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Understanding dual citizenship

For many of those who have immigrated to Louisville or other parts of the U.S., the ultimate goal is to become American citizens. Their decision to do so, however, may not necessarily mean that they also want to renounce their natural ties to their countries of origin. Being a dual citizen of two countries does have its advantages, with those being the ability to travel easily between the two nations, and to enjoy access to the social service programs of both. This begs the question of how can one earn dual citizenship

Half of that problem is already solved; one retains citizenship of his or her country of origin unless he or she expressly renounces it. There are several ways to acquire dual citizenship in the U.S., including: 

  • Being born outside of the country to one parent of a different nationality and another who is a U.S. citizen
  • Completing the naturalization process in the U.S. while choosing to also maintain citizenship to one's home country
  • Being born in the U.S. to immigrant parents

One can also seek to regain citizenship to his or her country of origin after having naturalized in the U.S. 

According to the State Department, the U.S. does not require one to renounce his or her foreign citizenship during the naturalization process. It also does not require those who acquire a foreign nationality to renounce their U.S. citizenship. Technically, the U.S. does not recognize dual citizenship. This means that one who becomes a citizen is expected to follow the duties and responsibilities of any citizen (including being required to pay taxes). Relief from such duties may not be available simply because one also owes them to a foreign country. 

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