Dual citizenship for US citizens: how does it work?
Dual citizenship means that you are a citizen of two countries simultaneously and have all rights and responsibilities that their respective constitutions grant to citizens in both countries. It also means that you must obey the laws of both countries.
Having dual citizenship can be beneficial if you want to live and work in another country and not deal with complicated visa applications. It also can open paths to travelling to more countries and relocating to another place if something happens in your country of residence.
The American government doesn’t require American citizens to renounce their US citizenship. However, inside the country a person with dual citizenship is considered a US citizen, rather than a citizen of another country. Due to that, for example, US citizens are required to enter and leave the US with a US passport.
Sometimes a person can get second citizenship automatically. For example, a child born on the USA’s soil gets American citizenship even if their parents are citizens of another country. In other cases, you will need to go through the citizenship application process. You might need to fulfil certain requirements depending on the way of obtaining the citizenship you choose.
Different countries have different rules, but the easiest countries to get dual citizenship are states like Turkey, Vanuatu, Grenada, and Dominica. They offer citizenship by investment that can be obtained in 2—8 months.
Countries that allow dual citizenship with the US
62 countries allow US citizens to have dual citizenship. Most of them are located in Europe and Latin America.
U.S. dual citizenship countries list
|Europe||Albania, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom|
|Africa||Algeria, Angola, Belize, Benin, Egypt, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa|
|Americas||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru|
|Asia||Armenia, Bangladesh, Philippines|
|Caribbean||Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia|
|Middle East||Israel, Pakistan, Syria|
|Oceania||Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu|
Some countries allow dual citizenship under certain circumstances. For example, the Netherlands require US citizens to renounce their American citizenship if they obtain the Dutch passport by naturalisation. However, if an American marries a Dutch person, they can get dual citizenship.
List of countries that allow dual citizenship with the USA
under certain conditions
|Bulgaria||Having at least one Bulgarian parent|
|Croatia||Having dual citizenship is not allowed in the case of naturalisation|
|Germany||Having at least one German parent|
|Netherlands||1. Being married or having a registered partnership with a Dutch national.|
2. Being born in the Netherlands and living in the Netherlands at the time of application for naturalisation.
3. Being younger than 18 and participating in the naturalisation or option procedure of parents.
4. Having a residence permit for asylum.
5. The country of the current nationality is not allowing to renounce its nationality.
|Panama||Being born abroad to Panamanian parents, and obtaining citizenship of the country of birth (citizenship may be retained until a person reaches 18 years old, then they need to choose one citizenship).|
|South Korea||1. Being a spouse of a Korean national.|
2. Contributing greatly to the Republic of Korea.
3. Having outstanding abilities in specific fields: science, economy, culture and sports.Having difficulties with renouncing other citizenship.
4. Having difficulties with renouncing other citizenship.
Advantages of dual citizenship for the USA citizens
There are many benefits that dual citizenship can offer a US citizen.
Work, live, and study in both countries. With dual citizenship, you can move from the USA to the country of your second citizenship. You will be able to stay there for however long you prefer, and you won’t need to apply for a visa or a residence permit.
Own a property. Some countries restrict non-citizens from buying property: for example, Switzerland limits the number of foreigners who can buy property each year. But if you become a citizen, you can benefit from the right to buy property freely.
Back-up plan. If something unpleasant happens in one of the countries, you can leave it under any circumstances, even if the borders are closed. For example, in 2016, when Trump was elected President, many Americans started seeking Canadian citizenship so that they could move to Canada.
Easier access to more countries. Even though the American passport is strong, some countries still require the US citizens to obtain visas. Several examples are China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. A second passport can open a visa-free way to enter them.
Benefit from the healthcare system and social service programs of another country. While medical services are expensive in the USA, some countries offer relatively cheap and high quality medical care for their citizens. For example, Turkey is famous for its high medical standards, and if you have dual American-Turkish citizenship, you can visit Turkey any time and benefit from its healthcare system.
Social security. In any country, it is generally easier to access medical, social, and other services if you are a citizen.
Disadvantages of dual citizenship for US citizens
Depending on the country of second citizenship, people with two passports can meet certain challenges.
Military services. US citizens with dual citizenship may be required to serve in the military in another country. This obligation may be imposed upon the arrival to the country of second citizenship. For example, Israel requires formal military service of their citizens, men and women alike.
Limited assistance abroad. If something happens in another country, the US government may not consider you an American citizen, especially if you’ve entered another country with the passport of your second nationality.
Double taxation. The USA has a double taxation avoidance agreement with some countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, France, etc. However, if there is no such agreement, dual citizenship holders might need to pay taxes in both countries. However, countries with the highest tax rates either have a double taxation avoidance agreement with the USA, or don’t allow dual citizenship with the country.
Barriers to some forms of employment. People who want to pursue a career in the US government or have a job connected with classified information may not be able to get a position.
People who have dual citizenship by birth have fewer problems in that respect than those who are actively seeking dual citizenship. The US government may be concerned about why they need it at all.
Long and complicated process. Generally, the process of getting dual citizenship is tricky and time-consuming. For example, if you’re planning to obtain one by naturalisation, you might need to wait 5—10 years to get a second passport. However, you can obtain citizenship by investment in 2—6 months.
Ways of obtaining dual citizenship for US citizens
A US citizen can get dual citizenship by several options. Among the most popular are by birth or descent, marriage, naturalisation, and investment.
By investment. One of the easiest ways to obtain citizenship is by investment. Not all countries allow it; however, there are a few that offer this option. Among them are Turkey, Dominica, Grenada, and others.
Requirements for obtaining dual citizenship by investment differ from country to country. However, there are some general ones that applicants must meet to participate in the program. An applicant must:
- be over 18 years old;
- have no criminal record or prosecution;
- be able to confirm the legality of the income.
Besides investors themselves, close family members can also participate in the application. That includes spouses and children under 18 years old. Some countries’ programs also allow the inclusion of adult children, parents, and siblings in the application. The amount of investment starts at $100,000, and the process of obtaining citizenship usually takes from 2 to 8 months.
By birth or descent. Depending on the country's rules, a child can get a citizenship of another country if they were born in it or if one or both of their parents are citizens of this country. For example, everyone born on American territory automatically receives American citizenship, while Turkish citizenship can only be obtained if at least one of their parents holds a passport of Turkey.
By marriage. US citizens can get second citizenship if they marry a citizen of another country. However, not all countries allow that.
By naturalisation. Citizenship by naturalisation is one of the most complicated ways to become a citizen of another country. It requires an applicant to fulfil certain requirements. Usually it means that the applicant must live in the country for some time, know language on the level sufficient for everyday life, pass tests on the country's history and culture.
Countries that give citizenship by investment to US citizens
Some countries grant citizenship by investment. That means that an individual can buy a property or make an investment and get a second passport. Usually, these states don’t require investors to reside in the country.
Turkey. Located in Eurasia, Turkey has strong ties with the EU countries. It offers wealthy people to get citizenship by investment from $400,000. There are several options to choose from, including bank deposit, business investment, purchase of government bonds, and purchase of units in an investment fund, and buying a property. In 3 years after obtaining a Turkish passport, investors can return money or sell a property.
The process of getting Turkish citizenship lasts for 6—8 months.
St. Kitts and Nevis. St Kitts and Nevis is a Caribbean country with two investment options: a non-refundable contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund and a real estate purchase. The first one costs from $150,000 and the second one — from $175,000.
If an investor decides to buy a property, they can sell it after 5–7 years. They also earn an income of 2 to 5% per annum from leasing the property.
Getting citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis takes 2—6 months.
Grenada. Grenada, located in the Caribbean, offers two investment options: a non-refundable contribution to the National Transformation Fund of $150,000+ and a real estate purchase of $220,000+.
If you choose to buy a property, you can resell it 5 years after obtaining a passport.
The process of getting Grenada’s citizenship takes 4—6 months.
St. Lucia. Located in the Caribbean, St Lucia offers four investment options for wealthy people. They are:
- contribution to the state fund — $100,000+;
- purchase of government bonds — $500,000 ($250,000+ for Covid-19 Relief Bonds until December 31st, 2022);
- purchase of real estate — $300,000+;
- business investments — $1,000,000+.
If you buy a property, you can resell it 5 years later. You can also redeem purchased bonds in 5–7 years after obtaining citizenship.
You can obtain St Lucia’s citizenship in 3—4 months.
Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda is a country located in the Caribbean that gives investors 4 investment options:
- non-refundable contribution to the National Development fund — $100,000+;
- real estate purchase — $200,000+ (the property can be sold 5 years later);
- contribution to the university of the West Indies fund — $150,000+ (this option is only available for families of at least six people);
- business investments — $400,000+.
The process of getting citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda takes 4—6 months.
Dominica. Dominica, located in the Caribbean, offers one of the least expensive investment programs. Investors can choose from two investment options: contributing $100,000+ to the state fund or purchasing real estate for $200,000+.
In case of buying a property, applicants can sell it and return money 3 years after obtaining Dominica’s passport.
The process of getting citizenship of Dominica takes 2–6 months.
Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a country located in Oceania that gives citizenship for a non-refundable contribution to the government fund of $130,000+.
You can obtain Vanuatu’s citizenship in 1—2 months.
Malta citizenship for US citizens for exceptional services by direct investment
A wealthy individual can get a Maltese passport by exceptional services by direct investment. To do so, you need to fulfil all investment requirements:
- contribute to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF);
- donate to a non-governmental organisation;
- buy or rent residential real estate.
Before applying for citizenship, an investor needs to get a residence permit. The application for citizenship can be filed after 1 or 3 years of residency in Malta, depending on the sum of contribution. If you contribute €600,000+, you can apply for the Maltese passport 3 years after obtaining residence permit. In case you contribute €750,000+, the waiting period cuts to 1 year.
The total sum of investment depends on the number of family members. The minimum investment for the family of 4 is €927,000 and the maximum is €1,661,000.
Triple citizenship for US citizens
Triple (or multiple) citizenship means being a citizen of three or more countries. Usually, countries that allow dual citizenship also allow a multiple one. The process of getting it is similar to the process of getting dual citizenship.
There are no limitations in terms of how many citizenships you can have. That only depends on the country of your origin and the countries you choose. However, before applying for triple citizenship, make sure to check the obligations all three countries impose on their citizens, and whether they all allow triple citizenship.
To Sum Up
- The USA allows its citizens to have as many passports as they need. They are not required to renounce their American citizenship. However, other countries can demand a person to renounce their US citizenship.
- The US citizens can have dual citizenship with 62 countries, including the UK, Canada and Australia.
- There are several benefits of having dual citizenship for Americans. They are an opportunity to live, work and study in two countries freely, leave and enter both countries even when the borders are closed, and benefit from medical and social services of another country. However, there are certain disadvantages that Americans with dual citizenship might face: barriers to some forms of employment, need to serve in the military in another country, double taxation and limited assistance abroad.
- There are many ways of obtaining a second passport such as by birth, marriage or naturalisation. However, the easiest path is by investment. In most cases it takes around 4—6 months and $100,000—400,000.
- Among the countries that offer citizenship by investment are Turkey, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Vanuatu. Wealthy people can also obtain citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment in Malta.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. A citizen of the USA can have dual citizenship if the chosen country allows it too.
There are several options for how an individual can obtain dual citizenship: by marriage, by descent, by naturalisation, by investment. The easiest way is to obtain citizenship by investment, while the most difficult is probably by naturalisation.
The US citizens can have dual citizenship with 62 countries, such as Canada, France, Australia, Israel, and many others.
Yes. Both the USA and the United Kingdom allow its citizens to have dual citizenship. The UK and the USA have a double taxation avoidance agreement, meaning you won’t need to pay taxes to both states.
Yes, some countries don’t allow dual citizenship with America. Among them are China, United Arab Emirates, India, Austria, Japan, and some others. If you want to obtain citizenship of these countries, you need to renounce your American passport. The fee to renounce US citizenship is $2,350.
The process of applying for dual citizenship depends on the way you choose to obtain one. The easiest way is by investment. Generally, it includes the following steps:
- Choosing the program and the investment option if there are several.
- Gathering all required documents.
- Passing preliminary Due Diligence.
- Signing a contract with a licensed agent.
- Fulfilling investment requirements and receiving the certificate confirming it.
- Passing the state Due Diligence.
- Collecting passports.
There are countries that don’t allow dual citizenship with the US. Some of them are Austria, China, Japan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
You will not lose your US citizenship if another country allows its citizens to have dual citizenship with the USA.
US citizens can have however many passports they want, if other countries allow their citizens to have multiple citizenships.
If you are a US citizen, you can live outside the USA without worrying that you will lose your American passport.
However, there are several cases in which you can lose US citizenship:
- run for public office in another country;
- apply for citizenship of another country with the intention of renouncing US citizenship;
- commit treason against the United States.
You can also renounce your American citizenship voluntarily.
Dual citizenship for USA citizens became available in 1967.