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Does the U.S. recognize dual citizenship?

Throughout the world, a U.S. passport is a coveted status. While U.S. citizens rarely forfeit their citizenship rights, there are ways that an individual can hold dual citizenship and be considered a U.S. citizen at the same time he or she is a citizen of another country. For individuals who are or wish to be in this position, it's critical to fulfill citizenship obligations of both countries as failure to do so may result in loss of U.S. citizenship.

While the U.S. doesn't formally recognize dual citizenship, "it also does not take any stand against it." Therefore an individual may come to hold dual U.S. citizenship in one of several ways including:

  • An individual's parents immigrated to the U.S. where he or she was subsequently born
  • An individual is born in another country, but one of his or her parents is a U.S. citizen
  • An individual is born in another country, but takes steps to become a naturalized U.S. citizen
  • After taking steps to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, an individual takes steps to regain citizenship in their country of origin

Once an individual is legally considered a U.S. citizen, regardless of his or her dual-citizenship status, he or she must abide by U.S. tax laws and fulfill any other applicable U.S. citizenship requirements. In most cases, provided an individual fulfills these obligations, he or she is not at risk of losing U.S. citizenship. However, taking or engaging in the following actions or activities may jeopardize one's status as a U.S. citizen and result in a loss of citizenship.

  • Renouncing one's U.S. citizenship
  • Joining or fighting in the military of a country that is hostile to the U.S.
  • Committing treasonous acts against the U.S.

As with most U.S. immigration matters, those pertaining to dual citizenship can be complex and a simple mistake or error could jeopardize one's U.S. citizenship status. Due to the high stakes involved, individuals who have questions or concerns about the process would be wise to seek legal advice and assistance.

Source:, "Dual Citizenship," Aug. 7, 2015

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