The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen
of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship
laws based on its own policy.Persons may have dual nationality
by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice.
For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen
parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country
A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or
a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship
of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality
or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also,
a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does
not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires
a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship.
In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person
must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice,
and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.
Intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct.The
U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does
not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems
it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S.
citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may
limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. The country
where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim
to that person's allegiance.
However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States
and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of
both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws,
particularly if the person later travels there.Most U.S. citizens,
including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and
leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by
the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that
country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship.Most
countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose citizenship.
Information on losing foreign citizenship can be obtained from
the foreign country's embassy and consulates in the United States.
Americans can renounce U.S. citizenship in the proper form at
U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.