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I am a US Citizen with Australian Permanent Residency (over 13 yrs now). I wish to have Australian Citizenship without endangering my US Citizenship. I understand that there is no provision in US Law for dual citizenship for US Citizens unless the duality is obtained by marriage or birth. But as I understand it that the US Authorities would have the onus on themselves to prove that I intended by word or action to explicitly give up my US Citizenship and not solely by obtaining an Australian Citizenship.

I would like to hear from anyone who has obtained a Australian Citizenship and maintained their US Citizenship and have traveled between Australia and the US using the respective countries' passports.

  • The US will not revoke your citizenship because it would lose the capability to tax your global income. – rbp Dec 23 '14 at 19:22
  • I was reading recently how much trouble you have to in order to renounce your citizenship because of taxes, so it stands to reason they wouldn't easily give me up, not that I've ever earned enough to be taxed while living here. – Shanan Dec 24 '14 at 23:09
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The State Department has information on Dual Nationality. Some important excerpts:

However, a person who acquires a foreign nationality by applying for it may lose U.S. nationality. In order to lose U.S. nationality, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign nationality voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. nationality.

The emphasis above is mine. If you do not explicitly express intention to give up your US nationality, then you will not automatically lose it.

Most U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.

This means that as a dual Australian and US national, you must carry both passports when travelling between the two countries. The steps, in brief, are:

  1. Show your US passport to the airline check-in agent when you arrive at the airport.
  2. Show your Australian passport to the passport officer when you depart Australia.
  3. Enjoy your flight.
  4. Show your US passport to the US immigration officer.

Do the same thing in reverse upon returning to Australia (except there is no step 2 when departing the US). The purpose of step 1 is to assure the airline that you have the right to enter the destination country. Having a passport from the destination country means you don't need a visa (ESTA for the US or ETA for Australia).

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I don't fit the criteria you mentioned, but I'm fairly close as a Canadian with the option to obtain UK Citizenship whenever I feel like, I just have to do the forms. I'm not a lawyer or anything, so bear in mind that this is all just based on what I could find with Google, so take it with as much or as little salt as you want.

There doesn't seem to be anything stopping you getting the Australian citizenship with regards to the laws of either country. Both countries appear to completely tolerate multiple nationality. There is a decent Wikipedia article on US nationality law with regards to dual citizenship. Basically unless you're planning on joining the armed forces or applying for a US security clearance, it sounds as though you'll be fine.

Also, I don't think you're actually under any obligation whatsoever to inform the US government that you have become a naturalised citizen of another country, unless that country requires you to formally renounce your US citizenship in order to obtain theirs.

Now regarding travel between the two countries, you should always bring both passports and enter each respective country on their passport. Australian citizens are required by law to enter and exit Australia using their Australian passports. I'm not aware of a similar requirement for the US, but I'm sure it'd be in your best interest to use your US passport. If you ever get quizzed about it in either country because of confusing passport stamps (like an exit without an entry or something) just be honest and say you're a dual national. It's certainly not illegal, not to mention fairly common these days.

A friend of mine with dual Canadian/Polish nationality traveled to Poland once on her Canadian passport and didn't get into any trouble, despite her place of birth on the passport as a town in Poland. I was a little surprised by this, but perhaps the border guards didn't notice or care.

You will be able to answer this for yourself, as I'm not sure what it's like for non-resident US citizens returning for a holiday or visit, but in Canada we have to fill out a landing card and put down whether we're visiting or a returning resident. If I put down I'm a returning resident, I'd very likely cause myself a big tax and residency headache if anyone caught on. The same might apply for you in either the US or Australia depending whether they also have landing cards, what kinds of questions they ask, etc.

Hope that helps!

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