Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship

Every once in a while someone comes into my office and asks how to go about renunciation of their citizenship. Generally they are speaking of their U.S. Citizenship, but sometimes they refer to their Israeli Citizenship.

A U.S. or Israeli Citizen can live outside of the U.S. or Israel, respectively, almost indefinitely without having any legal effect on their Citizenship. Neither country currently has a retention requirement and living outside of the U.S. or Israel is not against the law, nor will it, of itself, result in a loss of Citizenship.

In order to initiate a Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship procedure, a U.S. Citizen must appear personally before a U.S. Consul or Diplomat, in a foreign country and sign an oath or affirmation of renunciation. The process is not reversible, unless by successful Administrative or Judicial Appeal, and therefore is not to be taken lightly. Once initiated, it will be virtually impossible to become a U.S. Citizen in the future.

A Parent or Legal Guardian cannot renounce Citizenship on behalf of their children or on behalf of the mentally incompetent. The act of renunciation is a personal right that cannot be afforded to another.

Aside from making a formal renunciation of Citizenship before a U.S. Consul abroad, certain actions taken voluntarily by a U.S. Citizen may result in the loss of their U.S. Citizenship. Taking an Oath of Allegiance to a foreign country, taking government or political office in a foreign country, serving in the armed forces of a foreign country, or committing treason are all grounds for loss of citizenship. Although it is presumed under the law that the commission of such acts are grounds for loss of citizenship, the presumption is rebuttable and evidence may be provided to demonstrate that the act or acts committed were not done so intentionally and/or voluntarily.

Renunciation and/or loss of U.S. Citizenship will not erase any debts or obligations that a person owes to the United States including obligations to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In fact, a copy of the renunciation or loss of citizenship record is sent to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Furthermore the record is provided to other government entities for law enforcement purposes.

For more information regarding loss or renunciation of citizenship Contact Us.