program requirements are met, which includes making a minimum investment. A common qualifying investment among Americans is real estate acquisition. For example, a real estate purchase worth $200,000 in St Lucia qualifies American citizens to obtain dual nationality and second passports within two to three months.
Countries that offer second citizenship by investment include:
- Malta citizenship by naturalization
- Dominica citizenship by investment
- St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment
- Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment
- Grenada citizenship by investment
- St Lucia citizenship by investment
- Turkey citizenship by investment
- Vanuatu citizenship by investment
If you are interested in gaining second citizenship, it is essential to understand that both your home country and the other country accept dual citizenship.
For those still determining which citizenship by investment program is best or how to get EU dual citizenship as a citizen of the United States, 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 dual citizenship.
US-EU dual nationality is an opportunity of a lifetime, offering many advantages, including:
- Enhanced visa-free travel by holding two of the world’s most powerful passports
- The right to study, work, and live anywhere in the EU as well as the United States and US territories, like Puerto Rico and American Samoa
- National healthcare benefits and an EU health insurance card to use in other EU countries, next to access to advanced medical services in the US
- The right to consular protection of the US government and EU member states
- World-class educational opportunities and access to grants and scholarships for your children
- Tax breaks, reduced tax rates, and concessions import/export duty through EU trade agreements
Dual citizenship with Caribbean countries
Caribbean citizenship by investment programs are desirable and cost-effective for Americans and foreign nationals seeking dual citizen status and second passports. You can obtain citizenship by investing just $100,000 in countries like Dominica or St Lucia, with excellent visa-free travel options and tax advantages. Many Caribbean countries have no residence requirements, so 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 prices
- A relaxed pace of life on paradise islands
- Dual nationality with the option of a passport granting visa-free access to up to 153 destinations
- No obligations to visit the country in person to complete a dual passport application
- No residence, stay, or language requirements to gain dual citizen status
- Fantastic tax benefits, such as no income, capital gains, or inheritance tax
- Proximity to the United States
Why work with Global Citizen Solutions?
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. With offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Brazil, our multilingual team guides individuals and families from start to finish, providing expert advice considering freedom, mobility, taxation, and security.
- We have helped hundreds of clients from 35+ countries in all the top Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment programs. With an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the area, we provide our clients with solid guidance. We have a team of immigration lawyers, and immigration advisers specialized in US immigration.
- Our team has never had a case rejected. Our 100 percent approval rate sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees that you can expect a successful application.
- Our transparent pricing covers all the processes from opening your bank account, document certification, and legal due diligence to investment and submission. As there is one fee for the entire process, you can be confident that you will not face any hidden costs later.
- All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server. You can be safe knowing that your personal data is treated with the utmost security.
- Global Citizen Solutions provides an all-encompassing solution. Our support can continue even after you receive your passport. We offer additional services such as company incorporation, Trusts, and Foundations formation.
- The BeGlobal Onboarding System® allows you to access the status of your application every step of the way, something that sets us apart from our competitors.
Easiest Dual Citizenship for an American
The Dominica CBI program is one of the easiest foreign citizenship programs for Americans to become dual nationals. If you have an outstanding character and no criminal record, you can qualify for Dominica citizenship by buying real estate for at least $200,000 or contributing $100,000 to Dominica’s government fund. The best part is you and your family all qualify for dual nationality, and obtaining citizenship and a second passport takes three to six months.
Dual Citizenship through a Golden Visa Program
If you’re in no rush to become a dual national 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 foreigners to secure residency by investment, which can be traded for dual nationality 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 are eligible to 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 improves global mobility and investment opportunities. Furthermore, 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 or Spain Golden Visa suits you best.
Other Ways to Become a US Dual Citizen
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’ foreign nationality.
Citizenship by marriage
A United States citizen married to a citizen of a foreign nation can become a naturalized citizen while maintaining American nationality, depending on the foreign citizenship of their spouse.
Citizenship by descent
Many countries grant citizenship through blood relatives (jus sanguinis). If you’re an American national with parental ancestors born in countries with nationality laws based on jus sanguinis, you could be eligible for dual nationality through ancestral ties.
Citizenship by naturalization
You can qualify for dual citizenship after fulfilling the immigration requirements to become a dual citizen by naturalization. While there is no uniform rule, being first a temporary resident and then a permanent resident, you can be eligible to acquire most foreign nationalities after a certain period of continuous residency. This is known as the naturalization process.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dual Citizenship for US Citizens
Can I have dual citizenship as an American?
US citizens can have dual citizenship without restrictions, whether they gained citizenship by being born in the US or are naturalized citizens, but it’s important to note that not all countries recognize it. Other countries’ laws may not permit dual citizenship, meaning you would need to relinquish your US citizenship should you wish to gain citizenship in that 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 citizenship granted to a person born in the country, whereas descent would be based on having citizen parents or other eligible blood relatives.
A person born in wedlock to two US citizen parents can obtain United States citizenship and maintain their other nationality, provided the other country allows dual citizenship.
What are the advantages of having dual citizenship?
Holding more than one nationality with your home country and a foreign state has many advantages, including increased global mobility, double investment opportunities, and the right to study, work, and live in two countries. Getting 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 a second nationality, it is imperative to understand that both your home country and the other country you are interested in securing citizenship accept dual citizenship. It would help to consider the allegiance you will owe to both the US and the other country you hold citizenship.
How do I check if I have dual citizenship?
Contact the consulate or embassy of the foreign state where you think you might have a right to citizenship by birth or descent. Present them with all the information and documents they request to assess whether you’re eligible for citizenship – for example, proof that you have citizen parents.
If you apply for dual citizenship, the government authority will usually issue an approval letter inviting you to apply for citizenship and acquire a passport.
Does the United States recognize dual citizenship?
The United States doesn’t officially recognize dual citizenship; however, no laws restrict US citizens to one nationality, and those who acquire dual citizenship are not penalized for doing so. It is best to speak with the citizenship and immigration authorities in the country that you are interested in seeking citizenship for clarity on their dual citizenship laws.
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?
US security clearance is generally available to all US citizens, be it a sole citizen of the United States or dual national with multiple passports. Federal regulations determined by the US Department of State prohibit specific American dual nationals with two passports from obtaining certain federal jobs necessitating security clearance, depending on the other countries in which they hold citizenship.
Can you have US dual citizenship with Canada?
Canada and the United States both permit dual citizenship. If you are an American citizen and gain Canadian citizenship, you will become a dual national of Canada and the US. A Dual national can enjoy the advantages of American and Canadian citizenship, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
Can you have American dual citizenship with Australia?
Australia and the United States both allow dual citizenship. Therefore, you can legally be a US and Australian dual national.
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 status in both countries. Ireland shares a historical connection with the United States through mass immigration in the mid-1800s, leading to a significant Irish-American community. If you qualify for citizenship in both the US and Ireland, you can be a national of 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, and many US citizens hold Italian nationality through ancestors born in Italy.
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 or triple citizenship, it is possible to have dual citizenship as an American and Mexican national.
Can you have American dual citizenship with the Philippines?
While the United States permits dual nationality for all US citizens, only natural-born Filipinos can hold dual nationality. Therefore, Filipino citizens by birthright can hold US citizenship, but US citizens cannot acquire Filipino citizenship and maintain dual nationality.
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 subject to conscription. However, certain governments allow nationals permanently living overseas 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 I have three citizenships in the USA?
In the United States, you can have triple citizenship – or multiple citizenships – and the same rules apply to dual nationality. 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 American and British citizenship as both countries allow dual citizenship. A national of both countries acquires comprehensive citizenship rights. 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 citizen of the United States 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. Foreign citizens must make a citizenship oath when obtaining citizenship from countries that allow dual citizenship, and the US 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 transparency is considered good practice to avoid accusations of immigration fraud and other legal issues surrounding immigration.
Is the US canceling dual citizenship?
There have been no changes to US citizenship law or announcements by the United States Department of State regarding changes to dual citizenship law in the United States. A naturalized citizen of the United States could have their US citizenship canceled due to potentially expatriating crimes such as treason or domestic violence.
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 nationality, it emphasizes that all citizens must pledge allegiance to the United States and fulfill their civil responsibilities. US dual citizenship rules can subject you to legal obligations, including paying taxes to the IRS even if you live in a foreign country.