What You Should Know About Being a Dual Citizen

If you are a U.S. citizen or thinking about becoming a U.S. citizen, you may be wondering if you are allowed to be a citizen of more than one country at the same time. In this article, we’ll cover what is dual citizenship and the rights of a dual citizen in the United States.

What is a Dual Citizen? 

To begin, it is essential to understand what dual citizenship is. Dual citizenship, or dual nationality, is when an individual is a citizen of two countries at the same time and shares the responsibilities and rights of the citizens of both countries. Be aware that not every country will allow you to be a dual citizen, so please check the rules and regulations of the country you are already a citizen of and the country you wish to apply for citizenship for. 

Does the U.S. Allow Dual Citizens? 

The short answer is yes. You can be a U.S. citizen and hold citizenship in another country simultaneously. The United States government does not require a nationalized U.S. citizen to give up citizenship in the country of origin. It does expect you to honor the duties and obligations of a U.S. citizen. You should always double-check the rules of your home country, however. For example, India and China do not recognize your status as an American citizen if you have naturalized. Some countries will even strip you of your citizenship status if you become a U.S. citizen.

What Are the Rights of Dual Citizens in the United States?

Being a U.S. citizen and a citizen of another country has many advantages. It is important to consider what obligations you have as a naturalized U.S. citizen if you enter foreign countries. Below we have outlined some of the basic rights and obligations of dual citizens:

Restriction Free Travel – You can travel outside of the U.S. for as long as you like without risking losing your U.S. citizenship. 

You Can Work Anywhere – You can apply for a job anywhere within the U.S. without getting a work visa first. However, if you are a dual citizen, you may not be considered for some federal jobs as you could have conflicting interests if you are a dual national.

You Can Vote – You can vote in any U.S. election, even federal elections.

You Can Access Public Benefits – If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for public benefits. This includes access to tuition assistance that’s only open to U.S. citizens. 

You Must Pay U.S. Taxes For Life – You must apply, file, and pay U.S. income and other taxes, even if you earn income outside of America. You could owe taxes on the same income to both the U.S. and your other country of citizenship unless that country has an agreement with the U.S. that allows dual citizens to avoid double taxation. 

You Must Serve in the Military if Required By Law – Any male who has a green card and is between the ages of 18 -26 – unless they have an immigrant status other than “green card holder” must register for the Selective Service System. 

You Must Serve on a Jury When Summoned – Jury duty is required for all U.S. citizens, but you may not actually need to serve. In a legal case, the judge and attorneys must select you as a jury panelist for you to serve on a jury.

If you’re interested in becoming a U.S. citizen but are unsure how to navigate the immigration system of the U.S., it’s best to speak to an experienced attorney. At Dominguez Law Firm, PLLC, we work together with our clients to get them through the process and we work hard to achieve the best result possible. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your immigration case.