What Are the Benefits of Dual Canadian & U.S. Citizenship?

Both Canadian and U.S. citizens enjoy many rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion and assembly. While neither country officially uses the term “dual citizenship,” someone who a citizen of one country may become a citizen of the other without formally renouncing his original citizenship. People who are citizens of both Canada and the U.S. may move, live and work freely in either country. When traveling abroad, they may benefit from diplomatic treatment accorded to citizens of one country or the other. Citizenship carries social, legal and financial responsibilities as well as benefits.

1 Residence

Both Canadian and American citizens have the right to travel and move freely within their country, and to live wherever they choose in their country. People with dual citizenship have the additional benefit of being able to reside anywhere they choose in either country without having to establish a reason for being in that country. Even though a passport is now required for travel between the U.S. and Canada, people who are citizens of both countries are always welcomed home upon arrival.

2 Employment

Canadians and Americans are free to choose their type and place of employment. Dual citizens can choose employment or establish a business in either country without having to fulfill the requirements noncitizens must meet in order to work or do business in the other country. Both countries tax residents on their income and have pension programs that allow certain income tax deductions and provide income to senior citizens. Residency, age and income requirements vary, so seek professional advice to ensure you receive all possible benefits and do not miss any tax or legal obligations.

3 Travel

People who are citizens of Canada and the U.S. can obtain a passport from either country, or both. When traveling abroad, it is best to show only one passport at the border. It is usually preferable to use the passport of the country you are entering, or the same one throughout departure and arrival. In foreign countries, U.S. and Canadian residents can seek assistance from their government’s embassy. While dual citizens may benefit from having two embassies to call on, diplomatic relations can be tricky as an embassy may not want to assist someone who is also protected by another one.

4 Taxation

U.S. citizens must report their worldwide income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service regardless of where they live. Canadian residents report their income to Revenue Canada when they live in Canada for all or part of a year. Canada and the United States recognize tax treaties that allow U.S. citizens who live in Canada to file a shorter U.S. return as long as they file a Canadian return. Filing tax returns is a legal responsibility that goes along with all the benefits of being a citizen of two countries.

Lisa Jensen grows organic food and lives in an adobe house that she built. She teaches aikido, is an experienced back-country skier and backpacker and is active in her community. A graduate of the University of Calgary, Jensen writes about gardening, home projects, social sciences and sports and recreation.