TN 5 (07-90)

RS 02640.001 Determining Citizenship


The citizenship of a beneficiary or the NH can be important in determining whether the:

  • Beneficiary meets an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions; and

  • Nonresident alien tax is withheld from his benefits.


Assume an individual completing a Form SSA-21 (Supplement to Claim of Person Outside the United States) understands item 3 asking about citizenship and that all the current countries of citizenship are listed.

Obtain evidence of an individual's citizenship if it is material to the payment of benefits (including the LSDP) or to withholding nonresident alien tax.

The evidence needed to establish the citizenship of a beneficiary varies depending on the citizenship alleged and the facts of the case.

Absent information to the contrary, assume a beneficiary is a citizen of the country in which he alleges current citizenship if:

  • Citizenship in two countries is alleged, and

  • The effect on benefits and the withholding tax would be the same for either country of citizenship.


1. Citizenship Development Necessary

The NH resides, and was born, in France. On his SSA-21 he shows that he was a French citizen at birth and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen (The SSA-21 does not show any information about a U.S. passport.)

As a French citizen he meets an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions. However, as a French citizen residing in France, he is subject to the alien withholding tax. As a U.S. citizen, he is not subject to the tax withholding.Development of his U.S. citizenship is necessary.

2. Citizenship Development Not Necessary

The NH was born, and now resides, in Thailand. On his SSA-21, he shows he was a Thai citizen at birth and is now a citizen of Laos.

As a citizen of Thailand, he cannot meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions. He also cannot meet an exception as a citizen of Laos.

No citizenship development is undertaken; he is considered a citizen of Laos.

As an alien and a resident of Thailand, he is subject to tax withholding.

3. Citizenship Development Not Necessary

E, who lives in Mexico, files for mother's benefits and does not submit evidence of her date of birth. She states that she was born in Mexico and has been a citizen of that country since birth. She married the NH in Mexico and her children were born in Mexico.

As a citizen of Mexico, she meets an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions; however, she does not meet the 5 year residence test (RS 02610.025ff.). Although no direct evidence of her Mexican citizenship was submitted, her citizenship may be inferred from her allegations and other evidence of lifelong residence in that country.

Further citizenship development is not necessary.

As an alien and a resident of Mexico, she is subject to tax withholding.

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RS 02640.001 - Determining Citizenship - 08/17/2012
Batch run: 08/17/2012