Losing US Citizenship
In this article, we will discuss actions a person takes that result in the automatic loss of citizenship as opposed to government decisions to revoke a person’s citizenship, which can only be done in the case of naturalized citizens.
Can natural born US citizens
lose their citizenship?
Natural born US citizens – those people who are
citizens by virtue of their birth in the US – can lose their citizenship only
through their own actions and cannot be denaturalized.
can US citizenship be lost?
1. Being naturalized in a foreign country, upon the person’s own application made after reaching 18 years of age;
2. Making an
oath or other declaration of allegiance to a foreign country or division
thereof, again, after reaching 18 years of age;
3. Serving in
the armed forces of a foreign country if those armed forces are engaged in
hostilities against the US, or if the person serves as an officer;
4. Working for
the government of a foreign country if the person also obtains nationality in
that country, or if to work in such a position an oath or other declaration of
allegiance is required;
5. Making a
formal renunciation of US citizenship before a US consular officer or diplomat
in a foreign country;
6. Making a
formal written statement of renunciation during a state of war, if the Attorney
General approves the renunciation as not contrary to US national defense; and
7. Committing an
act of treason against the US, or attempting by force or the use of arms to
overthrow the government of the US. Renunciation by this means can be
accomplished only after a court has found the person guilty.
a legal application for naturalization in a foreign country must be made,
obtaining citizenship in a foreign country by an automatic act of law will not
result in the loss of US citizenship. If, in making the oath to the new
country, the person is required to renounce allegiance to the US, and does so
with the intent of losing US citizenship, he will. However, if the person
makes such an oath believing that it will not impact his US citizenship, it is
not a renunciating act. In those cases where the new country does not
require a renunciation of loyalty to the country of original citizenship, it is
very difficult to prove that a person has renounced his US citizenship.
primary issue in this case is whether the person served in the actual armed
forces of the country, or in some sort of national defense force, and whether
the person was serving in the forces of a country. Serving in a military
training program or defense force that must specially be called out for military
service is not considered a renunciating act, nor is service in an insurgent or
revolutionary military group. Also, service in industries closely related
to military efforts, such as munitions, is not considered a renunciating act.
acceptance of only high political posts in a foreign government, along with a
purposeful renunciation of US citizenship, will result in the loss of US
citizenship as a result of employment in a foreign country. Also, if the
oath involved is simply that the person will obey the laws of a foreign country
that is not sufficient as evidence of renunciation.
Gregory Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.