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  #1  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:49 PM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Must applicants for US citizenship surrender their foreign passport upon becoming naturalized?

Someone close to me, a person with permanent residency (a green card) is applying for US citizenship. She would like to maintain her home country citizenship (so dual-citizenship). There is conflicting information about this online- so I'm interested in hearing from someone who has been naturalized recently- did they make you turn in your original passport? Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:28 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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She will be required to turn in her Green Card, but she will not have to surrender her passport. The status of her previous citizenship is between her and her other country. The US does not get involved. If the other country allows her to have dual citizenship, she will maintain it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:33 PM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
She will be required to turn in her Green Card, but she will not have to surrender her passport. The status of her previous citizenship is between her and her other country. The US does not get involved. If the other country allows her to have dual citizenship, she will maintain it.
Thanks. Do you know this from personal experience, or some other source? I only ask because of the conflicting information I've seen.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:39 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Paging Eva Luna.

If she's a UK citizen she'll have to turn in her passport unless she was born after December 1982 and/or in Hong Kong and some other things too.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:42 PM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Paging Eva Luna.

If she's a UK citizen she'll have to turn in her passport unless she was born after December 1982 and/or in Hong Kong and some other things too.
She's not a UK citizen (or from Hong Kong), and she was born after 1982.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:46 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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I've had a lot of experience with the USCIS, but not specifically with the naturalization process. I have talked with USCIS personnel about it, though. What sites are you getting conflicting information from?

The USCIS defers the topic of dual citizenship to the State Department. The State Department has this to say on their website:
"U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another."
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p.../cis_1753.html

There is also no mention of giving up a previous passport or renouncing another citizenship on the USCIS step-by-step guide to Naturalization.
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/M-476.pdf

As a general rule, the US does not concern itself with other, additional citizenship. A person is either a US citizen or is not. It is not relevant what other country he/she is a citizen of.
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:51 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Paging Eva Luna.

If she's a UK citizen she'll have to turn in her passport unless she was born after December 1982 and/or in Hong Kong and some other things too.
The U.S. really doesn't care if she has another citizenship. And I'd be very surprised to find out that the U.K. does, because a friend and former co-worker of mine who is UK-born (well before 1982) and an immigration lawyer licensed in the U.S. and Canada currently holds three valid passports: UK (by birth), Canadian (by naturalization as a small child) and U.S. (by much more recent naturalization). My college roommate has 2 passports, and could have a third if she ever bothered (Salvadoran by birth, U.S. by naturalization - actually her parents' naturalization while she was under 18, and she has been living in the U.K. as whatever the equivalent of a green card holder is for going on 15 years, but has never bothered to apply for citizenship because it's so expensive).

I've known, personally and professionally, many many people who retained their foreign citizenship after naturalizing in the U.S.

Eva Luna, U.S. Immigration Paralegal

Last edited by Eva Luna; 01-30-2013 at 06:52 PM..
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:11 PM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
The U.S. really doesn't care if she has another citizenship. And I'd be very surprised to find out that the U.K. does, because a friend and former co-worker of mine who is UK-born (well before 1982) and an immigration lawyer licensed in the U.S. and Canada currently holds three valid passports: UK (by birth), Canadian (by naturalization as a small child) and U.S. (by much more recent naturalization). My college roommate has 2 passports, and could have a third if she ever bothered (Salvadoran by birth, U.S. by naturalization - actually her parents' naturalization while she was under 18, and she has been living in the U.K. as whatever the equivalent of a green card holder is for going on 15 years, but has never bothered to apply for citizenship because it's so expensive).

I've known, personally and professionally, many many people who retained their foreign citizenship after naturalizing in the U.S.

Eva Luna, U.S. Immigration Paralegal
Thanks very much.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 01-30-2013 at 07:11 PM..
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:14 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
The U.S. really doesn't care if she has another citizenship. And I'd be very surprised to find out that the U.K. does, because a friend and former co-worker of mine who is UK-born (well before 1982) and an immigration lawyer licensed in the U.S. and Canada currently holds three valid passports: UK (by birth), Canadian (by naturalization as a small child) and U.S. (by much more recent naturalization).
AIUI (I'm a British citizen) Britons generally lose their citizenship when they accede to new citizenship, but they don't lose their right of abode.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 01-30-2013 at 07:15 PM..
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:19 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
AIUI (I'm a British citizen) Britons generally lose their citizenship when they accede to new citizenship, but they don't lose their right of abode.
If this is true, as a practical matter how does the UK government find out that its citizens have naturalized elsewhere? Also, if you have a citation I'd love to see it.
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:28 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
AIUI (I'm a British citizen) Britons generally lose their citizenship when they accede to new citizenship, but they don't lose their right of abode.
That seems to contradict this leaflet from the horse's mouth. Or am I missing something?

Last edited by Eva Luna; 01-30-2013 at 07:29 PM..
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  #12  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:35 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Note that it distinguishes between "nationality" and "citizenship". British law recognizes three different categories of people - nationals, citizens, and subjects. The latter overlaps with the first two in ways that differ depending on when you were born. As a practical matter, though, I guess there's no way they would know you accepted foreign citizenship.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 01-30-2013 at 07:35 PM..
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2013, 08:16 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Someone close to me, a person with permanent residency (a green card) is applying for US citizenship. She would like to maintain her home country citizenship (so dual-citizenship). There is conflicting information about this online- so I'm interested in hearing from someone who has been naturalized recently- did they make you turn in your original passport? Thanks.
Also, there are some countries that won't let you go.
Italy for example. You can do or say anything you wish. Burn your passport in public. Shout it from the rooftops. whatever. If you want, you can always swing by the local Italian consulate and pick up another passport. I am not Italian, but I get this information from a good friend who was born in Italy and moved to the US in the 70s. Been here ever since and is a US citizen.
On the plus side, every Italian is entitled to Italian Social Security. If you haven't lived there since you were born, it isn't much, but it is yours.
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:09 PM
harmonicamoon harmonicamoon is offline
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A few years back a family member from France with American wife wanted US Passport, maybe citizenship too. They told him he had to give up the French passport.
I have heard (no cite) that residents of countries that are in the NAFTA agreement (Canada, USA and Mexico) can have both passports.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:21 PM
Driver8 Driver8 is offline
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The United States has no requirement that you give up your foreign passport upon naturalization.

I have personal experience of this, I naturalized in the United States a few years ago. I still retain my South African citizenship and passport.

Other foreign countries might have different ideas on whether you're allowed to retain their citizenship upon naturalization. But the United States itself will not require you to renounce your foreign citizenship.
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  #16  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:26 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by rbroome View Post
Also, there are some countries that won't let you go.
Italy for example. You can do or say anything you wish. Burn your passport in public. Shout it from the rooftops. whatever. If you want, you can always swing by the local Italian consulate and pick up another passport. I am not Italian, but I get this information from a good friend who was born in Italy and moved to the US in the 70s. Been here ever since and is a US citizen.
Another former co-worker (Russian-born, U.S. immigration lawyer) tells me that when she was deciding whether to apply for U.S. citizenship, she checked with the Russian Consulate and discovered not only would she not automatically lose Russian citizenship - she would have to pay a large amount of money to renounce her Russian citizenship if she wanted to. Something like $1,000. I don't know what the fees are these days, and unfortunately the link to the application form and instructions on hte website of the Russian Consulate are in Russian only (no link on the English version). If you want to take a crack at it, here you go. Last I heard, my friend had finally gotten her U.S. citizenship, but I don't know whether she ever got around to renouncing her Russian citizenship. The application looks like a real PITA.

Last edited by Eva Luna; 01-30-2013 at 09:30 PM..
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  #17  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:37 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
AIUI (I'm a British citizen) Britons generally lose their citizenship when they accede to new citizenship, but they don't lose their right of abode.
Not true at all. I was born in the UK, have been a Canadian citizen for 38 years and would have no problem getting a UK passport if I wanted one; heck even an EU passport.
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  #18  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:47 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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My mother didn't (born in Brazil in the 1930s, came to the US in the 1960s, now a passport carrying citizen of both countries).
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  #19  
Old 01-31-2013, 01:59 AM
ruadh ruadh is offline
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Not true at all. I was born in the UK, have been a Canadian citizen for 38 years and would have no problem getting a UK passport if I wanted one; heck even an EU passport.
An "EU passport" is just the passport of an EU member state. The EU itself doesn't issue passports.
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  #20  
Old 01-31-2013, 06:47 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is online now
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Originally Posted by rbroome View Post
Also, there are some countries that won't let you go.
Italy for example. You can do or say anything you wish. Burn your passport in public. Shout it from the rooftops. whatever. If you want, you can always swing by the local Italian consulate and pick up another passport. I am not Italian, but I get this information from a good friend who was born in Italy and moved to the US in the 70s. Been here ever since and is a US citizen.
On the plus side, every Italian is entitled to Italian Social Security. If you haven't lived there since you were born, it isn't much, but it is yours.
Are you sure of this? It directly contradicts what a colleague told me. Namely that she lost her Italian citizenship when she became a Canadian citizen, but since that happened after her children were born, it didn't apply to them. They became Canadian citizens when she did, but were minors and took no oath.

FWIW I will mention that the US knows I have become a Canadian citizen, but I still get a US passport that I travel with (it lasts twice as long as a Canadian passport) and when I return to Canada, I show that and my citizenship card and no border agent has ever remarked on that. I did have to turn in my immigrant card when I became a citizen.
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  #21  
Old 01-31-2013, 06:53 AM
tetranz tetranz is offline
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It's impossible to answer without knowing what country she is a citizen of now.

It's entirely up to that other country. The USA doesn't care about her other citizenship but doesn't recognize it either, meaning that her relationship with the US government will be purely as a US citizen and nothing else.

Many (a majority?) of countries these days don't remove your citizenship if you obtain another but I think some do. Also some (Singapore?) require that you give up other citizenships to become a naturalized citizen of theirs.

Australia used to not allow dual citizenship until about ten years ago. I don't know how the law worked in practice. I suspect it was on the Australian passport application or anything else that required you to be a citizen, it probably asked "are you a citizen of another country?". You were probably disqualified if the answer was yes.
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  #22  
Old 01-31-2013, 06:56 AM
tetranz tetranz is offline
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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
FWIW I will mention that the US knows I have become a Canadian citizen, but I still get a US passport that I travel with (it lasts twice as long as a Canadian passport) and when I return to Canada, I show that and my citizenship card and no border agent has ever remarked on that. I did have to turn in my immigrant card when I became a citizen.
You also need to have the US passport to get back into the US since US citizens are legally required to only enter the country with a US passport.
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  #23  
Old 01-31-2013, 07:16 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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The Oath of Allegiance required of naturalized citizens in the United States begins with a phrase that may be the source of speculation about losing any prior citizenship:
Quote:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I 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; ...
Despite such language, it is up to the country of prior citizenship what effect, if any, acquiring US citizenship will have.

FWIW, I know Colombians who have retained Colombian citizenship after naturalizing as American citizens.
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  #24  
Old 01-31-2013, 08:07 AM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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Absent a treaty, I would be very surprised if the US would or even could under international law require a foreign passport to be surrendered as it is the property of the foreign government. Likewise I don't think the UK under any conditions could seize my US passport without the permission of the US government.
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  #25  
Old 01-31-2013, 08:30 AM
ctnguy ctnguy is offline
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I have personal experience of this, I naturalized in the United States a few years ago. I still retain my South African citizenship and passport.
As far as South African law is concerned, you've lost your SA citizenship (unless you applied beforehand to keep it). But of course if you don't tell Home Affairs you won't get in trouble.
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  #26  
Old 01-31-2013, 08:49 AM
tetranz tetranz is offline
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Absent a treaty, I would be very surprised if the US would or even could under international law require a foreign passport to be surrendered as it is the property of the foreign government. Likewise I don't think the UK under any conditions could seize my US passport without the permission of the US government.
That's true, of course. Country A cannot tell country B whether or not someone is one of their citizens.

Country A can however have a law that says that a naturalized citizen must renounce other citizenships within some specified time or lose their new citizenship in country A. I believe a few countries have that. The US is not one of them. I don't know what happens in that situation if country B doesn't even have a means of renouncing citizenship.

Last edited by tetranz; 01-31-2013 at 08:50 AM..
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  #27  
Old 01-31-2013, 09:10 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Paging Eva Luna.

If she's a UK citizen she'll have to turn in her passport unless she was born after December 1982 and/or in Hong Kong and some other things too.
Huh?

Canadian with British parents, born before 1982 - I have both passports, and the thing my dad impressed on me is that no matter what other countries said or did, no matter what other citizenship, I was always a British citizen.

He's still got his British passport AFAIK, plus Canadian passport and either green card or US passport (never asked).

There was a great deal of outrage in Canada a few years ago when things blew up (so to speak) in Lebanon, and the government spent a fortune retreiving Canadian citizens - who it turned out, had come over here, got naturalized, then went back to Lebanon when things settled down. They had been gone 10 years or more, permanently settled back home, but still held Canadian (and Lebanese) passports and expected the Canadian government to get them out when the bullets started flying like they were a bunch of tourists.

Most countries don't care what else you do.
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  #28  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:17 AM
Driver8 Driver8 is offline
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Originally Posted by ctnguy View Post
As far as South African law is concerned, you've lost your SA citizenship (unless you applied beforehand to keep it). But of course if you don't tell Home Affairs you won't get in trouble.
Indeed. I did apply before to keep it, so at this point they (a) know I naturalized (or at least intended to do so) and (b) are okay with that.
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  #29  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Out of curiosity, I called the UK Consulate in DC just now (I had to call anyway because I'm renewing my passport) and they said I was totally right - if it was 1979 or something. As of now, I'm wrong, because "British subject" status is being phased out.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 01-31-2013 at 10:23 AM..
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  #30  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:28 AM
iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Thanks for all the responses. We're primarily interested in finding out if, at some point in the naturalization process (we've heard at the oath-taking ceremony), some US official will physically ask or demand that she surrender her foreign passport. The majority of the responses seem to indicate the answer to this question is "no", so (if this is accurate) we probably won't have to worry about getting her another passport for her native country.
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  #31  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:35 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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IIRC, the Canadian passport application even has a question about what other nationalities you hold. Does the American application also?
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  #32  
Old 01-31-2013, 11:33 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Originally Posted by ruadh View Post
An "EU passport" is just the passport of an EU member state. The EU itself doesn't issue passports.
Thanks for that.
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  #33  
Old 01-31-2013, 12:13 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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IIRC, the Canadian passport application even has a question about what other nationalities you hold. Does the American application also?
Nope, the application form itself is pretty simple. Here's a link.
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  #34  
Old 01-31-2013, 12:22 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Thanks for that.
That said, there is a distinction - starting in 1993, EU member states all issued uniform-ish maroon passports. Prior to that, they issued wholly unique passports; dark blue, in the case of the UK. Some of those are still knocking around.
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  #35  
Old 01-31-2013, 12:35 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Thanks for all the responses. We're primarily interested in finding out if, at some point in the naturalization process (we've heard at the oath-taking ceremony), some US official will physically ask or demand that she surrender her foreign passport. The majority of the responses seem to indicate the answer to this question is "no", so (if this is accurate) we probably won't have to worry about getting her another passport for her native country.
The question has been answered authoritatively. I will just add that although you are not required to surrender your foreign passport, don't use it in the U.S. for travel purposes. Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.
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  #36  
Old 01-31-2013, 03:43 PM
grude grude is offline
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To be fair though they USED TO, which is the source of the confusion. In fact some countries have created expedited ways for those that renounced citizenship to naturalize in the USA to get it back.
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  #37  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:51 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by harmonicamoon View Post
A few years back a family member from France with American wife wanted US Passport, maybe citizenship too. They told him he had to give up the French passport.
.
Which is pointless, since like the USA, France won't care whether or not you're a citizen of another country, unless you renounce formally to your citizenship (or are stripped of it, which is an extremely rare event, requiring an act of treason or something similar). Surrending his passport to US authorities isn't in any way a formal renunciation, so he's still a French citizen, willing or not.
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  #38  
Old 02-01-2013, 04:43 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Thanks for that.
They all bear the mention "European Union" though. There's such a thing as European Union citizenship.
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  #39  
Old 02-04-2013, 03:39 AM
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No, there isn't. The closest I can think of is that a country can be a member of the European Union, but that doesn't mean that a citizen of that country is a EU citizen.
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  #40  
Old 02-04-2013, 04:54 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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No, there isn't. .
Yes, there is.


Anecdotically, regarding the possible independance of Scotland and Catalogne, this is an issue. Would/should the citizens of these newly founded countries keep their EU citizenship or not?




(By the way, I notice the link I gave includes too a list of the EU countries who allow people to hold multiple citizenship, which is relevant to this thread)

Last edited by clairobscur; 02-04-2013 at 04:58 AM..
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  #41  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:56 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Yes, there is.


Anecdotically, regarding the possible independance of Scotland and Catalogne, this is an issue. Would/should the citizens of these newly founded countries keep their EU citizenship or not?
Not the same situation, but Greenland left the EC in 1985 and it's citizens are citizens of the EU by treaty.
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  #42  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:17 AM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
Are you sure of this? It directly contradicts what a colleague told me. Namely that she lost her Italian citizenship when she became a Canadian citizen, but since that happened after her children were born, it didn't apply to them. They became Canadian citizens when she did, but were minors and took no oath.

FWIW I will mention that the US knows I have become a Canadian citizen, but I still get a US passport that I travel with (it lasts twice as long as a Canadian passport) and when I return to Canada, I show that and my citizenship card and no border agent has ever remarked on that. I did have to turn in my immigrant card when I became a citizen.
I checked with my friend. Her Italian citizenship is "suspended". It isn't clear what that means, but she doesn't hold Italian citizenship any more. She can re-activate if she wants to though. I think that is the key. Some countries always allow their birth citizens access to citizenship no matter what. Even though for practical reasons individuals give up the citizenship.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:17 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Apparently this is a much bigger deal in France than in Sweden.
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