Certificate of Loss of Nationality

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An example of a Certificate of Loss of Nationality

The Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN) is a form of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the United States Department of State which is completed by a consular official of the United States documenting renunciation or relinquishment of United States citizenship. The form is prescribed by the Secretary of State under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.

In order for a renunciation of citizenship to be proper, three of the criteria that must be met are that:

  • The citizen has unequivocally admitted in writing an intent to lose U.S. citizenship
  • The renunciation was made at a U.S. diplomatic office outside the U.S. before a U.S. diplomatic officer
  • The renunciation must be made voluntarily. Grounds for arguing that renunciation was not voluntary are, for example, financial hardship (e.g., the need to get a job in another country) or family pressure.

Renunciation, rather than relinquishment, is appropriate if a person is a dual citizen of the United States and some other country, for instance by birth or naturalization, and no longer wishes to be a United States citizen.

Alternatively, an individual may claim, or the State Department may argue, that U.S. citizenship has been relinquished due to the person taking citizenship in a foreign state or taking nationality in one of the American states voluntarily and with the intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship, such that:

  • The person has signed an oath of allegiance to the foreign state or one of the American states, and
  • The person intended at the same time to voluntarily relinquish United States citizenship.

CLNs are applied for and issued at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Citizens who receive a CLN surrender their United States passport and lose all rights of United States citizenship. Before renouncing citizenship, a person is strongly advised to have citizenship in another country already; otherwise the person will become stateless.

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