Can You Lose Your U.S. Citizenship?

Mar 3, 2016 | Citizenship

As a Miami immigration lawyer, I have helped numerous individuals obtain their citizenship. Sometimes, I receive questions about whether a person can lose his/her citizenship by living in another country. Below are some frequently asked questions in regard to this issue.

I am a naturalized United States citizen. Can I lose my citizenship by living outside of the United States for a long time?
Typically, a person can’t lose citizenship solely by living outside of the United States for a long time. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

I have a green card and I want to live outside the United States for a long time. Can I lose my residency status?
You may lose your residency status if you only have a green card. Making one’s home in another country is a much bigger issue for people who haven’t yet naturalized, but have a U.S. green card; they can be found to have “abandoned their U.S. residence,” and thus be refused reentry to the United States.  Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

I am a naturalized U.S. citizen. Is there any circumstance by which I will lose my U.S. citizenship?
You may lose your U.S. citizenship if one of the following takes place:

  • The U.S. immigration authorities revoke your person’s naturalized citizenship. Called “denaturalization,” this will happen only if you obtained your citizenship illegally in the first place, through fraud or concealment of a material fact, or willful misrepresentation.
  • You do something that falls under the U.S.’s “loss of nationality” statute. This is found at Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.) An important thing to notice about this statute is that it contains some wiggle room: The person who performs the relevant act must do so “with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality” in order to lose citizenship. Here’s what the statute lists as acts that might result in loss of U.S. nationality:
    • Becoming a naturalized citizen of another country after age 18.
    • Joining the military of a foreign state. If you enter or serve in the armed forces of a foreign state and either those armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or you serve as an officer (commissioned or non-commissioned), you may be found to have relinquished your U.S. citizenship.
    • Joining the government of a foreign state. If you accept, serve in, or perform the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or one of its political subdivisions (after age 18), and you either acquire that state’s nationality or take a required oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance to it, you may be found to have relinquished your U.S. citizenship.
    • Performing some act to intentionally give up citizenship. For example, some people file a formal oath of renunciation. They may perhaps because they wish to live in another country, and that country does not permit dual citizenship.
    • Committing treason or other acts against the U.S. government. Conspiring to do things like overthrow, bear arms against, or make war on the United States can result in a finding that you have given up your U.S. citizenship.

If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

If you would like more information about becoming a U.S. citizen, please contact Miami immigration lawyer The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at tmsilvalaw.com.