Dual Nationality — or dual citizenship — means being a citizen of two countries simultaneously. It allows a person to share the rights and responsibilities of the citizens in each country. A lot of countries do not allow dual nationality, and for those that do, the rules vary among them. Looking to apply for U.S. nationality? Start by checking your eligibility.
Yes! The U.S. Government Allows Dual Nationality
The U.S. government does not impose naturalized U.S. citizens to relinquish nationality in their country of origin. Although the Oath of Allegiance to the United States speaks of surrendering “allegiance and fidelity” to other nations, current U.S. nationality laws do not explicitly address dual nationality. 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. See Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717 (1952).
But Some Countries Do Not Accept Naturalized Americans
It is also imperative to understand that just because the United States allows dual citizenship doesn’t necessarily mean your country of origin does too. Countries like India and China will not recognize dual citizenship for its’ nationals. Other countries like Germany do not allow dual citizenship except in certain circumstances. Upon becoming a U.S. citizen, you may automatically lose your citizenship in such countries. It’s therefore essential to know the dual nationality rules in your country of origin before applying for U.S. nationality.
Learn The Rights and Responsibilities of Dual Nationals In
The United States Before Applying For Dual Nationality
Before applying for dual nationality in the U.S., you also need to know the rights and responsibilities of dual nationals in the United States. Having U.S. citizenship, in addition to the nationality of another country, undoubtedly offers many advantages. However, there are certain obligations that a person has to take on as a naturalized American.
Rights Of Dual Nationals In The United States
Right To Work Anywhere In The United States
A dual national in the U.S. can apply for employment and work anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a work visa. However, dual nationals are often overlooked for certain federal jobs, which require confidentiality of classified state information and security clearance. This is because dual nationals are also loyal to another nation that may have conflicting interests with those of the United States.
Right To Travel Without Restrictions
Dual nationals have the freedom to travel abroad for as long as they would like without risk of losing their U.S. nationality. Unlike green card holders (permanent residents), they won’t need a re-entry permit in order to return if they plan to stay outside of the United States for longer than a year.
Right To Vote
Dual nationals can vote in any U.S. election.
Right To Attend U.S Colleges and Universities More Easily and Affordably
Regardless of citizenship status, children living in the United States are legally permitted to receive an elementary, middle, and high school education through the U.S. public school system. However, at the college/university level things may become more complicated for non-citizens. Non-citizen students may face legal and financial hurdles in regard to college/university admission. As a dual citizen, you can enroll in a U.S. private or public college/university without a student visa and without paying international student tuition rates.
Right To Access Public Benefits
If a dual national meets the eligibility requirements, they can apply for public benefits, including access to tuition assistance.
Obligations Of Dual Nationals In The United States
Obligation To Pay Taxes
A dual nation is obliged to file and pay (if necessary) U.S. taxes for life. The taxes apply to income dual national earns outside of the United States regardless of where they live. This means a dual national may end up paying double taxes, both in the United States and to your other country of citizenship.
Obligation to Pledge Allegiance
The Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. is a sworn declaration that every citizenship applicant must recite during a formal ceremony in order to become a citizen of the U.S.A. When taking the Oath, the citizenship applicant promises to fulfill the following duties: (1) Support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the law of the U.S. against its’ enemies. (2) Give up allegiance to any other nation or sovereign, and renounce hereditary or noble titles, if any. (3) Provide military or civilian service when called upon by the government to do so.
Obligation To Serve On A Jury
All dual nationals are mandated to serve on a jury when summoned by the court.
How To Apply For Dual Nationality in The United States
There is no application form available to file for “dual nationality” in the United States. Obtaining dual nationality in the U.S. means applying for second citizenship.
Before you apply for U.S. nationality as your second nationality status, it’s essential to contact the consulate or embassy of your country of origin to find out whether your country allows dual nationality in the first place.
Once you have confirmed that your country of origin will acknowledge your U.S. nationality, you will be required to make sure you have fulfilled all naturalization requirements. You can then start the naturalization process any time after acquiring 3–5 years after getting a green card, by submitting Form N-400 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
How Long Does The Dual Nationality Application Take
Filing your citizenship application with USCIS is the first step of the process. Overall, the naturalization process can take up to one and a half years, depending on the USCIS field office that receives your application.
If all of this sounds complicated and intimidating, don’t worry, we encourage you to contact us and speak with Attorney Peterkin. A one-hour Case Evaluation may be able to save you months or years of unnecessary headache along your dual nationality process. The Law Office of S.A. Peterkin helps you complete your U.S. naturalization application, including all supporting documents and forms, from the time your application is filed until you obtain U.S. nationality.
Call us at 321-325-1125, text us at 321-204-7718, or use our online contact form on our website www.sapeterkinlaw.com to begin scheduling your Case Evaluation with Attorney Peterkin.