Citizenship Q&A: Protect U.S. Residency Before Moving Abroad
Q: My wife, myself and our three minor children live in Florida. All but our youngest son, who was born in the United States, are permanent residents.
If we move back to Canada, we are concerned about how that would affect our youngest son, who is a U.S. citizen. Is it possible for him to hold dual citizenship with Canada and the United States?
A: Because your son acquired U.S. citizenship via birth in this country, he did not have to take a formal oath restricting him from acquiring foreign citizenship. He could hold dual citizenship if you move to Canada, since U.S. citizenship cannot be abandoned by living abroad.
But the rules are different for the rest of your family, both in terms of the consequences of moving to Canada and holding dual citizenship.
When a permanent resident of the United States starts living abroad, U.S. law may deem the U.S. residency to be abandoned, particularly if the stay is longer than six months. You can protect your U.S. residency status by naturalizing as U.S. citizens, but doing so would mean renouncing all other citizenships and loyalties to other countries.
Question answered by attorney Shahzad Ahmed of NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker & Joshi.