According to an article in the Arab Times, Kuwait is going through another one of its periodic crackdowns on holders of dual citizenship, forcing them to choose one nationality or the other. Two years ago the focus was on Kuwaitis with inherited nationality of Arab or South Asian countries; this time, however, they seem to be looking to root out Kuwaitis who were born abroad in jus soli countries — including “accidental Americans” born to in the U.S. to international students who later came back to Kuwait. This could mean long lines outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City, and even bigger numbers of CLNs piling up on State Department desks in Washington, DC waiting to be approved.
As the first linked article states:
Minister of the Interior Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid Al Sabah says the government will withdraw Kuwaiti citizenship from dual citizenship holders … He added the majority of Kuwaitis holding American passports believe in Kuwaiti citizenship, considering they received the American passport beyond their control. Ambassadors, diplomatic attaches, and students are included in this category. Therefore, holders of dual citizenship should come forward and nullify the other nationality.
Technically the point about ambassadors and diplomatic attaches is incorrect (their children only receive automatic eligiblity for a green card — which also makes them U.S. Persons for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code). But other than that, it seems reasonable to assume that dual nationals who want to continue living in Kuwait will give up U.S. citizenship.
Some MPs are working on a bill to allow dual citizenship, and there’s the occasional supportive editorial on the topic. However, another columnist makes a very perceptive point about why certain other countries are so enthusiastic about dual citizenship:
Most of those who support calls for the recognition of the dual nationality of some citizens believe it is pointless to dwell on this issue as it is just an ordinary concern; hence, it is not detrimental to the nation. They have also argued that having dual nationality is a global phenomenon, citing as a case in point many other countries in the world which allow their citizens to hold more than one nationality.
Personally, I am not convinced with this line of reasoning, not only because such statements are misleading, but most importantly the fact that other countries have allowed their citizens to have dual nationality, in order to benefit from them by forcing them to pay taxes or perform significant national duties. This is not applicable in Kuwait, as the country provides its people with the so-called ‘cradle to grave’ support.
Anyway, I don’t think it’s likely this Kuwaiti dual citizenship bill will be passed, so we’ll be seeing a spike in renunciations of U.S. citizenship. (These will indeed be renunciations rather than relinquishments, except for the few among them who have government or military jobs). And if there’s not a bunch of Arab names in the Federal Register a few quarters from now … well either they didn’t renounce, or more likely their names got quietly dropped, just like most of the two thousand South Koreans who gave up U.S. green cards or citizenship in 2011 but never showed up either.
So if you’re planning to give up U.S. citizenship, my advice is to make your appointment at the consulate or embassy sooner rather than later. Remember, you don’t have to go to the U.S. mission nearest you; if you’re willing to travel, you can shop around for the one with the shortest waiting time. You could even go to one in a third country; just make sure you already have a non-U.S. passport, so you’ll have some way of getting back to your home country.