Can I move abroad after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen?

Question:

U.S. citizens have unlimited rights to spend time overseas.

I am going to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen next week. My father in Singapore just died, and my mother would like me to come and take over the family business. If I move so soon, do I risk giving up my U.S. citizenship?

Answer:

If you had asked this question prior to 1994, the answer might have been different. Back then, a person who became a naturalized U.S. citizen was expected to hold the intention of residing permanently in the United States. (This was written into Section 340 of the Immigration and Nationality Act or I.N.A.; but the language was removed in 1994, within Section 104 of the Technical Corrections Act.)

What’s more, back before 1994, if a person moved permanently to another country within one year of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, this was taken as “prima facie” evidence of the person’s lack of intention to live in the U.S. -- and the move thus became grounds for the U.S. government to “denaturalize” the person, or take away his or her citizenship.

Again, however, that section of the law has been repealed. At this time, no penalties exist if a naturalized U.S. citizen simply goes to live in another country. But if the person also takes certain other actions, citizenship can be lost, as described in, "Can a naturalized U.S. citizen lose citizenship by living in another country?"

You will also need to continue complying with U.S. laws affecting U.S. citizens, particularly regarding taxation. See “Filing a Tax Return When You Live Outside the United States” for more information, and talk to an attorney or tax professional for a full personal analysis.

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