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Number of people renouncing U.S. citizenship up in 2013

With 1.1 million immigrants coming to the United States every year, it’s rare for people to no longer want to be U.S. citizens. However, in 2013 the number of people renouncing U.S. citizenship is at an all time high. According to The Wall Street Journal, 2,369 people have renounced citizenship this year. That number is up 33% from the previous all time high in 2011 of 1,781.

What exactly is renunciation?
Renunciation is when a person decides to voluntarily give up their citizenship, in this case U.S. citizenship.
Why do people renounce citizenship?
It is commonly believed that many people take the path of renouncing U.S. citizenship for tax purposes. Forbes Magazine reports that may just be the case due to strict U.S. tax laws. For U.S. citizens living abroad, many end up paying a double tax. They pay taxes where they currently live, but also still pay U.S. taxes on their earned income abroad.  Others leave their U.S. citizenship behind for personal reasons dealing with family matters or matters of convenience. Some may have started new lives in different countries and do not plan on needing a U.S. passport any longer.
What does a person have to do to renounce their citizenship?
There are several steps a person must take in order to formally renounce their citizenship. They must appear before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer. The appearance must take place in a foreign country, usually at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Lastly, the person must sign an oath of renunciation.
What are the consequences of renouncing?
When a person renounces their U.S. citizenship, they also lose all the rights and privileges that come along with it – including the ability to sponsor family members for  U.S. immigration benefits.  While traveling, they will lose the protection U.S. citizens receive from U.S. embassies and consulates. They will no longer have the right to vote in U.S. elections. They will also lose their right to work in the U.S. and travel to the U.S., unless they obtain the proper work and visiting visas.
Is there anything else to consider before renouncing?
Parents renouncing U.S. citizenship must realize that they cannot renounce citizenship on behalf of their minor children because it is a personal choice. Most importantly, renouncing citizenship is an irrevocable action. Anyone considering this action must weigh the pros and cons very seriously.
If you have questions regarding citizenship – whether you wish to become a U.S. citizen, or renounce that citizenship – contact our Immigration Attorneys to schedule a consultation.