Originally published at: Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship : The Definitive Guide
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Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship
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There’s an unfortunate reality in our world right now, it is unstable. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opening disaster that affected the entire global economy. Additionally, there has been a rise in employment, Brexit, and political instability in the United States.
In times of trouble, you feel the need to protect yourself and your family. What better way to do this than dual citizenship?
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual Citizenship means having citizenship in a foreign country, in addition to the citizenship of your own country. Having dual or multiple citizenship can be an excellent way to increase your global mobility and have a “plan B”. As a dual citizen, you have the chance to be more mobile in case of political or economical trouble in your country.
Can Anyone Have Dual or Multiple Citizenship?
Unfortunately no. Not all countries allow dual citizenship. It would be unfortunate if having a second passport means you need to renounce your original one. In some cases, trading your own nationality for a foreign nationality might be a good move. However, that depends on your own nationality and the foreign one that you’re obtaining.
There are today, more and more countries that allow dual citizenship. However, there are many countries where acquiring a second citizenship is strictly forbidden. This is why you should do some research before you acquire a foreign passport.
Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship
Albania allows dual citizenship in all cases. Albanian citizens are free to apply for a second passport. Foreign nationals are also welcome to apply for Albanian citizenship without having to renounce their original citizenship.
Australia allows its citizens to get citizenship of another country or multiple citizenships.
Barbados allows Barbadian citizens to hold dual citizenship. It also allows foreign individuals to become dual nationals there.
There are a few conditions for dual citizens of Bangladesh. When you become a citizen of Bangladesh, you need to keep a clean criminal record for five years. If in those years you get sentenced to imprisonment or incur a criminal fine, your citizenship will be taken away. Additionally, Bangladesh citizens are allowed dual nationality, without losing their original one.
Belgium fluctuated a bit on the list of countries that allow dual citizenship. Up until 2008, Belgian citizens were not allowed another citizenship. As of 2008, though, dual citizenship is allowed.
Moreover, Belgium had more relaxed laws about foreigners obtaining citizenship in the past. Acquiring second citizenship there was easy. You had to live for three years in the country and keep a clean criminal record. Nowadays, you might need between five to nine years to obtain a Belgian passport.
Bulgaria has a complicated past. Many Bulgarians relinquished their citizenship in the past when they migrated in the late 20th century. Those individuals, and their descendants, may get their citizenship back.
Additionally, ethnic Bulgarians may have a second citizenship. However, foreign citizens who become naturalized in Bulgaria must renounce their foreign citizenship.
The Great Untamed North is one of the dual citizenship countries. What’s interesting about Canada is that many Canadians are born in the US. This means they have Canadian citizenship and US citizenship.
As a matter of fact, there’s a term for Canadians born in the US or vice versa. The term is “Border Babies”.
The Chilean government allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship. Also, foreigners who become Chilean citizens may keep their original citizenship.
You don’t have to give up on your current citizenship to become a Colombian citizen because Colombia accepts dual citizenship. Colombian citizenship is also granted to children born in the country. Being the parent of a Colombian citizen may allow you to gain citizenship in as little as two years.
Costa Rica allows its citizens, and foreigners who become naturalized in Costa Rica, to hold dual citizenship.
Much like Bulgaria, Croatia’s dual nationality law is a bit complicated. Ethnic Croatians, who obtained citizenship through birth or by descent, are allowed to have another citizenship. However, you can’t obtain Croatian citizenship without first renouncing any other citizenship.
Cyprus not only allows dual citizenship, but it also has its own citizenship by investment program. Under this program, a foreign individual may apply for citizenship in exchange for an investment in the country. So it only makes sense that Cyprus is among the countries that allow dual citizenship.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This citizenship by investment program was suspended in October 2020, we will update you on any further information when it becomes available.
Up until 2014, the Czech Republic forbade its citizens to have any “other allegiances”. This was very important to the nationalistic standards of the Czech Republic. However, as of 2014, citizens in the Czech Republic may hold dual citizenship.
Denmark joined the list of countries that allow dual citizenship as of 2015. Before that, any Danish citizen had to be only Danish. That was because Denmark didn’t recognize dual citizenship back then.
The Dominican Republic has a citizenship by investment program. It grants citizenship in exchange for an investment in real estate, thus it allows dual citizenship.
Any Egyptian citizen may hold multiple nationalities. However, they must declare this to the Egyptian authorities. If an Egyptian citizen obtains a second citizenship, they have to inform the government of their intent to keep their original citizenship within one year. An Egyptian dual national is prohibited from enrolling in military and police academies. They are also exempt from military service, and may not be elected to the Egyptian Parliament.
Finland recognizes dual citizenship as of 2003. Since then, any foreign national who becomes naturalized as Finnish may keep their original citizenship.
Citizens of France have been allowed to hold dual or multiple citizenships for decades. As a matter of fact, France fought against the Council of Europe’s proposal that attempted to reduce citizens with multiple nationalities.
Greece is among the countries that allow dual citizenship. Greek citizens are allowed to have a second passport if they choose so.
There is also a Golden Visa program in Greece. This program allows any foreign individual to become a permanent resident there in exchange for an investment in real estate. Learn more about this program here.
In general, dual citizenship is allowed in Hungary.
Iceland joined the list of countries that recognize dual citizenship back in 2003. Additionally, some people lost their Icelandic status due to the old system. Iceland gave them four years to apply for reinstatement.
Ireland does allow dual citizenship. In addition, Ireland allows citizens with Irish ancestors to claim an Irish passport. What’s interesting here, is that Ireland only has about 4.9 million inhabitants. However, there are nearly 14 million Irish passports in circulation.
Israel also allows its citizens to obtain citizenship of another country. Additionally, Israel has a passport program called the Law of Return. Under this law, any Jewish person may return to Israel and obtain a second passport there. The Israeli government allows this person to keep their original passport.
The Italian government considers any person with Italian bloodlines to be an Italian citizen. Any person who can prove their Italian ancestry may become naturalized. You don’t need to renounce your existing citizenship if you obtain second citizenship in Italy.
Dual citizenship is allowed in Jamaica in general.
Kosovo is a special case in the multiple citizenship category. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. This is why many Kosovars have a unique Serbian passport issued by a special passport office in Belgrade. Many Kosovars have a second or third citizenship in places they migrated to. This is why Kosovo is one of the countries that allow dual citizenship.
Latvia joined the list of countries that allow dual citizenship in 2013. This is excellent news, as Latvia allows investors from another country to hold residency by starting a business or investing in real estate there. This can technically count as a citizenship by investment scheme as it may lead to Latvian citizenship. You can be eligible for citizenship after ten years of residence there.
Malta allows for dual citizenship. There is a program called Malta Investment Immigrant Program (MIIP), which lets investors invest a certain amount and obtain Maltese citizenship.
Any person who is a Mexican at birth may have citizenship of another country. However, the Mexican government will always consider them Mexican. Moreover, the Mexican government requires all dual citizens to enter and leave the country using their Mexican passport.
Nigerians may have dual nationality. There is some public pressure on those who wish to acquire foreign citizenship, but it’s more cultural than anything else.
Pakistan has a population of about 8.8 million. What’s interesting is that some 10 million Pakistanis live in another country. There are so many Pakistani nationals that live outside of Pakistan they actually have the term “Overseas Pakistani” for them.
Pakistan allows its citizens to have foreign citizenship, as the “Overseas Pakistani” are vital to Pakistan’s economy. This is because many Pakistanis who work outside the country send money back to Pakistan.
The situation in Panama is slightly complicated. Technically speaking, the Panamanian government forbids acquiring a second nationality. If a person were to become a citizen of Panama through naturalization, they must first take an oath to renounce any previous citizenship.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Many countries (including the United States of America) do not recognize this oath as officially relinquishing your existing citizenship by law.
This is why, while it’s technically not among dual citizenship countries, it may be possible to hold dual citizenship there.
Many countries allow dual citizenship in Latin America. This is specifically for citizens of other Latin countries, including Spain. In many cases having multiple citizenships is allowed in Peru.
Filipino citizens who obtain a second passport don’t lose their original citizenship. However, it’s truly difficult for a foreigner to obtain citizenship in the Philippines. So while the Philippines does allow dual citizenship, dual citizens are usually Filipinos who acquired foreign citizenship and not vice versa.
Portugal has a highly successful Golden Visa program. It allows any person who invests in real estate, or other investment options, to become a resident there. This will eventually make the investor a permanent resident, and even qualify them for citizenship.
While the Portugal Golden Visa, is not technically a citizenship by investment program, it can lead to citizenship. This means, of course, that Portugal does allow dual citizenship.
Romania does not revoke the citizenship of Romanians who acquire a second passport. The Romanian government also often grants dual citizenship to Moldovans.
Serbia offers its own citizenship by descent program. It also allows those who become naturalized to have dual citizenship.
While Slovenia does allow those who are Slovenian by birth to get another citizenship. You often must renounce your existing citizenship if you become naturalized there.
Until 1995 South Africa made it illegal for its citizens to travel on foreign passports. between 1995 and 2014 South Africa required any citizen who wished to obtain citizenship in another country to declare their intention first.
South Africa joined the list of countries that allow dual citizenship in 2014. Like some dual citizenship countries, South Africa requires its citizens to enter and leave the country using their South African passport. Additionally, foreigners who gain south African citizenship don’t need to renounce their original one.
The laws in South Korea are a bit complicated. Those who become dual nationals at birth may keep both their passports. This is provided that they declare their intention to keep their nationality in South Korea before they are 22 years of age.
Additionally, the government in South Korea does not allow its adult citizens to pursue a second passport. However, expats living in South Korea, who obtain citizenship through the citizenship by investment program, are allowed to keep their original citizenship.
Dual citizenship for Spanish citizens is allowed. This is provided that they inform the Spanish government within three years of obtaining their foreign citizenship. There are some exceptions to this rule for natural citizens of Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Iberoamerican countries.
Spain’s Golden Visa program allows you permanent residence in Spain in exchange for an investment. It can also count as a citizenship by investment program as it may lead to citizenship.
St Kitts & Nevis
Many Caribbean countries allow dual citizenship. St Kitts & Nevis has one of the oldest citizenship by investment programs in the world. St Kitts & Nevis have attracted many investors over the years, due to the strong passport and warm climate there. By default, St Kitts & Nevis is one of the countries which allow dual citizenship.
In 2001, Sweden got rid of the law which prohibited multiple citizenships. Now, foreigners may acquire Swedish citizenship without letting go of their birth citizenship. Additionally, swedes may acquire as many citizenships as they like.
Around 60% of Swiss nationals living abroad are dual nationals. This means that dual nationality is more than welcome in Switzerland.
Children born in Syria obtain their Syrian citizenship. It’s difficult for foreigners to obtain Syrian citizenship, as you have to marry a Syrian citizen and live in the country for ten years. Technically, Syrian citizens are allowed to have dual citizenship. However, they are not allowed to renounce their Syrian citizenship under any circumstance. “Once Syrian, always Syrian,” the government says.
What’s interesting about dual nationals in Turkey, is that they are not required to use their Turkish passport to enter or leave the country. However, a Turkish citizen obtaining foreign citizenship has to submit a lot of paperwork to the proper authorities.
The United Kingdom has allowed its citizens to have dual citizenship since 1948 under the Nationality Act. However, in some BOT (British Overseas Territories) such as Anguilla, the citizens may lose their ability to obtain British citizenship if they obtain another nationality.
The UK has a straightforward process where a permanent resident may spend a certain number of years in the country and be eligible for British citizenship. Check out our article on Permanent Residence in the UK.
The United States of America allows its citizens to hold multiple nationalities. However, you may need to declare what the United States government refers to as “Other allegiances” when applying for a US passport. Keep in mind that a Green Card is not the same as dual citizenship, it’s more of a permanent residence.
Venezuela allows dual citizenship, as anyone who is born on Venezuelan soil has the irrevocable right to citizenship.
Now that we’ve talked about countries that allow dual citizenship, what about countries that don’t allow citizenship? Or ones that allow dual citizenship under very specific circumstances? Well, this is what the next section is for.
Countries That Don’t Allow Dual Citizenship
Technically as a foreigner, you can become a citizen of Andorra, if you live there for 20 years. There have been almost no such cases. Additionally, Andorran citizens who take another citizenship lose their Andorran Nationality.
Austria technically doesn’t allow dual citizenship in the country. However, there is some sort of a “secret” path to obtaining Austrian nationality. There is a citizenship program that allows extremely wealthy individuals to gain citizenship in exchange for a donation of several million dollars. In addition, a high-ranking Austrian official must recommend you to the government, so it’s basically next to impossible.
There are some exceptions where you may have multiple nationalities in Austria:
- Children born to one Austrian parent and one foreign parent
- Those who are forbidden by law to renounce their existing citizenship
- Children who are given nationality by birth in another country (The United States of America for example)
- Foreign professors who receive honorary Austrian nationality.
This tiny middle eastern country has long rewarded citizenship to expats who make a considerable contribution. It does, however, forbid dual citizenship to its citizens.
China only recognizes Chinese citizens to be citizens of China. However, many Chinese citizens apply for foreign citizenship in order to expand their business. While technically they’re not allowed to hold a second citizenship, there’s no strict enforcement.
If you are born in El Salvador, you may have dual citizenship. However, if a person becomes naturalized in El Salvador then they are not allowed to have multiple nationalities
Estonia does not technically allow dual citizenship. Many Estonians, however, tend to have a second passport, usually from Russia. The bureaucratic system is so messy there, that the government may sometimes not check the existing citizenships of a naturalized citizen.
Here’s where it gets really interesting though. If you become naturalized in Estonia, and then obtain another citizenship, you will lose your Estonian nationality. On the other hand, if you’re Estonian by birth, you technically can’t lose your Estonian nationality even if you get foreign citizenship. This is because the Estonian government determines that nationality by “blood”.
Germany only recognizes dual citizenship in certain cases, such as:
- Children born to a German and non-German parent, or to parents with dual nationality, obtain the nationalities of both parents at birth. This is according to the law of descent.
- In accordance with the Nationality Act, ethnic German repatriates, and their family acquire German citizenship when they’re issued a repatriate certificate. They do not have to give up their previous citizenship.
- A foreign citizen may NOT keep their original citizenship if they become a German by naturalization. Except for cases where their country of birth doesn’t allow them to renounce their citizenship.
- Citizens of the EU and Swiss citizens may also keep their original citizenship.
The Indian government does not allow dual citizenship. They did however introduce a program known as OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India).
The Overseas Citizenship of India is granted to persons of Indian origins who have migrated from India and acquired foreign citizenship. This is provided that their home country allows for multiple citizenship.
Moreover, persons registered as OCI don’t have voting rights or election rights. They do, however, have the right to multiple entries and indefinite stay in India.
The Indonesian government does not recognize dual citizenship except for citizens under 18 years of age. By that age, a person who has not chosen their citizenship has to acquire an affidavit in order to retain both citizenship. However, after reaching 21 years of age, they must choose one citizenship.
Japan is quite strict when it comes to dual citizenship law. A Japanese citizen is only allowed citizenship in one country, Japan. The government forces children with nationalities in two countries to choose which one they want to keep when they are 18 years of age.
Lithuania grants those with Lithuanian ascendants citizenship by descent. However, it requires all individuals to give up any other citizenship in order to be a Lithuanian citizen.
Luxembourg has a competitively strong passport. However, it’s the only one the government allows its citizens to hold.
Malaysia grants residency through some investor visa programs. Anyone with Malaysian citizenship, however, may not have dual citizenship.
Montenegro and Serbia have had talks to allow dual nationalities between the two countries. However, as of 2020, Montenegro forbids dual citizenship for its citizens.
Moreover, Montenegro does have a citizenship by investment program. Investors under this program may hold their original citizenship.
Saudi Arabia law does not recognize Dual Citizenship. Children of Saudi fathers automatically acquire citizenship in Saudi Arabia at birth, regardless of the country where the child was born. Saudi women cannot transmit citizenship, therefore, their children would acquire only the citizenship of the father.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands does not allow any dutch citizen to have an additional nationality. There are some exceptions though for subjects who obtain other citizenship through marriage, or at birth.
Norway doesn’t generally allow its citizens or those who become Norweignan by naturalization, to have dual citizenship. There are some exceptions for those who are not allowed by the law of their birth country to renounce their original citizenship.
Poland doesn’t technically recognize dual citizenship, though in practice it’s tolerated. However, it’s forbidden for a Polish citizen to identify themselves to Polish authorities as a foreign citizen.
The position of the Singapore Government is that dual citizenship is not allowed. A child born to a Singaporean and a foreign parent would have dual citizenship at birth, but they must renounce one when they are 18 years of age.
The laws of citizenship in Sri Lanka are quite complicated. The country technically forbids dual citizenship. However, a person from Sri Lanka, who has lost their citizenship by acquiring a foreign one, may reapply for citizenship under very specific circumstances.
They have to apply to the Minister which is in charge of the subject, and it’s at the discretion of the minister to weigh their application and either accept or reject it.
Tanzanians may not have dual citizenship. One exception to this rule is women who acquire a second nationality by marrying a foreigner.
Thailand might be the most strict country in the world when it comes to dual nationality. It’s just a simple NO.
Let’s just say that as a Ukrainian, you might want to keep your double nationality away from the government. It’s not forbidden, per se, but you might get in trouble as it’s an “allegiance to the country” issue.
United Arab Emirates
The only way to hold dual citizenship in the United Arab Emirates is if you were born with another citizenship, and have a father who is a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. Your father confers citizenship upon you, and you can keep your original one.
Can US Citizens Have Dual citizenship?
Yes! The United States state department does allow dual citizenship.
How to Get Dual Citizenship?
There are many ways to obtain dual citizenship. Some of these include citizenship by investment programs, naturalization, marriage with a foreigner, or fulfilling specific stay requirements in a country. Check our article on Dual Citizenship for more information.
What Does It Mean to Have Dual Citizenship?
A person with Dual citizenship means a citizen who has nationality in two countries at the same time. Many countries allow dual citizenship, with some allowing multiple citizenship.
Does Dual Citizenship Mean Two Passports?
Often when you are a citizen of a country, you have the citizenship and passport of that country. This means that if you have dual citizenship, you’ll most probably have citizenship and passport of each country.
What Are The Pros And Cons of Having Dual Citizenship?
Having a dual citizenship may be the best decision you ever make. Those with dual citizenship may enjoy the benefits of both countries, such as social security, education, and visa-free access.
There’s also the issue of land ownership. While some countries allow foreigners to own land, others only allow nationals to do so.
On the other hand, having dual citizenship may have bad implications. For example, sometimes you’d have to pay taxes in two countries. Dual citizenship may also mean having to serve in the military and so on.
How Many Countries Have Citizenship by Investment Programs?
There are about 20 countries that offer investor immigrant programs, learn more about all the countries in our article on citizenship by investment.
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