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When Can Your Citizenship Be Revoked?

Unlike other countries, the United States only grants absolute and unconditional citizenship to individuals who have been born on American soil, which includes all states of the Union and its territories. This means that citizenship by naturalization can be taken away in some instances.

The revocation of U.S. citizenship is not a common process. It is a judicial proceeding that does not unfold in immigration court, at least not during the period of determination. Once U.S. citizenship has been revoked, however, a deportation order may be issued, which would require a separate judicial hearing.

There are only a handful of situations that may result in a court proceeding to revoke U.S. citizenship from a naturalized immigrant:

1. Dishonorable Military Discharge

If naturalization is granted by virtue of military service prior to five years, it may be revoked if the service member is dishonorably discharged.

2. Affiliation with Anti-American Groups

Pledging allegiance to an organization that vows to take down the U.S. government and its interests may result in the revocation of citizenship if the individual has not been a naturalized citizen for five years. An example of such group would be ISIS or Al-Qaeda.

3. Refusing to Speak at a Congressional Hearing

This is a rare case that can only be applied within the first 10 years after naturalization. All U.S. citizens are required to testify if called upon by Congress, and they enjoy certain protections in this regard. If a Congressional committee convenes to investigate subversive acts against the government, a naturalized citizen cannot refuse to testify. Otherwise, revocation proceedings may be recommended by Members of Congress.

4. Providing False Information to Gain Citizenship

This happens to be the most common situation in which a naturalized citizen may face revocation. If immigration officers or case adjudicators learn about major fraud in the case files of a naturalized citizen, they may seek to revoke citizenship. Examples of fraudulent acts would be providing fictitious names, sham marriages, failure to disclose previous involvement in criminal organizations, or presenting documents that have been falsified or altered for the purpose of deceiving case adjudicators.

For more information about becoming a naturalized citizen, call KS Visa at (858) 874-0711. We are free immigration consultation lawyers in San Diego, happy to answer any questions you may have and help you on the path to citizenship. 

June 2017
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