|Long title||An Act to revise and codify the nationality laws of the United States into a comprehensive nationality code.|
|Enacted by||the 76th United States Congress|
|Effective||October 14, 1940|
|Public law||Pub.L. 76–853|
|Statutes at Large||54 Stat. 1137, Chap. 876|
The Nationality Act of 1940 (H.R. 9980; Pub.L. 76-853; 54 Stat. 1137) revised numerous provisions of law relating to American citizenship and naturalization. It was enacted by the 76th Congress of the United States and signed into law on October 14, 1940, a year after World War II had begun in Europe, but before the U.S. entered the war.
The law revised "the existing nationality laws of the U.S. into a more complete nationality code"; it defined those persons who were "eligible for citizenship through birth or naturalization" and clarified "the status of individuals and their children born or residing in the continental U.S., its territories such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Philippines, Panama and the Canal Zone, or abroad." The law furthermore defined who was not eligible for citizenship, and how citizenship could be lost or terminated. This legislation represents the first attempt ever made, since the founding of the United States, to codify and unify all of the U.S. laws relating to nationality and naturalization.