By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.
Applying to naturalize in a relax, orderly manner is preferred to having to apply the rocket boosters
This article is part of our series on mobility concept & strategy explainers.
Besides the greater benefits of increased freedom of movement and family security, there are some reasons one might need to naturalize, and thereby attain citizenship rights in a hurry.
Remember - you can oftentimes exercise an option to APPLY for naturalization on short notice. This is not to be conflated with exercising an option to OBTAIN citizenship on short notice. Naturalization applications can take months or even years to be adjudicated after submission.
The difference between applying and obtaining is huge, especially if citizenship rights are needed pronto.
This is a general list of scenarios I’ve witnessed in my years practicing immigration and naturalization law. Many of these scenarios apply equally within the United States as for American citizens considering naturalizing in foreign countries (and becoming a dual citizen).
These are 10 real life reasons someone might need second citizenship rights in a hurry.
You need a passport, because one is not available from your current country of citizenship (possibly due to a passport attack vector).
You need the right of a citizen to bring your family to the country (e.g. to become an “immediate relative” in the U.S. immigration system).
You want to renounce your first citizenship.
Your current permanent residency category in the country will be eliminated, thereby threatening your ability to reside there.
You anticipate criminal charges coming down the pike that will jeopardize your residency eligibility.
For government or contract work, you need federal security clearance in your country that is only available to citizens.
You anticipate possibly needing extradition protection from a country that does not extradite its own citizens.
You need the second citizenship to use a “friendlier consulate” springboard to gain residence or a visa in a third country.
Unilateral or multilateral sanctions against your first country are severely restricting your current travel access (as if happening with many Russian citizens at present).
You need a second citizenship to use a “residence permit springboard” to gain residence in a third country (ex. a Russian citizen of Armenian descent, obtains Armenian citizenship by descent to access the U.S. E-2 investor visa).
To date, we’ve had clients dealing with eight of the ten urgent reasons. These are issues lurking in the background that should be identified as soon as possible so swift action can be taken.
The possibility of needing citizenship rights immediately is also one of the reasons that the decision to naturalize in a country ASAP or not should be considered carefully given the specific case issues.
Our position at Malakouti Law is that, as a general rule, most people are best served by applying to naturalize ASAP in a majority of situations. Notable exceptions would be presence of one of the four red flags of second citizenship, or some other case-specific scenario such as prohibition of dual citizenship by your home country, or plan to run for political office at home.
In any case, individual consultation with a citizenship expert is a must.
Each immigration and citizenship case is particular and you should consult with a qualified immigration and citizenship lawyer about your case before taking any steps. The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Attorney marketing.