View Full Version : Can I become an American ?

eastern wiseguy
27th Nov 2004, 22:37
Hlp ..the future Mrs Wiseguy is an American citizen .....Can you guys answer the following ?

When we marry

a/ can she get UK citizenship?
b/can I get JOINT US/UK citizenship?

This is purely to answer a theoretical question for me ...and to get cheap/free medications for her!!:confused: :confused:

West Coast
27th Nov 2004, 23:45
For A and B, I think the US gov doesn't recognize dual citizenship.
Nothing to say the other country involved won't recognize it however.

28th Nov 2004, 00:17
The US Govt stopped worrying about dual (or multiple) citizenship a few decades ago. There are plenty of such people. There is no requirement to renounce US citizenship when taking foreign citizenship. There may be a few special cases, but the UK is surely not one of them.


An example of dual citizenship is a US couple on a newsgroup who have lived in France for 25 years or so, taken French citizenship, but retain their US citizenship as well. They register with the US embassy in France as suggested and vote in US elections.

US citizenship cannot be acquired by marriage, but the spouse of a US citizen can get an immigrant visa without most of the usual limitations.

IIRC, there is normally a five-year residency requirement to obtain US citizenship. I don't know when the time starts counting.


The old US Immigration and Naturaliztion Service has been renamed and is now part of the US Dept of Homeland Security. The INS was one of the hardest parts of the govt to deal with - their normal clients weren't citizens and thus didn't have a Congressman to go to when things got really bad. It may be worse today.

28th Nov 2004, 00:26
She'll be able to apply for residence but won't qualify for UK citizenship until she's met the residence qualification. I'm not sure how long that is these days - it used to be three years but Mrs B has never bothered and has remained PR for 33 years.

Dual citizenship is no problem from the UK side but the US doesn't allow dual citizenship. In fact they require new citizens to swear the oath of allegiance which includes giving up all allegiance to foreign powers.

Onan the Clumsy
28th Nov 2004, 01:05
What Blacksheep says.

The position of the UK govt is "Once a British citizen; Always a British citizen."

However the facetious answer to your question would be: "Yes, if you managed to forget calculus, Most of the grammar you learned, geography and how to say Worcester Sauce.".


28th Nov 2004, 05:44
It all depends on the rules in the individual countries....

Here in Germany I cannot get dual citizenship, though I have lived here for over 36 years (I was married to a German for 24.5 of that), because the German government INSISTS I give up my American citizenship first! There are lots of people that get dual, for example if their home country refuses to let them out of citizenship (I think the Greek are such a case).

My children, having a German father and American mother (me), have dual citizenship. It used to be the rule that they had to choose which one to keep by the time they were 27, but that rule has changed. The only restriction now was that my son had to sign up for military duty in both, but could only do "draft" duty and not career.

Now HE has married a gal from India..... she has a permanent visa for Germany, and will surely get a visa for the USA, but whether she will ever get American citizenship or have to give up her Indian to get the German, I don't know (getting complicated heehee).

My EX did not ever get the American, but then again it could have been because of the German restrictions (can't remember now whether we investigated into it.... )

I would like to have both. I don't know what the consequences for me would be if I gave up my American (would be quite stupid, I'm sure..... ). I'm hoping the rules in Germany will change some day. The arguements for not allowing it in General are pretty weak.


Ace Rimmer
28th Nov 2004, 08:43
I think the US position on dual nationality is this you can be born with it but you can't aquire it... a'la Westy's sprogs and indeed me and my sisters (apparently littlest sister Rimmer could have claimed German too...having been born there but I'm not clear on that).

There used to be a requirement for natal dual nationals to establish a residence in the US for a minimum of two years prior to age 25 (I remember it as being) in order to retain US citizenship but this was done away with during the Carter administration.

But the point is moot since as a spouse of a citizen/subject you can get US residency (green card) and your other half can get the same (a resident visa) re the UK.

28th Nov 2004, 09:57
To an extent, the acquisition of US citizenship depends on who you know, not what you know. Cf the support for Arnold Schwarzennegger's Presidential aspirations; and Tony Blair's dual UK/US citizenship.

Tower Ranger
28th Nov 2004, 10:44
Eastern ,
I can see your problem! If she`s marrying you she must need a serious amount of medication!! Only joking Big Man, when`s the big day??

Standard Noise
28th Nov 2004, 15:01
Oh T R, you old romantic! Come to think of it, isn't it time you made an honest woman of your beloved?;)

28th Nov 2004, 18:46
can she get UK citizenship?

Sure. Lobotomy procedures are relatively inexpensive these days. :E

Constable Clipcock
28th Nov 2004, 18:58
From the US side of things, once the non-US-citizen half of the marriage has been granted Permanent Resident status, the wait for citizenship is reduced from five years to three. The only other instance in which this occurs is in the case of PR's serving in the US armed forces (they face certain restrictions , ie: barred from some duty assignments/specialties, cannot be commissioned, etc. until they become citizens).

BTW, even if you're already married, it does not necessarily speed the process or even guarantee that the non-US spouse will be granted a visa. Between the "immigration reform" regs that were passed several years ago, to the knee-jerk idiocy post-9/11.... :sigh:

tony draper
28th Nov 2004, 19:04
Interestingly on this day in History 28th Nov 1919 the first Lady to sit in the house of commons took her seat, Nancy Lady Astor was American born, she was not however the first female to be elected MP.

28th Nov 2004, 20:13
Arnold Schwarzennegger's Presidential aspirations
can't happen - the Prez must be BORN in the USA....

28th Nov 2004, 21:22
Reynoldsno1 - I know, I know. But I still wouldn't bet against it.

29th Nov 2004, 01:23
There is a constitiutional amendment in the works so that it is not necessary to be born in the US to be president. It may take a while if it ever happens.

You can become a US citizen after being a PR and fulfilling other requirements. However the US insists that you cannot be a citizen of another country. They consider you swearing full allegiance to the US to supercede the laws of countries that do not allow you to give up your citizenship.

29th Nov 2004, 07:44
Eastern wiseguy, I can answer the first part of your question!

Firstly, are you marrying here or in the US?

If here, she can apply for a "marriage" visa. This is valid for 6 months and does not permit work.

Once married, she can apply for an extension of leave to remain. This is valid for 2 years and allows her to work.

The next step is to apply for indefinite leave to remain. After a further year, she may then apply for British citizenship.

The charges have recently been "revised" however, the extension of stay and indefinite leave now cost 155 a pop via postal application or 250 in person!! It may be the same for the initial marriage visa as this does appear to be the standard fee. Note that she'll need to pay another 155 to transfer the leave to remain to a new passport, so it looks like the UK IND are punishing us legit people for their own incompetence!

I can't advise on dual citizenship though, but if you want more info, try here;


tony draper
29th Nov 2004, 07:48
Do it the quick way ,get her to claim asylum,


29th Nov 2004, 10:18
U.S. Dept of State: American Dual Nationality

The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship.

However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship. Intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct.

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. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. 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. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there.Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship.Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose citizenship.

Information on losing foreign citizenship can be obtained from the foreign country's embassy and consulates in the United States. Americans can renounce U.S. citizenship in the proper form at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

British Dual Nationality

When the British Nationality Act 1948 came into effect on 1 January 1949, citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies who subsequently became naturalised citizens of other countries no longer automatically lost their British nationality. Since that date, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who became naturalised citizens of a foreign state retained their status as British subjects, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, unless they made a formal declaration of renunciation in front of a British Consul or other British official authorised to accept such declarations.

A declaration made before a foreign official for the purpose of acquiring another nationality or for any other purpose did not affect the position in United Kingdom law.

With the enactment of the new nationality law (British Nationality Act, 1981) which came into effect on 1 January 1983 the provisions for the recognition of dual nationality and the procedure for renunciation of British citizenship have been retained.

Although acquisition or use of US citizenship does not of itself jeopardise retention of British citizenship, and there is not objection on the part of British authorities to a dual citizen using a US passport, it should not be assumed that the reverse is also true. A US citizen voluntarily acquiring British citizenship may lose his US citizenship; and a dual citizen who makes use of his British citizenship in certain ways, for example joining HM Forces, taking an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty and in certain circumstances exercising other rights or privileges of British citizenship, may jeopardise his US citizenship.

The US authorities expect dual citizens to travel out of and into United States territory only on US passports. British citizens who are also US citizens are therefore advised to consult the US State Department (or if overseas a US Consul) before taking any action which might be regarded as inconsistent with their status as US citizens.

A British citizen may return and resume residence in Britain at any time, regardless of being a dual national, provided that he has not made a formal declaration of renunciation of British citizenship as described in paragraph one above.

Such persons may in British law exercise any right possessed generally by British citizens, but of course it is their own responsibility to ascertain from the appropriate US authorities what effect, if any, their action may have on their status as a citizen of that country.

29th Nov 2004, 15:45
A British citizen may return and resume residence in Britain at any time, regardless of being a dual national, provided that he has not made a formal declaration of renunciation of British citizenship... Far be it for me to challenge the Oracle itself but, despite that being one official version of the situation, there are other equally official versions of which I have personal experience, so I'm not sure you are right there ORAC. When the British Nationality act 1948 came into effect on 01 january 1949 Blacksheep didn't acquire dual citizenship but ceased to be a British Citizen altogether and became South African by default. After being born in Cape Maternity Hospital, Capetown and issued with a South African Birth Certificate in 1947, Blacksheep was registered with the British Consulate in Cape Town and entered into his mother's passport in 1947. Since it was a two day train journey to Johannesburg to obtain a British Consular Birth Certificate from the British High Commission, Blacksheep's parents decided that was good enough. In 1950, Blacksheep entered the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland illegally - on his mother's passport but lacking true citizenship and rights of entry or residence. The family disembarked from the SS Winchester Castle at Southampton and Blacksheep entered without his parents being aware that he was an illegal immigrant and without attracting the attention of immigration officials, to lead a life on the run for seventeen years - until being unmasked in 1967 while serving as an Aircraft Fitter (Electrical) in Her Majesty's Royal Air Force.

Such persons may in British law exercise any right possessed generally by British citizens... - Not so again, ORAC My children are not automatically entitled to British Citizenship and should any of them choose to give birth outside the United Kingdom, those children also do not automatically acquire British Citizenship. This is because of the effect of the British Nationality Act of 1981 which came into effect on 01 January 1983 - designed primarily to prevent Commonwealth Citizens in general, but Indian nationals in particular, claiming British Citizenship by descent. It failed in that objective but hit people such as myself in unintended ways. It must be admitted that I do have a right of appeal to the Home Secretary who may grant British Citizenship at his discretion but what kind of citizenshipis that?

Actually I prefer to remain a permanent expatriate rather than be a second class citizen of anywhere...

West Coast
29th Nov 2004, 15:53
"issued with a South African Birth Certificate in 1947, Blacksheep was registered with the British Consulate in Cape Town"

Shouldn't it be grey sheep by now?

29th Nov 2004, 17:03
One has to empathise with Blacksheep concerning the UK's multiple classes of nationality. One finally obtained the coveted 1st class British citizen status, after many years of being a mere British Subject: Citizen of the UK and Colonies with the simple observation that the Holder is entitled to readmission to the UK in one's passport which sometimes resulted in UK Immigration erroneously stamping one's passport Leave to enter for 6 months - employment prohibited on returning from holidays abroad. Now that one's passport needs renewing, one has to repeat the entire process of proving one's citizenship status all over again. Maybe that's why the UK doesn't feel justified in taxing her subjects on their worldwide income? :yuk:

Rant over.

But I'd like to become an American. Just as soon as the bureaucrats over there acknowledge their mistake. I take this liberty in quoting from scran's post in the Friday joke thread (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=153553) before the USA invoked taxation on their citizen's worldwide income and a few other things:

Chief Two Eagles

The old Cherokee chief sat in his reservation hut smoking the ceremonial pipe and eyeing the two US government officials sent to interview him. "Chief Two Eagles," one official began, "you have observed the white man for many generations, you have seen his wars and his products, you have seen all his progress and all his problems."

The chief nodded.

The official continued, "Considering recent events, in your opinion where has the white man gone wrong?"

The chief stared at the government officials for over a minute, and then calmly replied: "When white man found this land Indians were running it. No taxes. No debt. Plenty buffalo. Plenty beaver. Women did most of the work. Medicine man free. Indian men hunted and fished all the time."

The chief smiled and added quietly, "White man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

:) :( :sad: :{

29th Nov 2004, 18:50
There is yet another way to obtain US citizenship - A Private Bill passed by the US Congress. This way is instantaneous, no waiting. (Perhaps it costs in other ways.)

One recipient I recall was Jack Kent Cooke, a Canadian. Mr. Cook wanted to buy a few US TV stations, but US law prohibits a non-citizen was from having control of broadcasting stations. How inconvenient. Shazzam!! A private bill through Congress and Mr. Cooke bought the TV stations. He later owned the Washington Redskins football team.

I don't quite understand how Mr. Murdoch's ownership in Fox and Fox's ownership of TV stations fits with this. I expect we'll see Mr. Murdoch become an instantaneous US citizen by this route some day.


29th Nov 2004, 18:58
Rupert Murdoch wants to hunt and fish all day too...?! :confused: ;)

29th Nov 2004, 23:35
To the best of my knowledge, Rupert Murdoch got his US citizenship a gazillion years ago. He is dual. US/Australian. My older brother and I are citizens of 3 countries :E

30th Nov 2004, 03:57

before the USA invoked taxation on their citizen's worldwide income

where can I find out more about that? worry... :ugh:


30th Nov 2004, 07:03
No, Blacksheep isn't a grey sheep Westcoast. One is a white sheep these days. Still a wooly white sheepskin is better than a bearskin eh? ;)