Implications of Dual Citizenship

ItalianGal/ Benefits and Implications/ 11 comments

Florence Italian Italian citizenship

One of the first questions I often get asked is “Does the United States recognize dual citizenship?”  The short answer is the US does not formally recognize dual citizenship but it also does not take a stance against it.  It is not illegal and you don’t risk loosing your US citizenship unless there is a clear intent to renounce your US citizenship either formally or implicitly, such as joining enemy combatants in active hostility against the US, committing acts of treason or otherwise acting with an intent to harm or overthrow the US government.

One of the possible cons to be aware of is there may be implications if you currently hold a security clearance or ever expect to need one.  This is especially true if you hold a foreign passport and use it to travel.  If this fits your situation, it is worth looking into further.  Also, it is something to keep in mind for your children as you decide whether to get their dual citizenship now or wait until they are adults.  Update on 8/17/11: I received this clarification from the San Francisco Italian Consulate: “Please note your minor children’s birth certificates must be submitted with the rest of your paperwork, as Italian law mandates that they be recognized simultaneously with you.”

Another concern that people have is whether they would be required to serve in the Italian Military if they obtain Italian Citizenship.  The short answer to this is probably not.  In 2001 the Italian government eliminated compulsory military service and it is now completely voluntary.  You may run into a hitch if you are a male born between 1976 and 1985.  If you fit this category and you do not live in Italy, you can fill out some paperwork to get an exemption from this.  Again, in this case (or if you live in Italy) you should check with your state’s Italian consulate.

Regarding taxes, the US government and Italy have tax treaties to protect their citizens from dual taxation.  The bottom line is if you live in the US you probably do not have to pay Italian taxes.  There are some specifics regarding income levels when living abroad.  Full disclaimer: I am not a tax accountant or lawyer and this information is based solely on my online research.  If you have any questions about tax implications, you should talk to a certified tax accountant.

One final note, claiming your Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis makes you a full citizen of Italy.  As a result, you get voting rights, access to public healthcare and education and all of the other rights Italian citizens enjoy.  As I previously wrote, many of these rights and benefits extend to all countries participating in the European Union allowing Italian Americans to buy property, start businesses, and find work just as any other citizen of the European Union would.



  1. Very interested in reading more about taxes! My wife, an American citizen, is currently applying for dual citizenship through jure sanguinis, and we’ll probably do the same for me (I’m an American citizen as well), but our concern was whether or not we would need to pay taxes to Italy on top of our US taxes (we live in California). Sounds like not?

    1. You would not have to pay Italian taxes if you continue to live outside of Italy and do not work for an Italian company. My understanding is, in the unlikely chance you do work for an Italian company in the U.S., you would get to choose which country you pay taxes to. Also, even if you live in Italy, the U.S. and Italian governments have a treaty in place so you would not be double taxed. Obviously, if you were planning on moving over there, you would want to consult a tax professional.

      Here is what the information guide for newly recognized Italian citizens states:
      “Italy is similar to most other countries in not taxing the income earned abroad of Italians permanently residing abroad. In other words, there is no inherent tax liability derived solely as a result of Italian citizenship.”

      Whereas if you were living abroad anywhere in the world, the U.S. government would still require you to submit tax forms every year (even if you didn’t have any taxes owed), Italy does not have such requirements.

  2. I was born in Italy and have a dual citizenship with the US and Italy. Can I keep my dual citizenship even when I turn 18?

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  4. Know of any lawyers or someone who has dealt with italian dual citizenship? I have been trying for over a year to get my italian dual citizenship (mother was Italian) but the italian consulate in Michigan is making it difficult. I need to talk with someone familiar with this subject.

    Thank you

  5. Question: I was born in Italy and have dual citizenship, my husband is a US citizen and trying to obtain dual citizenship through me. If we move to Italy and purchase a home; would we have to pay taxes on our income (which is from the US) to italy as well as the US? I also wanted to know if someone has purchased a property in Italy and if there are any obstacles and/or challenges in doing so.

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