All About Dual Citizenship: Benefits, Restrictions, Requirements, and Recommendations

Have you ever dreamed of having two passports and feeling at home in two countries? Let’s find out what dual citizenship is, how to obtain it, and which countries allow it. We’ll also cover the benefits, obligations, requirements, and share recommendations for those planning to acquire it.

What is Dual Citizenship?

Dual citizenship is a status where a person is simultaneously a citizen of two countries. This means having two passports and being able to enjoy the rights and obligations of both nations.

Dual and second citizenships are often confused, but there is an important distinction:

  • Dual Citizenship: Both countries officially recognize your status as a citizen of two states.
  • Second Citizenship: You are a citizen of another country, but your home country may not recognize this status. For example, you might obtain a second citizenship in another country, but your home country may only consider you its citizen and ignore your second passport.

In the first case, you can legally enjoy all rights in both countries. In the second case, you might face legal or administrative challenges.

What Does Dual Citizenship Offer?

You have the same rights as a single citizenship but in two countries. For example, you can live, work, study, vote in elections, receive medical care, and social benefits in either country.

Obligations:

  • Paying Taxes: Some countries, like the USA, require their residents to pay taxes on global income regardless of where they live. This policy might mean filing tax returns in both countries.
  • Military Service: You might be required to serve in the military of both countries, depending on their laws.

Additionally, legal difficulties can arise. Different countries have different laws, leading to potential legal conflicts. For example, property or inheritance rights may be regulated differently in each country.

How to Obtain It?

Rules and requirements vary for each country. Check detailed conditions from official sources or immigration consultants.

Birth

  • Birth on Territory: If a child is born in a country that recognizes jus soli (right of the soil), they automatically receive citizenship of that country, even if their parents are citizens of another country.
  • Birth to Resident Parents: If at least one parent has citizenship of another country, the child can automatically obtain citizenship of that country (jus sanguinis, right of blood).

Naturalization

  • Residency: Obtaining citizenship through long-term residence. Usually, this requires living in the country for a certain number of years, having a residence permit, and knowing the local language.
  • Marriage: Marrying a citizen of another country can accelerate the naturalization process. Requirements vary but often include living in the marriage for several years.
  • Investments: Some countries offer citizenship through investments, including purchasing real estate, investing in businesses, or creating jobs.
  • Special Merits: Sometimes, citizenship can be granted for special merits, such as sports achievements or scientific discoveries.

Return to Historical Homeland

  • Ethnic Programs: Some countries provide citizenship to people with ethnic roots or relatives in that country. For example, the repatriation program for Jews in Israel.

General Requirements for Obtaining

Residency

  • Long-term residence in the country, usually from 5 to 10 years.
  • Having a permanent residence permit or a long-term stay visa.

Language

  • Knowledge of the official local language sufficient for communication and understanding legislation.
  • Written and oral language exams.

Financial Stability

  • Proof of financial stability and income.
  • Having a job or other source of income.

Clean Criminal Record

  • Clean criminal history, no serious offenses.
  • Passing security checks.

Integration into Society

  • Understanding the culture, history, and legislation of the country.

Examples of Requirements in Different Countries

USA

  • 5 years of residence with a green card (3 years if married to a US citizen).
  • Knowledge of the English language and US history.

Germany

  • 5 years of residence (can be reduced to 3 years in special cases).
  • Knowledge of the German language.
  • Passing an integration course.

Spain

  • 10 years of residence.
  • Knowledge of the Spanish language.

Which Countries Allow and Prohibit Dual Citizenship?

Dual citizenship is possible only in countries with specific agreements. An agreement is an international treaty between countries allowing their citizens to hold citizenship of both countries simultaneously. These agreements outline the conditions under which one can obtain another country’s citizenship without renouncing their own.

Most countries allow dual citizenship or permit it with certain restrictions. However, some countries still strictly prohibit it. Below is a list of the most popular countries allowing and prohibiting dual citizenship.

Allow:

  • Canada, USA, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain (with certain restrictions), Russia (with certain restrictions), Ireland, Switzerland, Portugal, Norway (since 2020), Australia, Netherlands (with certain restrictions), New Zealand, UK, Germany (with certain restrictions), Belgium, Greece, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Philippines

Prohibit:

  • China, India, Japan, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Oman, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ukraine, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria (for adults), Qatar, Iran, Bahrain

Recommendations for Those Planning to Obtain Dual Citizenship

  1. Study Legislation: Ensure that both countries approve dual citizenship and understand the required conditions.
  2. Consult a Lawyer: Seek advice from an immigration lawyer to understand the nuances, requirements, and potential challenges.
  3. Prepare Documents in Advance: Start gathering all necessary documents early to avoid delays.
  4. Consider All Possible Expenses: Be prepared for significant financial costs, including fees, lawyer fees, document translations, and other expenses.
  5. Understand Residency Requirements: Learn how long you need to reside in the country before you can apply. Some countries require long-term residence.
  6. Prepare for Exams: Sometimes exams on language and basic legislation knowledge are required. Start preparing for these exams early.
  7. Keep Copies of Documents: Store copies of all submitted documents and payment confirmations. These may be important in case you need to confirm your application or resolve disputes.
  8. Plan Your Time: The process can take a long time. Be ready for a lot of waiting.
  9. Maintain Contact with Immigration Authorities: Check the status of your application and provide additional documents or information as requested by immigration authorities. This helps avoid delays and speeds up the process.

Conclusion

More and more countries are allowing dual citizenship, as people increasingly have ties in different countries. In 20 years, the number of such countries has grown by 25%. In 2000, there were 93, and in 2020, there were 116. This trend is likely to continue, making the process easier but also increasing security checks.

Now you know how to obtain dual citizenship and which countries approve it. If you plan to get this status, remember: it offers many benefits but also comes with new obligations. Research the laws, be ready for possible challenges and expenses. Obtaining this status is not quick, but with the right approach and persistence, it is achievable. Good luck!

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