Generally speaking, it may be possible for you to have your status as a U.S. citizen reinstated if you renounced it for one or more of the legally permissible reasons. For instance, if you desired to keep your status as a U.S. citizen, but were forced to swear a renunciatory declaration or oath to gain dual citizenship in a foreign country.
In such a scenario, the guidelines of the U.S. State Department for determining a person’s intent to maintain U.S. citizenship would retroactively apply to past cases. In order to initiate this type of proceeding, an individual should either:
- Make direct contact with a U.S. embassy;
- Speak to an official at a U.S. consulate; or
- Submit a formal written request to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of American Citizen
- Services and Crisis Management.
As an example, a person may be able to obtain reinstatement of U.S. Citizenship by explaining to an official at a U.S. consulate that the only way they could get dual citizenship in another foreign country was by taking a renunciatory oath or declaration.
This is true even if the person was initially told by a U.S. consulate official that it was not possible for them to obtain dual citizenship. However, the person must provide a valid reason for ignoring the initial response from a U.S. consulate official as well as explain why acquiring dual citizenship was necessary for them.
In addition, the most common way that persons seeking reinstatement of U.S. Citizenship do so is by submitting a request to the U.S. State Department.
In nearly all other instances where a person gives up their U.S. citizenship, it can be very difficult to apply for reinstatement of U.S. citizenship. They will most likely need to go through the entire process again, including the length of time it took to gain U.S. citizenship, depending on why they renounced it in the first place.
Therefore, you may want to consider contacting a local immigration law attorney for further legal guidance on relevant U.S. immigration laws as soon as possible.
What Situations Make It Difficult to Regain U.S. Citizenship?
Once a person is formally granted lawful U.S. Citizenship, it is relatively difficult to lose unless that person declares their allegiance or citizenship to a foreign nation. Otherwise, the only other actions that can make it hard to regain lawful U.S. citizenship is if a person does any of the following:
- Voluntarily commits an act of treason against the United States, such as by carrying out an act of terrorism or enlisting in another country’s military that is at war with the U.S.;
- Works in a policy level position for a foreign government;
- Acts in a way that would violate the conditions or their intent to maintain their status as a lawful citizen of the United States (e.g., attempts to overthrow the U.S. government);
- Chooses to run for public office in a foreign nation (this factor may not apply in every situation); and/or
- Formally renounces their U.S. citizenship either to the Attorney General of the United States or to an official at a U.S. Embassy.
What Does Renouncing My U.S. Citizenship Mean?
When an individual renounces their U.S. citizenship it means that they are giving up their status as a lawful U.S. citizen. It also means that they are giving up all of their legal rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen as well. A person who renounces their status as a U.S. citizen will no longer be able to enjoy any of the following legal rights or privileges:
- Run for certain political offices;
- Live in the United States;
- Vote in U.S. elections;
- Work in the United States;
- Be protected from being deported under U.S. immigration laws;
- Sponsor close family members who live overseas for citizenship or residency status;
- Transfer their U.S. citizenship status to any of their children who were born abroad;
- Invest in specific types of real estate or real property; and/or
- Receive protection from a U.S. embassy or consulate while traveling abroad.
In addition, the individual will always be required to obtain a U.S. issued visa when traveling or visiting the United States for extended periods of time. In other words, the individual will no longer be allowed to freely travel in or out of the country without a U.S. visa.
It is also important to note that when a person renounces their U.S. citizenship status it will not remove their obligation to pay back any debts they incurred while living in the country as a U.S. citizen.
Lastly, if the individual does not hold dual citizenship, then they will immediately become stateless as soon as they renounce their status as a U.S. citizen. Thus, they should register to become a citizen of another country or else they will be deemed to be stateless. This can be an issue when applying for jobs or benefits.
What If I Made a Renunciatory Declaration?
If an individual only makes a renunciatory declaration as part of the process for swearing a foreign naturalization oath, then they might not be viewed as fully renouncing their U.S. citizenship. In fact, the U.S. State Department is more willing to accept such forms of renunciatory declarations in present day.
As such, if a person was required to take a renunciatory oath because they needed to gain foreign citizenship in another country and that was the only way to do so even though they did not want to, then this may be an acceptable reason to make a renunciatory declaration. This can happen in foreign nations that do not permit their citizens to gain citizenship in more than one country.
Do I Need Help From an Immigration Law Attorney?
If you are renouncing or attempting to gain reinstatement of U.S. citizenship, then it is strongly encouraged that you hire a local immigration law attorney immediately for further legal advice. An experienced immigration law attorney will be able to inform you of the legal consequences of renouncing or requesting reinstatement of U.S. citizenship.
Your attorney will also be able to explain the relevant laws and requirements, as well as will be able to guide you through either of these immigration procedures. In addition, your attorney will be able to recommend your best course of action to proceed with your immigration law issue. Your attorney will also know which government agencies may be involved in the process and can assist you in communicating with them to help you get the results you desire.
Finally, if you require legal representation in immigration court or need advice on how to fill out any necessary forms to complete a process related to your immigration law issue, your attorney will be able to provide the type of services to help you to accomplish these tasks as well.