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Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

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  • Writer's pictureParviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

Six Ways of Being an American Dual Citizen

Updated: 2 days ago

By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

Being a dual citizen puts you a step ahead on the chessboard

An American dual citizen is a person who has dual, or multiple citizenship, American citizenship among them.

American dual citizenship is kind of its own category of dual citizenship due to the United States' unique position as global hegemon. This brand of dual citizenship has its own peculiarities. Furthermore different paths to American dual citizenship even have their practical issues as well.

By my count, there are at least six ways of being an American dual citizen.

  1. You are born a dual citizen within the United States (ex. You are born in the U.S. to a Mexican father).

  2. You are born a U.S. single-citizen and you then naturalize in another country.

  3. You are an immigrant who naturalizes in the U.S. as an adult.

  4. You are an immigrant who naturalizes in the U.S. as a child (i.e. derivative U.S. naturalization).

  5. You are born outside of the United States as a citizen of some country and you acquire U.S. citizenship (i.e. American citizenship by descent).

  6. You are born a citizen of a foreign country and as a U.S. non-citizen national, and you then naturalize in the United States (per INA section 308).

In my practice, I’ve seen how the way in which someone is or has become a dual citizen affects their rights, or the rights of their descendants.

Some examples:

  • Naturalized U.S. citizens can be stripped of citizenship for fraud, and a few other limited reasons.

  • People who naturalized in the United States as child derivatives sometimes kept their other citizenship, whereas adults would not be able to.

  • Being born a dual citizen can sometimes result in preservation of both citizenships whereas naturalizing in one or the other country would result in loss of citizenship.

  • Discovering eligibility for acquisition of citizenship can effectively nullify a person’s previous immigration violations or convictions, whereas an attempted naturalization would not.

There are many other peculiarities specific to each category of American dual citizenship. We’ll go into these peculiarities and specific issues in forthcoming articles.

Looking to become an American dual citizen? These are some great second citizenship options that we help Americans with at Malakouti Law.

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