Renounce US Citizenship: The Ultimate Guide

How to Renounce US Citizenship: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 19 February 2024

If you are considering renouncing your citizenship, remember that it is voluntary. And it is not the same as losing your identity against your will, but they both lead to the same thing. If you give up your citizenship, you will no longer have the rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen. But some duties, like paying taxes, may stay. In addition, you may also still be able to get Social Security payments.

If you give up your citizenship, you must get citizenship in another country to avoid being stateless. Moreover, you should know what kind of visa you need to return to the U.S.

This article aims to explain the renunciation process and we will guide you through each step.

Here are some important points that will help you to renounce your citizenship as a U.S. citizen:

  • In a foreign country, visit a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer in person
  • Sign an oath of renunciation
  • Complete the payment of a $2,350.00 fee

On the day of your appointment, you will be expected to execute the following forms. It will make it easier for you to familiarize yourself before the appointment.

  • Form DS-4079: Request for Determination of Possible Loss of United States Citizenship
  • Form DS-4080: Oath/Affirmation of the Renunciation of the Nationality of the United States
  • Form DS-4081: Statement of Understanding Concerning the Consequences and Ramifications of Renunciation or Relinquishment of U.S. Nationality
  • Any other forms determined necessary to support your Loss of Nationality

You can find these forms on the U.S. government website.

What are the Required Documents to Renounce Your US Citizenship?

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • U.S. consular report of birth abroad
  • Bio-pages of all current foreign passports
  • Certificates of naturalization for any country
  • Certificates of citizenship for any country
  • Proof of any name changes

Renounce or Lose Your Citizenship

Renouncing or losing your citizenship are two methods to remove your legal position as a citizen of a nation. It is either freely or involuntarily. The rules and processes for renouncing or losing citizenship can change in different nations. In the United States, you can renounce your citizenship by writing an oath at a U.S. embassy or consulate in another country. 

You may lose your US citizenship if you do specific activities. It can be running for public office or joining a foreign country’s military. In this case, you no longer have the rights and duties of a U.S. citizen if you renounce or lose your citizenship. If you do not have another citizenship, you may require a visa to return to the United States or become stateless.

Requirement of Renouncement: Rights and Privileges

If you want to give up your U.S. citizenship, you may need to give up all the rights and benefits that come with it. 

Dual Nationality vs Statelessness

  • Renouncing U.S. citizenship may result in statelessness if you no longer hold another nationality. 
  • If you are stateless, you may face severe hardships in various aspects of life.
  • As a former U.S. citizen, you may need a visa to enter the U.S. or be ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
  • If you are considering renouncing U.S. citizenship for tax avoidance, remember that it may lead to being inadmissible to the U.S.

Tax and Military Obligations after Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

You still have to pay taxes even if you give up your US citizenship. You may still have to pay taxes and get social security payments. It depends on how much money you make and what you own.

As a US citizen, you must file your last tax return for the year you gave up your citizenship, a “dual-status tax return.” It should have Form 8854 on it. This form shows that you are living abroad and paying your taxes.

You might have to pay an exit tax, too. This is a one-time tax on the net unrecognized gain of your property as if you had sold it the day before you left. However, you only have to pay this tax if your income or net worth is above a certain amount.

Renunciation for Minor Children

Citizenship is a personal status for U.S. citizens. And parents cannot renounce their minor children’s citizenship. Minors must demonstrate voluntarily, without undue influence. They need to understand the implications of renunciation.

Children under 16 may need more maturity or knowledge to renounce citizenship. Nevertheless, those under 18 have additional safeguards and careful consideration by the department. Unless it is emergent, minors can wait until 18 to renounce citizenship.

Irrevocability of Renunciation

Renunciation of U.S. citizenship is an irrevocable act. There is an exception, though, as stated in the law. You must cancel renunciation or set aside with a successful administrative review or judicial appeal. 

If you renounce your U.S. citizenship before age 18, you can have the option to have your citizenship reinstated. And you need to inform the Department of State within six months.

What Happens When You Renounce or Lose Your U.S. Citizenship?

Here are some possible outcomes of renouncing or losing your U.S. citizenship, along with their pros and cons:

  • You no longer have rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen.

Pro: It can reduce your tax burden by not paying tax on your worldwide income.

Con: You can lose the right to live and work in the U.S., vote, and receive the protection of the U.S. government.

  • You must become a citizen of another nation, or you may face the risk of becoming stateless.

Pro: You can enjoy the benefits of another country’s citizenship. For example, it can be visa-free travel, social services, or cultural opportunities.

Con: You may face severe hardships as a stateless person. It is possible to have difficulty owning property, working, marrying, receiving medical care, or attending school.

  • You may need a visa to return to the U.S. or be ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program.

Pro: You can still visit the U.S. for tourism, business, or family reasons. However, it requires obtaining a valid visa or meeting the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program.

Con: You may have trouble obtaining a visa or be denied entry to the U.S. if you have a criminal record. Other reasons for denial can be renouncing for tax avoidance purposes or consideration of a security threat.

  • You may be subject to an exit tax, a final tax return, and other tax obligations.

Pro: You can avoid future tax liabilities and filing requirements as a U.S. citizen. It can be reporting your foreign bank accounts or foreign companies.

Con: You may have to pay a one-time tax on the net unrealized gain of your property, file a 

dual-status tax return, and pay taxes and social security benefits.

  • You may still have military obligations if you are a male born after 1960.

Pro: You can avoid being drafted into the U.S. military in case of a national emergency unless you are also a citizen of a country that has an obligation to provide military personnel to the U.S.

Con: You may still have to register with the Selective Service System and be subject to prosecution or denial of benefits if you fail to do so.

How to Renounce Your U.S. Citizenship: Step-by-Step Process

Here are the steps you need to follow to renounce your U.S. citizenship:

Step 1: Obtain citizenship in another country. You can only renounce your U.S. citizenship if you have another nationality. Otherwise, you will become stateless and face many difficulties in life.

Step 2: Move to another country. You can only renounce your U.S. citizenship outside the U.S. at a U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country.

Step 3: Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate. You need to make an appointment and find out what documents you need to bring with you, such as your U.S. passport, proof of your other citizenship, and the renunciation fee of $2,350.

Step 4: Appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer. You will have to sign an oath of renunciation and a statement of understanding, confirming that you are voluntarily and intentionally giving up your U.S. citizenship and understand the consequences of doing so.

Step 5: Receive a certificate of loss of nationality. This document is proof that you are no longer a U.S. citizen. It may take several weeks or months to process your renunciation and issue your certificate.

Step 6: Settle your tax obligations with the IRS. Renouncing your U.S. citizenship does not free you from paying taxes totally or filing tax returns. Or, it does not mean you can totally avoid paying taxes. Depending on your income and assets, you may still be subject to taxes and social security benefits. You also have to file a final tax return as a U.S. citizen for the year of your renunciation and pay an exit tax if you meet certain income or net worth thresholds.

Step 7: Adjust to your new status as a former U.S. citizen. You will no longer have the rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, such as the right to live and work in the U.S., the right to vote, and the protection of the U.S. government. You will also need a visa to visit the U.S. or be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program unless you are a citizen of a country participating in the program. You may also need help traveling to certain countries with poor relations with the U.S. or your new country of citizenship.

How to Lose Your U.S. Citizenship

You may lose your U.S. citizenship in specific cases, including if you:

  • Run for public office in a foreign country
  • Enter military service in a foreign country
  • Apply for citizenship in a foreign country for giving up U.S. citizenship
  • Commit an act of treason against the United States

How Much Does it Cost to Renounce U.S. Citizenship?

When you sign an oath to renounce your citizenship at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you will be expected to pay a government fee of $2,350.

You have to pay a possible exit tax on the net unrealized gain of your property as if you sold it the day before your renunciation date. This tax applies only if you meet certain income or net worth thresholds.

A final tax return as a U.S. citizen for your renunciation should include Form 8854. The reason is to report your expatriation information and certify your tax compliance. Other tax obligations may continue after your renunciation.

How Long Does it Take to Get U.S. Citizenship After You Renounce it?

The time it takes to get U.S. citizenship after you renounce it depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your eligibility for U.S. naturalization. You must meet the requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • The processing time of your application. The average processing time for naturalization applications varies by location, ranging from 8 to 19 months.
  • The availability of an oath ceremony. After your application is approved, you must attend an oath ceremony where you will take the oath of allegiance and receive your certificate of naturalization.

Passport Renunciation

Passport renunciation is the process of giving up citizenship and passport of a country. It usually happens after acquiring the citizenship and passport of another country.

To complete the process of passport renunciation, you will need to fill out an application form, submit relevant documents, and pay a fee. Passport renunciation may have legal and tax implications for the renouncer. It depends on the country of origin and destination.

Conclusion

Renouncing your U.S. citizenship reshapes your identity and legal standing in the world. Remember, this action is irrevocable and far-reaching, impacting everything from your tax obligations to your ability to live and work in the U.S.

You may have many motivations when you decide to renounce your U.S. citizenship. For either personal or other reasons, you will have some legal requirements on the way. Before you start the process, know that you will also lose some benefits of being a U.S. citizen. But in the end, it will be your decision, and you will have outcomes accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I renounce my US citizenship in the UK?

Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to renounce your U.S. citizenship in the UK. Make an appointment for a renunciation interview. During this process, you will fill out several forms, including one for the renunciation of citizenship. Getting legal advice before proceeding is advisable, as the decision is irreversible and has significant implications.

Can you live in the US after renouncing citizenship?

Living in the U.S. after renouncing citizenship is possible. But you will be treated like any other foreign national. This means you would need to obtain the appropriate visa or residency permit to stay in the country.

How much is the US renunciation fee?

The fee to renounce U.S. citizenship is $2,350. This fee covers the administrative costs of processing the renunciation. It is one of the highest fees worldwide for renouncing citizenship and is non-refundable. The decision on your renunciation application does not change the fee amount.

Can I have dual citizenship in the US?

Yes, the United States allows dual citizenship. This means you can simultaneously be a U.S. citizen and another country. However, understand the obligations of both countries, as a foreign government may have specific requirements or restrictions regarding dual citizenship.

Can a U.S. citizen become a US national?

A U.S. citizen cannot ‘become’ a U.S. national. These terms refer to different legal statuses. U.S. nationals typically refer to individuals from American Samoa or Swains Island. They are not U.S. citizens but have a more limited set of rights and obligations.

Can I apply for PR (Permanent Residency) after renouncing?

After renouncing U.S. citizenship, you can apply for a Permanent Residency (Green Card). However, you will be subject to the same immigration rules as foreign nationals. This process involves meeting eligibility criteria. The renunciation of U.S. citizenship does not give any unique advantage or disadvantage in applying for Permanent Residency.

How can I renounce my US citizenship?

To renounce U.S. citizenship, a person must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. nationality appear in person before a U.S. consular officer. You also need to sign an oath of renunciation. The consular officer will determine if the person is acting freely and understands the consequences of renouncing U.S. citizenship. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, renouncing U.S. citizenship does not affect a person’s ability to acquire or retain a foreign nationality.

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