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Dual nationality and citizenship status

Miami immigrants undergoing the naturalization and citizenship process are often curious to know how dual citizenship works with the United States and their countries of origin. Dual nationality may result from immigration, or it may result from automatic operation of different laws, such as when two U.S. nationals give birth to a child in a foreign country, that child may have automatic dual nationality.

The term "nationality" means that a person owes permanent allegiance to that country. "Dual nationality" means that a person owes allegiance to both countries at the same time. While each country has its own rules and regulations covering dual nationality, the United States does not require citizens to give up nationality with their country of birth or to give up U.S. nationality when immigrating to another country.

There are certain instances where dual nationality is a hardship. Responsibility to uphold the law of other countries may conflict with U.S. law. It may be difficult for the United States to assist dual nationals living or visiting in their other home country. Dual nationals must maintain two passports and hold allegiance to both countries. There are a few ways by a national may renounce nationality or citizenship status. This is generally done at foreign embassies or consulates in the United States or abroad.

When it comes to dual nationality and U.S. citizenship, each case is different because each country's laws are different. It is best to discuss these concerns with a citizenship lawyer, who may be able to provide quality counsel regarding whether or not it is best to stay a dual national or to renounce nationality status. A citizenship lawyer may also be able to assist with the naturalization process through filling out paperwork, preparing for interviews and providing courtroom advocacy if any problems arise.

Source: U.S. Department of State, " Dual Nationality", November 20, 2014

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