Renunciation of US citizenship: On avoiding the new $450 renunciation fee (update 2)

UPDATE:  Please note that my belief in this post, that by indicating that I’d relinquished my US citizenship by becoming a Canadian citizen, I could avoid the $450 renunciation fee panned out, and I received the CLN without paying).

I’ve been pretty upset that it would cost me $450 to renounce my citizenship now that the US consulate in Toronto has instituted a fee.  But today I was looking at the various government websites:  Consider this website from the US state department and its explanation of how to renounce US citizenship:

Section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481) governs how a U.S. citizen shall lose U.S. nationality. Section 349(a) states:

A person who is a national of the United States whether, by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality:(5) 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; or(6) making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not contrary to the interests of national defense.

Now perhaps it would interest readers to know that this government website is not telling the whole story: The U.S.C. 1481 lists several other ways that a natural born US citizen may lose their citizenship. Here is the full text (emphasis mine):

§ 1481. Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions

(a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—

(1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(2) taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years; or
(3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if

(A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or
(B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer; or
(4)

(A) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state; or
(B) accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years for which office, post, or employment an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required; or
(5) 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; or
(6) making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not contrary to the interests of national defense; or
(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Whenever the loss of United States nationality is put in issue in any action or proceeding commenced on or after September 26, 1961 under, or by virtue of, the provisions of this chapter or any other Act, the burden shall be upon the person or party claiming that such loss occurred, to establish such claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Any person who commits or performs, or who has committed or performed, any act of expatriation under the provisions of this chapter or any other Act shall be presumed to have done so voluntarily, but such presumption may be rebutted upon a showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the act or acts committed or performed were not done voluntarily.
On Monday, February 28, 2010, I will complete the naturalization process of applying for Canadian citizenship, having attained 18 years of age.  I did this application with the intention of relinquishing my US citizenship. I will then take the following oath of allegiance to the Queen Elizabeth and her heirs:
I swear or affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen of Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties a Canadian Citizen.
I will therefore have committed the first two acts listed of a possible seven which make it clear that I am no longer an American citizen.  No oath before a consular authority is necessary according to the current statute.  As evidence of this act, I will create a video tape before swearing that my intention in taking the oath of Canadian citizenship is to relinquish my American citizenship.
UPDATE 1:  the following website deals with this manner of relinquishing citizenship and says that the presumption is that the person taking on citizenship in another country is not doing so to relinquish his US citizenship.  However, there is a procedure to indicate to the State Department, as in my case, the intention is to lose citizenship:
An individual who has performed any of the acts made potentially expatriating by statute who wishes to lose U.S. citizenship may do so by affirming in writing to a U.S. consular officer that the act was performed with an intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Of course, a person always has the option of seeking to formally renounce U.S. citizenship abroad in accordance with Section 349 (a) (5) INA.
This website thus verifies that the act of taking the oath of citizenship in Canada, if done with the intent of relinquishing US citizenship, counts as one of the seven ways of losing one’s US citizenship according to USC 1481.
Update 2:  Today a consular officer called me from the US consulate in Toronto.  She confirmed what I’ve said in this post, that relinquishing US citizenship and renouncing US citizenship are two different processes that are treated in a different manner by the consulate (including the fee structure).
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16 thoughts on “Renunciation of US citizenship: On avoiding the new $450 renunciation fee (update 2)

  1. Wikipedia shows that the number of renunciants increased after they started this fee: 226 in 2008, 731 in 2009, and 1485 in 2010. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renunciation_of_citizenship)

    The full data by quarter is shown here:
    http://renunciationguide.com/Data-On-Renunciants.html

    It looks like there’s a small spike in numbers just before the fee started in July, 2010, but the overall trend of increasing renunciations seems pretty solid for the last few years. The fee didn’t make much difference.

    • Thanks for the links. I’ll check them out.

      I don’t want to do anything. But the US government and the IRS are making my life pretty miserable right now. I don’t owe any taxes but its a nightmare keeping track of all the laws, the changes of laws, and if I take ownership of Canadian company I have to fill out more paper work, and the story never ends. It is enough trouble being a subject of the CRA as a result of the heavy tax regime here in Canada. Do I also want to suffer double jeopardy because of the IRS? I don’t think so. I just want to be able to conduct my business with only one such agency breathing down my neck.

  2. Pingback: My April 7 visit to the US consulate « The Righteous Investor

  3. This is a great post. So how did it go? I made my public statement of voluntary renouncing/ relinquishing my citizenship on Monday, June 27.

    Can you go into detail of the difference between the two? What did the consular office say to you?

  4. You find the rest of the story in my posts on renunciation/relinquishment: https://righteousinvestor.com/tag/renunciation-of-us-citizenship/

    The main difference is in 8 USC code 1481 as explained above. Renouncing citizenship requires an oath before an official and a formal renunciation. Relinquishing is an act that you do that has nothing to do with renouncing–if one of these acts occurs, the former citizen must inform the State Department (a consulate) that the act was done with the intention or not of losing one’s US citizenship. If the oath to foreign power, or the taking on of a foreign citizenship is done with the intention of relinquishing, you are de facto no longer a citizen of the United States and the State Department is allegedly there only to acknowledge that a relinquishing act did in fact take place. For this, they are providing no “service” which is indicated by the $450 fee, but only acknowledging that you have, by law, already lost your citizenship.

    • The “state” captures you at birth and at the age of consent, doesn’t allow the person to opt out unless they are in a foreign country.. The requirement could easily be unconstitutional…I see a lawsuit. Think about it…They capture you for the potential of taxes and war neither of which is comprehended at birth. At the age of consent, a person should be afforded an opportunity to renounce their citizenship. I don’t participate anymore in any civic duties other than paying taxes that can’t be avoided. I don’t vote and I don’t serve on Jury duty..The U.S. may think I owe them some sort of allegiance but I don’t. They don’t owe me anything either…I haven’t considered my self a U.S. citizen for some time even though I reside in the U.S.

  5. Pingback: Relinquish don’t renounce, if you can | The Isaac Brock Society

  6. Personally, I don’t trust reliquishment. They can always invent a law to invalidate or throw claims out that you still had the benefit to some degree, even if you had no idea. IMHO, only safe way is to pay the atrocious fee and tell them to shove it. I’m just ready to be done with it so I don’t have to pay it anymore thought.

    • yes, and without the CLN, I would never trust it. This whole FACTA garbage (and money grab from innocent people) was obviously under-handed, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more under-handedness in the future. I just want to cut the links once and for all, even if I have no benefit financially for doing so.

      You have Canadian citizenship so all you have to do is “just do it like a Canadian” and use your Canadian passport. I, for now, only have the American passport so I am toxic to banks. I even have screen captures of being rejected online and in writing. I only kick myself for not starting the citizenship procedure the minute I became eligible because where I live, it takes a while to be processed.

      I have already spoken with the consulate where I live and I do not have a problem being stateless for a couple of years. Now all I have to do is schedule another visit to perform the “ceremony” and it’s done.

  7. The State tricks all of you. State Citizenship (U.S. Citizenship) is totally different than Nationality (American Nationality). The first is contractual (your parent’s registering you AFTER true birth – this is the foundational, presumptious evidence they use against you but do not tell you that) where the latter is by natural borne right on the soil of the Republic and not IN THE STATE/WARD. The state deliberately mixes the different definitions into one definition so you automatically except it. Notice it actually says “renunciation of nationality” on paper. What really happens is that you have just been tricked into no longer being an American National, but you never annulled your State Citizenship – and this is the legal reason you may be still under obligation by the IRS. There is really no obligations by the IRS as everything is voluntary – but that is a whole different subject. Also, according to Natural Law, Hague Convention, and so forth, one is always free to go back and live in their country of birth as they so wish – unless they get tricked into a dubious contract that they can’t! Study more people – thrive!

    • What is the basis of your claims? Sources?

      Citizenship and nationality are synonyms in US terminology, and I have yet to see any sources anywhere that would make a distinction between the two terms. As for the IRS obligations being voluntary, that depends. I was already a voluntary slave of system when I relinquished my US citizenship in order to obtain my get out of jail free card. Otherwise, I would have had to pay the $450 monopoly money, in order be set from US tax slavery.

  8. Pingback: The Isaac Brock Society

  9. Petros, if you are right, I am eligible to relinquish — been a dual citizen for over a decade, and can easily go back and re-swear my allegiance to my resident country and be done with it. IF YOU ARE RIGHT. What I don’t want to do is raise my head over the parapet and perhaps get it shot off. So, is there ANY SOLID support for this idea of relinquish v renounce? Anyone who has actually done it, had it accepted as fact, and then left alone?

  10. Pingback: The Isaac Brock Society | Relinquish don’t renounce, if you can

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