Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

There are two requirements for a Canadian looking to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship. Such an individual must voluntarily, and with the intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship, execute the following steps: (1) appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer, in Canada, at a U.S. Embassy or consulate; and (2) sign an oath of renunciation. This process requires the renouncing party to abandon all the rights and privileges associated with being a United States citizen. It is a very serious process requiring a very earnest decision that cannot be taken back. If approved by the consulate, renunciation is irrevocable.

For those individuals who are inclined toward renunciation of U.S. citizenship, the process is fairly straightforward. There are four basic steps to follow. The first step is to complete and return forms DS-4079, DS-4080 and DS-4081 to the Department of State. 

Secondly, the individual looking to renounce citizenship must contact a U.S. Consulate in Canada and request an appointment for an interview. The renouncing individual will need to bring copies of completed forms and scanned copies of documents to the appointment at the consulate, including a U.S. passport, evidence of U.S. citizenship, a valid Canadian passport, evidence of name changes, and other documentation as requested.

Thirdly, the individual looking to renounce citizenship will have to appear in person for the appointment and interview with a consular officer. The purpose of the interview is to make sure that the renunciation is, in fact, voluntary and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship. The officer will administer an “Oath of Renunciation of the Nationality of the United States” and a “Statement of Understanding.” If all the required paperwork is completed, it is possible that only one interview will be necessary, but that is not a guarantee. You may need to return for a second appointment. If approved for renunciation, a Certificate of Loss of Nationality will be issued.

Fourthly, and finally, the individual will need to pay a hefty government fee of $2,350.

Always keep in mind that renunciation is a big decision and there are many important considerations to take into account. Renunciation is irrevocable and cannot be canceled or set aside without a successful administrative review or judicial appeal. Renunciation is a very final path and should not be taken lightly. There are also significant tax considerations that need to be reviewed as part of evaluating renunciation. It’s recommended that anyone considering renunciation contact a tax professional who is familiar with renunciation matters to ensure they understand all implications. Renunciation also does not allow an individual to avoid criminal prosecution, or escape the repayment of financial obligations, including child support payments.

Finally, citizenship is a status that is personal to the individual. Parents may not renounce the citizenship of their minor children, and parents/legal guardians may not renounce the citizenship of individuals who lack sufficient capacity to do so. Minors who wish to renounce their U.S. citizenship must show that they are acting voluntarily, without undue influence from their parents, and that they fully understand the consequences. Children under 16 are presumed not to have the requisite maturity and knowing intent to relinquish citizenship.

If you are interested in renouncing your U.S. citizenship, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys today!

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