Americans Abroad And Voting Part 2: Born in the USA? Those who relinquished US citizenship under INA 349(a) are NOT eligible to vote in the November 3, 2020 US election

This is the second of my series of my posts that discusses Americans abroad (and in particular Americans in Canada) and voting. My first post discussed the nuts and bolts of voting from abroad. Specifically, I discussed how Americans abroad can vote in the November 3, 2020 election.

Clearly one must be an American citizen to be eligible to vote. This post is for the purpose of identifying a category of person who was “Born In The USA” but is NOT a US citizen. The basic theme of this post is discussed in the following podcast. But, the bottom line is this:

Those who were “Born In The USA”, but subsequently voluntarily naturalized as a citizen of another country with the intent to relinquish US citizenship, are NOT US citizens for nationality purposes. This is the application of Section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Many (if not most) people who relinquished US citizenship by naturalizing as a citizen of another country do NOT have a Certificate Of Loss of Nationality (“CLN”). Although they have relinquished US citizenship they have NOT informed the State Department (there is no requirement to do so under the Immigration and Nationality Act).

The important message is:

Only US citizens are eligible to vote in US elections. If a individual has relinquished US citizenship (as described above) and subsequently attempts to vote, that individual will NOT be successful in an application for a CLN. In other words, holding oneself out as a US citizen for the purposes of voting, will be interpreted to mean that the individual did NOT intend to relinquish US citizenship, by naturalizing as a citizen of another country. The person will be considered to still be a US citizen for nationality purposes. Because he is a citizen for nationality purposes, he will be considered to be a US citizen for tax purposes. A more detailed explanation is found here.

Furthermore, you should beware of organizations that encourage you to vote based ONLY on the fact that you were “Born In The USA”. Being born in the United States means that you began life as a US citizen. It doesn’t mean that you are still a US citizen. It is possible for one to have relinquished US citizenship.

Here is a podcast where I discuss this issue:

Think twice before making that trip to the Scotia Centre in Toronto!

Here is what was planned …

But, unfortunately …

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

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