If you’re contemplating Renunciation of Citizenship, we encourage you to speak with an immigration lawyer from our office before moving forward.

When an individual wishes to relinquish his or her United States citizenship and / or nationality, the process used to complete such a relinquishment is referred to as renunciation of U.S. citizenship. Renunciation of your U.S. citizenship is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Section 349(a)(5), which allows for the voluntary loss of nationality through:

Persons who wish to renounce their U.S. citizenship must do so voluntarily. Furthermore, they must be able to demonstrate their intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship by completing a very specific set of requirements. To ensure that each of the steps expected of you at this time are completed appropriately, a New York City immigration attorney from Pozo Goldstein, LLP should be consulted with before moving forward.

What are the elements of renunciation?

As we mentioned above, any person who wishes to renounce his or her citizenship must completed the following voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:

  • Appear (in person) before a United States consular or diplomatic officer
  • Take action in a foreign country (typically this would be done at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate)
  • Sign an oath of renunciation
  • The elemental components of renunciation of citizenship are strict in nature, and do not allow for conditions other than those that meet the circumstances listed above. As depicted in the provisions detailed in Section 349(a)(5), attempts at renunciation of citizenship will not be legally recognized if they are made through the mail or a third-party agent.

    In order to renounce your citizenship in the U.S., you must be currently residing in another country. The second component listed above, i.e. “take action in a foreign country…” is crucial to the successful completion of the renunciation of your citizenship. Attempts at renunciation that are made in a U.S. court are often revealed to be ineffective.

    Common Questions About the Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

    Until it becomes necessary, renouncing citizenship in the U.S. is an idea that is very foreign to most individuals. Accordingly, when the need or desire to do so arises, it is important that the concept is fully understood in detail. The slightest misstep in the process could significantly and adversely impact an individual’s ability to successfully and lawfully complete the process. To ensure that this is not the case for you, we have taken time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that are received by our team. Read on to learn more, and call us if you have additional queries about renouncing your citizenship in the U.S.

    Will I be able to keep any of my rights as a U.S. citizen after the renunciation process has been completed?

    No. Persons who wish to formally renounce their U.S. citizenship are effectively giving up all of their rights and privileges as a citizen of the country. In fact, the Department of State is apt to deny requests for the renunciation of citizenship who simultaneously ask for certain rights and privileges to be maintained. Denials of this nature are based upon the belief that the person seeking renunciation does not fully understand the process.

    If I’m a member of the U.S. military, will I still be able to renounce my citizenship in the U.S.?

    The renunciation of your citizenship status in the United States should have no bearing on the U.S. military services to which you are already obligated.

    How will my current taxes be affected if I renounce my U.S. citizenship?

    Individuals who are considering the renunciation of their U.S. citizenship should be aware that the act of doing so will in no way affect their current tax obligations. In order to ensure that you fully follow through with the tax requirements expected of you upon renouncing your citizenship, it is recommended that you speak directly with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

    Can I renounce the citizenship of my child at the same time that I renounce my own U.S. citizenship?

    No. By law, citizenship is recognized as a personal status, thus disabling a parent from completing the renunciation of citizenship for a child who is still a minor. In order for a minor to be granted renunciation of his or her U.S. citizenship, they must be able to demonstrate to a U.S. consular officer that they are acting voluntarily and of their own accord. In addition, the minor needs to be able to demonstrate his or her full understanding of the implications of renouncing citizenship.

    If I’m currently under criminal investigation, can I still renounce my U.S. citizenship?

    The act of renouncing United States citizenship does not effectively negate a criminal offense that was made in the U.S. In fact, persons who have been accused of criminal behavior can still be prosecuted for the crime even if they renounce their citizenship. Additionally, they will be responsible for any and all consequences that are incurred as a result of being convicted.

    Avoid Being Rendered Stateless

    The act of renouncing your U.S. citizenship status could render you stateless unless you have already taken steps to possess another foreign nationality. The possession of another foreign nationality is extremely important upon the renunciation of your citizenship in the U.S. because it will ensure that you are not left without the protection of a government entity.

    Individuals who are deemed to be stateless could encounter difficulties travelling because they will not have a valid passport from any country. Therefore, we urge you to work with an attorney as you take steps to complete the renunciation process in order to avoid being rendered stateless and left without governmental protection of some nature.

    Renunciation of U.S. citizenship is permanent & irrevocable!

    Before you decide upon whether or not renouncing your citizenship is the right choice for you, it is wise to be sure that you fully understand the repercussions of completing the process. Renunciation of your U.S. citizenship is irrevocable, which means that you will not be able to regain citizenship in the United States once it has been formally renounced.

    The only exception to the irrevocability of U.S. citizenship renunciation can be found in Section 351(b) of the INA. In this section, it is stated that an applicant who renounced their citizenship prior to the age of 18 can reinstate his or her citizenship if they make their intention to do so known to the Department of State within 6 months after turning 18.

    If you’re contemplating the process of renouncing your U.S. citizenship, we encourage you to speak with an immigration lawyer from our office before moving forward. Instructed by an attorney at our office, you can make the best choice for you, and then follow through with it accordingly. Contact us today to learn more.