Qualifying For Panamanian Citizenship And A Panamanian Passport

“Kathleen, my question is for Lief.

“Lief, you recently wrote: ‘Although you’re meant to give up your current citizenship when you accept your Panamanian passport.’

“Are you sure this is correct? I know of one person who holds both U.S. and Panamanian passports.

“I was considering pursuing a Panamanian citizenship, but not if I have to give up my U.S. passport.

“If this is correct about Panama, it would be helpful to know what countries allow dual citizenship. Thanks very much.”

–William F., Indonesia

Yes, it’s correct…as is, I’m sure, is your experience with someone holding both passports.

If you’re born with Panamanian citizenship, you can be a dual citizen. Many Panamanians are U.S. citizens because either their father (from the military) was American or they were born in the United States. They can hold both passports…and do.

However, if a non-Panamanian is naturalized, Panama’s constitution requires that he give up his previous citizenship(s). While Panama doesn’t walk you down to the U.S. embassy and watch you renounce your U.S. citizenship (as Singapore does), an American who acquires Panamanian citizenship is expected to do just that.

That said, I know of many who have been naturalized to become Panamanian citizens who have not officially given up their previous citizenships. You can do it and get away with it…until you don’t. That is, there’d always be the risk that Panama might at some point realize that you haven’t held up your end of the bargain. In that case, they could revoke your naturalized status.

Continue reading: Panama Market Watch

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