Nationality, Naturalization and Dual Nationality Under Mexican Law

43 Pages Posted: 9 May 2007

See all articles by Jorge A. Vargas

Jorge A. Vargas

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: May 7, 2007


Resulting from a complex combination of factors, the sociological notion of nationality developed by most Mexicans may be described as an intense sentiment closely linking them with Mexico's history, culture, traditions, language and value system. From a legal perspective, for over a century, the concept of nationality has been recognized and articulated in Mexico's Constitutional documents dating back to 1836, 1857 and 1917.

Given this enhanced notion of nationality, Mexico adhered for over a century to the most traditional policy in this area: each individual has the right to a given nationality but to only one nationality in order to avoid conflicts with other States. Therefore, it came as a surprise when Mexico in 1997 amended Articles 30, 32 and 37 of its Federal Constitution of 1917 - and an array of over 65 pieces of secondary legislation - to adopt the notion of indelible nationality, similar to the current English doctrine of Indelible allegiance. In other words, the Mexican nationality is never lost. As a consequence, this new policy sometimes leads to situations whereby a Mexican may have a dual nationality.

This article is divided into five parts. Part One discusses the legal regime applicable to Mexican nationality under Mexican law. Part Two analyzes in detail Mexico's Nationality Act of 1998 focusing Mexican nationality by birth and Mexican nationality by naturalization. Parts Three and Four extend the discussion to embrace the nationality of legal entities, as well as aircraft and vessels, respectively. And Part Five comments on some legal effects of dual nationality produced upon Mexicans in Mexico and those in the United States. The article offers some conclusions.

Keywords: Mexican nationality, dual nationality of Mexicans, Mexican naturalization, Nationality of companies, Nationality of vessels and aircraft, Letters of Naturalization, Mexican certificates

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K10

Suggested Citation

Vargas, Jorge A., Nationality, Naturalization and Dual Nationality Under Mexican Law (May 7, 2007). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-103, Available at SSRN: or

Jorge A. Vargas (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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