Questions on Citizenship and Nationality

Dual nationality is the simultaneous possession of two citizenships.

Dual nationality results from the fact that there is no uniform rule of international law relating to the acquisition of nationality. Each country has its own laws on the subject and confers its nationality on individuals on the basis of its national policy and law.

International law recognizes that each country determines who is a national of that country.

The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause.

Current U.S. nationality laws do not explicitly address dual nationality, but the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that dual nationality is a “status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both.”  See Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717 (1952).

The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person’s allegiance.  However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country and are required to obey the laws of both countries.  Claims of the other country on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may hamper efforts by the U.S. Government to provide diplomatic and consular protection to individuals overseas, particularly in their country of other nationality.

Not necessarily. U.S. citizens who naturalize in a foreign country or take an oath of allegiance to a foreign country do not automatically lose their U.S. citizenship.   In the case of a U.S. citizen naturalizing in a foreign country, the United States presumes intent to retain U.S. citizenship, unless the individual affirmatively indicates that he or she took the oath of allegiance to a foreign state voluntarily and with the intent to relinquish their U.S. citizenship.

When considering how to proceed in questions of dual nationality, you must decide the course of action which best suits your personal circumstances.  The Embassy can, however, discuss with you the consequences of any actions you may take upon your U.S. citizenship. (KuwaitACS@state.gov).  If you need to discuss the consequences for your Kuwaiti citizenship, you may wish to consider seeking advice from Kuwaiti authorities.

No, it makes no difference how you acquired U.S. citizenship; all U.S. citizens are considered equal in the eyes of the law.

Again, it is up to each individual to decide what course of action suits that person.  The fact that one country forces you to “choose” which nationality you want to exercise does not mean that you thereby lose U.S. citizenship.

The Privacy Act protects the personal data of U.S. citizens. Data on U.S. citizens are not routinely provided to foreign governments. When requested, however, we are permitted to disclose to foreign agencies information that the foreign agency needs to determine whether the individual has certain rights, is entitled to certain benefits or owes certain obligations, such as information necessary to establish identity or nationality.  We are also permitted to disclose information to foreign quthorities related to law enforcement.  We have no comment regarding how the Kuwait authorities process returning dual nationals.

Conflicts between nationality laws may pose great difficulty, as you may lose one nationality by complying with the requirements imposed by the second nationality. Such decisions should only be made after carefully considering the consequences. Questions about the effects of certain actions on your American nationality can be directed to the American Citizens Services section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait (KuwaitAcs@state.gov). Questions about the effect of certain actions on your Kuwaiti nationality should be directed to Kuwaiti authorities.

Yes, it is possible.  An individual who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization shall lose his or her nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts and with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality*:

Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application after having attained the age of eighteen years;

Taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state after having attained the age of eighteen years;

Entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the United States;

Serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state;

Accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state;

Accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state after attaining the age of eighteen years for which office, post, or employment an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required;

Making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General;

Committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States;

Or making a renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state. If you would like to formally renounce your citizenship in front of a consular officer here at U.S. Embassy – Kuwait, send us an email at kuwaitacs@state.gov. You can also click here for more information.

* Remember:  These acts are expatriating only if you perform them voluntarily and with the intent to lose U.S. citizenship.