Is it possible to acquire dual Japan and US citizenship?

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Since Japan restricts dual citizenship status for its citizens, obtaining dual citizenship is a very confusing topic for Japan people. For example, if you were born by Japan citizens who were naturalized in the United States, can you keep both Japan and US citizenships? It depends.

Japan does allow you to be a bipatride (read: a dual citizen) until you reach 22 years. After that, if you do not contact Japanese government to do the paperwork to keep your Japan citizenship, they will revoke it on a unilateral basis.

There is, however, an important aspect of having a US and Japanese citizenship at the same time. You have to choose your citizenship and notify Japanese government about that. But reality shows that many naturalized US citizens do not inform the Japanese government about their citizenship status. And the Japanese government itself is very reluctant to actually cancel citizenship due to bureaucracy. There are no documented cases when Japanese citizenship was truly revoked. Considering that the United States government cannot force you to renounce Japanese citizenship, you are able to keep both citizenships.

Unless you commit a serious crime in Japan or do not pay taxes, you may not have any issues with Japan when you are a bipatride. Still, we do recommend that you make a choice to avoid any potential troubles. And never forget to use your Japanese passport when traveling to Japan from the US.

One thing for certain, if you are an American and you want to also become a Japanese citizen through naturalization, you cannot be a dual citizen in this case. Japanese laws are very severe and demand that you renounce your previous nationality. And if you do, your US citizenship will be revoked thus making you a person with only one citizenship.

There is one last situation we want to mention. Sometimes Japanese Americans want to visit Japan to live in the country for a year or even more. If you have not attained 22 years yet, then you do not need a visa to visit Japan. All you need is a Japanese passport, which you can get at a Japanese consulate in the US. Other than getting a passport, you do not need any extra documents to visit Japan before you are 22 years old.

In conclusion, you can be a legal dual citizen in Japan and the US until your reach 22 years. After attaining that age, you have to choose the citizenship you want to keep to make it legal.

 

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