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What are the advantages and disadvantages of dual citizenship?

It can be very advantageous for an immigrant to move from their home country to the United States. As the U.S. is the land of opportunities, many come to America for work opportunities and to start fresh. However, when a foreign national is not leaving their home country because they are seeking asylum or refuge, he or she may want to keep ties with their home country. In this situation, an immigrant might seek to maintain their citizenship with their home country while obtaining citizenship of the U.S.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dual citizenship? To begin, dual citizenship should be understood. This is when a person is a citizen of two countries. This is sometimes referred to as dual nationality, as it sometimes automatically occurs. Situations that give rise to automatic dual citizenship include when a child is born in the U.S. to foreign parents or when a child is born in another country with one parent being a citizen of the U.S. and the other parent being a citizen of the country the child is born in.

The advantages of dual citizenship are often clear and obvious. A person is able to experience the benefits and privileges of both countries. He or she will have access to two social service systems, can vote in either country and has the ability to run for office in both countries; however, this can be dependent on the specific laws of the country. Finally, dual citizenship allows a person to work in two countries.

On the other hand, disadvantages may not be entirely apparent. Take for example dual obligations. If a person decides to serve in the military of a foreign nation, he or she will not lose their citizenship to the U.S. There is also the issue of double taxation, meaning they are taxed in both countries. Finally, it can present problems if an individual is seeking a U.S. government position that requires security clearance.

Whether you have automatically been granted dual citizenship or are currently seeking it, it is important to understand the process and how to address any issues that could arise. Seeking legal guidance could help address issues during the initial phase or later down the road when dual citizenship is established.

Source: Investopedia.com, "Dual citizenship: The advantages and disadvantages," Jean Folger, Nov. 27, 2017

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