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What does it mean to have dual citizenship?

Many people who move to the United States wish to eventually gain citizenship so that they may fully enjoy the rights and benefits offered to citizens through the government. When seeking U.S. citizenship some individuals may choose to give up their citizenship in their home countries. Others may elect to retain their home country citizenship and obtain United States citizenship as well.

Dual citizenship means just that: retaining citizenship in two different countries. There are different ways that Chicago residents can become dual citizens. Having parents from a different country while being a United States citizen is one; becoming a naturalized United States citizen while maintaining one's home country citizenship is another. Readers should talk to their immigration attorneys about the different ways that dual citizenship may be sought.

While dual citizens may be able to benefit from the programs of both of their countries of citizenship, they may also face significant requirements to keep their citizenships current. Residency requirements, taxes and a host of other issues may put challenges and constraints on a person's ability to retain citizenship in two countries. The requirements for retaining citizenship in different countries may differ, and individuals should always ensure that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities when pursuing dual citizenship.

Individuals of dual citizenship may lose their United States citizenship if they engage in certain actions, such as fighting against the United States during a military conflict or renouncing their citizenship before a qualified United States government official. The decision to seek or retain dual citizenship is a personal one, and those who wish to learn more about how to complete the process should seek legal counsel from attorneys who practice U.S. immigration law in their communities.

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