Social Question

jordym84's avatar

What's my nationality?

Asked by jordym84 (4742 points ) July 8th, 2013

I realize this may be a silly question, but I’ve always had trouble with this term. I know what it means, but it’s just one of those things about which I always second-guess myself. Essentially, I’m filling out some paperwork for a job for which I’ve been interviewing and there is a section that asks for my nationality. I was born and raised in Cape Verde but I’ve resided in the USA for the past ten years and I hold passports for both countries. Which one should I list as my nationality for the purposes of this application?

Thank you! :)

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15 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would guess you could use either depeneding on what advantages it gives you although generally I feel it pertains to the country of your birth.

Katniss's avatar

Are they allowed to ask that?

thorninmud's avatar

If it’s an American company, they may just want to be reassured that they’re not going to run into any complications from hiring a foreign national. If I were you, I’d just put down your U.S. nationality to avoid raising any red flags. It’s a perfectly honest answer.

zenvelo's avatar

Ah, dual nationality! You get to choose! And as @janbb said, chose whichever one works best for you at the moment. they won’t take one away.

jordym84's avatar

It is an American company, but this is an international position which will require lots of travel and they do need all of this information as they are hiring internationally, so I’m not concerned about providing the information. I’m just wondering which one I should list as my nationality.

@zenvelo I get to choose?? That’s awesome! I think it’ll be easier if I list the US since it’s where I currently reside.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Dual citizenship!

janbb's avatar

My sons have both American and British passports and use their British ones for EU advantages.

geeky_mama's avatar

@jordym84 – I agree it’ll be easier, and possibly better for the purposes of your job application to list the US—because if any travel is required for your job, you might find it easier traveling to some places w/ your US passport.

I work for a large multinational corporation and a few of my colleagues are US-residents but foreign-nationals (one is from China, but living/working in US on a H-1b visa) and they cannot easily travel out of the US for work. (So, even our customer meetings in Canada and Latin America are not possible for them to travel to..)

So, in this case..they (prospective employer) are just asking:
Are you a foreign national (meaning they might have travel restrictions and/or need visa sponsorship to work) or not?

Can’t totally blame them..it’s expensive to sponsor a foreign worker’s visa, and a headache if the job requires travel.

cazzie's avatar

List the one you were born with and add the second one because it is a bonus, especially if you speak Portchie and speak English like a native. (which I am assuming you probably do.) My son was born in Norway but he is being raised by me, a native English speaker. It gives him an advantage. Because he was brought up with two languages, his ability to understand broad and abstract concepts is developed well and truly over his counterparts. His math and language skills are years above his classmates. Growing up bilingual is only advantageous. Holding a US passport as well as one for the small, wonderful island nation should only hold a bonus to you. Never apologise. Simply say that you are a dual national. I will get my son a second passport soon that will make sure he has all the benefits of his parental heritage made available to him.

JLeslie's avatar

Does it ask your nationality or if you are a US citizen? It’s odd in my opinion for an American to word nationality synonomously with citizenship. If you are a US citizen you just have to check the box answering yes or affirmative for that question. If you will be travelling to the country which you hold another passport, you have to list that also, because you will be required to use it when entering that country. If you think it is important and valid to list all countries you hold passports to, then just write in exactly that.

cazzie's avatar

When I was moving to New Zealand, they asked for my nationality in a way that implied the colour of my skin and how I culturally identified myself. I simply ignored the obvious box called ‘White European’ and I proudly ticked the box for ‘Other’ and wrote in ‘American’... LOL!!!

JLeslie's avatar

I had started to write, and then deleted, but now think I should have left it, so here I go. In America it is illegal to require a candidate to answer their race, ethnicity, nationality, or even citizenship. It can be asked on a form, but should state it is optional to answer. They can ask if you are able to work in the US. After hire then they can ask all those things and require you show proof of eligibility to work. I am not saying you shouldn’t answer, just saying I really am not clear what they are asking by what you have written.

jordym84's avatar

Thank you all for your insights! I ended up listing both. They already know my background, the paperwork is more of a formality. For those who are concerned, I’m not worried about this information being used against me. The application is for a position in a different segment of my current company, which is known for being a very diverse employer. I already work with people from all over the world, so I know discrimination will not be an issue. As I stated above, the position will require lots of travel and they just need to establish my eligibility to travel outside of the country without much trouble in the way of visas.

@cazzie That’s excellent about your son!! Being multilingual has certainly been an incredible asset for me, in more ways than I can count. I’m assuming Portchie means Portuguese? In which case, then yes, I’m fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Capeverdean Creole and French. And no worries, I never feel like I have to apologize for my background; au contraire, people are usually very intrigued when I tell them where I’m from and I love talking about my ethnic heritage. :) I, too, always choose “other” when filling out documents that ask for my race, not because I’m paranoid about discrimination and such, I just don’t identify with any of the races typically listed here in the US.

@JLeslie It just has a space for me to fill in my nationality and I don’t think the term is being used synonymously with citizenship.

JLeslie's avatar

@jordym84 Is the company an American company? I’m not worried about discrimination for you, it’s just odd. In America we ask each other our nationality and it can be from three generations back, not whether we are actually passport holders or not.

jordym84's avatar

@JLeslie Yup, it’s an American company.

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