If you are a citizen of two countries, you hold dual citizenship. A person who becomes a Swedish citizen can keep their previous citizenship if the law of that country allows it.
Risks and problems of dual citizenship
Holding dual citizenship may entail risks or problems. Below you will find examples of situations in which problems may arise and Sweden may not be able to provide assistance.
Your Swedish citizenship is not recognised
Your Swedish citizenship may not be recognised by the other country of citizenship. This means, for example, that the authorities in that country would not allow Sweden to provide consular assistance if you were deprived of liberty/arrested by the police, or allow a Sweden embassy official to meet with you.
You may also run into problems in a third country, particularly if you did not travel to that country on your Swedish passport, but rather used your other passport. The authorities in that country can then claim that Sweden is not entitled to assist you if you run into problems.
Many countries have compulsory military service. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you may be liable for military service in that country. The military service obligation may apply even if you are a resident of another country and have become a dual citizen. This means that when you visit your other country of citizenship, you may be called up for military service.
In some countries you could be imprisoned if it appears that you have not done military service. This could happen even if you did not know about the military service obligation or if you have passed the age for military service.
If you travel on two passports, border police and customs authorities may conduct extra controls. One of the passports may lack an entry or exit stamp. Your reason for travelling on two passports may also be questioned. In some countries, one of your passports may be confiscated and you may be fined. You may even be prevented from leaving the country.
If you have received free upper secondary or university education in your other home country, you may be obliged to pay back the state’s costs for your education if you have emigrated and become a citizen of another country.
Certain countries do not allow inheritances to be transferred to citizens who also hold another citizenship.
Marriage, divorce, custody of children
Marriages entered into under the laws of another country are generally recognised in Sweden provided they are valid in the other country. However, marriages entered into in Sweden are not necessarily recognised in all countries. Nor are Swedish divorce or custody decisions automatically recognised everywhere in the world. It is important to check what applies in the other country of citizenship.
Many cases of children removed or detained abroad involve parents and children who have dual citizenship. If the parent removing the child has another country’s passport in addition to a Swedish passport, the Swedish authorities may have difficulty preventing the removal of the child.
If the child has entered a country on that country’s passport, the authorities there can claim that the matter concerns one of its citizens who is subject to its laws, and that Sweden cannot claim to represent the child. This difficulty primarily arises in countries that have not acceded to the Hague Convention and do not recognise dual citizenship.