Dual citizenship means that you are a legal citizen of two different countries at the same time. Typically, you are a citizen of the country where you are born. If you move to another country, many people want to keep the citizenship of their birth country, while also becoming citizens of their new home country. United States laws do not require a person to choose one nationality or another. Dual citizenship used to be banned in the U.S., but in 1967 the Supreme Court struck down laws against dual citizenship.
Immigrants who are candidates for U.S. citizenship through naturalization are required to renounce their previous citizenship and their allegiance to other nationalities in their oath of allegiance to the United States at their naturalization ceremony. Failing to honor their oath could result in the loss of their United States citizenship.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 101(a)(22) says about dual nationality that:
“The term ‘national of the United States’ means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.”
U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.
However, other countries have stated that the United States’ oath of allegiance has no effect on their own citizenship laws. People who have held dual citizenship since birth or childhood – such as children who became U.S. citizens when their parents took the oath may be recognized as dual citizens by other countries outside of the United States.
United States immigration laws can be extraordinarily complicated. The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855-554-6369.