With dual citizenship or dual nationality, a person can be a citizen of two different countries at the same time. Although there are many benefits that people can gain from this often-coveted status, there are also a number of drawbacks that must be considered. Following is everything you need to know about this legal designation.
How to Obtain Dual Citizenship
There are several ways in which dual citizenship can be obtained. In some instances, a person can become a citizen of two countries automatically. For instance, a child who is born on U.S. soil to foreign parents will be a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the country from which his or her parents originate, unless the child’s parents are foreign diplomats. Dual citizenship can also be gained via marriage, which entails a complex and specialized legal process. It’s important to note, however, that not all countries allow people to become dual citizens. For instance, a person’s original citizenship might be canceled immediately upon his or her naturalization as a United States citizen, depending upon the laws of his or her home country.
The Benefits of Dual Nationality
As a citizen of two different countries, a person has access to all of the privileges and benefits that each country provides. For starters, people with dual citizenship can maintain and use two passports. This makes traveling between two countries infinitely easier by eliminating the need for special visas. Other benefits of dual nationality include voting rights in each country, access to social service programs and systems, the ability to hold office and more. It is additionally possible to work in either country without first having to obtain special work permits. Students with dual citizenship don’t need to apply for student visas and can even pay citizen tuition rates when attending school in either country.
One of the greatest benefits gained by dual citizenship is the ability to own property in either nation. Land ownership is a privilege that is often restricted to nationals. With dual citizenship, however, it is possible to buy homes and even commercial properties in either country, which can make traveling back and forth between the two locations significantly cheaper.
The Drawbacks of Dual Citizenship
Dual nationality means that a person is bound by the laws and obligations of each country in which he or she is a citizen. As such, certain conflicts of interest can occur. For instance, being a citizen of a country with mandatory military service and the United States could result in an automatic revocation of your U.S. citizenship should you ever be called to serve. Dual citizenship can also make it difficult for people to get the security clearances they need to obtain and hold government jobs.
In many instances, dual citizenship can additionally mean double tax obligations. For instance, the United States makes it mandatory for nationals to pay taxes on all income earned, irrespective of where it’s been earned and of whether this income has already been taxed in another country. This makes it important to carefully research the laws that you’ll become subject to before seeking this status. Certain, special circumstances could make tax obligations and other legal requirements less taxing in certain instances.
For more information or to find out about achieving citizenship through other means, call Kazmi and Sakata Attorneys at Law at (858) 874-0711. We are trusted green card lawyers in San Diego and have been helping people obtain citizenship and permanent residency for more than a decade. Reach out to us today.