American and British Citizenship(can I get it?)

My mom lived in the States for a 10 month period. I’m pretty sure that it’s too short for me to qualify.

It still works. My ex-wife is a Venezuelan-born British citizen, raised in Portsmouth, who married an American and now has three citizenships, and passports for each.

Sorry I cannot prove this but I have to say I do not believe this to be the case - or at least not always. I have a U.S. citizen friend who, although resident in Britain for many years now, has not changed her actual citizenship, still has U.S. passport, postal voting rights etc.

Now it might be that the nature of her sort of permission to stay thingy* is different, as she was married to a Brit, and they are now divorced, but I swear if she was being hammered for tax by the U.S., I would have heard ALL about it - you know in one of those “life is rotten” conversations.

In case it matters, this is a real friend whom I have known in person (not internet) for over 10 years now, so I mean, I really would have heard if the poor woman was paying income tax in both countries! (Sh’d have written a whole series of mournful laments and played them all in Grosvenor Square, I reckon) :slight_smile:

  • Slangy language simply because I will not attempt to name the right bit of legislation or bit of paper unless I am SURE I am correct.

Best of luck to the O.P.


Regarding “fun things you can do”, if you get become a UK citizen then I guess you’re also an EU citizen and can live and work anywhere in the EU…or is there some rule against this if you’re a “new” citizen? “Citizen” looks weird after you’ve typed it a few times…

I don’t think the rule is different for “new” citizens. Again, I could be wrong.

Yes, we must think of fun things to be done. Come to Scotland and hide from the dreaded midges! :slight_smile:

There is no EU-wide law that distinguishes “new” citizens in this way. However, each European country can set its own conditions for citizenship, and it’s quite possible that some of them may have some sort of post-naturalisation residency requirement. You’d have to check the specific laws in each country.

And Celyn, as a U.S. citizen abroad I can assure you that we are indeed subject to U.S. income tax. However, the I.R.S. exempts the first $80,000 or so you earn per year. If your friend is earning below that, that would explain why they aren’t coming after her.

Does this mean I need to marry an American to avoid having to renounce my UK citizenship?

You certainly can have dual UK/US citizenship. My kids have it. They were born in the UK and have a Yank dad and English mum. My youngest has not in fact even been to the US yet but has a US birth certificate (technically a “registration of Birth Abroad”) and passport.

As for the advantages of getting UK citizenship, the “fun” things it allows you to do are vote, work in the EU (as mentioned above), and … not much else as far as I can work out.

There is a UK status called “Indefinite Leave to Remain” which grants you all the priveleges of citizens apart from the above. You can get this by being married to a Brit and living in the UK for three years, or by living in the UK for five years with no marriage requirment.

No. If you’re eligible for US citizenship for any reason, you can hold it without renouncing your UK citizenship.

Uh, it’s more like $8,000, i.e. the standard deduction. All countries have the right to tax their citizens on their worldwide income, no matter where they live. Some countries, like the US, follow this line of logic. Others, like Canada, don’t bother to tax people that are not residing in Canada (you have to file a form that states that you are non-resident, and you only need to do it once, not every year).

As for why the IRS isn’t coming after the UK resident that is a US citizen, I can think of a few:

  1. Too damn busy. The IRS has been cut back a lot in the past decade. Consider that it generally takes at least 5 years to track down tax “protestors” (i.e. idiots who think they can get away without paying taxes) that reside in the US.

  2. Not much in it for the IRS. Sure, you can collect penalties for non-filing, but since tax rates in the UK are generally higher than in the US, and since there is a tax treaty between the UK and the US that essentially means that taxes paid to the UK are deducted from what you owe the US, even if they had filed, they would have owed $0.




My mother was born a US citizen. She got dual US/British citizenship after marrying my British father. My brother, sister and I are all British citizens from birth but my brother applied for and has been granted US citizenship. Neither my sister or I have applied for US citizenship but there is no reason to suppose this would be a problem.

I think dutchboy is right in saying

American law requires you to forswear any other citizenships when you become an american citizen, and I believe it provides that if you become a citizen of another country, you have in effect renounced your american citizenship.

But the USA is rather unique in this; many other nations (like the UK) will happily give you citizenship if you meet their requirements, without bothering about the fact that you also hold US citizenship.

And it’s all rather academic, since there is not much effort by the US government to hunt down people who claim dual citizenship. As long as they pay their US taxes, the government don’t care!

I seem to recall that it took an act of Congress, signed by the President, to grant dual UK/US citizenship to Winston Churchill.

Mostly not true. You can have dual nationality/citizenship. However, you may lose your US citizenship under certain conditions:

USSC decisions aren’t generally appeallable, but would the improvements in genetic testing have any bearing on this?

The amount of misinformation is mind boggling.

You can hold US and other nationalities. There are hundreds of thousands of people who do. What this generally means is that if you are a US citizen and a Chinese citizen, then, you will be considered only a US citizen in the USA and only a Chinese citizen in China. If you are arrested in China for peeing on Mao Zedong’s portrait then you will not have the benefit of access to US consular officials because you are considered a Chinese citizen. Same thing the other way around. If you are arrested in the USA for shoplifting the Chinese consul cannot come to your help. You are a US citizen and do not enjoy the protection of the Chinese consular officials.

As far as taxes are concerned. Again, so much misinformation. US citizens are taxed on their income regardless of where they reside and regardless of where it is earned. Taxes paid where the income was earned are deducted from the taxes owed to Uncle Sam. As European countries have higher tax rates it means you would owe nothing but you are still under the obligation of filing a tax declaration. The penalty for not filing a tax declaration is proportional to the amount of tax owed and not paid. If you owed zero the penalty assessed is zero. It doe not mean you do not have to file. It means the fine is zero.

I have filed US tax returns for three years from Ireland and I have never had to tell the US government how much I’ve paid in taxes here. I think that might come in only if you earn over $80,000.

The case wasn’t that long ago. Nobody was doubting that the man was actually her father. I don’t know whether the result might have been different with a different fact pattern. I’ll try to dig up the full decision Monday at work, so you can see the legal reasoning.