The Associated Press
Monday, November 17, 2008
HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam will begin allowing dual citizenship next year, making it much easier for many of the 3.5 million ethnic Vietnamese living overseas to buy property or do business in their former homeland, an official said Monday.
The lawmaking National Assembly passed a revised nationality law last week allowing overseas ethnic Vietnamese with foreign passports to acquire Vietnamese nationality, provided that they haven’t renounced their citizenship, said Tran That of the Ministry of Justice.
Under the new law, which takes effect next July, ethnic Vietnamese will be able to apply for citizenship at embassies and consulates around the world, That said.
“The new law meets the desire of many overseas Vietnamese to retain Vietnamese citizenship,” he said.
There are an estimated 3.5 million ethnic Vietnamese living overseas, many of whom fled the country by boat after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and sought citizenship in their new home countries. Many maintain close ties with Vietnam, opening businesses and sending more than $6 billion to the country last year.
Vietnam’s government has sought to attract more investment from overseas Vietnamese.
The United States has the largest overseas Vietnamese community, with roughly 1.5 million. Europe, Australia and Canada also have large Vietnamese populations.
Vietnam permits non-citizens to do business and buy property in Vietnam, but subjects them to strict rules.
Those who claim dual citizenship under the new law will be treated the same as ordinary Vietnamese, That said.