Relinquishing U.S. Nationality


The Secretary of State is charged with “the determination of nationality of a person not in the United States,” and “shall establish such regulations; prescribe such forms of reports, entries and other papers; issue such instructions; and perform such other acts as he deems necessary for carrying out such provisions” in accordance with Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 104 (8 U.S.C. 1104).  The Secretary is responsible for reviewing and approving or denying a properly completed request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (Certificate of Loss of Nationality) under INA § 349(a)(1)-(5)(8 U.S.C. 1481) in accordance with INA § 358 (8 U.S.C. ). The person requesting a Certificate of Loss of Nationality must credibly establish the performance of the potentially expatriating act specified in INA § 349(a)(1)-(5) and fulfillment of all conditions before the U.S. Department of State (Department) may have a legal basis to approve the request and issue a Certificate of Loss of Nationality in the person’s name.

If a U.S. citizen submits to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad a properly completed request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (Certificate of Loss) under INA Section 349(a)(1)-(5), the Department of State, specifically, the Bureau of Consular Affairs, must determine whether to approve or deny the request after evaluating the facts and the law.  If the Department approves the request for and issues a Certificate of Loss in the person’s name, that constitutes a final administrative determination of loss of United States nationality. However, if the Department denies the request, the person remains a U.S. national – loss of U.S. nationality is not automatic.  

Potentially Expatriating Acts

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 349 (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, lists seven potentially expatriating acts which, if performed voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing U.S. nationality, may provide a legal basis for the U.S Government to approve a U.S. national’s properly completed request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.  The U.S. Department of State administers INA Section 349(a)(1)-(5); the Department of Homeland Security administers INA Section 349(a)(6)-(7).  

349(a)(1) - obtaining naturalization in a foreign state on one’s own application after the age of 18;

349(a)(2) - taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or its political subdivisions after the age of 18;

349(a)(3) - entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the United States or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state;

349(a)(4) - accepting employment with a foreign government after the age of 18 if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position;

349(a)(5) - formally renouncing U.S. nationality before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer in a foreign state;

349(a)(6) - formally renouncing U.S. nationality while in the United States NOTE: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for implementing this section of the law; any inquiries about taking an oath of renunciation of U.S. nationality while in the United States should be directed to DHS;

349(a)(7) – if convicted of performing  an act of treason against the Government of the United States or for attempting by force to overthrow, or bear arms against, the Government of the United States. 

Request for Administrative Review

A person may request an administrative review of the Department’s decision to issue a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) and/or to approve or deny a request for a CLN by submitting their request in writing along with any supporting documentation to:

U.S. Department of State CA/OCS/ACS – Administrative Reviews

SA-17, Floor 10 Washington, D.C. 20522-1710

OR by email to:  Loss of Nationality – Administrative Reviews at

Each case will be reviewed on its own merits.  There is no specific form that must be completed; however,  requesters should provide substantial new and contemporaneous evidence regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding the performance of a potentially expatriating act under INA (a)(1)-(5), including evidence regarding voluntariness and intent to relinquish at the time of the act.  Written statements, whether by the individual themselves and/or by others with contemporaneous knowledge should be in the form of an affidavit or a statement under penalty of perjury in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746. 

U.S. Tax Liability

P.L. 104-191 applies to individuals who have been issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN) based on their performance of a potentially expatriating act voluntarily and with the intent to relinquish U.S. nationality. In general, if the date of loss of nationality listed on the CLN is within 10 years immediately preceding the close of the taxable year, and if the person’s principal purpose of requesting a CLN was to avoid taxation, the person may be subject to continued U.S. taxation.

See …

Copies of approved Certificates of Loss of Nationality of the United States are provided by the Department of State to the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to P.L. 104-191.

Questions regarding U.S. tax consequences upon a finding of loss of U.S. nationality should be addressed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

If the Department of Homeland Security determines that relinquishment of U.S. citizenship is/was motivated by tax avoidance purposes, the individual may be found inadmissible to the United States under Section 212(a)(10)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(10)(E)), as amended. 

Additional Information

See also information flyers on related subject available via the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page. These flyers include: