Acquiring Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship is a status by which an individual is concurrently known to be citizens of two countries by the laws of those countries. Dual citizenship can be acquired in different ways. Below is an explanation of ways in which dual citizenship can be acquired.

Registration: A person alien to a given country but has the legal right to work and reside in that country can obtain the country’s citizenship by registration so long as they meet certain requirements. In Britain, foreigners working and residing in Britain can be granted citizenship by registration if they have lived for more than five years in United Kingdom.                      

Birth: When a child is born, he automatically acquires the nationality of the country in which he is born. This condition does not apply to all nations. For example in Kenya, in order to acquire citizenship by birth not only does one need to be born in Kenya but also at the time of birth, one of his parents should be a Kenyan citizen.

Descent: An individual born in a different country from that of his parent can claim citizenship of his parent by descent. Such a person must prove so in most cases his birth certificate is required.  In some countries, when a child is adopted outside the country in which his adopted parent is a citizen then he or she can claim citizen by descent in that country.  For instance the government of New Zealand grants citizenship to anyone born on or after January 1978 and a parent of his is of New Zealand nationality.  

Naturalization: Is the process by which a person becomes citizen of a country in which he was formerly an alien. The foreigner must however be legally allowed and resides in the country he is alien to for a given period. At time of his application for citizenship the individual promises or takes an oath to obey, abide and to be subjected to the laws of the country.                       

Marriage: A married partner can claim the nationality of that of his spouse via citizenship by marriage. In Kenya, any woman who has been married to a Kenyan citizen becomes entitled to be a Kenyan if she makes an application to the ministry concerned.

Adoption:  An adopted child can be granted citizenship of that of his parents if certain conditions are met. In Britain an adopted child shall be automatically granted British citizenship if the adoption was granted by a United Kingdom court of law and either of the parents is British citizen on the day of adoption.

Investment: Countries like St Kitts & Nevis, Austria, and Dominica offer citizenship to anyone who makes a financial investment via their Citizenship-by-Investment programs. In Austria, a minimum of two million Euros worth of investment is a must and additional fees are included, depending on the circumstances in an application process.

Not all countries allow a person to have dual citizenship and in those cases he is forced to renounce one.  In some nations it is a criminal offense to be of two nationalities. For in instance, in Saudi Arabia the Saudi government charges criminal penalties to an individual who is found to have dual citizenship.