Do I have to give up my original passport when I become a U.S. citizen?

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Question:

I applied for naturalization and have been approved for U.S. citizenship. My swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for next month. I understand that, as a U.S. citizen, I will be able to apply for a U.S. passport. But what does that mean for my old passport? Do I need to give it up? I am reading the citizenship oath, and it says that I must promise to “renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” To me, that sounds very much like I will be asked to give up my old passport, as well. What should I expect?

Answer:

No, you will not be asked to give up the passport of your original or native country. The language of the U.S. citizenship oath certainly sounds very stark; like you will be making an all-or-nothing commitment; but that is simply not the case.

The United States allows naturalized (and other) citizens to become dual citizens with their home countries (though it’s not possible for everyone, depending on the laws within said home countries). And if you’re a dual citizen, you may not only keep your old passport, but travel with it, if you wish.

If you do travel outside the U.S., however, you must, by law, carry your U.S. passport with you when departing, and present it to U.S. officials upon reentering. (This comes from Section 215(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act or I.N.A.)

Congratulations on your approval, and click here to learn more about your rights and benefits as a new U.S. citizen.

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