Can you pledge allegiance to more than 1 country?

I have nothing but sympathy for Ksenia Khavana, the ballerina with dual Russian-American citizenship who was arrested and charged with treason during a visit to family in the country of her birth.

She was charged with treason reportedly because she made contributions to  Ukrainian humanitarian causes, and has taken Ukraine’s side in the war started by Russia.

She joins several other Americans being held in Putin’s Russia, but she is the only one with dual citizenship.

That is a concept I reject, most especially with a nation that is, let’s face it, an enemy. Bisexual is one thing, binational is another.

Here is the Oath of Allegiance that Khavana swore before receiving U.S. citizenship: 

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Notice the italic portion.

How can you retain citizenship in another country to which you have renounced your allegiance?

That’s what I wanted to ask the U.S. Department of State. 

I called the listed phone number to find out, but all that number does is tell you to email questions to State, like so many American businesses that no longer list a phone number. Are you a customer, or an annoyance?

I emailed State a question about why the U.S. allows dual citizenship when that contradicts the oath of allegiance. I wanted to know when this practice started, and why. 

While I waited for an answer, I did some research.

There are 62 countries with which America will share its citizens.

Dual citizens are expected to obey the laws of both countries, and that could cause conflict. 

They also could be required to serve in the other country’s military, when service is mandatory.

Dual citizenship is legal, but is it smart?

In some cases, maybe.

Let’s say you are a dual citizen of the U.S.A. and Ireland and you are planning to visit a country that is hostile to the United States. Let’s say, Russia.

You would be better off traveling as an Irish citizen, less likely to be arrested and detained.

On the other hand, you might be subject to taxation in both the U.S.A. and  Ireland.

Me? I would tell a dual citizen to make up your damn mind — us or them.

How do you feel about dual citizenship?

15 thoughts on “Can you pledge allegiance to more than 1 country?”

  1. I agree with you completely. I know some people who have dual citizenship with the US and Israel. As much as I support Israel, I still don’t approve of dual citizenship between the US and Israel, or the US and any other country.

  2. We’re in the very early stages of investigating a possible move to Costa Rica, which does not allow dual citizenship. After a six month stay, you need to leave for three days, upon which you can return and have another six month visa. Not really sure this makes any sense either, but as with all these dual citizenship laws, you just have to deal with what fits your own situation best. As for dual citizenship with a foreign enemy (Russia), why would you even want that? But again, as with everything, it is an individual choice.

  3. There is a catch to what you wrote about serving in two militaries. My grandson is a dual citizen of the USA and Austria (where he was born). He wanted to enlist in the US Army but was told he’d have to give up his Austrian citizenship to do so, which he decided against.

      1. His mother — my daughter-in-law, is Austrian (with American citizenship). When he was born in Austria, because his mother is Austrian, he automatically got Austrian citizenship.

  4. I am a dual citizen of the USA and Ireland. Being born in the United States I never had to swear or affirm an oath of allegiance to the United States. I assume it was “baked in”…thanks Mom.
    I became a citizen “by descent” of The Republic of Ireland by documenting my direct descendance from my paternal grandparents, both of whom were born in the Irish Free State.
    At no point was I requested, let alone required, to declare on oath allegiance to Ireland.
    I hold 2 valid passports: a United States and an Irish (currently also a European Union). Aside from being a conversation starter, my Irish passport allows me to travel more conveniently throughout the EU, as well as to show distain for those who will be dinking green beer next month on the 17th.

    1. Have you ever recited the Pledge of Allegiance, or is that something we don’t do any more? ☺️
      As you suggest, for native-born it is baked in.
      Irish are also less likely to be taken as hostages by terrorists.

  5. I’ve known people who have dual citizenship, I have never understood why. I was born here I served here, I have no desire to fight for any foreign land. Some how it just doesn’t make sense. I guess to each their own. Un less You get caught up in a war holding a passport on foreign soil, and happen to be on the wrong side.

  6. I would suggest the arrangement that the US has with India; not dual-citizenship but the Indian Govt. allows those who were originally born there or whose parents were born there to obtain what is called a “Overseas Citizen of India” (OCI) card. What it effectively does is makes travel and visitation more seamless, and you do not require a visa for travel. Now depending on your age, you may sometimes need to get the OCI renewed but not as often as a visa would expire. (I believe mainly for children and as an adults only if you are over 50 and your OCI was issued before that)

    This is of course not up to the U.S. So perhaps if some of the other nations with which we are on friendly terms from where many Americans originate such as Israel, certain nations in Europe, South America and elsewhere were to arrange something similar, it will make it easier for many Americans, who will remain solely American citizens.

  7. The most controversial part of dual citizenship is that you can buy it. At least 22 countries, and the US, will grant citizenship in exchange for a bribe, but please to say “substantial investment in the economy.” The last I checked, a couple years ago when I got an inquiry, the US requirement was $800k in an approved investment. Talk about letting immigrants cut in line. All you gotta do is slip the doorman some cash.

    Russia sells citizenship too, so I encourage any admirers of Putin who want to help Russia free Ukraine to tap their savings and head on over there. I’m looking at you, Tucker.

    In any event, prices world-wide range from a few hundred thousand to well over $1 million. Russians are big consumers of these passports, and Turkey has been handing ’em out at about $250k a pop. The best kind are the ones you can get without actually moving to the country (for US citizenship you have to, after passing a background check). You get a passport to travel to countries that might not accept yours, or travel despite the fact that your country has revoked yours, say, because you’ve been indicted. During Covid you could use them to avoid some travel bans. Reportedly, the ex-google CEO Eric Schmidt bought a Cyprus passport to do just that.

    I have seen no reported instances of it, but it seems to me, if you were rich, or a well-financed terrorist, you could’ve bought one of these to avoid Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim countries.

    As one might imagine, the problems are facilitating the flight of criminals on the lam, and tax evasion. Cyprus’ cash for passports program (a Russian favorite) was shut down in 2020 after leaked government documents showed that passports had been sold to criminals, money launderers and convicted fraudsters. In fairness, they did revoke a bunch of Russian-purchased passports after the start of the Ukraine war.

    Not so Malta, one of the most sought after “golden passports”–to get one you have to have a minimum net worth of 5 Million EU. (An EU is currently about $1.09 ) and invest a bunch of it in Malta. About half the purchasers are Russian. For some reason, a reporter investigating possible corruption in the program died in a car bomb. The European Commission is suing Malta to stop the practice–that is, selling visas, not setting car bombs.

    The tax situation for dual citizenship is, er, complicated. The first $120k you earn overseas is tax free. You get a tax credit for any foreign taxes paid on your income, unless we have tax treaty with the country, in which case you probably pay no US tax at all, only that country’s tax. If you revoke your US citizenship, you can avoid US inheritance and other taxes. That’s not to say there are no opportunities for tax evasion or offshoring of income that are either illegal or in a grey area.

    The billionaire Harlon Crowe, famous for footing the bill for lavish vacations for Justice Clarence Thomas, bought citizenship in the tiny Carribean island country of Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2012. Reportedly, about 40% of that country’s Gross National Product comes from citizenship sales. Would love to see the words to their National Anthem.

    Over all, about 50,000 people a year buy citizenship in other countries, without having to move there.

  8. Remember when Mehmet Oz ( Dr Oz) was running for The Senate for Pennsylvania ? Despite being born in Cleveland Oh he had a duel citizenship with Turkey and also served in their military. It was strange that this wasn’t made a bigger issue in the campaign

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