Am I a dual citizen?
May 15, 2008 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Please help me determine if I am a dual citizen with the United States and Mexico.

I was born in Mexico City in 1985 to American parents, but moved while still an infant outside of Mexico.

I have a valid American passport. I also have an expired Mexican passport from when I was an infant, and both American and Mexican birth certificates. I was always told that at age 18 my Mexican citizenship would expire (due to Mexican law I believe - something about military service), however I have also heard vague explanations to the contrary such as this.

Would this be a matter of regaining Mexican Citizenship or simply acknowledging it? Does anyone know the real deal?

Secondly, assuming I am indeed a Mexican citizen, how difficult will it be to obtain a valid Mexican passport from within the US, and should I bother? Any perks I'm not aware of? - Thanks!
posted by alhadro to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are a Mexican national because you were born in Mexico, even if your parents are American. This is in the constitution (in Spanish). You can't lose your Mexican nationality.

Nationality is different than citizenship. You become a citizen in Mexico when you reach legal adulthood (18 years old). I think you don't have to do any military service when you have a dual nationality. More information here.

The easiest thing to do is to call the Mexican Embassy and ask.
posted by clearlydemon at 7:43 PM on May 15, 2008

Any perks I'm not aware of?

If you ever want to immigrate permanently to the EU, if you reside in Spain using your Mexican passport you'll be eligible for Spanish citizenship in just two years—as an American you would need ten years of residency unless you married a Spanish citizen. So basically Mexican passport + two years in Spain = Spanish passport, thus ability to live and work anywhere you want in the EU.
posted by lia at 8:06 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

I found you can get your passport in your closest Mexican Consulate. You'll need to make an appointment first (1-877-MEXITEL). The website doesn't have any information in English regarding passports, only in Spanish.
posted by clearlydemon at 8:17 PM on May 15, 2008

Any perks I'm not aware of?

Well, you might be able to vote, or run for office in Mexico. You can own land in Mexico directly (non-citizens must use a bank trust).

Mexican passports let you travel visa-free to 99 countries, which is fewer than the U.S.'s 130 -- but Mexico lets you go some places where you would have to get a visa on arrival with your U.S. passport. But a key choice here might be Cuba. You might have to travel through Mexico to get there, and as a U.S. citizen you will have to be careful not to violate the embargo (at least in any big way), because you can be subject to fines when you get back (even for a case of cigars). But it would make it easy to vacation there, which Americans currently can't really do.

Another major place on the list is Iran.

Your Mexican passport would also be handy in certain war zones or other areas where being an American could be dicey. Fancy a career as a foreign correspondent?
posted by dhartung at 12:23 AM on May 16, 2008

But it would make it easy to vacation there, which Americans currently can't really do.

Note that because the poster is American, this is still something he can't really do.
posted by oaf at 4:21 AM on May 16, 2008

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