The Department of State is responsible for determining the citizenship status of a person located outside the United States or in connection with the application for a U.S. passport while in the United States.
Potentially Expatriating Acts
Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:
Administrative Standard of Evidence
As already noted, the actions listed above can cause loss of U.S. citizenship only if performed voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing U.S. citizenship. The Department has a uniform administrative standard of evidence based on the premise that U.S. citizens intend to retain United States citizenship when they obtain naturalization in a foreign state, subscribe to a declaration of allegiance to a foreign state, serve in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities with the United States, or accept non-policy level employment with a foreign government.
Disposition of Cases when Administrative Premise is Applicable
In light of the administrative premise discussed above, a person who:
and in so doing wishes to retain U.S. citizenship need not submit prior to the commission of a potentially expatriating act a statement or evidence of his or her intent to retain U.S. citizenship since such an intent will be presumed.
When, as the result of an individual's inquiry or an individual's application for registration or a passport it comes to the attention of a U.S. consular officer that a U.S. citizen has performed an act made potentially expatriating by Sections 349(a)(1), 349(a)(2), 349(a)(3) or 349(a)(4) as described above, the consular officer will simply ask the applicant if he/she intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship when performing the act. If the answer is no, the consular officer will certify that it was not the person's intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship and, consequently, find that the person has retained U.S. citizenship.
Persons Who Wish to Relinquish U.S. Citizenship
If the answer to the question regarding intent to relinquish citizenship is yes, the person concerned will be asked to complete a questionnaire to ascertain his or her intent toward U.S. citizenship. When the questionnaire is completed and the voluntary relinquishment statement is signed, the consular officer will proceed to prepare a certificate of loss of nationality. The certificate will be forwarded to the Department of State for consideration and, if appropriate, approval.
An individual who has performed any of the acts made potentially expatriating by statute who wishes to lose U.S. citizenship may do so by affirming in writing to a U.S. consular officer that the act was performed with an intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship. A U.S. citizen also has the option to formally renounce U.S. citizenship abroad in accordance with Section 349 (a) (5) INA.
Disposition of Cases When Administrative Premise Is Inapplicable
The premise that a person intends to retain U.S. citizenship is not applicable when the individual:
Cases in categories 2, 3 and 4 will be developed carefully by U.S. consular officers to ascertain the individual's intent toward U.S. citizenship.
Applicability of Administrative Premise To Past Cases
The premise established by the administrative standard of evidence is applicable to cases adjudicated previously. Persons who previously lost U.S. citizenship may wish to have their cases reconsidered in light of this policy.
A person may initiate such a reconsideration by submitting a request to the nearest U.S. consular office or by writing directly to:
Office of Legal Affairs
Overseas Citizens Services
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1707
U.S. Department of State
600 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20431
Each case will be reviewed on its own merits taking into consideration, for example, written statements made by the person at the time of the potentially expatriating act.
Loss of Nationality and Taxation
P.L. 104-191 contains changes in the taxation of U.S. citizens who renounce or otherwise lose U.S. citizenship. In general, any person who lost U.S. citizenship within 10 years immediately preceding the close of the taxable year, whose principle purpose in losing citizenship was to avoid taxation, will be subject to continued taxation.
Copies of approved Certificates of Loss of Nationality are provided by the Department of State to the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to P.L. 104-191. Questions regarding United States taxation consequences upon loss of U.S. nationality should be addressed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Dual Nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries. A person who is a dual national owes allegiance to both countries. Dual nationality can occur as the result of a variety of circumstances. The automatic acquisition or retention of a foreign nationality, acquired, for example, by birth in a foreign country or through an alien parent, does not affect U.S. citizenship. U.S. law does not require a person to choose one citizenship over the other. It is prudent, however, to check with authorities of the other country to see if dual nationality is permissible under local law. Dual nationality can also occur when a person is naturalized in a foreign state without intending to relinquish U.S. nationality and is thereafter found not to have lost U.S. citizenship: the individual consequently may possess dual nationality. The U.S. Government does not encourage dual nationality. While recognizing the existence of dual nationality and permitting Americans to have other nationalities, the U.S. Government also recognizes the problems which it may cause. Claims of other countries upon dual-national U.S. citizens often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other. In addition, their dual nationality may hamper efforts to provide U.S. diplomatic and consular protection to them when they are abroad, especially when they are in the country of their second nationality.
See also information flyers on related subject available via the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page on the internet at http://travel.state.gov. These flyers include: