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NATURALIZATION, CITIZENSHIP & NATIONALITY
Naturalization is the procedure of obtaining citizenship in the United States of America. For most
immigrants, especially those who are now Lawful Permanent Residents (i.e. have been living in the USA
with a "Green Card"), this is the final step in their journey to a new home and new country. But first, it is
helpful to know the answers to the question, "Who is a U.S. Citizen?"
Who is Born a United States Citizen?
Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if they are born to one or
two U.S. citizens:
(a) By being born in the United States
If you were born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S.
Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat).
Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship.
(b) Through birth abroad to two United States citizens
In most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if ALL of the following are true:
Both your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born; and at least one of your parents lived in the
United States at some point in their life.
Your record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. You
may also apply for a passport to have your citizenship recognized. If you need additional proof of your
citizenship, you may file a Form N-600, "Application for Certificate of Citizenship."
(c) Through birth abroad to ONE United States citizen. In most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if ALL of
the following are true:
One of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born and your citizen parent lived at least 5
years in the United States before you were born; and at least 2 of these 5 years in the United States
were after your citizen parent's 14th birthday.
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of
this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that
Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident
within the United States.”
The Naturalization Procedure
In most cases, citizenship through naturalization is obtained by completing and filing the form known as
N-400 Application for Naturalization if one is an adult, and the form N-600 Application for a Certificate of
Citizenship, if one is under the age of 18. Payment of the current filing fee must accompany the
submission of the N-400 or N-600.
Additionally, the applicant must satisfy residency and physical presence requirements which are
prescribed by statute. The applicant must also pass a Biometrics/Fingerprints check which includes a
search for prior criminal records and a background security check. Finally the applicant must appear for
an interview at which time he or she must pass a Test on English and Civics. A new Test has been
proposed and will take effect in 2008. When the U S Citizenship and Immigration Services is satisfied
that all statutory requirements are met, the applicant will be referred to the local United States District
Court for the administration of the Oath of Naturalization,
The oath of allegiance is as follows:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to
any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or
citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all
enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms
on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the
Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national
importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
In some cases, especially pertaining to religious objections, USCIS allows the oath to be taken without
". . .that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform
noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law. . ."
The completion of the Oath of Allegiance will confer citizenship. Congratulations!
Do Not Forget To Register for Selective Service
Anyone interested in becoming a United States Citizen must be aware of the duty to register for Selective
Service (also known as the Draft). Selective Service registration makes available to the United States
Government a list of names of men who may be called up for military service in case of a national
emergency requiring rapid mobilization of the U.S. Armed Forces. By registering all young men, the
Selective Service can ensure that any future draft will be fair and equitable. Federal law requires that
men who are at least 18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, must register with Selective Service.
Included are all male non-citizens within these age limits who permanently reside in the
United States. Men with "green cards" (lawful permanent residents) must register and men
living in the United States without Immigration documentation (undocumented aliens) must
also register (although they may not serve - an interesting paradox).
Failure of a non-citizen male between 18-26 of age to register for Selective Service,
regardless of whether he has a religious or any other objection to military service, may
disqualify him from obtaining U. S. Citizenship. To register for Selective Service on-line click here.
A Few Words On Losing Your Citizenship
Many people retain lawyers to help them acquire U. S. Citizenship. Few, including natural born citizens,
stop to think of how U. S, Citizenship and Nationality can be lost under law. It is important that we all be
aware that under the Constitution and Statutes of the United States, it is possible for a U.S. Citizen to
lose his or her United States Citizenship and Nationality whether in times of peace or during periods of
war and international instability. The process of losing one's U. S. Citizenship and Nationality can also
generally be referred to as "expatriation."
The Case of John Demjanjuk
The most famous case, if not infamous, involving a naturalized U. S. Citizen is that of John Demjanjuk.
Born as Ivan Mykolaiovych Demianiuk in Ukraine on April 3, 1920, he emigrated to the USA in 1952 and
eventually became a U. S. Citizen. He was suspected of actually being the notorious "Ivan the Terrible"
(Ivan Grozny) who committed multiple Holocaust war crimes at the odious Treblinka death camp during
the Second World War, including running the gas chambers there (where 850,000 men, women and
children, mostly Jews, were killed). In 1977, the U. S. Department of Justice requested the revocation of
his U. S. Citizenship before the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio alleging that he had
lied and concealed his true identity when applying for Naturalization. In 1983, Israel requested that he be
extradited to stand trial under Israel's Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law of 1950. He was
deported to Israel in 1986, received a trial there and was found guilty of all charges in 1988 and
sentenced to death by hanging. In 1993, the Israeli Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial
court and he was returned to the United States.
In that same year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Demjanjuk was a
victim of fraud on the court by government investigators and the withholding of exculpating evidence. In
1998, Demjanjuk's U.S. Citizenship was restored to him. In 1999 the U. S. Department of Justice sought
once more to de-naturalize him by charging him again, this time not of being Treblinka's "Ivan the
Terrible," but instead of having served as a guard at Trawniki, I. G. Okswo, Sobibor, Majdanek,
Flossenburg camps and of being a member of the SS that arrested nearly 2 million Jews in Poland. In
2002, his U. S. Citizenship was revoked for a second time, partly because Demjanjuk was unable to
refute the evidence against him, including a Trawniki Camp Identification Card identifying him as Guard
1393. He could not explain his whereabouts during the period of time in question. In 2004 the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the government had presented "clear, unequivocal
and convincing evidence" of his participation in Nazi camps. The United States Supreme Court declined
his appeal in the same year.
In 2005, an U. S. Immigration Court ordered him deported to Germany, Poland or Ukraine and the Board
of Immigration Appeals concurred in 2006. In 2008, both the Sixth Circuit and the U. S. Supreme Court
refused to review his appeal. Germany followed-up with a request for extradition. Demjanjuk then filed a
Motion to Reopen in U S Immigration Court in Virginia, but the Immigration Court declined jurisdiction.
Demjanjuk then filed a Motion to Reopen with the Board of Immigration Appeals, arguing that his
deportation would constitute torture, especially in light of his very poor health and frail condition. The
government countered that this motion is "patently frivolous" and the BIA agreed. On April 14, 2009,
immigration agents took Demjanjuk into custody from his home in Cleveland in the first step to
deportation. His son filed for an emergency stay in the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati which was granted
pending fuller consideration on the merits. On May 2, 2009, the Sixth Circuit lifted the stay finding that
his flight to Germany via medical air ambulance is not torture. The matter was appealed once again into
the United States Supreme Court which denied certiorari without comment. On May 11, 2009, he left the
United States, no longer a citizen, and ended up in a prison in Munich, Germany the next day.
How A Natural Born Citizen Can Lose Citizenship
The protracted litigation over John Demjanjuk involves a foreign born person who had naturalized as an
U. S. Citizen. Respecting a natural born U. S. Citizen, that is a person born in the USA, can he or she
lose citizenship of the country of natural birth? The answer is yes according to the Immigration and
Citizenship and Naturalization - Immigration and Naturalization Act §349
(a)--A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his
nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United
States nationality -
(1)--obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a
duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(2)--taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or
a political subdivision thereof after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(3)--entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if (A) such armed forces are engaged in
hostilities against the United States, or (B) such persons serves as a commissioned or non-
commissioned officer; or
(4)--(A) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the
government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof after attaining the age of eighteen years,
if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state; or (B) accepting, serving in, or performing the
duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political
subdivision thereof after attaining the age of eighteen years, for which office, post, or employment an
oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required; or
(5)--making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United
States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State; or
(6)--making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be
prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the
United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not
contrary to the interests of national defense; or
(7)--committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against,
the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of Title 18, or
willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of Title 18, or violating section 2384 of Title 18 by
engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United
States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of
(b)--Whenever the loss of United States nationality is put in issue in any action or proceeding
commenced on or after the enactment of this subsection under, or by virtue of, the provisions of this or
any other Act, the burden shall be upon the person or party claiming that such loss occurred, to
establish such claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Any person who commits or performs, or who
has committed or performed, any act of expatriation under the provisions of this or any other Act shall be
presumed to have done so voluntarily, but such presumption may be rebutted upon a showing, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the act or acts committed or performed were not done voluntarily.
Beyond the Immigration and Naturalization Act, as amended, the United States Constitution also has
something to say on this subject, specifically Article III Section 3 which provides:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering
to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on
the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of
Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person
There is a tendency to view attorneys who help immigrants as simply immigration lawyers, but the
practice is actually somewhat broader. Our reading, understanding, and practice is that of U. S.
Immigration and Nationality Law. The precious question of how citizenship and nationality, whether by
birthright or naturalization, can be gained or lost is one that is governed by Federal law, and ultimately by
the Constitution of the United States of America.
Caveat /Disclaimer: U.S. immigration statutes, regulations and interpretations of same and federal, state and local law are subject to change and timely,
competent counsel from a qualified legal professional on current and applicable law is indispensable. The publisher reserves the right to amend the
contents of this website at any time and for any reason.
Charleston C. K. Wang, Esq.
Of Counsel: Mary Joan Reutter, Esq.
Immigration and Nationaltiy Lawyers in Cincinnati Ohio USA Serving the World
Charleston Wang Immigration Lawyer Cincinnati Ohio Charleston Wang Immigration Attorney Cincinnati Ohio
The Wanglaw Building
6924 Plainfield Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
United States of America
Phones: 513/793-7776 and 513/891-2888
Copyright 2007-2011 All Rights Reserved to Charleston C. K. Wang, Publisher
WANGLAW is a registered tradename
|Charleston Wang Immigration Attorney Cincinnati Ohio USA Charleston Wang Immigration Lawyer Cincinnati Ohio USA Charleston Wang Immigration Law Nationality Law Cincinnati Ohio USA
Charleston Cheng-Kung Wang, Attorney-At-Law
Mary Joan Reutter, Of Counsel
Charleston Wang Immigration Attorney Cincinnati Ohio USA Charleston Wang Immigration Lawyer Cincinnati Ohio USA Charleston Wang Immigration Law Nationality Law Cincinnati Ohio USA
|Remember , remember
always that all of us ... are
that descended from
-=Franklin D. Roosevelt
before the Daughters of the
We hold these truths to be
self evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator
with certain inalianable
rights, that among these
are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.
-=The Declaration of
Independence of the
It has pleased Almighty God
... He has largely
augmented our free
population by emancipation
and by immigration, while
he has opened to us new
sources of wealth, and has
crowned the labor of our
working-men in every
department of industry with
Lincoln's 1864 Thanksgiving
One more Quote for those
How many goodly creatures
are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
"ENGLISH IS SPOKEN
HERE" AT WANGLAW USA