When is a US citizen required to prove it?

When is a US citizen required to prove it to the government?

I can think of several times I’ve been asked to prove my citizenship in order to do something I want to do (get passport, get drivers license, etc). But if I didn’t want that item, I wouldn’t have needed to provide proof of citizenship. Are there any circumstances when I actually have to prove my citizenship?

(While you may see a connection with a current controversy, I’m looking for the answer to this factual question. Keep the debate out.)

Crossing a border.

But wouldn’t that be a requirement from the other government? It isn’t specific to US citizens and it isn’t a US law.

Your employer may require you to prove that you are entitled to work. That may be by proving citizenship, permanent residence (green card) or an appropriate visa.

You are required to prove your citizenship and (if appropriate) your visa status when entering the U.S.

If you want to get back into the US, you have to prove you’re allowed to be in here. That means green card, some kind of visa (tourist/work/student), or a US passport (which shows you to be a US citizen).

OTOH, per the OP’s examples, if you decide you don’t want to get in, you don’t have to show you’re a citizen; you can just turn around and go.

That’s not the government and it’s not a requirement. You don’t have to take that job.

That might not be an option. In an extreme case, if you’re a U.S. citizen, and have just been deported from Fredonia, you won’t be accepted back by the country that you have just left, and no other country would accept you, because you aren’t their citizen.

But if (for example), you leave Canada or Mexico, and just before you reach US immigration you burn your passport and your other personal ID, do you think Canada or Mexico is going to let you back in?

It’s the government requiring the employer to check all their employees. And you don’t have to take that job, or any job – you can choose to starve, or to live by begging in the street.

Never. Unless one is entering the US from outside, one does not have to prove citizenship.

If one wants a driver’s license, or legal employment, or wants to benefit from any of many various government programs, I think he does not have to prove citizenship, but does have to prove legal residency. In addition, if one does something which causes the authorities to suspect that he is not a legal resident, he’ll also have to prove legal residency in that case.

You are proving it to the government, sorta. You are required to fill out an I9 Form, which in to remain on file for (possible) inspection by Citizenship and Immigration Services. From their website:

Technically, you don’t have to prove you are a citizen to satisfy this – just that you are allowed to work in the U.S. because of your residency or visa status. But since I am a U.S. citizen the simplest way to prove my qualifications was to show my U.S. passport, which is in essence to prove my citizenship. So that’s what I’ve done when I start new jobs (which isn’t all that often – I’ve been at my current company for over a decade).

ETA: I know some companies follow this rule more strictly than others. That’s a whole other issue.

What about voting?

If you are a U.S. citizen, then the only way to prove that you are entitled to work in the U.S. is to prove that you are a citizen. Even if you are a dual citizen, you can’t hold a U.S. visa or permanent residency, so there’s only one path. The easiest way may be to show your passport, but one way or another, to hold a job, you must prove that you are a citizen.

(Similarly, a permanent resident can’t hold a U.S. visa – I held one which got cancelled when I got my green card – so the only way they can prove it is to show their green card.)

Yeah, can’t disagree with anything you said. It all gets bogged down in pesky details. But I guess the bottom line is that a U.S. citizen does need to prove that he or ishe is a citizen when starting a new job.

I was going to ask the same thing. Thinking back, I’ve been required to show proof of residence when I registered to vote but I don’t recall ever being asked to show any proof of citizenship.

Nope. I’ve registered to vote in a few states and the only ID needed was my state driver’s license, which you can easily get without ever showing your passport or birth certificate.

When I reported to work on my first day of a civil service job (civilian in a navy research facility) I had to produce documentation of my citizenship. That was the only time I had to take out my documentation. It was made clear to me that I had to show that documentation in order to check in.

I’ve wondered about the immigration checkpoints inside the US - like those on major highways in Texas, New Mexico, etc. What kind of ID do they expect and/or require from US citizens?

Just an oral declaration of US citizenship.

There are severe penalties for non-citizens falsely claiming citizenship, including a lifetime bar from the US. This can even be the case if it was something of an accident: http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/400/400.F3d.684.03-71986.html