Dual nationality or citizenship means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time. Children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents can hold dual citizenship. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth. In Mexico, when a child is born, the parents take an official certificate of birth issued by the health department and a list of documents for the parents to register their child at the nearest Registro Civil within six months of the birth. Once registered, the child officially becomes a Mexican citizen. For U.S. citizens born abroad, the U.S. embassy or consulate in the child’s country of birth will issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) to document that the child is a U.S. citizen. During the same visit at the U.S. embassy or consulate, the child’s parents can apply and obtain a U.S. passport for the child . According to U.S. law, a CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and register for school, among other purposes.
Dual nationality can also occur when a person is naturalized in a foreign country without intending to relinquish his or her U.S. citizenship. Although the U.S. government does not endorse dual citizenship as a matter of policy, it recognizes the existence of dual citizenship and tolerates the maintenance of multiple citizenship by U.S. citizens. In the past, claims of other countries on dual-national U.S. citizens sometimes placed them in situations where their obligations to one country were in conflict with the laws of the other. In addition, dual nationality may hamper efforts of the U.S. Government to provide consular protection to them when they are in the country of their second nationality or even any other country.
In contrast, the European Union (EU) allows a person to hold one passport in common for its 28 member states. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State is a citizen of the European Union. Citizenship of the European Union is considered in addition to and not in place of a person’s national citizenship. This supplemental citizenship gives a person the right to vote in European elections, the right to free movement, settlement and employment across the European Union; and the right to consular protection by other EU states’ embassies when a person’s country of citizenship does not maintain an embassy or consulate in a country they need protection in.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have regarding dual citizenship and CRBAs.
– GL Staff