The Benefits of Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship explained: Rights and Responsibilities

. Claudia Cilia Buhagiar co-authored with Antoine Saliba Haig | 29 May 2024

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In an increasingly globalised world, dual citizenship has become a concept which a lot of individuals are interested in. Dual citizenship refers to an individual’s legal status as a citizen of two or more countries at the same time. This status can offer a wealth of opportunities, but it also comes with its own set of responsibilities and potential complications. In this article, we will delve into the rights and responsibilities associated with dual citizenship, providing a comprehensive understanding for those considering or currently holding this status.

Each country establishes its own legislation for nationality and citizenship rights and these can be amended over time.   Not all jurisdictions allow dual or multiple nationality and those that do, would usually set their own conditions. 

How can one obtain Dual Citizenship? 

There are various ways through which an individual can acquire citizenship and these include: 

  • Citizenship through naturalisation after having resided in a country for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • Citizenship by birth (ius sanguinis principle)
  • Citizenship by marriage
  • Citizenship by descent
  • Citizenship by investment

Do all countries allow Dual Citizenship?

It is important to note that not all countries permit or recognise dual or multiple citizenship. This therefore means that when an individual wishes to acquire a second citizenship, s/he needs to verify with their country of current nationality whether the country allows or recognises dual citizenship, before seeking to obtain an additional citizenship. 

In cases where the country of current nationality of the individual does not allow second citizenship, the individual might need to renounce his/her current citizenship if s/he plans to acquire a new one. Failure to do so might result in the automatic revocation of the original nationality. 

Countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malta and Australia generally permit dual citizenship, offering their citizens the flexibility to acquire another nationality without losing their original citizenship. Some other countries like South Korea allow dual citizenship under specific circumstances. On the other hand, countries like China and India typically do not allow dual citizenship. Citizens of these countries must renounce their original nationality if they wish to become naturalized citizens of another country.

The Benefits of dual citizenship 

An individual who holds dual or multiple nationality can benefit from the rights and privileges deriving from the said citizenships as outlined below: 


The most sought-after benefit of dual nationality is the ability for individuals to possess two or more passports in order to secure visa free access to several countries. This travel benefit allows them to move between countries with relative ease compared to the waiting time some people experience when applying for their travel visas. 


Unlike foreigners, holders of multiple nationalities can seek employment with ease in all countries of nationality, without the need to obtain a work permit. This enables them to skip the lengthy process that foreigners usually have to face in order to secure an employment license. 

Political Rights

Dual citizens can contribute to and participate in the political life of their countries of nationality. This also includes the possibility to work for the public sector and the right to vote in local and national elections.

Holding Two Passports

As a dual citizen, an individual would have more than one passport. This comes in handy in case their passport is held by an Embassy when processing their travel visa application. The individual would not be impacted since s/he can use their other passport for their travels. 

Another benefit of holding two or more passports is related to travel to specific countries which might be in conflict. In this case, the applicant could use one passport for travel to certain countries and another passport for travel to other countries. 

Property Ownership

Purchasing property in your country of nationality is expediated when opposed to restrictions imposed on foreign citizens wishing to buy property. Having multiple nationalities therefore facilities investment in property in the countries of nationality of the individuals. 

Access to Healthcare

The possibility to access the health system is another important factor of having dual citizenship especially for countries where healthcare bills can be quite high for foreign nationals. 

Education Benefits 

As a dual national, the individual can get to study abroad in his/her other country of nationality and only pay tuition fees usually charged to local students. In some countries such as Malta, education is provided for free to all its citizens and this even includes studies at university level. 

Possible Shortcomings of Dual Citizenship 

Tax Obligations

One of the most complex responsibilities of dual citizenship involves taxation. Dual citizens may be subject to tax laws in both countries, requiring careful management of their financial affairs to avoid double taxation. Some countries have tax treaties to mitigate this issue, but it remains a crucial aspect to consider.

Dual Obligations and Military Service 

An individual who is a citizen of multiple countries could be bound by the laws and obligations of all countries of nationality. This can create conflicting situation especially if the individual is required to fulfil military obligations in two or more countries. 

Legal Compliance

Dual citizens must adhere to the laws and regulations of both countries. This includes criminal laws, civil obligations, and other legal responsibilities. Conflicts between the legal systems of the two countries can pose challenges, requiring dual citizens to navigate complex legal landscapes.

As a summary, dual citizenship offers a unique blend of advantages and challenges. It provides a broadened horizon of opportunities, enhanced mobility, and access to diverse cultures and benefits. However, it also demands a careful balancing act of legal, financial, and civic responsibilities. For those considering dual citizenship, it is essential to thoroughly understand both the privileges and the obligations involved.

More information and insights on Dual Citizenship can be viewed on the website below:

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Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

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Dr Antoine Saliba Haig

Advocate, Malta

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Claudia Cilia Buhagiar

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Julia Tirazona


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Pauline Gouder

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