Dual Nationality in China and Beyond

Tomorrow, March 17, I will be a panelist at a Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) event on dual nationality, together with Dr. Dana Raigrodski and David Freeburg. Registration is FREE for everyone and the event is approved for CLE credit in Washington State.

Click HERE to register!

The event’s scheduling on St. Patrick’s Day is no coincidence. Ireland encourages the children and grandchildren of Irish citizens to become Irish citizens themselves. During the event we will take a look at Ireland and ther countries in Europe that follow the Emerald Isle’s example, such as Italy and Poland.

Ireland’s model is a marked contrast to China’s. Despite the importance of Chinese ethnicity to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China, developing links through dual nationality is not really a part of efforts to connect with the Chinese diaspora. In fact, China does not even allow its emigrants to hold on to Chinese nationality if they naturalize elsewhere. Yet in practice this is often of little import, as China’s prohibitions do not bind other countries, which can go ahead and grant nationality to Chinese immigrants.

While the United States does not prohibit its citizens from holding a second passport, there are still important considerations to be taken into account by Americans who hold or are contemplating dual nationality.

As a U.S. diplomat in China, I had first-hand experience with these issues. Often, U.S. citizens would enter China using Chinese travel documents, to avoid having to obtain a Chinese visa. Should those Americans find themselves under arrest, they were treated as Chinese, not entitled to U.S. consular protection.

Meanwhile, Chinese who are considering becoming U.S. citizens (or already are) need to be mindful of the tax considerations. Given worldwide taxation by the United States of its citizens, they may want to think twice about dual nationality, especially if a return to China is in the cards.

If you have any interest in dual nationality, you will not want to miss this event. Once again, registration is free and attorneys can get CLE credit.

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