Dual Citizenship: One Foot in Two Countries Without Splitting Yourself Apart

There may be thousands of people in Kentucky who have dual citizenship, or dual nationality as it’s called under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It can allow a person to carry passports from other countries and make travel back and forth between the U.S. and the other person’s home country much easier. Not all countries recognize this status, so it’s not available to everyone from all countries.

Under the INA, U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals. Dual nationality means that you can be a national of two countries.

  • Nationality laws vary from country to country. Some could have dual nationality simply by operation of law, not by choice. Someone born in another country to U.S. parents could be a U.S. national and a national of that country.
  • A U.S. national could get a foreign nationality by marriage, and someone who becomes a U.S. national may lose the nationality of his or her country of birth.
  • U.S. immigration law doesn’t discuss dual nationality or force someone to pick one nationality and give up the other.
  • Someone given another nationality won’t lose his or her U.S. nationality unless the person obtains the foreign nationality by voluntarily applying for it with the intent of giving up his or her U.S. nationality. That intent could be shown by statements or actions.

Dual nationality is recognized by the federal government, but it is U.S. policy not to encourage it because it may cause problems.

  • Claims by another country on someone who is a dual national may force the person to comply with U.S. laws or conflicting laws of the other country.
  • Dual nationality could limit U.S. government ability to help a national physically in the other country.
  • If the person is located in the other country he or she may feel more allegiance to it, not the U.S.

Dual nationals can find themselves pulled in different directions.

  • They owe allegiance to the U.S. and the other country.
  • They need to obey both countries’ laws, which may conflict.

These countries allow dual citizenship, though some require permission and there may be limitations:

Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Bangladesh, Canada, Cyprus, United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Korea, South Africa, Egypt, Greece, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Hungary, Iceland, Sweden, Slovenia, Syria, Serbia, Armenia, Lebanon, Malta, Spain, Tonga, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Portugal, and Turkey.

Dual citizenship is not allowed for citizens of these nations:

Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Burma, Bahrain, Botswana, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Estonia, Iran, Poland, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Japan, Peru, Kuwait, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Chile, Kiribati, Poland, Korea, Kuwait, Denmark, Latvia, Singapore, Slovakia, Ecuador, Lithuania, Solomon Islands ,Fiji ,Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Romania, Thailand, Mexico, Nepal, Venezuela, Norway, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Myanmar, and Nepal.

If you live in Kentucky and have questions about dual citizenship or nationality, contact our office so we can discuss the immigration process, the applicable law and how we can help.