Immigrants who become United States citizens through naturalization sometimes end up holding dual citizenship automatically. This means they remain citizens of their country of birth, as well as citizens of the United States at the same time. Sometimes, these new citizens may be worried that they are jeopardizing their American citizenship by continuing to hold on to their prior citizenship, and as a result, they renounce their other nationality.
While United States law does not specifically allow for dual citizenship, it also does not specifically prohibit it, and many American citizens do hold dual citizenship. There are some ways in which a person who was born a U.S. citizen can lose U.S. citizenship by specifically applying for citizenship in another country with the intention of renouncing their U.S. citizenship.
The oath immigrants take upon becoming American citizens sometimes causes some confusion as to the consequences of becoming a citizen. This is because it requires immigrants to pledge their allegiance to the United States and renounce all loyalty and allegiance to another sovereign. However, for citizens of other countries, the oath they take upon becoming a U.S. citizen does not change their status in their home countries unless the laws in those countries say that taking the oath renounces the other country’s citizenship.
There are numerous advantages of dual citizenship, with travel being the greatest. Dual citizens may be able to travel to various countries without requiring visas and advanced approval either by using their U.S. passport, or the passport of their other nationality. Dual citizens should consider which passport affords them more advantages in the country to which they are travelling beforehand.
Sometimes, having dual citizenship can affect how the U.S. government may be able to help citizens abroad in a country where they hold citizenship. This is why the State Department discourages dual citizenship. Additionally, citizens of other countries may be required to pay taxes and meet other obligations even if they live primarily in the United States. Depending on the law of that other country, failure to meet these obligations may mean legal problems if the person seeks to later take advantage of their citizenship to buy real property or engage in other business in that country.
U.S. citizens who live abroad as citizens of other countries are also required to pay taxes on their foreign investments, and meet other obligations of their American citizenship. Failing to pay taxes owed under U.S. law can subject a U.S. citizen to charges of tax evasion, no matter where he or she lives or works. Sometimes, the high rate of taxes required of foreign earners has led some American citizens to renounce their citizenship, although there are also other tax implications for people who renounce their citizenship.
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If you hold dual citizenship and are concerned about how your status as a citizen of another country and how actions you take as a citizen of that other country can affect your American citizenship, you can seek more information from an experienced immigration attorney. For a consultation, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California for a consultation.