Renouncing my Taiwanese citizenship to serve in the U.S. Military

To start this off, I was born in Taiwan with one parent being a U.S. Citizen. I graduated elementary in Taiwan, then went to the states for post-elementary education… I’ve lived in the states for nearly half my life, and I intend to enter the United States Air Force.

I currently hold both a Taiwan and U.S. passport, yet the U.S. Military does not recognize dual-citizenship, and renouncing my Taiwan citizenship is not an option until I complete mandatory military service in Taiwan.

Serving in Taiwan might jeopardize my future career in the U.S. Armed Forces, The Department of State has listed security clearance implications that may be disqualifying, being -
*exercise of dual citizenship
*possession and/or use of a foreign passport
*military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country
Many more here.

What would be my next best step in this situation? If you know anyone who had similar experiences, please let me know.

Dual citizenship often prolongs and complicates security clearances, and can limit the programs you can support, but isn’t necessarily a disqualifier for a clearance itself.

I’ve been deployed (as a contractor) with servicemen who weren’t u.s. citizens at all.

Are you planning to go in enlisted or as an officer? What MOS? Are you planning on doing your Taiwanese enlistment?

Personally, in your situation, I wouldn’t consider renouncing until and if it becomes an issue.


Ask someone for clarification.

I know that a holistic appproach is used when deeming eligibility for a clearance. Dual citizenship does not guarantee a problem, but like @Poundsand said, it does lengthen and complicate the clearance adjudication process. Anecdotally, I have seen people with dual citizenships get clearance while working for a contractor. Just be really forthcoming at SF-86 time. Best bet is talk to an FSO.

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Don’t get distracted by security clearance. That’s off track at this stage for you or anyone including typical American considering entering.

Most people in the US military do not have a security clearance and most jobs do not require a security clearance so that is not a big concern at this stage or even later worry unless you’re looking for a specific job that requires one. And security clearances are determined on a case-by-case basis at the time needed not earlier.

Any disqualification for entry would use other considerations and not eligibility for security clearance. If trying to enter for a job requiring a security clearance, but not eligible, can still enter for another job.

Not a bad idea to contact the local Taiwan located VFW Post that I believe has some ex-Taiwanese as members. Of course their entry experience was years ago but it’s good reference and they may have updated examples. The good part of talking to them is it’s unofficial so not like talking to a recruiter who will possibly immediately put you into the tracking system. They have members from all branches including Air Force.

Oh the plus side, recruiters try hard to get anyone eligible in. So later talking to them may be beneficial.


Could be useful reading for you to get some closure on the whole clearance thing, even if ultimately you will not be working a job that requires one:


I’m a dual citizen and the CIA gave me an interview and considered me for a couple of positions. Don’t feel crippled by it at all.