Dual citizenship has various names like multiple citizenships, multiple nationality or dual nationality. It is a person’s citizenship status, in which a person is regarded as a national of more than one country under the rules of those states. In simple terms, dual citizenship is when an individual is legally known as a citizen of two or more than two nations at the same time.
There is no universal rule which defines the nationality or citizenship status of a person. It is determined solely by national laws, which can vary and can conflict. Multiple citizenships occur because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, guidelines for citizenship. Common speech refers to people “holding” multiple citizenships but, technically, each country claims that a particular person is recognized as it’s national.
There are some countries which do not allow dual citizenship. They may require an applicant for naturalization to discard all existing citizenship, or by dissolving its citizenry from someone who willingly acquires another nationality. Some nations do not permit the renunciation of citizenship. Some states permit general dual citizenship while others allow dual citizenship but only for a selected number of countries. Most countries which permit may still not acknowledge the other citizenship of its nationals within its territory.
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What Are The Benefits Of Dual Citizenship?
There are many advantages to being a dual citizen, as dual nationals can gain the benefits and opportunities offered by each nation. They can have complete access to two social service systems, they can vote in either land and may be able to work in either country, depending on the rules. They are also entitled to work in either country without requiring a work authorization or visa and can go to school in either of the countries.
Below are a few benefits listed:
A second passport from a stable developed country can be life-saving in the case of development of any political, economic or social crisis in one’s hometown. A crisis can occur at any point of time and for a variety of reasons. In such a situation, an individual having dual citizenship can leave the country immediately and take refuge in the other one.
- Global Mobility
Many passports are quite limiting in their visa-free movement, urging citizens to obtain visas whenever they need to travel overseas. A dual passport can offer individuals from these countries increased global mobility. Becoming a dual citizen discards the need for long-stay visas and submitting documentation on the purpose of the individual’s trip. It also ensures the right of entry to both countries, which can be particularly useful if one has parents, children or relatives to visit, is a student or is involved in trade in either country.
- Property Purchase
Another advantage of dual citizenship is the capability to own investments like property in either country. Few nations regulate land title to citizens only. As a lawful citizen of two states, a person would be able to acquire property in either or both countries. If the person frequently moves between the two countries, this might be particularly beneficial since estate ownership might offer a more cost-effective way to live in two places.
New business possibilities open up to dual citizens as they can now do trade in their own country as well as travel abroad more smoothly.
- Tax Optimization
Dual citizenship may prove beneficial for tax optimization purposes. For example, some countries only tax income earned from that country and do not subject fund gains to taxes either. It allows investors to maintain their wealth more efficiently and productively.
- Quality of Life
Second citizenships can offer a secure way to world-class health care, education and an enhanced lifestyle. As a twin citizen one can reap the advantages of being involved in the culture of two countries. Some state officials are also attached to dual citizenship and see it as a way to boost the country’s image as a top destination for tourists. This is also an ideal way to experience the joy of learning about the history, culture, languages and way of life of both countries.
Disadvantages Of Dual Citizenship
- Dual Responsibilities
As a dual citizen, one is bound by the legislation of both countries. For example, if one is a citizen of a nation with compulsory military service, that may complicate matters if the two nations encounter hostile situations with each other. Maintaining dual residences in two different countries would be double the responsibility.
- Double Taxation
Some countries tax their citizens for revenue earned anywhere in the world. Even if the individual is living abroad, he/she might owe taxes both to the country and to the state where the income is generated. However, there are different rules in each country. For example, a deal between the U.S. and New Zealand cancels the income tax laws of each state to avoid dual taxation.
- Security Clearance
Depending on the individual’s occupational path, dual citizenship can be a liability. If someone is seeking a post with the government or access to private and confidential information, having dual citizenship can prevent him/her from obtaining the security clearance needed to work in these domains. Those born into dual citizenship may find fewer problems than those who actively sought it out.
- Complicated Process
Sometimes dual citizenship happens automatically, as is the case when a child is born in a country to foreign parents. Other times, nonetheless, the method can take many years and can be very expensive.
How Do I Obtain Dual Citizenship?
There are several ways how second citizenship planning can be done. These are birth, naturalization, marriage and investment.
Often, countries will permit non-resident individuals to obtain citizenship if their parents were born in that country. For example, Hungary will enable persons not living in the country to obtain Hungarian citizenship given they can show in the evidence that their parents are citizens.
Naturalization is the method by which a resident of a country can obtain citizenship, usually by living in that country for a specific number of years as a permanent resident. For example, Canadian residents must reside in Canada for four out of six years to be qualified to apply for citizenship. Persons with provisional status, such as students and foreign workers, must first obtain permanent resident status to start calculating their years as residents toward the citizenship requirement. It is essential to check the conditions of the country of residence if the individual hopes to obtain second citizenship through naturalization.
Some countries allow fast-track permanent resident status to individuals who have wedded a citizen of that country, thereby hurrying up the time to citizenship. Several nations recognize spousal sponsorship, which results in an automatic permanent resident state for the foreign spouse.
More and more countries are granting citizenship by investment programs or residency by investment programs to wealthy investors.
Citizenship by investment is the process of procuring second citizenship by investing in the economy of the host country. Residency by investment programs offers permanent residency after the investment, which again speeds up the time to citizenship.
Identification Of Dual Citizenship In The U.S.
The United States of America does not formally approve dual citizenship. Nonetheless, it also has not taken any stand towards it, either judicially or politically. Under normal circumstances, no American will sacrifice his or her citizenship by undertaking the responsibilities of citizenship in another country even if the duties include touring with a foreign passport, voting in another country’s election, or running for and serving in the government office of another country. Usually, it is trivial to U.S. authorities whether another country also declares an individual as a citizen.
U.S. Dual Citizenship Countries List
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- South Africa
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka
Can You Be A Citizen Of Multiple Countries?
Some countries do recognize their nationals to hold multiple citizenships. To understand the rules of the country, one has to check with the respective government office.
Which Countries Allow Or Recognize Dual Citizenship?
Many countries allow dual citizenship unconditionally, while others allow it only in exceptional cases. The following is a comprehensive guide of countries that allow dual citizenship.
|Afghanistan||No||A past national of Afghanistan, who left the country due to political uncertainty or war and has obtained new citizenship, may still be regarded as unofficial Afghan citizenship.|
|American Samoa||Yes||American Samoa obeys U.S. guidelines for twin citizenship.|
|Andorra||No||Spain acknowledges twin nationality with Andorra.|
|Antigua & Barbuda||Yes|
|Austria||No||Dual citizenship is permitted for people who get two nationalities at birth. Twin citizenship is also granted if it is in the interest of Austria.|
|Bahamas||No||Twin citizenship allowed until 18 years of age.|
|Bangladesh||No||Bangladeshi citizens and their descendants who have foreign citizenship must appeal for a Dual Nationality Certificate.|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||Yes||A mutual agreement for Dual Citizenship must exist between the two states.|
|Botswana||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until twenty-one years of age.|
|Brunei Darussalam||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 18 years of age.|
|Cameroon||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until twenty-one years of age.|
|Central African Republic||Yes|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until twenty-one years of age.|
|Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)||Yes|
|Georgia||No||Permitted only when the national is granted to an outsider by the President of Georgia.|
|Germany||Yes||Must submit for a holding permit to remain German citizen before asking for second citizenship.|
|Guatemala||Yes||Twin citizenship is permitted as long as the other country is ok with it.|
|Guinea-Bissau||Yes||Twin citizenship is permitted if emigration is done for economic reasons.|
|Honduras||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted if a treaty exists with that nation.|
|Iceland||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted if the other nation also allows it.|
|Japan||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 22 years of age.|
|Lesotho||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 21 years of age.|
|Liberia||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until age of maturity.|
|Lithuania||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted only in special circumstances.|
|Malawi||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 22 years of age.|
|Micronesia||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 18 years of age.|
|Montenegro||No||Dual citizenship is permitted only if a mutual treaty exists with the other nation.|
|Namibia||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted only for Namibian citizens by birth.|
|Netherlands||No||Dual citizenship is permitted if one is born in another nation and thus obtained nationality, or resided there as a minor, or if one automatically got its spouse’s nationality.|
|Nigeria||Yes||Twin citizenship is permitted for citizens of Nigeria by birth.|
|Norway||No||Dual citizenship is permitted if original nationality cannot be renounced.|
|Pakistan||Yes||Only with the 18 countries with which it has an agreement.|
|Palau||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 21 years of age.|
|Papua New Guinea||Yes|
|Paraguay||Yes||Multiple citizenship is granted for nationals by birth or descent where international treaties exist.|
|Saint Kitts & Nevis||Yes|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Yes|
|Sao Tome and Principe||No|
|Slovenia||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted for citizens by birth or descent.|
|Solomon Islands||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 18 years of age.|
|South Africa||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted only if permission is granted to keep South African citizenship before.|
|Spain||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted if desire to keep Spanish nationality is declared within 3 years of obtaining the foreign nationality.|
|Sri Lanka||Yes||Must give an application for holding to be allowed twin citizenship.|
|Switzerland||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted provided the other country does not require loss of original nationality.|
|Tajikistan||Yes||Dual citizens will be only citizens of Tajikistan.|
|Tanzania||No||Dual citizenship is permitted until 18 years of age.|
|Trinidad & Tobago||Yes||Dual citizenship is permitted only for citizens of Trinidad & Tobago by birth or descent.|
|United Arab Emirates||No|
|British Virgin Islands||Yes|
|Yemen||Yes||Dual citizenship permitted only if prior permission granted.|
|Zimbabwe||Yes||Dual citizenship permitted only for citizens by birth|
Dual citizenship has been extensively discussed over the years. Restrictions on holding dual nationality are generally non-existent in countries such as Australia, the U.S., and Switzerland, whereas other countries such as Singapore, Austria, India, Saudi Arabia, do not approve of dual citizenships, leading to an automatic dissolution of citizenship upon obtaining another. Furthermore, some nations such as Austria, and Spain may still allow dual nationalities upon specific conditions or under unusual cases like for celebrities.
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