Accepting, Serving in, or Performing Duties of a Position with the Government of a Foreign State - Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Sectioin 349(a)(4)

A U.S. national’s employment, after attaining the age of 18, with the government of a foreign country or a political subdivision thereof is a potentially expatriating act pursuant to Section 349(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if the individual is a citizen of that foreign country or takes an oath of allegiance to that country in connection with such employment. Such employment, however, will result in one's expatriation only if done voluntarily with the intention of relinquishing U.S. citizenship. Running for foreign office, even foreign head of state, is not a potentially expatriating act; only accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of a foreign office are potentially expatriating as described above.  

The Department has adopted an administrative presumption that U.S. nationals intend to retain their U.S. citizenship when they naturalize as nationals of a foreign state, declare their allegiance to a foreign state, or accept non-policy level employment with a foreign government. See 22 CFR 50.40(a); see also 7 FAM 1200 (additionally applying the presumption to serving as an officer in the military forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities against the United States). Questions concerning whether a foreign government position is a policy level position should be referred to the Office of Legal Affairs for Overseas Citizens Services.

U.S. nationals employed in non-policy level positions with foreign governments are not required to take any action to retain their U.S. nationality. An individual who requests a Certificate of Loss of U.S. Nationality under INA 349(a)(4) must clearly and credibly establish that by accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of a position with the government of a foreign state, they intended to relinquish U.S. nationality.

In cases where U.S. nationals are employed in policy-level positions, the Department of State may ask the individual about their intent with respect to their U.S. nationality, but in general, the Department will only actively review cases in which a U.S. national is elected or otherwise appointed to serve as a foreign head of state, foreign head of government, or foreign minister. Such cases raise complex questions of international law, including issues related to the level of immunity from U.S. jurisdiction that the person so serving may be afforded.  All such cases should be referred to the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Consular Affairs.

An individual assuming such a position who does not intend to relinquish U.S. nationality may voluntarily provide the Department or post a statement so indicating. An individual assuming such a position who wishes to relinquish U.S. nationality may submit a request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States to a U.S. embassy or consulate and follow the required steps.

Last Updated: March 12, 2024