Dual citizen voluntarily relinquishing US citizenship
Immigrants who naturalize to become US citizens enjoy rights and privileges not available to non-US citizens living in the United States.
Many Filipinos, after having been naturalized as US citizens, subsequently take an oath of allegiance as Filipino citizens making them dual citizens.
Mark is a dual citizen of the United States and the Philippines. He decided to retire in the Philippines and occasionally visits his relatives in the United States during the holidays.
He became interested in the Philippine political process and would like to run for a congressional position in his province. He wants to know what steps to take to show proof that he has relinquished his US citizenship.
Acts of expatriation
Section 349 of Immigration and Nationality Act enumerates certain actions, if performed voluntarily and with intent to relinquish US nationality, would result in loss of US citizenship. Among these acts described are:
1) Obtaining naturalization or taking a formal oath of allegiance in a country other than the US
2) Serving in the military as an officer in another country
3) Accepting office or employment with a foreign government
4) Making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States.
Among the enumerated acts described above, the formal renunciation is clearly indicative of an official loss of citizenship. If this step is taken, the US Department of State will issue the former US citizen a certificate of loss of nationality (CLN).
Loss of citizenship can only result from the citizen’s voluntary actions. While the act of taking an oath as a dual citizen under Republic Act No. 9225 (Philippine Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act) mentioned is an act of expatriation, it will not automatically result in the loss of US citizenship if the “intent to renounce the US citizenship” is not clear or made voluntarily.
There is a rebuttable presumption that the intent to give up US citizenship is not present in case a person becomes a dual citizen, served in the armed forces in the country where the US is not at war with or accept a nonpolicy position with the government.
In the case of Mark, if he decides to renounce his US citizenship, he can take a more definitive step of doing so. He can make an appointment with American Citizenship Services of the US Embassy and formally renounce his US citizenship in the presence of a consular officer.
The process is not as easy as taking the oath of renunciation. There will be a filing fee of $450, an interview to determine the act is voluntarily made and the surrendering of the US passport or naturalization certificate. The issuance of a certificate of loss of citizenship is the official act recognizing the loss of US citizenship for all legal intents and purposes.
Once the renunciation is final, it is irreversible. Those who have renounced must understand that it will not have any effect on outstanding tax obligations, payment of financial obligations like child support, nor will it allow them to escape probable criminal prosecutions.
Whatever the motivation is for renunciation, given the many privileges of being a dual citizen, it must be undertaken only after serious thought and deliberation taking into account the long-term consequences.
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