Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship: A Complete List
Dual citizenship can offer several benefits, such as easier travel and better business opportunities. However, not every country allows dual citizenship. So which ones do? Let’s take a look.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. For example, if a US citizen moves to Germany and becomes a German citizen, they will have dual citizenship (unless they renounce their US citizenship.)
Becoming a dual citizen is a major step, and you should always know what to expect before making that choice. In some cases, it may not even be a choice, since not all countries allow dual citizenship.
Does the US Allow Dual Citizenship?
Yes. Under US law, American citizens are allowed to be citizens of another country as well. This applies regardless of whether:
- They were dual citizens at birth
- They were citizens of a foreign country first, then obtained US citizenship
- They were US citizens first, then obtained citizenship in a foreign country
In fact, there is no technical limit on how many countries a US citizen can hold citizenship in. Theoretically, a US citizen could become a citizen of a dozen other countries if they chose to. (This is generally not practical, of course.)
The Benefits of Dual Citizenship
You may be wondering why someone would bother becoming a dual citizen. What benefits does it offer? There are a few possible reasons you might opt for dual citizenship, such as:
- Ease of travel: By holding citizenship in two countries, you can travel more easily between both. Neither will require that you purchase a visa to cross their borders. Plus, with two passports, you may be able to visit other countries more easily than if you only had one. (Some countries require travelers with a US passport to obtain a visa, but wouldn’t require it if you use your non-US passport. The reverse scenario could also apply. Either way, this could allow you to enter more countries without needing an additional visa.)
- Business: Having citizenship in multiple countries may make it easier for you to work or conduct business in both. This could also reduce your tax burden.
- Security: Some expats feel more secure knowing that they have a second citizenship as a “backup plan” in case they ever want to renounce their original nationality.
- Quality of life: Dual citizenship may open the door to improved medical care, education, and more in both countries.
There are possible disadvantages to dual citizenship as well. For example, you may end up increasing your tax liability or other responsibilities of citizenship.
Where Do I Pay Taxes If I Have US Dual Citizenship?
This will depend on where you live and where your income comes from.
First things first: you will always have to file a US federal tax return regardless of where you live. This is because the US is one of only two countries in the world that imposes citizenship-based taxation rather than residence-based taxation. (The other is Eritrea.) You will also have to report your worldwide income, not just income that came from a US source.
Beyond this, if you live in the foreign country in which you hold your second citizenship, you will probably have to file taxes there, as well. This leaves you at risk for double taxation—being taxed twice on the same income.
For example, let’s say you’re a dual citizen of the US and Mexico. You live and work in Mexico, visiting the US only occasionally. Because you reside in Mexico, you will have to pay taxes to the Mexican government. But because the US taxes the worldwide earnings of its citizens, you may also have to pay taxes to the US government on the income that the Mexican government has already taxed.
Fortunately, there are several policies in place to help Americans living abroad avoid double taxation like this.
How Can I Avoid Double Taxation as a Dual Citizen?
1. Tax Treaties
The US has tax treaties with quite a few foreign governments. These treaties define which country an expat will owe income taxes to, reducing the risk of double taxation. Typically, you will pay taxes to whichever country you reside in for the majority of the tax year.
For example, because the US and Mexico have a tax treaty, in the example above, you would likely only have to pay taxes on your Mexican income to Mexico, and the US government would forgive your debt. (Though you would still be required to file a US tax return.)
2. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) is a tax exclusion available for US citizens living overseas. If you qualify for the FEIE, you can exclude a certain amount of foreign-source income from US taxation. The exact amount changes from year to year, adjusted for inflation. In 2022, Americans living abroad can exclude up to $112,000 of their foreign-source income.
3. Foreign Tax Credit
The Foreign Tax Credit is a tax credit equal to at least part of any taxes you paid to a foreign government. In many cases, you can claim the full amount you paid in foreign taxes, which could erase your US tax bill entirely.
How to Obtain Dual Citizenship
There are a number of ways to acquire citizenship in a country. Let’s look at some of the most common examples.
Often, you will be considered a citizen of a country at birth if either of your parents is a citizen of that country. For example, if your father is an American citizen, you will inherit American citizenship regardless of where you were born or what country you live in.
Naturalization means following a country’s established process for becoming a citizen. There will generally be several steps to this process. You may be required to:
- Reside in the country as a non-citizen for a certain period of time (often at least several years)
- Meet certain financial or employment standards
- Be endorsed or sponsored by existing citizens of the country
- Demonstrate proficiency in a national language
- Pass a written and/or spoken test
- Swear an oath of allegiance to the country
The requirements will vary by country.
Some countries automatically grant citizenship to any foreigner who marries an existing citizen. Others simply speed up the naturalization process, making it easier to become a citizen after marriage.
Some countries will grant you citizenship in return for an investment in the country’s economy. Typically, this means buying property or investing in a local business.
Which Countries Allow Dual Citizenship?
Every country has its own rules governing dual citizenship. Before obtaining citizenship in a second country, you should always take the time to learn what regulations you will be subject to.
To start with, not every country even allows dual citizenship. You may be required to renounce any former allegiances when becoming a citizen of that country. For example, China does not recognize dual citizenship. If a Chinese citizen obtains citizenship in a foreign country, they automatically lose their status as a citizen of China.
Other countries allow dual citizenship only under strict conditions. Spain, for example, only allows its citizens to maintain dual citizenship with certain Latin American countries.
So, which countries allow dual citizenship?
Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship
- Cabo Verde
- Côte d’Ivoire
- The Gambia
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka
- The Czech Republic
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Still Have Questions? We Can Help!
We hope this guide has helped you understand the rules of dual citizenship—as well as which countries allow dual citizenship at all. If you still have questions, we have answers.
At Greenback Expat Tax Services, we help Americans living abroad file their expat taxes accurately and on time. Just contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.
Click here to learn more about our services and flat-fee pricing to file your US expat taxes.
When you live in the US, tax day is simple: April 15th! When you move abroad, it’s not so straightforward! Learn about all the expat deadlines and extensions you need to know to file.