Kentucky residents may be United States citizens while also being nationals of a foreign country at the same time. The U.S. accepts dual nationality although it can pose dichotomies at times that are hard to reconcile.
Dual nationality signifies that a person is a national or citizen of two nations simultaneously. This can occur by choice or by consequential operation of the differing laws of the two countries.
Common examples of dual nationality
The clearest example may be that of a baby born outside of the United States to two American citizens. That baby may have dual nationality with that other country where he or she was born, while also being a citizen of the United States. Marriage is also a method of gaining a nationality outside of the United States.
A person who becomes naturalized to the United States may retain the nationality he or she was born with. The U.S. does not require that people pick one country over the other. However, one who voluntarily chooses a foreign country by affirmatively requesting nationality with that country may lose U.S. citizenship if that is his or her intention.
Possible problems with dual nationality
Despite freedom of choice in this arena, the United States recognizes that problems can arise with dual nationality. For instance, claims of the other country against a dual American national may clash with U.S. statutes. Also, dual nationality may constrain the U.S.’s ability to help the person when he or she is outside of the United States.
The person owes loyalty to both countries. However, a nation’s claim for a person’s fidelity is stronger if the dual national is present in that country. Also, the person may have twice as many laws to obey since both countries’ laws will apply to the dual national. Both countries have enforcement rights concerning its own rules, particularly if the person visits or lives there.
Most American dual nationals must use an American passport to travel in and out of the United States. The foreign country may also require the same. Use of the non-U.S. country’s passport does not put U.S. citizenship at risk.