Pros and Cons of Being a Canadian and U.S. Dual Citizen

By Remitbee - Jun 1, 2022

What is Dual Citizenship?

Dual or multiple citizenship is being a national or citizen of two or more countries at the same time. Each country has its nationality laws based on its policies.

Dual citizenship can either occur naturally or due to a legal process. For example, a child born in the United States to foreign parents is usually both a citizen of the United States and their parents' home country or a person undergoing naturalization.

Many countries, including Canada and the United States, allow dual citizenship. While Canada and the U.S.' dual citizenship regulations are relatively open and accepting, this does not apply to all countries. It is a difficult and often expensive process that may necessitate the assistance of an immigration lawyer.

However, before you consider citizenship, you must first determine whether you are eligible to immigrate to the United States or Canada. Citizenship is the highest immigration advantage available in either country and obtaining it requires many processes, which are briefly outlined below.

United States

You'll need to take many steps to become a citizen if you weren't born in the USA and don't have parents who are citizens. First, you'll need to apply for a green card, often known as "permanent residence," which will allow you to stay and live permanently in the United States.

Then, you can apply to become a naturalized American citizen after five years as a permanent resident of the United States (at least half of which was spent in the United States).

The citizenship application procedure in the United States entails an interview and exams in which you must showcase your ability to speak and understand English and answer a series of questions about American history and government.

You must also swear loyalty to the United States and be willing to serve in the military. If called upon, the Armed Forces. (Keep in mind that taking the oath does not exclude you from obtaining dual citizenship, and the U.S. does not currently have an obligatory draft.)

Canada

If you're not born in Canada, you must first apply to become a permanent resident of the country before applying for citizenship. The key immigration categories, as in the United States, are family, skilled work, and investment/entrepreneurship.

You can apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada for three of the previous four years and not having been convicted of any crimes. (However, you do not have to have lived in Canada for the entire three years.)

Prepare to take a written test to demonstrate your proficiency in English or French. You must also pass an exam demonstrating your knowledge of Canada's history and citizens' rights and responsibilities.

What are the pros and cons of being a Canadian and U.S. dual citizen?

Dual citizens have various advantages, such as living and working in two countries, owning property in both nations, and travelling freely.

However, dual citizenship also gives the potential for double taxation; a lengthy and expensive process of getting dual citizenship; and the fact that the laws of two countries govern you.

Pros:

Benefits and Privileges

Dual citizens can use the benefits and privileges granted by both countries. They have access to two social service systems, can vote in each nation, and may be able to run for governor in either country (if the law permits). They can also work in either country without requiring a work permit or visa, and they can attend school at the same tuition rate as citizens (versus the international tuition rate).

Two Passports

You can travel with passports from both nations if you are a dual citizen. If you are a Canadian citizen who happens to be a U.S. citizen, you can travel between the two countries. Having a citizen's passport eliminates the requirement for long-stay visas and any customs questions about the purpose of your journey. It also grants dual-passport holders the right of entrance into both the United States and Canada; this can be very hassle-free if you have family in both countries to visit or a student or businessperson who studies or conducts business in both countries.

Property Ownership

The opportunity to hold property in either nation is another advantage of dual citizenship. Land ownership is limited in some countries. But in Canada and the United States, you would be able to buy property in either—or both—countries as a lawful citizen. This may be especially advantageous if you regularly travel between the two nations, as property ownership may be a more cost-effective option for living in two places.

Cultural Education

You'll gain from being steeped in the cultures of both countries as a dual citizen. Dual citizenship is also popular among government officials, who see it as a method to boost the country's image as a top tourism destination. Individuals with dual citizenship can study the history of both nations, learn two (or more) languages, and live in a distinct culture!

Cons:

Dual obligations

You are obligated by the laws of both countries as a dual citizen. For example, suppose you are a U.S. citizen living in a country that requires forced military duty. You may lose your U.S. citizenship in certain circumstances, such as if you serve as an officer in a foreign military fighting the U.S.

In general, U.S. policy accepts that dual citizens may be lawfully compelled to fulfill military responsibilities abroad and that many can do so without compromising their U.S. citizenship. Still, it is critical to investigate each scenario thoroughly.

Dual Taxation

If you live in your dual residency country, you may owe taxes to your home government and the country where you earned money.

To avoid double taxation, income tax treaties between countries effectively minimize or eliminate an individual's tax liability. For example, a treaty between the United States and Canada overrides each country's income tax legislation.

Even though they live and generate income in Canada, dual nationals may be obliged to file U.S. tax forms. Because tax regulations are intricate and can vary from year to year, anyone in this circumstance should get advice from an experienced tax accountant.

Barriers to Some Forms of Employment

Dual citizenship can be a disadvantage depending on your job path. If you want to work for the U.S. government or your job needs access to confidential information, having dual citizenship could prevent you from getting the security clearance you need. Those born with dual citizenship may have fewer issues than those who sought it out.

Complicated Process

Dual citizenship is natural (for example, when a child is born in the U.S. to foreign parents). However, the process might take years and be exceedingly costly and complex in other cases. Some people may be put off from pursuing dual citizenship because of this.

Is it worth it?

Dual citizenship offers a safety net and a gateway to new prospects. Obtaining dual citizenship might also provide additional benefits, such as better access to international markets.

You should go where you'll get the best treatment. Having second citizenship offers you greater freedom and possibilities. It provides you with an insurance policy, emergency money, and additional travel alternatives.

Dual citizenship is a step toward being a global citizen. It's the permission to escape the societal limits of a single country. Sure, it is worth it!

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