Many people enjoy the benefits that dual citizenship can bring, including voting and travel rights, and being able to take advantage of being a citizen in two countries instead of one. But how do you know if you’re eligible for dual citizenship in the US, whether your country of origin allows it, and whether it makes sense for you to apply? Read on to find out everything about dual citizenship.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
The meaning of ‘dual citizenship’ refers to the status of an individual who holds the nationality of two different countries at the same time.
Dual citizenship can offer many benefits: if, for example, you travel frequently between the US and another country to visit relatives, you don’t need to apply for a visa to enter either country. You would also usually benefit from the rights to work and vote in both countries.
Does The US Allow Dual Citizenship?
Yes, the US accepts dual citizenship – it does not require naturalized US citizens to give up citizenship elsewhere. It’s important, however, to check that your country of origin accepts dual citizenship. If it does not, not only will they not recognise your citizenship in the US, but there is a risk that in applying for it in the US, you’ll also relinquish your right to citizenship in your original country.
How To Apply For Dual Citizenship In The US
You actually need to apply for a second citizenship in the US, which is added to the citizenship you already have in your country of origin. Before you apply, it is imperative that you check that your country of origin allows dual citizenship – if it doesn’t, you could inadvertently lose your citizenship status there.
Check You Are Eligible For Dual Citizenship In The US
If your country of origin allows dual citizenship, you should then check that you satisfy the US requirements for naturalization. This is best checked with USCIS but typical requirements include:
- You are at least 18 years of age
- You have lived in the US and held a Green Card for a certain period of time (normally 3 to 5 years)
- You live in the state where you intend to apply for naturalization/dual citizenship
- You have a certain level of communication in English
- You are able to demonstrate a set level of knowledge about the US
If you meet these requirements, the next step you then need to fill in the ‘application for naturalization’ paperwork (also known as Form N-400). This has a cost attached to it – at the time of writing it is $640. You also have to pay $85 for biometric services to run a background check on you.
This is the first step of the process – on average, from filling in the form to completion, it can take about 18 months. There are follow on forms and interviews before dual citizenship is approved.
Which Countries Allow Dual Citizenship?
When it comes to dual citizenship countries, not all of them will accept your citizenship in the US or another country – and you may even inadvertently renounce your citizenship in your country of origin. This map of dual citizenships around the world gives a great graphical overview of many countries’ attitudes and policies around dual citizenship. However, as these policies are subject to change, we would always recommend checking with the embassy of the respective country at the time, to make sure you have the current information.
What Are Your Rights As A Dual Citizen?
- You’ll have the right to vote.
- You’ll be able to work in the US without a work visa. (However, there is a risk that if there are any diplomatic issues between your country of origin and the US, that a conflict of interest could mean it could be difficult when it comes to scenarios like securing employment with the US government.)
- In contrast to Green Card holders, you can leave the US for more than a year and not have any issues upon return. In general, travel is less restricted.
- You’ll be able to help family members secure Green Card status.
- You can benefit from US schools without enrolling under a student visa or having to pay international student fees.
What Are Your Responsibilities As A Dual Citizen?
Of course, dual citizenship is a two way street. While you’ll enjoy the benefits of your new status, there are some obligations and responsibilities as a dual citizen in return for your new rights.
- You may be called to jury service.
- You must pay US taxes.
- You must declare any previous convictions or legal violations.
- You may be called to serve in the military.
Is Dual Citizenship The Same As Dual Nationality?
Yes – ‘dual citizenship’ and ‘dual nationality’ are two different names for the same status.
We know that immigration rules and practices are becoming more and more sophisticated, whether you’re applying for dual citizenship or any other type of immigration application.
At USIMPR we work with licensed and expert immigration professionals who have handled numerous cases. Our job is to help open the door so that you and your family can live, work or start business in the US.
If you need any support, advice or assistance when it comes to immigration matters, please get in touch with our specialists who will be more than happy to help move your application forward.