Can a Naturalized U.S. Citizen Lose his Legal Immigration Status by Living Overseas?

It is quite rare for someone who obtained U.S. citizenship through naturalization to lose his immigration status by living in another country. One of the benefits of U.S. citizenship is that it provides an opportunity to secure one’s legal status, unlike legal permanent residency. Discuss with an immigration attorney to learn more about whether you can lose your naturalized U.S. citizenship.

Abandonment of U.S. Residence is not on its own, a problem for U.S. Citizens.

Making one’s home country in another country can pose a bigger challenge for those who have not naturalized, especially those who still have a U.S. Green Card in their possession. Once a legal permanent resident leaves the U.S. for an undetermined amount of time, they can be found to have abandoned their lawful status.

Exceptions that Can Cause Someone to lose their Naturalized U.S. Citizenship

With few exceptions, anyone who receives a U.S. Citizenship status will have it for the rest of his/her life unless if the following takes place:

  • The U.S. Immigration Authorities nullify a person’s naturalized citizenship. Also known as “denaturalization” this will occur if U.S Citizenship was obtained in an unlawful manner such as fraud, evasion of immigration laws and authorities, fraud or concealment of material facts, or willful misrepresentation.
  • An applicant does something that falls under the U.S.’s “loss of nationality” stipulations. This is known to be found under Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. An important thing to observe about the stipulations is that it grants some room for negotiation: The individual who carries out a relevant action must do so with the objective of renouncing his/her U.S. citizenship in order to lose citizenship.

The Immigration and Nationality Act statute provides a list that might result in the loss of U.S. Citizenship:

  • Acquiring Naturalization of another country after becoming 18 years old. If you are a citizen of another country through birth this may not be applicable. (And in any situation, there is that intention, element of the statute; the very reason that many people can become dual citizens of the U.S. and any other country.
  • Joining the military of a foreign state. If you enter or serve the armed forces of another state overseas and those armed forces are involved in hostile activities against the U.S. or you serve as an officer (commissioned or non-commissioned), you may be found to have handed over your U.S. citizenship.
  • Joining the government of a foreign state. If you accept, serve in any capacity, or perform the duties of any office, post or employment under the government of a foreign state or one of its political subdivisions (after the age of 18), and you either acquire that state’s nationality or take a stipulated oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance to it, you may be found to have given up your U.S. citizenship.
  • Bringing About some act to intentionally give up citizenship. For example, many people may file a formal oath of renunciation most likely because they plan to live in another country and that specific country prohibits dual citizenship. Some people renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes in the U.S.
  • Committing Treason or other acts against the U.S. government. Attempting or conspiring to do things like overthrowing a government, bear arms against, or start a war against the U.S. can end in revoking your U.S. citizenship.

Ultimately, unless you fall under any of the categories listed above, if you are residing in another country overseas your U.S. citizenship status should not be affected.

If you are still uncertain about losing your U.S. Citizenship consult with a seasoned immigration lawyer. Contact Gambacorta Law Office today at 847 443 9303.