8 U.S. Code § 1481 - Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions
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(a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—
(1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(2) taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if
(A) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state; or
(B) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years for which office, post, or employment an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required; or
(5) making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State; or
(6) making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not contrary to the interests of national defense; or
(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Whenever the loss of United States nationality is put in issue in any action or proceeding commenced on or after September 26, 1961 under, or by virtue of, the provisions of this chapter or any other Act, the burden shall be upon the person or party claiming that such loss occurred, to establish such claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Any person who commits or performs, or who has committed or performed, any act of expatriation under the provisions of this chapter or any other Act shall be presumed to have done so voluntarily, but such presumption may be rebutted upon a showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the act or acts committed or performed were not done voluntarily.
Source(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title III, ch. 3, § 349,66 Stat. 267; Sept. 3, 1954, ch. 1256, § 2,68 Stat. 1146; Pub. L. 87–301, § 19,Sept. 26, 1961, 75 Stat. 656; Pub. L. 94–412, title V, § 501(a),Sept. 14, 1976, 90 Stat. 1258; Pub. L. 95–432, §§ 2, 4,Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1046; Pub. L. 97–116, § 18(k)(2), (q),Dec. 29, 1981, 95 Stat. 1620, 1621; Pub. L. 99–653, §§ 18, 19,Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3658; Pub. L. 100–525, §§ 8(m), (n), 9 (hh),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2618, 2622.)
References in Text
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original a reference to this Act, meaning act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of this title and Tables.
1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–525, § 9(hh), substituted “A person” for “From and after the effective date of this chapter a person”.
Subsecs. (a) to (c). Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(m), (n), amended Pub. L. 99–653. See 1986 Amendment notes below.
1986—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99–653, § 18(a), as amended by Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(m)(1), inserted “voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality” after “his nationality by”.
Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 99–653, § 18(b), substituted “or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years” for “upon an application filed in his behalf by a parent, guardian, or duly authorized agent, or through the naturalization of a parent having legal custody of such person: Provided That nationality shall not be lost by any person under this section as the result of the naturalization of a parent or parents while such person is under the age of twenty-one years, or as the result of a naturalization obtained on behalf of a person under twenty-one years of age by a parent, guardian, or duly authorized agent, unless such person shall fail to enter the United States to establish a permanent residence prior to his twenty-fifth birthday: And provided further, That a person who shall have lost nationality prior to January 1, 1948, through the naturalization in a foreign state of a parent or parents, may, within one year from the effective date of this chapter, apply for a visa and for admission to the United States as a special immigrant under the provisions of section 1101 (a)(27)(E) of this title”.
Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 99–653, § 18(c), inserted “, after having attained the age of eighteen years” after “political subdivision thereof”.
Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 99–653, § 18(d), as amended by Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(m)(2), substituted “if (A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or (B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer; or” for “unless, prior to such entry or service, such entry or service is specifically authorized in writing by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense: Provided, That the entry into such service by a person prior to the attainment of his eighteenth birthday shall serve to expatriate such person only if there exists an option to secure a release from such service and such person fails to exercise such option at the attainment of his eighteenth birthday; or”.
Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 99–653, § 18(e), (f), as amended by Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(m)(3), inserted “after attaining the age of eighteen years” after “political subdivision thereof,” in subpars. (A) and (B).
Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 99–653, § 19, as amended by Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(n), redesignated former subsec. (c) as (b) and substituted “Any” for “Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any”, and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows: “Any person who commits or performs any act specified in subsection (a) of this section shall be conclusively presumed to have done so voluntarily and without having been subjected to duress of any kind, if such person at the time of the act was a national of the state in which the act was performed and had been physically present in such state for a period or periods totaling ten years or more immediately prior to such act.”
1981—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–116struck out “(a)” designation as added by section 4 ofPub. L. 95–432, which was not executed since it would have resulted in a subsec. (a) designation of “(a)(a)”, and substituted in par. (1) “special immigrant” for “nonquota immigrant”.
1978—Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 95–432, §§ 2, 4, redesignated par. (6) as (5). Former par. (5), which dealt with expatriation of persons who voted in a political election in a foreign state or participated in an election or plebiscite to determine sovereignty over foreign territory, was struck out.
Subsec. (a)(6), (7). Pub. L. 95–432, § 4, redesignated pars. (7) and (9) as (6) and (7), respectively. Former pars. (6) and (7) redesignated (5) and (6), respectively.
Subsec. (a)(8). Pub. L. 95–432, § 2, struck out par. (8) which dealt with expatriation of persons who were dismissed or dishonorably discharged as result of deserting the military, air, or naval forces of the United States in time of war.
Subsec. (a)(9). Pub. L. 95–432, § 4, redesignated par. (9) as (7).
1976—Subsec. (a)(10). Pub. L. 94–412struck out par. (10) which dealt with the expatriation of persons who remained outside of the jurisdiction of the United States in time of war or national emergency to avoid service in the military.
1961—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 87–301added subsec. (c).
1954—Subsec. (a)(9). Act Sept. 3, 1954, provided for forfeiture of citizenship of persons advocating the overthrow of the Government by force or violence.
Effective Date of 1988 Amendment
Amendment by section 8(m), (n) ofPub. L. 100–525effective as if included in the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1986, Pub. L. 99–653, see section 309(b)(15) ofPub. L. 102–232, set out as an Effective and Termination Dates of 1988 Amendments note under section 1101 of this title.
Effective Date of 1986 Amendment
Pub. L. 99–653, § 23(g), as added by Pub. L. 100–525, § 8(r),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2619, provided that: “The amendments made by sections 18, 19, and 20 [amending this section and section 1483 of this title] shall apply to actions taken before, on, or after November 14, 1986.”
Effective Date of 1981 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 97–116effective Dec. 29, 1981, see section 21(a) ofPub. L. 97–116, set out as a note under section 1101 of this title.
Act Sept. 3, 1954, ch. 1256, § 1,68 Stat. 1146, provided: “That this Act [amending this section] may be cited as the ‘Expatriation Act of 1954’.”
Amendment by Pub. L. 94–412not to affect any action taken or proceeding pending at the time of amendment, see section 501(h) ofPub. L. 94–412, set out as a note under section 1601 of Title 50, War and National Defense.
Abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service and Transfer of Functions
For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.
Right of Expatriation
R.S. § 1999 provided that: “Whereas the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and whereas in the recognition of this principle this Government has freely received emigrants from all nations, and invested them with the rights of citizenship; and whereas it is claimed that such American citizens, with their descendants, are subjects of foreign states, owing allegiance to the governments thereof; and whereas it is necessary to the maintenance of public peace that this claim of foreign allegiance should be promptly and finally disavowed: Therefore any declaration, instruction, opinion, order, or decision of any officer of the United States which denies, restricts, impairs, or questions the right of expatriation, is declared inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Republic.”