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Anyone who possesses 2 citizenships is to be considered a dual national, and they owe allegiance to more than one country at a time. Being a dual national can be at birth (by descent) or through naturalization (obtaining new citizenship). A person can even have 3 or more citizenships (multiple citizenships), but this depends on the nationality law of each country and how the citizenship was obtained.
Can I keep U.S. citizenship after becoming a Costa Rican citizen?
Yes. While, as a matter of law, naturalization in a foreign state can cause you to forfeit U.S. citizenship, there must be a willful intent to renounce U.S. citizenship. State Department regulations presume that no one willfully intends to give up U.S. citizenship simply by becoming a citizen elsewhere.
Keep in mind that the U.S. authorities do not endorse or encourage dual citizenship. Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the U.S. and the other nation, and they’re required to obey the laws of both countries. A dual U.S.-Costa Rican will be treated solely as a U.S. citizen in the U.S. and solely as a Costa Rican citizen in Costa Rica.
What about other nationalities?
You will need to check with your country of origin to determine their nationality law and what they say about obtaining citizenship in a foreign state via naturalization. For example, Canada allows dual citizenship, as it is not possible to lose Canadian citizenship by naturalizing in a foreign state.
As another example, see the below excerpt for citizens of Germany:
German citizenship is automatically lost when a German citizen voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, except:
– When the German citizen acquires a nationality from within the European Union, Switzerland, or another country with which Germany has a corresponding treaty.
– When permission to obtain foreign citizenship has been applied for and granted in advance of foreign naturalization. Failure to obtain a so-called permit to retain German citizenship before naturalization results in the individual automatically losing German citizenship upon becoming a naturalized citizen of another country.
Growing Migration and Dual Citizenships
One of every one hundred people on this planet lives outside of their state of birth. Migration in recent years has reached a scale unheard of in the past. With the shrinking arena via reasonably-priced travel and telecommunications, governments are only beginning to catch up with the unstoppable trend of dual or even multiple citizenships.
In 1995, Costa Rica changed their constitution in such a manner that can be summarized as “Once a Tico, always a Tico” — once nationalized, there is no such thing as a renunciation or involuntary loss of Costa Rican citizenship, no matter what grounds no matter voluntary or involuntary. The only exception to this is if it was obtained fraudulently.
That being said, even though the Costa Rican constitution does not allow you to renounce your Costa Rican citizenship, you may still do so due to Costa Rica’s adherence to international human rights treaties.
In addition, if you obtain Costa Rican citizenship by residence, your oath of naturalization will include a renunciation of all other allegiances, yet this is not enforced, nor is it recognized by most other nations, including the U.S. For example, you are renouncing Canadian citizenship to a foreign government (such as by taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States) is not sufficient in itself to be considered as voluntary renunciation of Canadian citizenship.
So, in the end, yes, Costa Rica does support dual citizenship!