How to Renounce American Citizenship

Two Parts:Getting StartedRenouncing Your Citizenship

Statistics demonstrate that the number of people renouncing their US citizenship has increased in the last few years.[1] There are many reasons one might want to renounce US citizenship, including tax purposes, protecting monetary interests after their deaths, or simply the desire to live in another country. The process of renunciation can be long, but thousands choose to do it every year.[2]

Part 1
Getting Started

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    Consider the consequences of renouncing your citizenship. Renouncing your citizenship is a monumental decision, so you should be aware of all the potential drawbacks before proceeding. They include, but aren't limited to the following.[3]
    • You won't be able to travel freely back to the US. You'll have to apply for permission at an embassy before entering the country. Citizens of some countries are exempt from this restriction under the Visa Waiver Program. This allows citizens of some countries to stay in the US for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.
    • You won't be under the protection of the US government while traveling abroad.
    • You won't be able to work in the US anymore.
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    Obtain citizenship in another country. It is very important to obtain citizenship in another country before renouncing your US citizenship. If you renounce your US citizenship first, you'll end up stateless, which means you're not associated with any government. This means you won't be able to work, get a bank account, go to school, and many other drawbacks.[4] To avoid this outcome, it's very important that you obtain dual citizenship before renouncing your US citizenship.[5]
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    Move to another country. You can't renounce your US citizenship from inside the US. It must be done from a US embassy in another country. Travel to the country that you intend on becoming a citizen of to begin the process of renouncing citizenship.[6]
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    Contact the IRS to see if you have tax obligations. Be aware that renouncing your citizenship does not cancel out your tax obligations if you owe back taxes. If you fail to meet your tax obligations, you could become a fugitive. Since the US has extradition treaties with many countries, fleeing the country won't stop you from being arrested. Settle any tax matters before you renounce citizenship.[7]
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    Gather the renunciation fee. Due to a large number of Americans renouncing citizenship, the State Department has increased the renunciation fee in recent years. It now stands at $2,350. Make sure you have this fee ready for when you go to renounce your citizenship.[8]

Part 2
Renouncing Your Citizenship

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    Find the nearest US embassy. Once you get to another country, then you can officially start the process of renunciation. You have to renounce your citizenship in front of a US diplomatic officer, so you'll need to find the nearest American embassy.[9]
    • Click here to locate an embassy or consulate near you.
    • It would be helpful to contact the embassy before you visit to find out if you need to make an appointment or bring anything with you.
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    Appear before a diplomatic officer. You have to appear in person to renounce your citizenship; it cannot be done through the mail or a mediator. Once you're at the embassy, you'll have to verbally state your intention to renounce US citizenship in front of a diplomatic officer.[10]
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    Sign the oath of renunciation. After you meet with the diplomatic officer, he will present you with an oath renouncing your citizenship. Read this document carefully and consider your decision before signing it. After you sign the document, there is no going back.[11]
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    Turn in your US passport. Once you're no longer a US citizen, you can't use your US passport anymore. You'll have to turn this in when you renounce your citizenship.[12]


  • Remember that only individuals can renounce citizenship. If you are bringing your family to another country, you can't renounce your children's citizenship. They have to do that when they're 18.
  • Learn the laws of your new country. Other nations may not provide their citizens with the same rights as the United States does. Be prepared to face different legal and civil processes.
  • Make sure you have carefully reconsidered all your options before taking this monumental step in your life.

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Categories: Living Overseas