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ceci

Question:

Hi, i am belgium by marriage. we now live in the US and dont think we will go back in a long time to Belgium. Can i acquire the US nationality too without loosing the belgium nationality?
thanks a lot

by ceci on 25 Jun 2010
Andre Keil

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Answer:

Hi Ceci;

Thanks for your question. This is more of a legal matter, so anything I have to say on this subject is from my own experience, and should not be seen as legal advice. It is not clear from your question if you are a naturally born Belgian citizen or have even another nationality, but you can acquire US citizenship, provided you have some way of being eligible to become naturalized. This process often takes many years, depending on how you came into the country. Often, the fastest way to citizenship is through family or marriage, but it depends entirely on your situation.

Personally, I moved to the US when I was 12, but was able to keep my Dutch citizenship. This took some effort (keeping in touch with the Dutch embassy in the US and updating my passport), but it was worth it. Definitely check with the Belgian government to see if you can keep your Belgian citizenship.

As a coach, I would ask some fundamental questions: What are the benefits of becoming a US citizen? Is it something you must have? Can you function without it? Is the outcome worth all the effort you will put into this? For me, the only benefit was that I was able to vote. With a “Green Card” I had all the same rights of regular US citizens, except for voting.

Bottom line: Get clear on what you want, and why it’s important. Then, take action by seeing an immigration attorney. This is essential, as it will take a huge effort to do this work alone. The US bureaucracy around immigration is gigantic, and you need someone who knows the way. And don’t forget to clearly understand your Belgian situation, as it sounds like you don’t want to close the door on your old country. Keep all your options open.

Anyway, I choose to obtain a US citizenship only when I moved to Belgium. I was able to keep both my Dutch citizenship and my US citizenship, even though when you take your oath you are asked to give up your old citizenship. There is confusion around this, but it’s not true that you actually have to give up your other country’s citizenship. More information about that is here: http://www.richw.org/dualcit/faq.html#possible


Good luck!

-Andre Keil
www.switchitupcoaching.com

by Andre Keil on 25 Jun 2010

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