I was very happy to report on a born-dual friend’s successful consulate meeting this week, in which he applied for a CLN based on his relinquishment at the time of taking government employment.
However, people have reported some consulate personnel erroneously telling them that a person born dual or who acquired their non-US citizenship as a minor is unable to expatriate except by renouncing. In fact, there is no automatic disqualification of such persons from having the capacity to perform certain other relinquishing acts.
Such consulate personnel are probably conflating s. 349(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act with all other non-renunciation methods of relinquishing one’s citizenship. Section 349(a) (1) is naturalising in a foreign country after having attained the age of 18 with the intent to relinquish. Obviously a person cannot naturalise in a country they’re already a citizen of.
It appears that s. 349(a) (2), taking an oath, may also not apply to persons who already possess citizenship in the country they’re taking the oath to, as DoS has a 4-prong test for determining if an oath of allegiance is “meaningful” for this purpose. Prong 4 is “the making and receipt of the oath or affirmation alters the affiant’s legal status with respect to the foreign state” (7 FAM 1252(h))”.
But that still leaves not one, but three, possible ways for a person who acquired non-US citizenship at birth or as a minor can terminate their US citizenship:
– Commissioned or non-commissioned military officer in the armed forces , s.349(a)(3);
– Government employment, s. 349(a)(4);
– Renunciation, s. 349(a)(5).
Subs (6) and (7) deal with war and treason, so presumably not relevant to this particular discussion.
CLNs based on government employment have been issued to persons who acquired their foreign citizenship at birth or as a minor. I’m aware of several of these and I know of none that have been rejected because the person was born dual or acquired their foreign citizenship as a minor — nor can I find anything in the law or DoS procedure manuals to indicate that this could be a ground for rejection. I was also in contact with a citizenship specialist at DoS/Consular Affairs/Legal Affairs in Washington regarding persons-born-dual, who told me that it was her understanding that this was not a bar to relinquishing under subs (3) and (4).
Reports on the consulates received at the Isaac Brock Society are mixed, though. At Calgary in 2012, Prairie Girl had to insist that her s. 4 based application be sent to Washington, where it was approved over a Calgary consul’s negative recommendation in her CLN file. Authentic had no problem at Halifax in 2013. In recent months, people have run into problems with this misconception at Toronto, though another person had a smooth meeting at Ottawa, where the personnel were both aware of s. 4 and that it can apply to a person born dual.
It starts to feel like luck of the draw, so bone up on it before you go. Bring 349(a) and the relevant sections of the DoS manual/s with you. They have this information, of course, but you can have relevant passages pre-marked for convenience, if needed. Educating oneself is always important for any type of expatriation, and knowledge of the specifics of the law and procedure can be critical in any case where the consulate official handling your case is not familiar with CLN applications based on the sub-section you relinquished under.
Basically, be prepared, and politely but firmly stand your ground if a consulate official tells you that you are precluded from having relinquished under s. 3 or 4 because you were born dual or acquired your second citizenship as a minor.
8 USC 1481, Immigration and Nationality Act, s. 349(a)
Department of State Manuals:
7 FAM 1210 Introduction
7 FAM 1220 Developing a Loss of Nationality Case
7 FAM 1270 Military Service and Loss of Nationality
7 FAM 1280 Loss of Nationality and Taking Up a Position in a Foreign Government
See also reports on consulate visits by persons-born-dual or who naturalised as a minor:
Authentic. Halifax. 2013.04
Benedict Arnold (1). Calgary. 2013.04
Benedict Arnold (2). Calgary. 2013.04
Prairie Girl. Calgary. 2012.06
MyKitty. Toronto. 2014.01
Pacifica’s friend. Ottawa. 2014.03
Cross-posted at Isaac Brock Society.