Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship
Every U.S. citizen over the age of 18 years has the right to give up their U.S. citizenship. This decision may have significant inheritance and tax consequences, so it is imperative to seek tax and estate planning advice prior to making a decision regarding whether or not this renunciation is appropriate for you. Additionally, relinquishment of U.S. citizenship may have long-term immigration ramifications for the person considering renunciation as well as for family members. Careful consideration of these effects must take place as part of the overall strategy.
The law provides a number of ways to relinquish U.S. citizenship, the two most common being to obtain naturalization in a foreign country with the intention of relinquishing U.S. nationality or to make a formal renunciation of nationality before a consular officer of the United States in a foreign country.
The process involves scheduling and attending an interview with a consular officer, submission of the required documents, and signing an oath of renunciation. A person cannot renounce their U.S. citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States. A person who renounces their U.S. citizenship must understand that they are renouncing all rights and privileges of a U.S. citizen. They cannot decide that they want to give up U.S. citizenship but retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would be logically inconsistent with the concept of renunciation.
At the time of the renunciation interview, the consular officer must be satisfied that the person understands the irrevocable consequences of the renunciation and that the person is performing the renunciating act voluntarily. If the consular officer is satisfied that these two conditions are met, the individual is asked to sign the Oath of Renunciation.
A Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) is then completed by the consular officer and forwarded to the Department of State in the U.S. for endorsement. The renunciation is effective as of the date the Oath of Renunciation is signed, however it will take 6 to 8 weeks after the interview to receive the fully endorsed CLN.
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