Can I Lose My Citizenship If I Live Abroad Too Long?

Philadelphia citizenship lawyers offer counsel in various areas of immigration law.Immigration laws and procedures for becoming a citizen of the United States are hot topics in our country right now. Many questions have surfaced on the legalities of citizenship that are being disputed among lawmakers and politicians. One question raising concern is whether immigrants can lose their U.S. citizenship if they live abroad for an extended period. The global market often requires relocation to foreign countries that may last for several years, or for extended periods of 10 years or longer.

U.S. Citizenship

Any person born in the United States of America is a citizen for life, with very rare exceptions. Even a baby born on U.S. soil to parents without citizenship is an official U.S. citizen, unless they chose to renounce their citizenship. All the freedom and rights afforded by the Constitution are theirs to enjoy forever, even if they choose to live abroad for an extended period.

The situation is different for those who live in the United States as a permanent resident but have yet to become naturalized citizens. Residents with green cards may have difficulty maintaining their right to live and work in the U.S. if they live abroad for longer than one year. These legal U.S. residents may be detained or refused entry into the country unless they can prove that their absence fell under the limitations of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement laws.

A person with legal residency in the U.S. can live abroad under certain circumstances. For example, someone with a green card may have left the U.S. to care for an elderly parent. In this case, residency requirements could be extended.

Exceptions to Maintaining U.S. Citizenship

The following are exceptions that can result in denaturalization. These include:

  • Illegally obtained citizenship through fraud or deceit
  • Obtaining citizenship in a foreign country after the age of 18
  • Joining the military of a foreign country
  • Accepting a position in a foreign government after the age of 18
  • Committing acts of treason
  • Renunciation of U.S. citizenship
  • Naturalized citizens that commit heinous crimes

Denaturalization is a rare occurrence, and usually only happens when a person willfully and purposely acts with the intent to renounce their U.S. citizenship.

Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Offer Counsel in Various Areas of Immigration Law

If you or someone you know is facing a legal immigration issue, call the Philadelphia citizenship lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. at 215-496-0690, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We will analyze your case and fight for your rights. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.