History

When Can You Be Stripped Of Your Citizenship?

Citizenship revocation is extremely rare and reserved for the most serious offenses. So when can a country revoke your citizenship?

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In most countries, there are two ways of obtaining citizenship: guaranteed birthright or legal naturalization. Either way, it's relatively rare for a government authority to strip a person of his or her citizenship, unless they publicly disavow it themselves. For those who are "naturalized" citizens, the rights of citizenry can be taken away if it is proven that you deliberately misrepresented information about yourself that could have caused your application to be rejected in the first place. If a person has any ties to organizations that are subversive or advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government, that is also ground for having citizenship revoked. For people born into citizenship, there are certain actions that will cause it to be revoked, provided that you committed those actions with the intent to lose your citizenship. These include joining a foreign military that is in an active conflict with the U.S. Still, as detailed in this episode, it is a relatively difficult process to completely lose one's citizenship.

Learn More:
French Justice Minister Quits Over Plan to Strip Citizenship From Terrorists (nytimes.com)
"The French justice minister, one of the most outspoken and progressive voices in the government, resigned on Wednesday after a clash over a proposal to strip the citizenship of French-born dual nationals convicted of terrorism."

Nazis Were Given 'Safe Haven' in U.S., Report Says (nytimes.com)
"A secret history of the United States government's Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a "safe haven" in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad."

8 U.S. Code § 1481 - Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions (law.cornell.edu)
"A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality-"

Loss of Citizenship (eudo-citizenship.eu)
"The loss of citizenship receives less attention than its acquisition, but is an important aspect of citizenship law."