This is related to the recent case of Rasmieh Odeh, a Palestinian activist that was found to have lied in her US citizenship application and will, according to some sources, be deported to Jordan. For example, The Daily Beast says:

If she is convicted, she faces a fine and 10 years in prison. She will then be stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported to Jordan, where she holds citizenship.

Since most (or maybe all?) countries allow a person to cancel their citizenship, there could be a case where this kind of person only has a US citizenship (even though they are born abroad, but in a country that does not recognize "citizenship through birth").

In that kind of situation, would the person not be deported? Or would the government look for some country to accept the person even though s/he is not their citizen?

  • Another issue is whether the person could be stripped of their citizenship at all. In many European countries, it would not possible (i.e. there are rules to prevent statelessness, even if the person could otherwise lose or be deprived of their citizenship).
    – Gala
    Mar 15, 2015 at 7:19
  • @Gala: Someone born or naturalized in the U.S. cannot lose U.S. citizenship involuntarily under any circumstances; it is constitutionally protected. However, this is not about losing citizenship, but rather finding that he never had citizenship in the first place -- he lied in naturalization so his naturalization was invalid. This is the same situation as in other countries where it is not possible to take away the citizenship of someone who supposedly has no other citizenship -- citizenship obtained through fraud is always invalid.
    – user102008
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:25
  • @user102008 I can see the distinction but I don't see why it would necessarily make a difference with respect to the rules preventing statelessness.
    – Gala
    Mar 17, 2015 at 21:36
  • @user102008 It is incorrect to say that naturalized US citizens cannot lose their US citizenship. See, for example, immigration.findlaw.com/citizenship/….
    – phoog
    Mar 27, 2015 at 17:34
  • @phoog: It is absolutely correct to say that naturalized U.S. citizens cannot lose their U.S. citizenship involuntarily. The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits this in multiple decisions. The only way they can lose it is voluntarily, i.e. if you can prove they personally intended to relinquish citizenship, proven with preponderance of evidence. People whose naturalizations were declared invalid do not count since they were never technically naturalized.
    – user102008
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


In that kind of situation, would the person not be deported? Or would the government look for some country to accept the person even though s/he is not their citizen?

In the case of John Demjanjuk, for example, he was deported to Germany. However in that case, Germans accepted him not because of the goodness of their heart, but because they wanted to put him on trial there. But that is an example of a person stripped of the US citizenship due to lying on the immigrations forms and deported despite having any other citizenship.

There's a whole list of people who lied on their forms and (some) were stripped of their US citizenship and removed from the US. Most end up being deported to sympathetic countries (as the case with various Palestinian/Islamic terrorists/Spies), countries of birth (as the case with many Nazi collaborators who didn't stand trial after being deported or Russian spies) or countries who agreed to accept them.

Since Germany doesn't allow dual citizenship for people naturalizing elsewhere, it is safe to assume that those originally from Germany were stateless when their US citizenship was revoked.

Other examples:

  • Mousa Abu-Marzuk (a Gaza-born Palestinian terrorist) was deported to Jordan despite not being a Jordanian (only the West-Bank born Palestinians hold Jordanian citizenship). Jordan was, reportedly, pressured by the US to accept him. He now lives in Egypt. Gaza-born Palestinians are stateless (hold PA passports).

  • Vicky Pelaez, a Peruvian who was deported to Russia as part of the Russian-US spy exchange several years ago. She now lives in Moscow, Russia. I'm not sure about her citizenship status.

  • "Since Germany doesn't allow dual citizenship for people naturalizing elsewhere, it is safe to assume that those originally from Germany were stateless when their US citizenship was revoked." However, he technically never naturalized in the U.S. and never had U.S. citizenship. It is unconstitutional to lose U.S. citizenship involuntarily for someone who is born or naturalized in the U.S. The only way that he does not have U.S. citizenship is to decide that his naturalization is invalid. But if he didn't technically naturalize that would also mean he did not technically lose German citizenship.
    – user102008
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:20
  • @user102008 I'm not proficient in German law well enough, but from what I know, swearing allegiance to a different country is what invalidates the German citizenship. Even if the US citizenship was invalid - the allegiance was made with full intent.
    – littleadv
    Mar 17, 2015 at 5:41
  • 3
    But Germany is a party to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. So it should not be possible to lose German citizenship without gaining another one.
    – user102008
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:40
  • @user102008 But the convention took effect in 1975, and Demjanjuk, for example, was naturalized in 1958. Other former Nazis were also likely to have been naturalized before then.
    – phoog
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:23

If a person renounces their American citizenship from the London Embassy, the policy there is not to permit the renouncement until/unless that person has another citizenship; that is, they have rules to commit itself to prevent people from becoming stateless.

I wouldn't be surprised therefore, if in the case of revocation, the person being stripped of citizenship might simply be detained until a negotiation is resolved with another country to accept them.

A pretty easy catch-all would be Ecuador. Ecuador honors the "Citizen of the World" passport, which is relatively easy to obtain.

  • 2
    I think that with lying on immigration forms, this is not really "stripping" of the citizenship, but rather revocation - citizenship granted on false pretenses has essentially been invalid the whole time and was never actually legally granted. So if the person doesn't have any other citizenship, technically shouldn't matter since he doesn't have the US citizenship to begin with. This is different from canceling citizenship due to renunciation or becoming a government official of a foreign country, etc.
    – littleadv
    Mar 15, 2015 at 21:31
  • This is not about renunciation.
    – user102008
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:21
  • It is about US policy for creating stateless persons. The revocation example is just a setting for the question. Mar 17, 2015 at 7:38
  • Recognizing a passport is not the same as accepting someone for permanent residence. The US, for example, recognizes the UK passport, but that doesn't mean that UK passport holders can remain indefinitely in the US.
    – phoog
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:28

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