The Immigration and Nationality Act defines a United States national as either a citizen of the country or a non-citizen who owes a lifetime allegiance to the United States. Non-citizen nationals are people born on Swains Island or American Samoa whose parents are not citizens of the United States.
Immigration law states that a U.S. national can lose this status if they intentionally perform one of the specified acts that demonstrate a desire to relinquish their status as U.S. nationals. A person over the age of 18 who becomes a national of another country commits an act of expatriation. Individuals taking an oath of allegiance to another state or joining the military of a nation that is hostile to the United States also face expatriation. Other acts of expatriation include accepting a job with the government of another nation that requires an oath of allegiance, renouncing U.S. nationality while in the country or abroad, and all acts or intended acts of treason.
It is the policy of the State Department to ask nationals who willingly commit one or more of the above-mentioned offenses if they intend to relinquish their nationality. Individuals who answer yes will fill out a questionnaire. The answers to the questionnaire along with supporting evidence will determine the need for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. Offenses such as formally renouncing nationality to the United States or accepting a policy-level job in a foreign government do not enjoy the presumption that the person wants to remain a U.S. national.
State Department officials must establish that an offense worthy of expatriation was committed along with the intent of an individual to relinquish nationality before nationality to the United States can be lost. A U.S. national who faces the loss of U.S. nationality but does not wish to relinquish their status may be able to improve their odds of a favorable outcome by contacting an immigration attorney.