Can U.S. Citizens Hold Citizenship In More Than One Country

When talking about the U.S. citizenship law, the jus soli principle is used. According to the U.S. Fourteenth Amendment, any person born on U.S. soil is considered a U.S. citizen.   Other countries’ laws may discuss citizenship to persons born on U.S. grounds based on their parents’ citizenship. For instance, a child born in the U.S. from a German citizen is given automatic citizenship of both the United States and Germany.

U.S. law, however, doesn’t recognize a Dual Citizenship. Yet, it doesn’t hinder it either.  According to federal regulations, a U.S. citizen needs to have their passport to go in and out of the country. A U.S. citizen who becomes a citizen of another country relinquishes their U.S. citizenship, but the government must prove this is what a person is doing.

When people are confused on the question - "Am I going to lose my US citizenship, if I am a dual US and other country's citizen?" - the answer is that there is no such law forcing the government to tak your citizenship against your will. However, it is fully legitimate action if you, at your own will, decide to give up the right of having the citizenship without any external power.

Dual Citizenship is attained at birth or attained by taking the country’s oath of allegiance. In the majority of countries, people can attain citizenship after being a lawful resident or by marrying one of the country’s citizens.

For example, German Citizenship can be extended to people who have lived lawfully in the country for 10 years or after two years of being married to a German-born resident (it’s three years if they live outside of the country).

This is not the case if somebody discusses their citizenship at birth. When this happens, there’s no naturalization process and no need for an oath of allegiance. Some countries, under the jus sanguinis principle, discuss citizenship at birth.

For instance, the German government recognizes an at-birth citizenship so long as they have an ancestor with German descent. Of course, they must prove the German bloodline.  There are four key cases in which U.S. citizens with German descent can claim German Citizenship:

1 – Applicant father was German citizen at applicant’s birth and never denounced their German citizenship
2 – Applicant mother was German citizen at applicant’s birth and never denounced their German citizenship
3 – Applicant father born in U.S.; paternal grandfather was German citizen at time of birth and neither applicant nor father denounced German citizenship.
4 – Applicant’s father was born on U.S. soil after Jan. 1, 1948, applicant’s paternal grandmother was German citizen at birth time and neither applicant nor father denounced German citizenship.

People who have a Dual Citizenship could be unable to seek emergency assistance from the U.S. government. Also there could be a possibility that US immigration officers would ask for the US passport and things get confused if someone claims oneself as a dual US/other citizen when entering the US. 

Whether it is lawful or not will not a concern of the officer, as they would only determine if the person should be let in. If you have a specific problem or question regarding this complex dual citizenship issue, it is always good idea to seek an experienced immigration lawyer.