Dual Nationality

The following information uses the common term “dual nationality”, as most of our inquiries are for those wanting to hold two nationalities. It is however consistent for those seeking multiple nationality, such as a third or fourth nationality.

There is no uniform rule of international law relating to the acquisition of nationality.  Each country has its own laws on the subject, and nationality is conferred upon individuals on the basis of each nation’s independent domestic policy. It is prudent to check with authorities of the country to see if dual nationality is permissible under local law.

The U.S. Government recognizes and permits Americans to have other nationalities; however they also recognize the problems which it may cause, and therefore does not encourage it as a matter of policy. Claims of other countries upon dual-national U.S. citizens often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other (eg: military service). In addition, dual nationality may hamper our efforts to provide U.S. consular protection.

Dual nationality can occur as the result of a variety of circumstances. The automatic acquisition of a foreign nationality by birth in a foreign country or through an alien parent does not affect U.S. nationality. Dual nationality can also occur when a person is naturalized in a foreign state without intending to relinquish U.S. nationality, and is thereafter found not to have lost their U.S. nationality. The Department of State has provided a list of “potentially expatriating acts,” which, once performed, may cause a U.S. national to lose their U.S. nationality.  

Please note: All U.S. citizens, regardless of other nationalities they may hold, maintain their obligations to the United States, including the requirement to file annual tax returns.

The U.S. Consulate General encourages you to review all information provided by the Department of State, or seek professional legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney to enable you to make the most informed decision regarding the potential acquisition of another nationality. For further information regarding U.S. policy on dual nationality, as well as potentially expatriating acts, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Dual Nationality – Use of Passports

If you are a U.S. citizen you must, by law, enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport, regardless of age or possession of foreign passports. The details of this law can be found in U.S. Code Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part II, § 1185 paying particular attention to section (b) which details:

“…it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.”

For this reason, all U.S. citizens are ineligible for a visa to the United States, including entering the United States on a foreign passport under the Visa Waiver Program.

Tthe Australian Border Force provides information on documentary requirements for the entry and departure from Australia. In particular, they state that:

“As an Australian citizen you must always leave and enter Australia on an Australian passport. If you also have a passport from another country you can use that for travel once you have left Australia.”

Please ensure that you follow these guidelines to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays when entering the United States.  You should be aware that port of entry officials in the U.S. do have the authority to issue fines and refuse entry into the United States should you choose to disregard this law.