Is it Possible to Lose Citizenship? - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
Button 3 Button 1 Button 2 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Is it Possible to Lose Citizenship?

Posted on in Immigration
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

DuPage County citizenship and immigration attorneys, lose citizenshipDepending on our backgrounds, we tend to think of U.S. citizenship either as something we worked hard to attain or as something to take for granted. Either way, we do not like to think that citizenship is something that can be lost, and yet it is. The circumstances do not occur routinely, but it is very possible that you may do or not do something that can make it inappropriate for you to continue to have U.S. citizenship.

Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution, while not doing so explicitly, has been held to bar involuntarily stripping a U.S. citizen of that citizenship. Case law is solidly on the side of the individual, with the landmark case being Afroyim v. Rusk (1967), where the Supreme Court held that it was a Fourteenth Amendment violation to strip someone of their citizenship. Essentially, Afroyim held that the only way for a U.S. citizen to lose his or her citizenship is to engage in a behavior that either renounces citizenship, or can be reasonably believed to renounce it.

The Constitution hints, and federal lays out explicitly, that there are a certain number of actions, referred to as ‘expatriating acts,’ which will lead the U.S. government to believe that you have renounced (or intend to renounce) your citizenship. These include:

  • Taking an armed forces position in another country engaged in hostilities against the United States;
  • Working for a foreign government when you share that ethnicity (for example, if an American woman of Vietnamese descent began to work for Vietnam);
  • Swearing any kind of oath to a country not your own; and
  • Committing high treason, among others.

Any of these actions are usually proof enough for the federal government to believe you have the inclination to renounce your citizenship, and they will take appropriate steps.

It is easier for naturalized U.S. citizens to lose his or her status. However, most often, this occurs due to fraud on one's application or during the process. Technically, this is not classified as losing citizenship, since it was never lawfully possessed in the first place.

Presumption of Retainer

It is possible to renounce your U.S. citizenship. The most common method of doing so is to leave the United States and swear an Oath of Renunciation at an embassy, before an officer of the United States government. However, Section 349 of the Immigration & Naturalization Act (INA) also lists actions that will result in a loss of citizenship if you undertake them with the specific intent of abrogating your U.S. nationality. The most common of these is when one is naturalized in another state, by one’s own volition, after he or she reaches the age of majority.

It is important to note, however, that contrary to what one might believe, the standard of evidence that must be met before the government can assume that a citizen wishes to lose his or her U.S. nationality is quite high. Generally, unless you provide explicit evidence as to the nature of a potentially expatriating act, the government will presume that you wish to remain a U.S. citizen. For example, if you are a naturalized Mexican citizen, but due to an outbreak of civil war you go to Mexico and join the Mexican army, you are presumed to wish to remain a U.S. citizen because you would not be part of an army engaged in hostilities against the United States.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

It is important to understand the law behind citizenship, especially if you are a naturalized citizen who worked hard to get to where you are. If you have any further questions, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. The skilled DuPage County citizenship and immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have many years of experience handling such matters, and would be happy to discuss yours with you. Contact our offices for a free initial consultation.


  • DuPage County Immigration Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyers
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers
  • Better Business Bureau

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted