Dual citizenship can complicate diplomatic protection

A good overview on some of the implications on dual citizenship when visiting one’s country of origin, in light of the Mohammed Fahmy verdict (Mohamed Fahmy, jailed Egyptian-Canadian journalist, sentenced to 7 years).

A counter example to some of the comments on the Government side during the debate on C-24 Citizenship Act, who talked about the benefits of dual citizenship, not the risks.

As Macklin notes, some countries do not allow dual nationals to enter with their Canadian passports:

As well, unlike Canada, many countries, in particular non-G8 countries, do not recognize dual citizenship. Canada doesn’t require an individual to give up any citizenship of another country. But whether that persons country of origin recognizes their dual citizenship is a question from country to country, Niren said.

Some applicants will have to give up their home citizenship because they’re not going to be recognized anymore. For example, many Chinese nationals coming to Canada must give up their Chinese citizenship, as China doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.

A government of Canada website also cautions Canadians who have dual citizenship that it “may not be legal in the country of your second nationality, which could result in serious difficulties.

“You may have outstanding obligations in the second country, such as military service or taxes. Dual citizenship can also cause problems in a third country if there is confusion over which citizenship you used to gain entry,” the website says. It advises people to contact the appropriate foreign government office in Canada before heading abroad.

Some countries may also feel more justified on their claim on a dual citizen who has gotten in trouble with the law if that person used that country’s passport to enter.

An easy solution for Canadians would seem to be to always use their Canadian passport.

But “some countries take the position that they don’t mind if you’re a dual citizen, we don’t care, but when you’re coming into our country, you use your passport from this country,” Macklin said.

Dual citizenship can complicate diplomatic protection – Canada – CBC News.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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