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Chapter 2 - Grounds for Revocation of Naturalization

In general, a person is subject to revocation of naturalization on the following grounds:

A. Person Procures Naturalization Illegally

A person is subject to revocation of naturalization if he or she procured naturalization illegally. Procuring naturalization illegally simply means that the person was not eligible for naturalization in the first place. Accordingly, any eligibility requirement for naturalization that was not met can form the basis for an action to revoke the naturalization of a person. This includes the requirements of residence, physical presence, lawful admission for permanent residence, good moral character, and attachment to the U.S. Constitution. [1] 

Discovery that a person failed to comply with any of the requirements for naturalization at the time the person became a U.S. citizen renders his or her naturalization illegally procured. This applies even if the person is innocent of any willful deception or misrepresentation. [2] 

B. Concealment of Material Fact or Willful Misrepresentation [3]

1. Concealment of Material Fact or Willful Misrepresentation

A person is subject to revocation of naturalization if there is deliberate deceit on the part of the person in misrepresenting or failing to disclose a material fact or facts on his or her naturalization application and subsequent examination.

In general, a person is subject to revocation of naturalization on this basis if:

  • The naturalized U.S. citizen misrepresented or concealed some fact;

  • The misrepresentation or concealment was willful;

  • The misrepresented or concealed fact or facts were material; and

  • The naturalized U.S. citizen procured citizenship as a result of the misrepresentation or concealment. [4] 

This ground of revocation includes omissions as well as affirmative misrepresentations. The misrepresentations can be oral testimony provided during the naturalization interview or can include information contained on the application submitted by the applicant. The courts determine whether the misrepresented or concealed fact or facts were material. The test for materiality is whether the misrepresentations or concealment had a tendency to affect the decision. It is not necessary that the information, if disclosed, would have precluded naturalization. [5] 

2. Membership or Affiliation with Certain Organizations

A person is subject to revocation of naturalization if the person becomes a member of, or affiliated with, the Communist party, other totalitarian party, or terrorist organization within five years of his or her naturalization. [6] In general, a person who is involved with such organizations cannot establish the naturalization requirements of having an attachment to the Constitution and of being well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States. [7] 

The fact that a person becomes involved with such an organization within five years after the date of naturalization is prima facie evidence that he or she concealed or willfully misrepresented material evidence that would have prevented the person’s naturalization.

C. Other than Honorable Discharge before Five Years of Honorable Service after Naturalization

A person is subject to revocation of naturalization if:

  • The person became a U.S. citizen through naturalization on the basis of honorable service in the U.S. armed forces; [8] 

  • The person subsequently separates from the U.S. armed forces under other than honorable conditions; and

  • The other than honorable discharge occurs before the person has served honorably for a period or periods aggregating at least five years. [9] 

Footnotes


[^ 1] See INA 316.

[^ 2] See INA 340(a).

[^ 3] See INA 340(a). See Kungys v. United States, 485 U.S. 759, 767 (1988). See United States v. Nunez-Garcia, 262 F. Supp.2d 1073 (C.D. Cal. 2003) United States v. Reve, 241 F. Supp.2d 470 (D. N.J. 2003). See United States v. Ekpin, 214 F. Supp.2d 707 (S.D. Tex. 2002). See United States v. Tarango-Pena, 173 F. Supp.2d 588 (E.D. Tex. 2001). 

[^ 4] See Kungys v. United States, 485 U.S. 759, 767 (1988).

[^ 5] See Kungys v. United States, 485 U.S. 759, 767 (1988).

[^ 6] See INA 313 and INA 340(c).

[^ 7] See INA 316(a)(3). See Part D, General Naturalization Requirements [12 USCIS-PM D].

[^ 8] See INA 328(a). See INA 329(a). See Part I, Military Members and their Families [12 USCIS-PM I]. 

[^ 9] See INA 328(f) and INA 329(c).

Resources

Legal Authorities

INA 332, 8 CFR 332 - Naturalization administration, executive functions

INA 340 - Revocation of naturalization

INA 340(f), 8 CFR 340 - Cancellation of certificate after revocation of naturalization

INA 342, 8 CFR 342 - Administrative cancellation of certificates, documents, or records

Appendices

Appendix: History of Acquiring Citizenship under INA 320 for Children of U.S. Citizens who are Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Government Employees, or their Spouses

Before October 29, 2019, USCIS considered children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees, who were stationed outside of the United States, to meet the requirement of “is residing in” the United States for the purpose of acquiring citizenship under INA 320.[1] This interpretation was consistent with the definition of “residence” for purposes of naturalization under INA 316.[2] Based on this treatment of U.S. government employees and their children in the context of naturalization under INA 316, USCIS determined that “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquisition of citizenship under INA 320 should likewise be interpreted to include children of U.S. military and government employees stationed outside of the United States who were residing with their parents.[3]

This interpretation, however, was inconsistent with other provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), including the definition of “residence” at INA 101(a)(33) and language in INA 322(a) and INA 322(d), which suggested that the citizenship of military children residing outside of the United States should be considered under that provision rather than under INA 320. Effective October 29, 2019, USCIS amended its policy guidance to address these concerns, and determined that children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees stationed outside of the United States would not be eligible for citizenship acquisition under INA 320.[4]

On March 26, 2020, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act was enacted,[5] amending INA 320, so that a child residing with his or her U.S. citizen parent, who is stationed outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee, or is residing in marital union with a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee who is stationed outside of the United States, acquires citizenship under INA 320 if all requirements of INA 320(c) and INA 320(a)(1)-(2) are met. In line with the statute, USCIS rescinds its previous guidance, clarifying that these children are eligible to acquire citizenship under INA 320 if all other requirements under INA 320 are met.

The amendment to INA 320 applies to children who were under the age of 18 on March 26, 2020.

Footnotes


[^ 1] Even though the child of a member of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employee stationed outside of the United States may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship under INA 322 since he or she resides outside of the United States, USCIS interpreted the child to meet residency requirements under INA 320 as well, which formerly required the child to be residing in the United States with his or her parent to acquire citizenship.

[^ 2] For example, U.S. government employees, including members of the U.S. armed forces, are eligible to apply for an exception to the continuous residence requirement for naturalization under INA 316 as long as their residency outside of the United States was on behalf of the U.S. government. See INA 316(b). See INA 316(a). See Part D, General Naturalization Requirements, Chapter 3, Continuous Residence [12 USCIS-PM D.3].

[^ 3] See Policy Manual Technical Update, Child Citizenship Act and Children of U.S. Government Employees Residing Abroad (July 20, 2015); and Acquisition of Citizenship by Children of U.S. Military and Government Employees Stationed Abroad under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), No. 103, issued May 6, 2004.

[^ 4] See USCIS Policy Alert, Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to Citizenship [PA-2019-05] (PDF, 308.45 KB). This Policy Alert has been superseded by Policy Manual updates to reflect changes made under Pub. L. 116-133 (PDF).

[^ 5] See Pub. L. 116-133 (PDF) (March 26, 2020).

Updates

Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].

POLICY ALERT - Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.

Read More