Renunciation is the most unequivocal way in which a person can manifest an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship, described below, before taking this serious and irrevocable action.
To renounce U.S. citizenship, you must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
- appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer, in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate);
- sign an oath of renunciation;
- pay a $2,350.00 fee.
Americans cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States because of the provisions of section 349(a) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below.
Renouncing all rights and privileges
A person who wants to renounce U.S. citizenship cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would be logically inconsistent with the concept of renunciation. A person who attempts to retain some rights lacks a full understanding of renouncing citizenship and/or lacks the necessary intent to renounce citizenship. The Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship in such instances.
Dual nationality / statelessness
If you renounce your U.S. citizenship and do not already possess a foreign nationality, you may be rendered stateless and, thus, lack the protection of any government. You may also have difficulty traveling as you may not be entitled to a passport from any country. Even if you are not stateless, you would still be required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States, or show that you are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). You could be barred from entering the United States if found ineligible for a visa or the VWP, under certain circumstances. Nonetheless, renunciation of U.S. citizenship may not prevent a foreign country from deporting an individual back to the United States, in some non-citizen status.
Tax & military obligations /no escape from prosecution
Also, renouncing your U.S. citizenship may have no effect whatsoever on your U.S. tax or military service obligations. (Contact the Internal Revenue Service or U.S. Selective Service for more information). In addition, the act of renouncing U.S. citizenship will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which they may have committed in the United States, or escape the repayment of financial obligations previously incurred in the United States or incurred as United States citizens abroad.
Renunciation for minor children
Parents cannot renounce U.S. citizenship on behalf of their minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered under Section 349(a) (5) of the INA, a person under the age of eighteen must convince a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation, is not subject to duress or undue influence, and is voluntarily seeking to renounce his/her U.S. citizenship.
Irrevocability of renunciation
Finally, renouncing U.S. citizenship is irrevocable and cannot be canceled or set aside without successful administrative or judicial appeal. An applicant who renounced his or her U.S. citizenship before the age of eighteen can have that citizenship reinstated if he or she makes that desire known to the Department of State within six months after attaining the age of eighteen.