When Can Denaturalization Occur?

The federal government may seek to revoke U.S. citizenship under two general grounds: (1) illegal procurement of naturalization, and (2) procurement of naturalization by concealing a material fact or by willful misrepresentation. Procuring naturalization illegally is when the individual was not eligible for naturalization in the first place because he or she does not meet or failed to comply with all the statutory requirements for naturalization. In such a case, the individual’s U.S. citizenship can be revoked even if the individual is innocent of any willful deception or misrepresentation. In addition, the federal government can denaturalize an individual if he or she is or becomes a member or affiliated with the Communist Party, another totalitarian party, or a terrorist organization within 10 years immediately preceding the filing of the naturalization application or the five years immediately following naturalization. In these cases, affiliation with certain political parties or organizations precludes naturalization because it shows that the individual is not attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

 

The federal government also may seek to denaturalize an individual if there is “deliberate deceit on the part of the person” in failing to disclose or misrepresenting a material fact that influences the decision to award the individual U.S. citizenship. The concealment or misrepresentation of a material fact can be made orally during the naturalization interview or in writing on the naturalization application. For example, an individual who misstates his or her employment in order to prevent an USCIS adjudicator from finding out his or her real employment activity has engaged in concealment. That individual would be at risk of denaturalization if the concealment or misrepresentation was material to the individual obtaining citizenship.