Do I have to give up my passport for my home country when I become a US citizen?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Attorney, practicing law here in St. Louis, Missouri. We have a lot of people come to our office and ask us what happens when I become a US citizen. Do I have to give up my passport to my home country in France, or Egypt, or Japan? The law says that when you become a US citizen that you renounce any allegiance to your home country. You’re going to stand up to a federal judge or an immigration officer, raise your right hand and promise that if the United States needs you in the future that you will be there for the United States. That you will fight in the military if you can and they need you. You an perform important work of national importance on behalf of the United States and then if there was some kind of struggle between your home country and the United States that you would be there for the United States and that your allegiance would be totally and completely to the United States.

That’s a basic part of the naturalization process. Renouncing your allegiance to your home country and becoming a US citizen and promising that if in the future the United States needs you to help them, that you’ll help the United States. Does that mean that you have to give back your passport? That you can’t renew your home passport anymore? Or that you can’t use it to enter your home country? The answer to that question is no. Federal immigration law does not require in the United States that you give up your passport or that you no longer carry that passport from your home country.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that there are certain countries that require you to give up your passport once you become a US citizen. That’s more an operation of your home country’s law as opposed to federal law. This really surprised me and I sort of got tuned into this little quirk in immigration law when I was at a naturalization ceremony recently here in St. Louis. The federal judge who was going to swear everybody in was running a little bit late and so one of the immigration officers from St. Louis was fielding questions from people who were about to become US citizens. Someone asked this very question. She said that simply the United States doesn’t have the resources to go and figure out if people are in fact using both passports, their US passport and their home country passport.

This struck me as funny because so many people come to our office and say, “Jim, I want to become a US citizen.” Or they just say, “Jim, I want to get that US passport.” A lot of people really like having that US passport, but they also really like having their home country passport. They don’t want to give that up. It makes it easier to enter into the home country. There are several reasons why people like to keep their passport and the answer is, you can do it. Be happy about that if that’s something that is important to you.

If you have any questions about becoming a US citizen or about giving up your allegiance to your home country or about keeping your passport from your home country, give us a call, 314-961-8200 or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks a lot. If you like this video, please click like and please make sure to subscribe if you click on the button below you can subscribe to our YouTube channel whenever we do an update or anything new about immigration, you’ll be the first to know about it.

Thanks a lot and have a great day.