E.g., 08/31/2014
E.g., 08/31/2014

Dual Citizenship in the Age of Mobility

Reports
April 2008

Dual Citizenship in the Age of Mobility

In the past, including the recent past, policymakers considered dual citizenship a problem. Leading politicians of previous centuries saw it as an abhorrence of the natural order, the equivalent of bigamy. Citizenship and political loyalty to the state were considered inseparable. Policymakers worried that dual citizens would not integrate into the country to which they had emigrated but rather would maintain exclusive loyalty to the country of original citizenship. And, in times of war in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they feared “foreign” interference by citizens belonging to the enemy.

Moreover, democratic legitimacy was at stake. Policymakers feared that dual citizenship would violate the principle “one person, one vote.” Also, diplomats were worried that they could not protect their citizens in the country whose citizenship the newly naturalized citizen also held.

Yet, over the last few decades, an astonishing change has taken place: an increasing number of policymakers regard dual citizenship not as a problem for integration, legitimacy, foreign policy, and diplomatic protection, but rather as a possibility that needs to be negotiated from various standpoints, ranging from simple pragmatic tolerance to active encouragement. Certainly, dual citizenship is not a completely new phenomenon, but we have witnessed its rapid spread only recently. More than half of all the states in the world, countries of immigration as well as emigration, now tolerate some form or element of dual citizenship. This report goes beyond statistical trends to the heart of these changes and how best to think through the policy answers.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Defining Dual Citizenship

III. The Benefits of Dual Citizenship

IV. Problems Dual Citizenship Poses

V. Future Implications of Dual Citizenship

VI. Policy Recommendations