I recall reading that it is very difficult to lose U.S. citizenship. For example, that you can pledge alliance to another country and still remain a U.S. citizen. Is this true?

If this is the case, what are the circumstances in which a US Citizen can lose citizenship?

  • Children born to US parents in some foreign countries may have dual citizenship until they turn 18 and have to choose. Other than that, I'm fairly certain you have to relinquish your citizenship before you swear allegiance to a foreign country. – ColleenV Jul 9 '15 at 21:14
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    @ColleenV that is not correct. Since Afroyim v. Rusk in 1967, it has been virtually impossible for a US citizen to lose that citizenship voluntarily, and the US has no prohibition against its citizens having other citizenship. – phoog Jul 9 '15 at 21:19
  • Did you look online? The US state department has a pretty comprehensive page on this topic that is easily found in a web search. – phoog Jul 9 '15 at 21:20
  • @phoog That's why it's a comment and not an answer;) I should know better than to apply common sense to the law. I don't really grok how a person can have more than one allegiance. What's the upper limit on allegiances I wonder? Can I have citizenship in every country in the world? – ColleenV Jul 9 '15 at 21:36
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    @phoog I believe you meant "lose it involuntarily;" you can voluntarily lose it pretty easily (walk into a US embassy or consulate abroad and make an explicit declaration you are renouncing citizenship). – cpast Jul 9 '15 at 23:49

A list of potentially expatriating acts may be found at http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/legal-considerations/us-citizenship-laws-policies/citizenship-and-dual-nationality.html

As the page explains, one will lose one's citizenship when performing one of these acts with the intention of losing one's US citizenship. In most cases, the presumption is that such intention does not exist.

One obvious exception is an explicit renunciation of citizenship before a consular officer. The others are accepting a "policy-level position" in a foreign government, serving in a foreign military engaged in hostilities with the US, and committing treason.

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    Even in some of the latter cases, you don't necessarily lose US citizenship. The current Mayor of London (Boris Johnson) was a US citizen until earlier this year, despite being the Mayor of London (which is certainly a policy-level position). – cpast Jul 10 '15 at 1:59
  • @cpast First, for a policy-level position, the presumption of intent is handled differently, which means the process of evaluating the person's intent is different. It does not mean that the loss of citizenship is automatic. Second, Mayor of London is certainly not a "policy-level position in the government of a foreign state," which is the actual wording in the US code. It is a position in the government of a foreign municipality. See state.gov/documents/organization/120540.pdf and codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/8/12/III/III – phoog Jul 10 '15 at 2:50
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    @cpast: "was a US citizen until earlier this year" Do you have evidence that he is not still a US citizen? – user102008 Jul 13 '16 at 23:15
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    @cpast: It doesn't say he has actually renounced. – user102008 Jul 14 '16 at 2:14
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    @cpast: He said he intended to renounce in 2006 too, and apparently didn't. So his own claims are not very trustworthy. The names of people who renounce are published in the Federal Register, and his name has not been found there so far. – user102008 Jul 14 '16 at 8:40

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