It is a general rule of thumb to say that most countries prefer that a person entering their specific country use a passport to do so and are also a citizen of that country. For instance, U.S. immigration and travel laws typically require a U.S. citizen to identify themselves by using a standard U.S. government issued passport upon arriving at a port to gain entry into the United States.
A person can normally obtain a dual citizen passport when they are a certified citizen of both countries for which they are requesting the passports from. This is known as having “dual citizenship” status. Briefly, having dual citizenship means that an individual is a citizen of two countries at the same time. A person who is considered to be a dual citizen will be granted the same legal rights and privileges as the citizens under the laws of both countries.
While having citizenship status in two countries offers many benefits, there are also some disadvantages as well. For instance, a person who holds dual citizenship may need to pay taxes in both countries. Depending on the laws of a country, a person with dual citizenship may also be required to fulfill a residency condition in one or both countries. A residency condition usually states that a person has to live and stay in a country for a certain time frame.
To learn more about the laws on dual citizenship or to apply for a dual citizen passport in the United States, you should speak to an immigration law attorney in your area for further legal advice. An attorney will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the process and can help you to apply for dual citizenship. An immigration law attorney will also be able to assist with many other U.S. immigration law matters, such as deportation issues.
How Can I Acquire Dual Citizenship?
A person who is from the United States and/or who holds U.S. citizenship status may be able to acquire dual citizenship in a number of ways. These include:
- By being born in the United States or one of its territories, even if their parents are both immigrants;
- By applying for citizenship in a foreign country while maintaining their status as a U.S. citizen and without having to renounce their status as a U.S. citizen when they register for citizenship in the other country;
- By being born in the United States to parents where one is a U.S citizen and the other parent is a citizen of another country;
- By becoming a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization while holding citizenship in another country or their country of origin;
- By being born in the United States or one of its territories to parents who are both U.S. citizens; and/or
- By applying for a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least three years while also being married to a U.S. citizen.
Is It against U.S. Law to Have More than One Passport?
It is not against U.S. immigration laws to have a passport from more than one country. Thus, a U.S. citizen is allowed to be a holder of both a U.S. passport and a foreign passport, so long as they are both valid and that the person is actually a citizen of both countries.
As for the other country, however, it may be an issue to be a holder of passports from multiple countries. This can happen when a foreign country does not permit dual citizenship under its laws. Some countries that do not allow a person to apply for a dual citizen passport include Venezuela, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Austria.
In addition, some countries may only allow a person to apply for dual citizenship in certain countries. For example, the country of Spain permits dual citizenship between itself and some Latin American countries, but does not allow dual citizenship between itself and the United States. Therefore, a person cannot apply for a dual citizen passport in both Spain and the U.S.
On the other hand, there are a handful of countries that do allow individuals to apply for dual citizen passports, such as Portugal, South Africa, Germany, and Turkey.
Is My Other Citizenship Relevant when Entering the U.S. as a U.S. Citizen?
Generally speaking, the passport that a citizen holds from another country when entering or leaving the United States as a U.S. citizen is not relevant. The U.S. immigration laws are only concerned about whether a person entering the country should be allowed to do so based on the status of their citizenship. Thus, if a person holds a U.S. passport, then they will have a legal right to be permitted entry, as well as to remain living and working in the United States.
While holding dual citizen passports may be relevant in another country, there is no special relevance for dual citizen passports under U.S. immigration laws. The reason for this is because a dual citizen passport will not help officials to determine whether a person is a U.S. citizen or not.
When Could It Be a Problem Traveling on Two or More Passports?
Having two or more valid dual citizen passports is not usually an issue in the United States. However, it may be confusing at times to know which passport should be used upon entering a country. The main problem with traveling on two or more passports is knowing whether the countries that a person wishes to hold dual citizen passports for permits dual citizenship. For instance, some countries give people a hard time when they hold citizenship in two countries.
In the event that another country forbids a person to have both a U.S. passport and one of their passports at the same time, then it is possible that they will encounter problems when traveling between the U.S. and such other countries. This is because U.S. law requires that U.S. citizens identify themselves when entering or leaving the United States by displaying their U.S. passport for proof that they are in fact a U.S. citizen.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
There are many issues that can arise when a person is the holder of dual citizen passports. These types of issues tend to come up when a person is traveling to or returning from another country. As previously mentioned, a person may also have trouble applying for a dual citizen passport if a foreign country has restrictions on which countries they permit an individual to hold dual citizenship from.
Therefore, it may be in your best interest to consult with a local immigration lawyer as soon as possible if you are planning on applying for a dual citizen passport. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to review the facts of your situation and can recommend some methods that you can use in order to efficiently resolve your problem.
Your lawyer can also inform you of your legal rights as either a U.S. citizen or a foreign-born national under U.S. immigration laws. In addition, if you need assistance with any other immigration law matters, your lawyer will be able to provide the right legal services to help you to resolve those issues as well. Lastly, your lawyer will be able to provide legal representation in court if you should need to appear before an immigration law judge or panel.