Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Denaturalization Definition:

The revocation of citizenship, usually followed by deportation.

Related Terms: Deportation, Extradition, Citizenship

The stripping of citizenship from an individual who had acquired citizenship other than by birth, and for cause.

The denaturalization of citizens is usually for criminal convictions which disqualify them from citizenship, or the illegal or dishonest procurement of citizenship in the first place.

The 2013 United States Code, at 8 U.S.C. §1451(a):

"It shall be the duty of the United States attorneys for the respective districts, upon affidavit showing good cause therefor, to institute proceedings in any district court of the United States in the judicial district in which the naturalized citizen may reside at the time of bringing suit, for the purpose of revoking and setting aside the order admitting such person to citizenship and canceling the certificate of naturalization on the ground that such order and certificate of naturalization were illegally procured or were procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation ."

denaturalizationIn Kungys v US, the US Supreme Court set out "four independent requirements" for denaturalization:

" ... the naturalized citizen must have misrepresented or concealed some fact, the misrepresentation or concealment must have been willful, the fact must have been material, and the naturalized citizen must have procured citizenship as a result of the misrepresentation or concealment.Once denaturalized, the person is an alien, is taken to have never been a citizen, and subject to deportation."

In one case, the court compared the denaturalization with the revoking of a patent obtained in bad faith.1

The denaturalization is neither a civil nor a criminal proceedings:

"A denaturalization suit is not a criminal proceeding. But neither is it an ordinary civil action since it involves an important adjudication of status."2

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