How You Can Lose Your US Citizenship
Thousands upon thousands of immigrants to the US work long and hard for a coveted green card and eventual US citizenship. The last thing you want to do if you’ve gone through the immigration process is lose your US citizenship, which took so long to gain. You don’t want to even think about doing something that jeopardizes the time and money you put into becoming a citizen!
But US citizenship can be revoked. Here’s what you should know:
Acts That Can Lead You to Lose US Citizenship
US citizens can lose their citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish US citizenship. These acts include:
- Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state
- Taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions
- Entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the US or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state
- Accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state; (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position
- Formally renouncing US citizenship before a US diplomatic or consular officer outside the US
- Formally renouncing US citizenship in the US, under strict, narrow conditions
- Conviction for an act of treason
The important thing to remember is that all of these acts must be done voluntarily and with the intent to lose US citizenship. If the act itself is not voluntary, one will not automatically lose citizenship. For example, if a person is forced to serve in the armed forces of another country, this will not lead to the automatic loss of citizenship.
Intent to Relinquish Citizenship
The US State Department also automatically assumes that an individual does not intend to give up citizenship when performing one of the acts. If asked, the individual can always testify that he did not intend to lose his citizenship.
For example, an individual may take a routine oath of allegiance to a foreign state without automatically revoking his citizenship as long as he did not have the intention to relinquish it. This is how the US effectively allows citizens to acquire new citizenships while maintaining US citizenship — and become a dual citizen.
In certain circumstances, however, an individual will not get the benefit of this assumption. This includes people engaged in active hostilities against the US.
Certificate of Loss of Nationality
If a US citizen satisfies the criteria for loss of citizenship, he or she will be issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality, signifying renunciation of all citizenship rights.