Annotation.The article describes a phenomenon of double citizenship, advantages and disadvantages of it. It suggests some ways of resolving such problem on the national level.

Анотація. У статті розглянуто явище біпатризму у міжнародному публічному праві, переваги та недоліки множинного громадянства. Пропонується декілька шляхів вирішення проблеми багатогромадянства на національному рівні.

Keywords: dual nationality, citizen, citizenship, International law.

Problem setting. Dual nationality is a very specific category because it has advantages and disadvantages, and doesn’t have specific measures to prevent it. All countries have different treatment of double citizenship and some of them have favorable position for its development.

The latest scientific researches and publications analysis. The double citizenship has been researched by such prominent scientists as S.Cabirage, I.Protsenko, O.Dovbysh and others.

The article’s purpose. The purpose of this article is to show advantages and disadvantages of dual nationality and some ways to solve this problem.

The statement of basic material of research. It is known that, citizen who has citizenship of two and more countries recognizes as a citizen of the country where he placed only in relations with a host state. This does not depend on an attitude of host country to double citizenship.

The phenomenon of dual nationality entails such problems as a military service by people who have dual citizenship, payment of tax, diplomatic protection. In principle, these questions can be regulated by concluding of bilateral (or multilateral) international treaties. For example, the double citizenship became one of the most critical problems in Germany. That is why Portugal and Germany entered into an agreement about double nationality. According to the treaty, a term of military service in both countries is different: in Germany it lasts 1.5 years and in Portugal – 1 year. This means that if a person has a citizenship of both countries, and served in the Portuguese army, than passed the German border, so he shall serve in the German army 6 additional months.

Problems, which arise in this sphere, are always heard by arbitrations and international courts. It is necessary to remember about Canevaro brothers case, which was heard by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 1912. It was a trial about Italy’s complaint against Peru as to a Peruvian government’s debt to Canevaro brothers. The Court decided that one brother was Peruvian by birth and Italian according to Article 4 of  the Italian Civil Code because his farther was also Italian. R.Canevaro acted as citizen of Peru several times, when he was a candidate for Senate and accepted a post in Consulate-general of Netherlands. Based on that, the government of Peru was entitled to reckon R. Canevaro as an own citizen and denied his status of claimant to Italian citizenship. Because of this, the Court satisfied a claim of two brothers who had only a citizenship of Italy, and refused R. Canevaro (2, p.73).

Dual citizenship is also very popular in Ukraine, especially now. So, there are a lot of thousands people who are using two and more passports. Besides, the State Duma of  the Russian Federation registered a bill of Russian-Ukrainian bilateral treaty about dual nationality in 2004.

Of course, this phenomenon has advantages and disadvantages at the same time. For example, an intensification of connections among countries in the world, preservation of citizenship in a mixed marriage, additional guaranties of realization and protection of citizen’s and human’s  rights and freedoms. However, there are quite contrary outcomes: a person with plural citizenship has considerably less rights to diplomatic protection, according to the Hague Convention of 1930.

Per international law, a protection by state of its citizen as to state of another citizen of this person is forbidden. This fact is confirmed by international practice.

In a legal context the dual citizenship effectiveness for person and the state is minimal. Person can use full rights and exercise duties only before one state and the rights and obligations before other state de-facto are declarative.

Cabirage supposes that this category creates much more problems than benefits. Dual nationality actually slows down a process of forming nation unity. As result of its spreading, particularly in Ukraine, international conflicts can emerge, and it also decreases state’s ability to protect its citizens, especially abroad. Furthermore,  it disseminates separatist views among population. The evidence of this argument is a conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia, which concerned protection of Russian citizen on the Georgian territory (3).

At the same time there are a few advantages. In particular, the presence of several passports gives an opportunity of free moving in Europe and the USA, for example, if there is a Canadian one.

There are economic aspects too, including tax evasion. For example, Gerard Depardieu, who received a Russian citizenship a few years ago. By then, the ID was 13% in Russia, thereafter in France it was 52%. This means, when person changes his domicile, he avoids a high taxation, so it is clear why actor chose exactly Russia. In spite of this, there is a minus. For example, citizens are obliged to fill up the state treasury regardless of domicile in the USA and Canada. Except this, even people, who have only a permission to reside, are potential citizens of America (4, p.20).

There is a legal impact in the sphere of diplomatic protection of people with two and more citizenships. Firstly, it is accrual of dispute between two states. According to Article 4 of the Hague Convention with some question, which concerns collision of laws about citizenship,  the State could not exerts diplomatic protection of its citizen in another State, where this person also has a citizenship. Secondly, it is  accrual of dispute on the territory of a third state, where a person does not have a citizenship. So, there is a question: which of both States, where a person has a citizenship, must give protection? In this case the criteria of effective citizenship must be applied(1).

An existence of these criteria were de-jure consolidated in 1955, when  the International Court of Justice adjudged the Nottebom’s case. As a result of that, the precedent was founded, according to which in such disputable situations  the citizenship of that state  is allowed with which a person was linked the most. Thereafter, the criteria of effective citizenship are: domicile, a location of movable property and estate property, place of employment, etc. However, S. Chernichenko thinks that this principle in practice contravenes international law because when court decides which of citizenships is more effective, it becomes supranational court. This principle can be applied only by international court (5, p.122).

The problem of double citizenship in international law cannot be resolved in the easy way because some countries support the idea of multiple citizenship (Canada, Australia, Grenada) and other countries are adversaries of it (Ukraine).

This phenomenon can be reduced by concluding treaties about the prevention of dual nationality between countries (e.g. Kazakhstan and Belarus). Moreover, the state bodies must control the process of acquisition of double nationality. In particular, they should make alterations about citizen’s duty to inform the official body about their citizenship of foreign country. If citizen does not inform about it, so this person must be punished by the state, for instance, to pay a fine. A next step to prevent dual nationality is to make a person show  permission about renouncement from another citizenship before a naturalization.

Conclusion. The double citizenship as a legal phenomenon is regulated in majority countries differently. That is why people sometimes use this fact and thanks to passports of foreign countries, they can avoid a high taxation, military service, etc. Nevertheless, there are some measures how to prevent it.


1. Конвенция о некоторых вопросах, касающихся коллизий между законами о гражданстве 1930 : [Електронний ресурс] – Режим доступу :

2. Антонович М.М. Міжнародне публічне право / М. М.Антонович. – К.: Вид.дім «КМ Академія». – 2003. – 308 с.

3.  Довбиш М. О. Актуальність подвійного громадянства для України : [Електронний ресурс] / М. О. Довбиш. – Режим доступу : http://конференция

4. Кабирадж С. Проблемы двугражданства / С . Кабирадж. – К. : ООО «Междунар. фин. Агенство», 1996. – 32 с.

5. Черниченко С. В. Международно-правовые вопросы гражданства / С. В. Черниченко // М.: «Международные отношения», 1968 – 216 c.


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