Does acquiring a new nationality make you lose your original one?

Currently, having more than one nationality, and consequently more than one passport, is a real possibility. It has its advantages, and of course, it also has consequences. For example, tax implications. But what happens to my original nationality when acquiring a new one? Do I lose it? Can I have more than one nationality?

Let’s start by pointing out that nationality is a right of every person; this is affirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In turn, other international instruments, such as the Pact of San José, establish that changing nationality is also a right.

This was not always the perspective; in the first half of the 20th century, International Law favored an approach where a person could only have one nationality, and it was the States’ prerogative to grant it. Currently, the principle remains that States decide who their nationals are, but this notion of nationality as a right is recognized, and the possibility of an individual having dual nationality is considered.

According to the Dual Citizen Index 2024, prepared by the website Citizen X, there are 144 countries worldwide that allow dual nationality; 53 reject it, and 29 countries accept dual nationality, but with exceptions or limitations.

In the case of our country, if you are a Chilean by origin (child of a Chilean father or mother), you do not lose your Chilean nationality by becoming naturalized in another country. This is only lost through voluntary renunciation before a competent authority.

Additionally, there is a dual nationality treaty between Chile and Spain, dating back to 1958, which grants citizens of both countries the possibility of acquiring Chilean or Spanish nationality, as applicable, “without losing their previous nationality.” It is the only treaty of this kind signed by our country.

Each country has its own rules. Portugal, for example, recognizes dual nationality and allows the original nationality to be retained if the legislation of the country of origin permits it.

Spain, on the other hand, allows acquiring Spanish nationality without renunciation for those coming from Ibero-American countries—those where Spanish or Portuguese are one of the official languages—or from Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal. It is interesting to note that, for these purposes, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana are not considered Ibero-American, while Puerto Rico is.

Italy, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus are among the European countries that accept dual nationality without restrictions or the need for renunciation.

As a firm specializing in international mobility, AIM Global has an experienced team to help you obtain a second nationality in Europe.

Whether through descent, such as the Spanish Grandchildren Law, or if you are the grandchild of Portuguese nationals who have not lost their nationality, or through other visas, such as the Golden Visa or visas linked to entrepreneurship, AIM Global has all the tools to assist you.

Schedule a meeting with our team now and don’t delay your dream of being a citizen of the world any longer. With us, it is possible.

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