Canada & the USA Dual Citizenship

26 Apr 2024


Americans have become more interested than ever in becoming dual citizens and getting a second passport.  In addition, in the last few years, the number of Americans looking to move to Canada has skyrocketed.

Canada is America’s favorite country for obtaining dual citizenship. For US residents, it is considered one of the best and most accessible countries to apply for dual citizenship. Canada is the US's close neighbor known for its welcoming environment and straightforward immigration process. 

Over 200,000 Americans with Canadian grandparents recently regained the right to claim Canadian citizenship and become dual citizens of Canada and the USA.

On December 23, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court ruled against the second-generation citizenship cut-off in Canada.  The court ruling challenges the "second-generation cut-off," which prevented children of Canadians born abroad, from obtaining citizenship when they have their children outside of Canada.  The court ordered the Canadian government to repeal this provision within six months and amend the Citizenship Act.  Subsequently, the federal government announced that it agreed with the court ruling and would update the Citizenship Act to reflect the Ontario Superior court's decision. (IRCC New Release)



What is Dual Citizenship?

Dual citizenship, also known as dual nationality, means being a citizen of two different countries and having legal rights and obligations in connection with both countries at the same time. Multiple citizenship (or multiple nationality) is a legal status in which a person is recognized by more than one country. 

There are some obvious advantages to holding dual citizenship, but some factors can make life more complicated, such as serving military services in two countries.  However, gaining a Canadian Citizenship, won’t affect someone’s US Citizenship negatively.  

Does the United States allow dual citizenship?

In the context of the U.S. Citizenship rules, meaning that a person gain both a U.S. citizenship and a citizenship from another country.  The United States Government recognizes that dual Citizenship (nationality) exists. (Dual Nationality - U.S. Department of State) which allows it by default but does not encourage it as a matter of policy, because of the problems it may cause.

The US government does not require naturalized US citizens to give up their citizenship in their country of origin.  Although the United States Oath of Allegiance speaks of renouncing “allegiance and fidelity” to other nations, it doesn’t mean a person must renounce their other citizenship(s) to become a US Citizen.

U.S. immigration laws regarding dual citizenship are vague and do not explicitly address the issue.  The reason might be that the US Constitution does not mention dual citizenship. Only the 14th Amendment in the US Constitution defines being a US citizen as “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

The U.S. government’s position on dual citizenship is based on the US Supreme Court opinion that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both.”. 

There are two crucial Supreme Court decisions on dual citizenship:


Therefore, a U.S. citizen is American first, even if he/she has a second citizenship. However, if you apply for employment involving a high-level security clearance, you may be asked to divulge and renounce your citizenship from other countries.

However, just because the United States allows dual citizenship doesn’t necessarily mean the other countries, too.  Some countries, such as China and India, will not recognize dual citizenship of a naturalized American citizen.  Chinese and Indian citizens may automatically lose citizenship in those countries upon becoming U.S. citizens.

Some countries may demand that a U.S. citizen give up her/his American citizenship to become a citizen of that country, but the U.S. has no say in that.




Related Stories:

Descendent of Canadian Born Abroad regain their rights to Canadian Citizenship

How to become a dual citizen of Canada?

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