Earlier this week The Kaplan Law Firm prevailed in two loss of American citizenship cases, with both clients getting their U.S. citizenship back. Both had formally renounced their citizenship. Matt Kaplan, the Firm’s principal attorney, convinced the U.S. Department of State that the renunciations had not been knowing, intelligent and voluntary and made with an understanding of the consequences of renouncing.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is responsible for determining who is a U.S. citizen, has an internal appeals process for persons who believe that their citizenship was improperly revoked, including persons who have renounced their citizenship before a consular officer abroad (renunciation within the United States is not possible). The Kaplan Law Firm represents individuals who want to avail themselves of this appellate process. Individuals who want to regain lost American citizenship can approach the Department of State without legal representation but this is generally inadvisable as the legal and factual issues involved are often complex and unrepresented individuals sometimes make statements that actually undermine their case. The chance of success—having American citizenship restored—depends on the facts of each particular case. In addition to appealing to the Department, if they act promptly, former citizens who have been issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality can challenge their loss of citizenship in court. The Kaplan Law firm can also assist with such litigation but this process is more difficult and costly than seeking an administrative review from the State Department
The State Department’s processing of loss of nationality cases has been greatly delayed by the COVID epidemic and by a modification to the State Department’s internal bureaucracy that changed how these matters are handled within the Department. The State Department has told us that it is catching up on the current backlog of appeals from persons wanting to get back their lost U.S citizenship and hopes that it will be gone by the end of the year. These two recent decisions in favor of The Kaplan Law Firm clients—both decisions were issued on the same day—suggest that the Department is indeed making progress.