More than one citizenship?

Can you be a citizen of the US and some other country or countries? Or does being a US citizen preclude citizenship elsewhere?

Answer to question #1: Yes.

My mother was born in the States, and moved to Canada to get her MD. She married my Canadian father in Montreal. When I was born, therefore, I inherited both my father’s Canadian citizenship and my mother’s American one. I am therefore a dual citizen.

My mom, for her part, remained a landed immigrant (what the US calls a permanent resident) for twenty years and recently got her Canadian citizenship. (I’m unclear as to whether she is still an American citizen, but she may well be.)

Many other cases involve babies who are born while their parents are abroad. If you are born in Canada, for example, you are entitled to Canadian citizenship regardless of your parents’ nationalities, but typically you also have your parents’ nationalities as well.

In general, dual citizens either lie low, or end up renouncing one citizenship or the other eventually, usually for tax reasons. I, for example, am really not bestirring myself to do anything about the situation, but if the US gov’t gets any funny ideas about me (taxes, draft, who knows), that puppy’s going out the window.

Dual citizenship is an exceptionally murky area. Cecil touched on it in this question:

matt_mcl’s is a usual scenario for how someone winds up with dual citizenship.

Here’s some decent-seeming background from somebody who claims to have researched the topic:

Thanks for the info in the above two posts.

Israel in particular allows Jews to have dual citizenship in Israel and another country. The US “allows” this, but doesn’t officially recognize it.


Speaking personally, I have the option to acquire British citizenship beginning later this year (being a spouse and meeting residency requirements), although I’m not yet decided as to whether or not I will. My husband will have the opportunity to eventually acquire US citizenship should we move to the States (and, in fact, he may have to given the nature of his career). I believe that any children we have will be dual citizens of the USA and the UK regardless of where we live, and will be eligible to obtain passports from both countries at birth. One of the most confusing things about obtaining dual citizenship can be the tax laws. However, for US/UK dual citizenship at least, this isn’t so much of a problem. In our experience (keeping in mind my husband has an unusual job, tax-wise) both countries have residency requirements for the paying of income tax on wages. I.e. unless you’re resident in the country for a certain amount of time you will not pay taxes on your wages (but you will on things like interest, stocks & bonds, etc). Additionally I believe both countries have special allowances for wages earned abroad (especially if earned in a different currency). – But don’t rely on my tax knowledge because, as I said, we have special circumstances.

My best friend did exactly the same thing; he moved here as a child from the U.S. and became a Canadian citizen. He is still an American citizen, and has a letter from the U.S. State Department saying so. Just recently he moved back to the U.S. for a job. Not a whiff of a problem.

Yes, you absolutely can have dual citizenship with the US and some other country. But there are some provisions.

In most countries, you must renounce all other citizenships when you become a citizen. The US does not recognize this unless you renounce your US citizenship to the US State Dept. You must explicitly renounce your US Citizenship to US officials to drop your US Citizenship.

You can hold dual citizenship as long as you do not hold an elected office in another country, and you must not volunteer for military service in a force at war with the US. And even in that latter case, you still might not lose your citizenship. I know of one case where a US Citizen of Japanese descent was in Japan at the start of WWII and was forced to serve in the Japanese Army. The State Dept. declared him a non-citizen but he sued and won citizenship back because he served involuntarily under pain of death.

Is that so. Well, despite my parliamentary aspirations I can’t say I’m too broken up about it :slight_smile:

I have a Q. Is it possible to hold THREE citizenships? I once met a fellow who was working on it, but I was doubtful about the whole thing - he was a South African (#1) who had immigrated to Israel (#2), and was trying to acquire Irish citizenship (#3), was was techinically feasible as Ireland allows anyone with one Irish-born grandparent to obtain Irish citizenship. It just seemed to me that at least one of these countries was going to object to his being the citizen of one of the others.

The Australian scenario is the opposite of this. The only way to hold dual citizenship here is to retain an older citizenship upon being made an Australian citizen. If, on the other hand, I decide to become a citizen of another country, I will automatically lose my Australian citizenship.

I have a friend from Uruguay. He holds joint Australian / Uruguayan citizenship. He can’t renounce his Uruguayan citizenship, even if he wanted to. The danger is that there remains a possibility that if he returns home on holiday, he may be called up for military service, etc.

As far as I know, you can no longer have dual citizenship with Canada and the US. You could up until the early 1970’s, but since then it became law that in order to hold Canadian citizenship, you must renounce any other… you can’t keep Canadian citizenship if you become for example and American (or any other nationality). Anyone who had dual citizenship between Canada and anywhere else could keep it, but it stopped being “issued” around 30 years ago. Since the law was changed a relatively short while ago, there are still plenty of reasonably young (up to 30-ish) people and of course older ones who still have dual citizenship between the US and Canada, which can confuse people on the whole question. I don’t know all the details of the whole situation, but Americans as of 30 years ago can’t also hold Canadian citizenship. As for other countries, I don’t know.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada have a Canadian Citizenship FAQ and Dual Citizenship FAQ. From the Dual Citizenship FAQ:

Well, I could have sworn that I am nineteen. Please try again.

Why on earth is that, and how does it hold water against the UN Declaration of Human Rights (“nobody shall be deprived of the right…to change his nationality?”)

Ahh yes, after reading the pages Sunspace posted, I see there was more to dual citizenship between the US and Canada than I thought - good thing I started my first reply by saying “as far as I know…” One of those cases where I heard something from someone I know who heard it from blah blah blah. Do read through the “dual citizenship:advantage or disadvantage” section of the Immigration Canada page; it mentions a lot of facts one should consider before signing up for citzenship in every other country on Earth.

It’s a bit of an eye-opener, isn’t it? If I thought I was at risk of being a dual or multiple citizen, I’d be watching the politics in all the countries concerned very carefully. I wouldn’t want to read about some sort of coup on the news one day and then discover that the new government of one of my homelands was reaching out to take control of the affairs of all its overseas citizens in a very personal way… or that two of my homelands were at war.

Hmm. Might be interesting to make a comparative list of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in various contries around the world. This would of course be difficult, and might possibly be aimed at the kind of person who desires to and can afford to cherry-pick a citizenship for convenience. Of course, it’s probably already been done, at a price point that ensures that normal net-surfers would never see it.

And the kind of people who look at the world merely as something to be exploited sometimes run into political problems: “What? Are the struggle, blood, and hopes of our people worth less to you than your mere convenience? Up against the wall!” But I digress.

[sup]Actually, wasn’t the marketing department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation the first against the wall when the revolution came?[/sup]

I have a very good friend whose mother lived in Canada for several years and became a naturalised Canadian citizen. She moved back home (to Ireland) before marrying and breeding, and her children were all born and raised in Ireland and have never set foot in Canada. Yet they’re all dual nationals. And all are under the age of 23.

My wife was born on an Airbase in Japan, and moved here when she was just a few months old… from what she knows, she had dual American/Japanese citzenship until the age of 18, at which time if she wished to keep the citizenship for Japan she would have had to do some paperwork.

This is what she thinks, BTW… considering my wifes flights of fancy at times, she could be totally wrong. It happens.

[sub]No, I’m not married to an exotic Geisha (dang it!) I’m married to an exotic redheaded American chic![/sub]

      • I have read that if you are wealthy to negotiate a personal tax treaty, the country will usually graciously grant you citizenship. (A personal tax treaty is where you agree to deposit a hundred million dollars -or whatever large amount of money- in the First National Bank of Freedonia, in exchange for Freedonia citizenship and a reduced taxation rate on that 100 mil than a regular sucker would have to pay on his monthly $25) The only countries that put any requirement on it are the oil-rich Arab ones, that insist that you are born in the region and are known to practice the proper religious faith (bribing Saudi government officials outright costs too much, apparently). - As you might guess, the amounts required are lower for poorer countries. ~ Of course, they are that much likely to revoke your citizenship if you do something embarassing, such as acting unpatriotic or withdrawing all your money. - MC