How to Become a U.S. & Canadian Dual Citizen

By Justin Beach
American and Canadian flag.

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Dual citizenship used to be a complex business. Today, due to Canadian multicultural policies and close ties between the United States and Canada, dual citizenship is common and both countries accept dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship with few restrictions. Except in rare cases, dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship is simply a matter of meeting the citizenship requirements of each country.

American passports.

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Meet the requirements for U.S. citizenship. If you were born in the United States, you are already a citizen. Beyond that, the requirements for being a naturalized U.S. citizen include having been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least five years and having been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the past five years. You must also be considered to have "good moral character," which principally means not having a criminal record. You may also be asked to demonstrate a grasp of the English language and of U.S. government and history.

Special rules apply to spouses of U.S. citizens and veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

Canadian passport.

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Meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship. The requirements in Canada are similar to those for the United States. To become a citizen of Canada you must be at least 18 years old. You must be a permanent resident of Canada, and you must have lived in Canada for three of the past four years before applying. You cannot apply if you have recently been convicted of a serious crime or have recently been in prison or on parole or probation. You also cannot apply while under a deportation order. As part of the citizenship process, you also must demonstrate a knowledge of either English or French and pass a citizenship test that covers Canadian history and government.

Consult an attorney if necessary.

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Consult an attorney if your parents or other relatives come from or are citizens of the country to which you want to immigrate or if you have been convicted of a crime in the past. In most cases, however, meeting the citizenship requirements of each country individually is all you need to do to become a dual citizen.

About the Author

Justin Beach has been writing for more than a decade, contributing to a variety of online publications. He has a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems and additional education in business, economics, political science, media and the arts.

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