Whose citizenship can be revoked?

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Updated: 6/17/2003 5:48 pm
Unless you choose to renounce your American citizenship voluntarily to acquire citizenship in another country, it’s usually very difficult for you to ever lose your claim to U.S. citizenship. However, there are instances in which the United States government reserves the right to revoke American citizenship, regardless of whether you’re a native or a naturalized citizen. For example, a person can have his or her citizenship revoked for serving in the armed forces, for holding office, or for voting in an election in a foreign government. You can also have your citizenship taken away if it’s proven that you fraudulently acquired your citizenship by misrepresenting yourself or withholding criminal information on your naturalization application. Being convicted of a major federal crime, such as treason, or not fulfilling certain civic duties like serving in the armed forces when drafted is also grounds for losing citizenship. Despite reserving the right to revoke citizenship, the U.S. government has exercised that right only on the rarest of occasion. Regardless of that fact, once you become an American citizen, you’re still expected to obey American laws and remain loyal to the United States in exchange for certain rights and privileges, including the right to vote, to hold office, and to receive public benefits. Keep in mind that your citizenship can never be taken away if you were forced to commit an act against your will, like being forced to serve in a foreign army or being forced to renounce your American citizenship.

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