For many, citizenship is the end of a long, arduous journey. While the application process might only take six months, the road to citizenship begins when you start accruing time as a lawful permanent resident.
In recent years, the conversation about immigration has become increasingly heated. The Trump administration has implemented restriction after restriction, lengthening the time it takes to obtain an immigration benefit and increasing the number of legal hurdles an applicant must overcome. And, with reports of ICE detaining U.S. citizens, many are wondering if citizenship can be ignored or even taken away.
But what if the government tries to revoke a person’s citizenship? Is this possible?
In very limited circumstances, yes. You are at risk of losing your citizenship if:
- You run for office in another country
- You enlist in another country’s military
- You become a citizen through naturalization in another country (with the clear intention of renouncing your U.S. citizenship)
- You allegedly commit treason against the U.S.
- The U.S. government believes you became a citizen through fraud
Many worry that living in another country for an extended period of time will jeopardize their U.S. citizenship, but, fortunately, this is not the case. One of the above events must occur to lawfully result in your loss of citizenship.
You can also voluntarily renounce your citizenship. Some do this to avoid double taxation or to accept jobs in other countries that require oaths of allegiance.
A Note About Green Cards
If you are a permanent resident, losing your status is much easier than it would be if you were a citizen. For example, a criminal conviction, violation of your status, or fraudulent act could trigger a removal proceeding. You can even lose your green card if you fail to notify USCIS of your new address within 10 days of moving.
USCIS can also claim that you “abandoned” your permanent residence if you live in another country for an extended period of time. While the general rule is to return within 12 months, USCIS can use its discretion to determine whether you left the U.S. to make a home in another country, thereby forfeiting your green card.
Learn More About Your Rights Today
If you just became a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, Kanu & Associates, P.C. can help you protect your status. We have a thorough understanding of the laws and policies you need to follow, the responsibilities you need to uphold, and the rights you now have that the government must respect. The better you understand these rights, the sooner you’ll know if ICE, USCIS, or any other agency has violated them.