The 14th Amendment to the Constitution declares that a person is a citizen of the United States if he is "born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." Many people from all over the world choose to become U.S. citizens every year. However, citizenship isn't always permanent. Although exceedingly rare, it is possible for individuals to lose or renounce their American citizenship.
Lying on Your Application
Foreign-born residents must complete an application process to become citizens of the United States. Applicants must tell the complete truth on their applications. Any deliberate lie, whether you are telling a falsehood or withholding the truth, can disqualify you from citizenship. For example, among other criteria, an immigrant must live in the United States for five continuous years before becoming a citizen. If you lie about your term of residency and the government finds out, your citizenship will be disqualified because you never should have been a citizen in the first place.
Owing Allegiance to Another Country
Another way to lose your U.S. citizenship is to demonstrate your voluntary allegiance to another country. This may take several forms. The most obvious is to become a naturalized citizen of another country with the intent of renouncing U.S. citizenship. You could also lose your citizenship by swearing an oath of allegiance to another country, such as if you are working for the government of a foreign nation. You may also lose your citizenship by voluntarily serving in the military of a foreign country if that country is at war with the United States. Finally, choosing to become an officer in the armed forces of a foreign country is another way to lose your U.S. citizenship.
Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines treason as "levying war" against the United States or giving "aid and comfort" to the enemies of the United States. A person must confess in court to the crime or be convicted on the testimony of two eyewitnesses. Treason includes making war or helping a foreign power make war against the United States and also includes trying to overthrow the U.S. government or Constitution. Committing treason is a sure-fire way to lose your citizenship and serve time in prison.
A final way to lose your citizenship is to give it up. Giving up your U.S. citizenship is almost always a permanent decision, unless you renounced your citizenship as a minor and decide within six months of turning 18 that you wish to have it reinstated. To renounce your citizenship, you must first travel to a foreign country. You must stand before a U.S. diplomatic official at a U.S. embassy or consulate and sign an oath renouncing your citizenship. Upon doing so, you will lose all the rights and privileges of citizenship in the United States.