With the unsettled state of U.S. immigration law in recent years, many immigrants who apply for U.S. citizenship are also retaining citizenship in their former country of origin. This status is referred to as dual citizenship, and contrary to many people’s beliefs, it is possible for a person to hold more than one nationality at once, at least according to U.S. law. If you are looking to naturalize, it may actually be to your advantage to retain your old citizenship in addition to applying for U.S. citizenship status.
Why Keep Both?
In theory, one naturalizes to a new country because something in their old one is insufficient. However, given the potentially precarious state of the U.S. immigration system, as well as its ever-increasing wait times for naturalizations and green cards, it simply seems safer to many to refuse to give up their original nationality, if possible. Under U.S. law, it is not necessary for a new citizen to formally renounce their old country of citizenship; thus, many simply do not. The primary reason given by many, in addition to wanting a backup plan of sorts if the U.S. immigration system changes, is ease in traveling back and forth to maintain business relationships and see family.
There are both pros and cons to the dual nationality scenario, however. U.S. law does, for example, require that while you are in the U.S. as a dual national, you are to be treated as a U.S. citizen, which means that you may not try to claim diplomatic protection from your other home country. The other side of this is also generally true, in that if you are in your second home country, you may find it difficult or impossible to seek U.S. diplomatic help if you get into trouble. Dual nationality may also render you subject to taxation by two different governments....