Dual Nationality is the simultaneous possession of two citizenships.
While dual nationality can provide the individual with many benefits, such as the ability to live, travel and work freely in the other country, it can also impose burdens, including military service, taxes, loyalty, etc. It is not uncommon for individuals to possess not just dual nationality, but multiple nationalities. A foreign country may claim a person as a citizen of that country if:
- The Person was born there;
- His or Her parent or parents (and sometimes grandparents) are or were citizens of that country or;
- The Person is a naturalized U.S. citizen but is still considered a citizen under that country’s laws.
The oath of allegiance taken during the Naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen doesn’t mean the foreign country does not still regard such person as a citizen of their country.
Currently the U.S. Nationality Laws does not expressly address the issue of dual nationality, but the U.S. 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.
Although the U.S government recognize the existence of dual citizenship, it does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause.
Dual nationality may hinder efforts by the U.S. Government to provide diplomatic and consular protection to individuals overseas.
When a U.S. citizen is in the other country of their dual nationality, that country has a predominant claim on the person.
The U.S government will Often Intervene on behalf of United States Citizens abroad and make representations on their behalf to provide consular protection and services regardless of dual nationality status to the extent permitted by the host country. In such situation the U.S government’s ability to assist maybe limited.
When a person who is a dual national is residing in either of the countries of nationality, the person owes primary allegiance to that country, and that country has the right to assert its claim without interference from the other country. Thus, in the absence of agreements to the contrary between the United States and the country of second nationality, if a dual national encounters difficulties in the country of the second nationality while residing there, the U.S. government’s representations on that person’s behalf may or may not be accepted.
Dual nationals traveling abroad on a passport of their other country of nationality (or even on a U.S. passport in the absence of an express agreement between the United States and the other country) may find that the host country treats them as a national of only that country and does not recognize the United States as a country entitled to provide consular services or protection.
When a U.S. citizen is a dual national but is not a citizen of the host country, and the second country of nationality is providing protective services to the dual national. The host country might permit consular services and protection only by the representative of one country, often the nation on whose passport the citizen entered the foreign country.
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