If you live or work in Mexico, you might be considering taking up Mexican citizenship. Becoming a Mexican citizen means you could have additional rights, such as being able to vote or run for office in some elections. You can also hold a Mexican passport and come and go freely from the country without needing to worry about getting a visa. But what if you don’t want to give up your original nationality to become a Mexican citizen?
Taking up dual citizenship might be the answer. Here’s everything you need to know about who can apply, and how you go about getting dual citizenship with Mexico.
Mexico recognizes dual citizenship. So, if you hold Mexican citizenship, you can take citizenship of another country without having to give it up. And there’s no barrier in Mexican law stopping foreigners from acquiring Mexican nationality in addition to their original citizenship¹.
However, it’s not always possible in practise to take up Mexican citizenship in addition to your original citizenship. That’s because not all countries allow dual citizenship. So, even though Mexican law allows it, if your home country doesn't accept dual nationalities, you might be forced to give up your original citizenship when you become a Mexican national.
The laws regarding dual nationality are complex. Whatever your circumstances it's worth getting legal advice from an immigration lawyer to help you understand if you can take up a second citizenship with Mexico.
Mexico allows dual citizenship. But local law in many countries means that you have to give up your original nationality before taking up any new citizenship. If that’s the case in your home country, then in effect it’s impossible to get dual citizenship. You’d have to revoke your original nationality at the point you accept a new one. The countries which don't allow dual citizenship in any circumstance include²:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The good news is that some countries, like Ireland and the UK for example, allow dual citizenship without restriction, as long as applicants meet certain criteria.
Some other countries allow dual citizenship, but have restrictions on who can take it up. So for example, a Spanish citizen can take up dual citizenship in Mexico, or another Iberoamerican country. However, Spain doesn’t recognise dual citizenship with all countries, so an American who was born in the USA for example, would have to renounce his US citizenship to take up Spanish citizenship². In effect, this might not make a lot of difference. That’s because some countries don’t allow people who are citizens by birth, to ever lose their nationality. So in this case, under normal circumstances, the Spanish authorities would treat you as though you’re a Spanish citizen, while the US authorities would continue to view you as an American.
As you might have gathered - immigration law is very complicated. Every individual situation is unique, and the information here can only act as a broad guide. If you’re starting to consider your options, it's worth talking through the details of your personal situation with a qualified professional.
Some of the main countries which accept dual citizenship with Mexico include²:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Triple citizenship is sometimes described as multiple citizenship, and is theoretically allowed in Mexico. You don’t need to give up previous nationalities to become a Mexican citizen, so holding other citizenships won’t affect your chances of becoming a Mexican citizen. That means that, if you already hold dual dual citizenship elsewhere, and apply for Mexican citizenship too, it shouldn’t cause you a problem³.
Although Mexican law doesn’t limit the number of nationalities you can have, you can lose your citizenship through naturalisation if you move away from the country for a long time, or if you take up citizenship of another country after accepting Mexican citizenship⁵.
That means that, in practical terms, there’s an effective cap on the number of citizenships most individuals can hold.
This could work in a couple of different ways. So for example, let’s say you’re born a UK citizen, but have acquired Irish citizenship by naturalisation. If you move to Mexico for long enough to fulfil the residency requirements to get citizenship, you might be stripped of your Irish citizenship. That’s because Irish law says that you can lose citizenship if you don’t live in Ireland for a long period of time.
It could work similarly, if you acquire Mexican citizenship, but then move away, and seek citizenship in your new home. In this case, you could ultimately lose your Mexican citizenship because it can be revoked if you move away for 5 years, or if you acquire a different citizenship after having been naturalised as a Mexican.
So ultimately, it’s not necessarily possible the ‘collect’ citizenships without hitting a practical ceiling.
You can choose to renounce your Mexican citizenship if, for example, you want to take citizenship of a country which doesn’t allow dual nationality.
You can also automatically lose your citizenship if you’re a naturalised Mexican citizen, for a number of reasons. In theory you could be stripped of citizenship if you take a new citizenship after having been naturalised, although this is usually not enough on its own to see your citizenship revoked⁵. However, you could lose your right to Mexican citizenship if you take a title from another country, or serve another country, for example by joining their government⁴.
There are several steps to becoming a Mexican citizen.
Here’s an outline of the steps you’ll have to take⁶:
- Ensure you meet the requirements for Mexican citizenship - which means either you’ve fulfilled the residency requirement or somehow offered distinguished service to the nation
- Submit relevant documents and proof of eligibility
- Pay your fee
- Assuming your application is approved, you can apply for a Mexican passport
Before you can apply for Mexican citizenship you have to fulfil the residency requirements, which depend on your personal circumstances. If you’re married to a Mexican and live in Mexico, you might be able to apply for citizenship with as little as 2 years of residency, or it could be up to five years before you’re eligible if you don’t have a direct family link to the country⁷.
Once you’ve sent in your application, you can usually expect a citizenship decision to take 6 months - or longer if the authorities need to ask you any questions, or if you don’t include all the right paperwork with your application⁸.
If I’m obtaining dual citizenship, do I need to inform both countries of my new citizenship, or do the countries themselves do that?
This is a tricky question - and there’s no short answer. Because immigration law is complex, you should check with a professional about your duty to inform your home country of your decision.
What you need to do will depend a lot on your home country, and the law there about dual citizenship. If you’re taking Mexican citizenship as a second citizenship, and your country of origin doesn’t allow dual nationality, you might run into some problems. Your best option is to check if you have a duty to inform your home country of your intentions, with an immigration lawyer, or your local embassy or consulate.
Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? Wise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.
If you already have - or you’re considering applying for dual nationality, then the chances are that you already have to split your life between Mexico and your country of origin.
Relocating - and juggling life between different countries - can cause some practical headaches. A big issue for many people who live and work abroad, is the cost incurred if you have to move your money between bank accounts held in different countries and currencies.
The Wise borderless multi-currency account can be a great solution - and stop you from getting ripped off by unfair bank fees when you have to move your cash around. With this new type of account, you can hold your money in any one of dozens of different currencies, and see your balance across different currencies at a glance. Then, when you need to, you can convert money between currencies at a fair rate.
Using Wise to switch your money between currencies means that you’ll always get the same exchange rate that banks use when they trade currencies between themselves. That’s the rate you’d find on Google, and the only fair rate.
But, while many banks and money transfer services claim that they’ll exchange your cash for free, or for a low fee, they often don’t offer customers the real exchange rate. Instead, they make their profit by marking up the rate they use, and keeping the difference. With Wise, you don’t need to worry about paying more than you should because of an unfair exchange rate. You just pay a transparent upfront charge, and there are no nasty surprises.
Wise borderless multi-currency accounts are supported for consumers and businesses for the majority of the world's population and support transfers and converting between 40 currencies
Wise borderless multi-currency accounts can generate local bank details in the following regions / currencies:
If you’re applying for dual citizenship then there are some practical considerations to bear in mind. In addition to the paperwork of sorting out your citizenship, there’s the cost of living between two - or more - countries as well. If you don’t think about practical solutions to make your money work for you, you could end up paying more than you have to for day to day banking.
That’s where Wise comes in. The Wise multi-currency borderless account is built for international people. And while traditional banks might not always be set up to serve people who juggle life between different countries, or who need to travel a lot, Wise knows how to help you make your money work for you. A borderless account could be just the solution you need. It lets your money move with you, with fair exchange rates and transparent fees - so you can just get on with enjoying life.
From early 2018, you can also get a free consumer debit card which is linked to your account. See if you could get a better deal with a Wise multi-currency borderless account, today.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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