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Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship

Multiple citizenshipdual citizenshipmultiple nationality, or dual nationality is a person’s citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person.

Citizenship status is defined exclusively by national laws, which can vary and can conflict. Multiple citizenship arises because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, criteria for citizenship. Colloquial speech refers to people “holding” multiple citizenship, but technically each nation makes a claim that a particular person is considered its national.

Dual citizenship means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time, having legal rights and obligations in connection with both countries. While dual citizenship gives certain advantages, such as easy residency in multiple countries and access to government programs, there are extra legal considerations that can make life more complicated. For example, the dual citizen may have tax obligations in more than one nation, or may need to fulfill residency requirements between two homelands.

Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. This may be by requiring an applicant for naturalization to renounce all existing citizenship, or by withdrawing its citizenship from someone who voluntarily acquires another citizenship, or by other devices. Some countries do not permit a renunciation of citizenship. Some countries permit a general dual citizenship while others permit dual citizenship but only of a limited number of countries.

Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc. Similarly, it may not permit consular access by another country for a person who is also its national. Some countries prohibit dual citizenship holders from serving in their militaries or on police forces or holding certain public offices.

The rights of citizenship are determined by each country, which sets its own criteria for citizenship. These criteria change from time to time, often becoming more restrictive. For example, until 1982 a person born in the UK was automatically a British citizen; this was subjected to restrictions from 1983. These laws may create situations where a person may satisfy the citizenship requirements of more than one country simultaneously. This would, in the absence of laws of one country or the other, allow the person to hold multiple citizenship. National laws may include criteria as to the circumstances, if any, in which a person may concurrently hold another citizenship.

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