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Attributes of dual nationality

Some California residents may want to know more about dual nationality. An individual may hold citizenship in two countries due to birth or marriage and be considered a dual national. In addition, a U.S. naturalized citizen may retain the citizenship of his or her former country. Automatic citizenship is granted when a child is born on foreign soil to parents who are U.S. citizens. Further, a U.S. citizen who marries a foreign national may automatically assume foreign citizenship in addition to retaining U.S citizenship.

There is a difference between acquiring foreign citizenship automatically and applying for foreign citizenship. There are certain parameters that apply for a U.S. citizen to lose citizenship. The individual must apply for citizenship to another country voluntarily without coercion and do it with the intent of renouncing his or her U.S. citizenship. The person's conduct or behavior may be used to establish intent.

While the U.S. government does not formally acknowledge dual nationality, it does not prevent it either. It does caution that allegiance to the laws of two countries simultaneously may be problematic for the individual. For instance, if the dual national travels to a foreign country where he or she holds citizenship, the laws they are expected to obey in that country may be enforced. The U.S. may also be prevented from helping the individual in that country since location may prevail in legal matters. Generally, a dual national is required to use a U.S. passport to leave and reenter the U.S.

The problems and benefits of dual nationality may be discussed with a citizenship attorney who can provide helpful insight into the issues associated with dual nationality. The attorney may also help with issues relating to business ventures in both countries.Source: FindLaw, "Dual Nationality," 2014http://corporate.findlaw.com/law-library/dual-nationality.html

Source: Bureau of Consular Affairs, "Dual Nationality", November 19, 2014

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