Thursday, June 30th 2022

How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

The Pros and Cons of Renouncing Your American Citizenship



How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

This week, Billie Joe Armstrong—guitarist and frontman for the alternative rock band, Green Day—told an audience in the UK that he was considering renouncing his American citizenship. There are some benefits to renouncing your US citizenship, and there are many downsides as well.

In this article, Expat Insurance helps to break down the pros and cons of renouncing your American citizenship, while also detailing the steps for how to do it.


How to Renounce Your American Citizenship

How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that, “making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State”.

The process is fairly simple.

You must be compliant (which means you must be eligible, for example, you can’t owe the government any money in US taxes–and renouncing your citizenship will not free you from the burden of these financial obligations). You have to appear before a US consular or diplomatic officer at a US embassy or consulate. Pay $2,350 USD (and you may owe more if you have over $2M dollars or make over $172,000 a year) Sign an oath of renunciation.

*For more information, click here.


Pros to Renouncing Your American Citizenship

How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

There are very few pros to renouncing your American citizenship. Many do it for ideological reasons. In the past, one reason that people have renounced their citizenship is to avoid the draft. All American men must sign a document when they turn 18 saying that they will fight if drafted. However, renouncing your American citizenship does not guarantee that you won’t have to fight for the US if there is a draft.

However, the most common reason that people renounce their American citizenship is to avoid paying taxes to the United States. Assuming you are caught up on your taxes, you would no longer owe the US further taxes (though you still have to pay capital gains taxes on all assets if you renounce).

*For more information, click here.


Cons to Renouncing Your American Citizenship

How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

There are many cons to renouncing your American citizenship.

You lose all the protection and privileges associated with being an American citizen, such as stimulus checks or tax refunds If you have no other citizenship, you become stateless—which means you will have trouble renting/owning property, working, marrying, receiving medical attention, or attending school. Renouncing American citizenship will not exempt you from military obligations, prior tax obligations, or prosecution of a crime. Renouncing your citizenship is irrevocable (unless you’re under 18, then you have 6 months to return your citizenship status when you turn 18). Your American passport becomes invalid. You can still be deported to the United States by another country, but when you land in the US, you will have no rights.



How to Renounce Your US Citizenship

Losing your American citizenship can be more of a hassle than it’s worth, even if you have citizenship in another country. However, assuming you’ve caught up on your taxes, there may be some legitimate reasons to renounce your US citizenship.

That said, those of us at Expat Insurance wouldn’t recommend you renouncing your American citizenship.

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