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The Rules of the Game

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on July 19, 2010

In recent years, America’s past-time has become an international past-time with major league baseball drawing an influx of talent from Latin America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Japan, Korea and elsewhere in Asia.

With players drawing bigger and bigger salaries, the issue of a player’s citizenship, though only a curiosity for sports fans, has become an issue of serious interest to some governments.

Some foreign-born players may reside in the U.S., yet still be citizens of other countries, and therefore subject to taxation in foreign lands. Furthermore, this may be the case even for some players who have applied for and been granted U.S. citizenship.

This is because the law of citizenship varies from country to country, sometimes allowing for dual citizenship. A foreign country may base its citizenship on place of birth, or on blood relationship to a parent-citizen, or on other factors (such as a “naturalization” process) and obtaining citizenship in the U.S. does not necessarily “cut ties” to the old country.

For instance, children born to Mexican citizens residing in the United States are automatically dual citizens under the laws of Mexico. Some countries even recognize children born in the U.S. as citizens by reaching back for generations to a paternal or maternal link. Others grant citizenship automatically to spouses of a citizen, so that a ballplayer who is a U.S. citizen may become a dual citizen when he marries someone from a foreign country.

Citizenship carries with it a variety of responsibilities and privileges, such as the obligation to pay taxes or serve in the military, or the right to receive a state funded education or own property in a given country. Thus, it is sometimes beneficial to renounce a citizenship and other times to affirm it.

If you are not sure how the rules of the game affect you, and you want to learn more, see our Website or contact us at (847) 564-0712.