What is dual citizenship?
People with dual citizenship are nationals of two countries at the same time. They have equal rights with other citizens of these states: pay taxes, get social benefits, and receive a pension. People with dual citizenship are called bipatrides.
Dual citizenship can be obtained only if both countries have signed an agreement on dual citizenship and each of the parties recognises the rights and obligations of a citizen in another state. The legislation of some countries, such as Portugal or Italy, is more lenient and allows dual citizenship, but some states like Austria prohibit dual nationality.
Having dual citizenship is not the same as having second citizenship. Obtaining a second passport does not mean having equal rights in other countries. In the case of second citizenship, each state views a bipatride only as its own citizen.
Advantages of dual citizenship
Bipatrides can receive the benefits offered by each state where they are a citizen. For instance, they can vote, have access to social privileges, and gain work opportunities.
Ample travel opportunities. With two passports, you can easily travel. For example, if you have a European passport, you will receive visa-free entry into the Schengen area. Citizenship in the Caribbean — for example, with Grenada — opens visa-free entry to more than 140 countries.
Advanced healthcare system. Having dual nationality, you can get access to whichever healthcare system of your two countries is best.
Business and professional development. Entrepreneurs can expand their business by opening new sales channels. Dual citizens can develop professionally without needing to obtain a work visa.
Better future for the family. Children born in families with multiple nationalities can automatically obtain citizenship of the country in which they were born. Having dual nationality, you can sponsor your family members to obtain citizenship. For example, it is possible in the USA to sponsor relatives to get green cards.
Disadvantages of dual citizenship
Despite the many advantages, there are some drawbacks to obtaining dual citizenship.
Complicated process of obtaining citizenship. It can be expensive and time-consuming to collect and process all the documents for second citizenship.
Double taxation. There is a high risk of paying taxes to both countries. For example, the United States obliges people with dual citizenship to pay taxes, even if they live in another country.
Dual obligations. As a dual national, you must comply with the laws of both countries — for example, to serve in the military. If there is a conflict between two countries, the choice of one side may lead to the loss of citizenship in the second country or even a tribunal.
Which countries allow dual citizenship
49% of all countries allow dual citizenship, but some of them allow to be a bipatride only under certain conditions. For example, Argentina has dual citizenship agreements only with Italy and Spain. People from other countries who want to apply for Argentine citizenship must give up their original passports.
Full list of countries that allow dual citizenship
|Albania||Central African Republic||The Gambia||Latvia||Peru||Switzerland|
|Antigua & Barbuda||Republic of Congo||Grenada||Macau||Romania||Thailand|
|Australia||Ivory Coast||Guinea-Bissau||Mali||Saint Kitts & Nevis||Tonga|
|Armenia||Croatia||Haiti||Malta||Saint Lucia||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Australia||Cyprus||Honduras||Mauritius||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Tunisia|
|Barbados||Czech Republic||Hong Kong||Mexico||Samoa||Turkey|
|Bolivia||Dominican Republic||Ireland||Nauru||Sierra Leone||Uruguay|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||East Timor||Israel||New Zealand||Slovenia||Vatican City|
|Burkina Faso||El Salvador||Jordan||Nigeria||South Sudan||British Virgin Islands|
|Cambodia||Fiji||South Korea||Panama||Sri Lanka||Zambia|
|Canada||Finland||Kosovo||Papua New Guinea||Sudan||Zimbabwe|
EU countries that allow dual nationality: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Sweden.
African countries that allow dual citizenship: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, South Africa, South Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Countries where you cannot have dual citizenship
Some countries require their subjects to have only one citizenship. For example, Austria has strict rules and a complex process of obtaining citizenship. Permanent residents must live in the country continuously for 10 years before applying for citizenship. Applicants then must renounce any other citizenship.
List of countries that do not allow dual citizenship
|Andorra||Japan||Marshall Islands||Sao Tome and Principe|
|Georgia||Liechtenstein||Norway||United Arab Emirates|
Countries that allow dual citizenship only by descent
Some countries grant citizenship by descent based on proof that your ancestors were citizens of that country.
List of countries where citizenship by descent is allowed:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
Bulgaria allows ethnic Bulgarians to obtain multiple nationalities without giving up their Bulgarian passport. Those who renounced citizenship in the past may get it back. However, naturalised foreigners must renounce their other nationalities by becoming only Bulgarian citizens.
Croatia has similar requirements to Bulgaria, while ethnic Croatians who have acquired citizenship by descent from at least one parent may have dual nationalities. However, naturalised Croatians have to renounce all other citizenships when obtaining a Croatian passport.
Cambodia grants citizenship by descent to those born to at least one Khmer parent, regardless of the place of birth.
China usually grants citizenship to children born abroad unless the parents have obtained permanent residence or citizenship in another country.
Dual citizenship with the US
The United States allows dual citizenship and does not require naturalised people to renounce their home country. Despite the Oath of Allegiance to the United States which refers to the rejection of “allegiance and fidelity” to other nations, the US law does not require a person to choose one nationality or another.
The US Department of State mentions that dual citizenship means allegiance to both the United States and a foreign state. People who have dual citizenship with the US are required to comply with the laws of both countries, and any country has the right to enforce its laws.
List of countries that allow dual citizenship with the US
|Belarus||Italy||São Tomé and Príncipe||Lebanon|
|Finland||Morocco||Syria||The Czech Republic|
Although the US allows dual nationality, not all countries also support it. For example, China can automatically revoke your citizenship if you become an American citizen.
India also does not allow dual citizenship with the United States. When you become an American citizen, you will automatically lose your Indian passport. However, you can register as an “Overseas Citizen of India” (OCI) to get a multi-entry permanent visa and have all citizen rights except some political ones.
Benefits of US dual citizenship
Having dual citizenship with the US opens up broad opportunities:
- you can choose a job all over the country without a work visa;
- your family members can apply for a green card;
- you can attend universities without a student visa;
- you can travel without restrictions abroad;
- you will get access to social benefits and the right to vote.
However, when applying for US citizenship, consider the possible pitfalls.
Drawbacks of US dual citizenship
People who hold any political posts may encounter challenges in employment. Having dual citizenship may be prohibited for military officers, judges, ministers, or deputies.
You may face double taxation if your country does not have a tax agreement with the United States. US citizens pay tax in the US regardless of where they live. For example, even if you live in the Cayman Islands for 10 years, you have to pay taxes in the USA.
The easiest way to get dual citizenship
Obtaining multiple citizenships can be either easy or arduous, depending on the country and the way you choose to get another nationality.
Citizenship by naturalisation. This way is relatively simple if you have grounds to stay in the country for a long time. Investing, studying, or working in the country allows you to obtain citizenship in the future.
Conditions of obtaining citizenship by naturalisation may differ depending on the country. But, as a rule, foreigners must reside in the country for a long time.
For example, to apply for citizenship in Portugal, you have to reside in the country for five years, have no criminal record and demonstrate knowledge of the state language and history.
Citizenship by origin. Some countries like Spain or Ireland have a “blood law”, meaning if your parents or grandparents come from a country, you may be eligible to obtain that country’s citizenship.
But citizenship by origin is available only to those who can prove their family ties. A more straightforward and relatively simple way is to obtain citizenship by investment.
Citizenship by investment. This option is available in the Caribbean and some European countries. You can invest in a country’s state fund, local business, or real estate and obtain its citizenship. It is possible to apply for citizenship by investment alone or with family members.
Which countries grant citizenship by investment
|Country||Minimum investment amount||Period of citizenship obtaining|
|Antigua and Barbuda||$100,000||3-6 months|
|St Lucia||$100,000||2-6 months|
|St Kitts and Nevis||$150,000||3-6 months|
Some other countries also have investment programs. They allow foreigners to obtain a residence permit or permanent residence by making an investment — and then apply for citizenship.
For example, Portugal is on the list of countries where dual citizenship is allowed. This country also has flexible conditions for obtaining a residence permit by investing. The minimum investment amount is €250,000. You can buy real estate, open a bank deposit, purchase fund shares, or make business investments for this sum and become a resident. After 5 years of holding a residence permit, you can apply for citizenship.
Which countries grant a residence permit or permanent residence by investment
|Country||Type of residence||Minimum investment amount||Period of obtaining|
|Portugal||Residence permit||$250,000||2-4 months|
|Malta||Permanent residence||$150,000||2-4 months|
|Cyprus||Permanent residence||$300,000||4 to 6 months|
|Greece||Residence permit||$250,000||2-6 months|
|Malta||Residence permit||$30,000+||6-8 months|
|Austria||Residence permit||$100,000||4-8 months|
|Switzerland||Residence permit||₣450,000+ per year||6 months|
|Spain||Residence permit||$500,000||2-3 months|
|Andorra||Residence permit||$400,000||3 months|
Countries that grant citizenship or residence by investment are the best choice for dual citizenship. For example, you can obtain a passport of St Kitts & Nevis by contributing $150,000 to the state fund or buying real estate for $175,000.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can be a citizen of two, three, or more countries if it does not contradict the law of your state of origin and another country. 49% of all countries allow dual citizenship. These are the USA, Spain, Caribbean states, Portugal, and many others.
In some states, you can be a citizen of two countries under certain conditions. For example, Argentina has dual citizenship agreements only with Italy and Spain. People from other countries who want to apply for Argentine citizenship must give up their previous passports.
The legislation of some countries does not allow dual citizenship. For example, China, Austria, Japan and other countries require people to give up their previous passports to obtain new citizenship.
Yes, the United States allows dual citizenship both to its subjects and foreigners. If you are a US citizen, you can obtain another nationality if both countries have a dual citizenship agreement.
Despite the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, which refers to the rejection of “allegiance and fidelity” to other nations, American law does not require a person to choose one or another nationality.
Dual citizens have two passports — one from each country. As a dual citizen, you can carry both passports with you. And it is especially advisable to take both passports with you when travelling in case of emergencies.
Turkey, Vanuatu, and the Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia offer the easiest way to obtain citizenship. You can get dual citizenship with these countries by making investments in a local business, a state fund, or real estate.
Yes, you can have two, three, or more citizenships if the legislation of the countries you are interested in allows multiple citizenships. For example, the USA, Italy, Turkey, and many other countries allow having multiple passports.
In the United States, dual nationals must file a Report of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR) if the total value of their foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 during the year. Other than that, there are no restrictions on dual citizens having bank accounts.
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for dual citizenship. However, in some countries like the US, children can automatically obtain dual nationality if a child is born to national parents.