When my husband and I started our family, we knew that in addition to adopting American traditions, we also wanted to keep alive in our home our Mexican culture and heritage and teach our children to love both countries through dual citizenship.
I was born in Mexico and came to this country almost 10 years ago. Today, I can proudly say that I’m also an American citizen, as I obtained my citizenship in September 2017. My husband was born in the U.S. to Mexican parents. He has only his U.S. citizenship because, at the time of his birth, Mexico didn’t allow dual citizenship. However, that changed 20 years ago.
Since 1998, the Nationality Law in Mexico has allowed its citizens to claim a different nationality in addition to their Mexican citizenship. This allows us the benefit, but also the responsibility, of dual citizenship.
U.S. laws don’t mention dual citizenship or require a person to select one nationality over the other, allowing U.S. nationals to become citizens of another country without losing their U.S. citizenship.
Obtaining Mexican citizenship for our kids while living in San Antonio, was easier than I thought. I don’t have a background in law, nor am I a lawyer, but I’m writing from my personal experience.
I registered my firstborn in the Mexican Consulate of Houston a few years ago, and at the beginning of this year, I also registered my baby—but in the Mexican Consulate of San Antonio. To obtain dual citizenship for both of our children, we followed the following steps:
- Fill out an application HERE.
- Gather all of the necessary documents you will need: child’s birth certificate, parents’ birth certificate (at least one of whom has Mexican citizenship), valid ID card, and marriage certificate. If one parent has passed away, a death certificate is also needed. It is important to be prepared with copies of all documents and, in the case of your ID card, to make copies of both sides.
- Make an appointment with the Consulate by calling CONSULMEX at (877) 639-4835. We only had to go to one appointment because all of our paperwork was completed; however, on their official website they warn that if you don’t have all of the necessary paperwork, you will likely have to go to a second appointment.
To see all of the information provided by the Mexican government, please click here.
Once we gathered all of our documents and completed the appointment, my husband, baby, and I went to the consulate, located at 127 Navarro St. in downtown San Antonio. This time, we didn’t need witnesses because the local consulate allows two of their employees to act as such, but when we visited the consulate in Houston, we were accompanied by two family members that served as witnesses. Whether you will require witnesses or not will depend on the office that you visit, so it is always a good idea to double check the website of the specific consulate you will be visiting.
It is important to mention that the initial procedure is free and there is no cost for the first Mexican Certificate of Nationality, but each additional copy costs $13.
What are the benefits of dual citizenship to my children?
The last time we traveled by plane, we got to Mexico as nationals and the same happened on our way back to U.S. Driving across the border is also more convenient because border patrol agents don’t need to see a temporal immigration permit. It also carries pride to be a citizen of both countries.
Recently, the popularity of dual citizenship among Mexicans has increased because people want to secure their children’s future, fearing deportation if they don’t have their legal status in order. Having a Mexican nationality while being born in the U.S. allows my kids to access education and medical services just the same as any other American citizen.
Obligations and possible problems
Extra benefits always come with additional obligations, and in the case of dual citizenship, people need to pay taxes in both countries when applicable.
The U.S. Department of State website also cautions that “dual nationality may hamper efforts of the U.S. Government to provide consular protection to [those with dual citizenship] when they are abroad, especially when they are in the country of their second nationality.”
Despite this, I’m proud of our choice to obtain dual citizenship for our children. They are the products of two great countries, and we are honored to teach them to love both.