A reader sent me the Outline of the Process for renunciation at the US Consulate in Vancouver.
Also a reader made the following comment at my post, My April 7 visit to the US consulate:
Hello Friends. I had a 9:30 appointment with an ACS at the Vancouver US consulate. I arrived there at 9:00 and informed the staff person there that I had an appointment. She directed me a shorter line. The worst parts of the interview experience yesterday were the security processes and the waiting (not knowing how long I would be). I realized I had preconceived notions about what would happen without checking how things would unfold. If I had had some knowledge of the reality of all this it would have been far less stressful. So I thought I’d share that with anyone who could benefit from it.
The consulate staff I spoke with were professional and pleasant and asked the kinds of questions I was expecting. The security processes were somewhat arbitrary – a woman in front of me who was with two young children had to discard her lipsticks. She had to do that by leaving the consulate and walking next door to a courtyard where there was some kind of garbage container where she could drop her lipsticks. I was not asked to discard my lipstick (why?). Lipsticks were not on the list of things one could not bring into the consulate. Neither were any kind of “drugs”. I forgot about the few lactaid and tylenol tablets I carried in my purse. That was enough to cause me to have to leave the security check line, give the offending material and my drivers license to another security guard, stand outside holding the loose contents of my purse along with some important documents in a wooden box for about 15 or 20 minutes before I was called in again to go through the same security process sans offending pills. Then once escorted by a security guard to the elevator and transported to the 20th floor I was given the wrong directions and stood in front of an empty wicket waiting for service. People around me, in a very crowded room were sitting on the floor (all chairs used up) and I started to wonder just how long I was going to be there.
Someone finally did come – and I was told to go to another wicket. I answered questions from two different people, and while waiting in a darkish warm hallway filled with chairs for another interviewer, heard a staff person announce that the computers had gone down but not to worry, it wasn’t just them it was “the whole world”. And I thought what horrific thing could have possibly happened for all the world’s computers to have shut down? And there was I sitting in a U.S. consulate and that wasn’t a good thing! Later, my husband said it was probably “just” the worldwide consulate network that had problems, but at the time, I had a mini panic attack sitting in that line of chairs wondering when number X (my number) would be called again and when I could get out of that building.
I was out in about two hours and I would have sworn it was eight. Time lost its usual sense for me. I felt like I was in prison. Those of you who have traveled more, especially to countries where you needed visas have probably experienced some of this. But it was all new to me.
The second interview should be in two or three months and I believe will be much less stressful because I will be more prepared. After that interview my information goes to Washington where the final decision is made. That will probably take a year from yesterday. After that, I hear from the IRS. I knew all this but it was still sobering to hear it again and all the anger and sadness I have had about this whole process came welling up and is still very present in me.
The Montréal consulate seems to be better organized. The site has a security checklist to be read before applying for for an appointment.
Lots of do’s and don’ts, and what documents to bring. when going throught any security check, less is always best
Thanks for the info. Sounds like I should leave my cane at home so no one thinks I might use it as a weapon. Of course, I won’t be able to walk then (I have MS), but would the US care?
Probably not–They would be more interested in taxing the excellent health care I have received in Canada, which has helped keep me independent, working, earning an income and paying taxes to Canada.
The Belgian consulate writes that you can’t bring any electronic devices whatsoever inside. I once accidentally walked down the road where the US embassy is by mistake (had no idea that that was the embassy at the time) and was stopped dead in my tracks by armed Belgian police who wanted to know what I was doing there and if I had an appointment. That was just to be allowed to get within 100 meters of the consulate, so I shudder to think what the security inside is like.
I always like to compare my experiences with the Italian consulate, and in this case the opposite couldn’t be more true: no security check, you can bring whatever you want in, etc. The embassy is like a walled fortress by comparison.
@ Blaze If they know what is good for them, they will not allow you to bring your walking stick. In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf brought his staff into Theoden’s hall, arguing with the guards that they didn’t want to deprive an old man of his walking stick. And this is the result (and obviously what the mighty United States fears from canes and lipstick):
Can I wear lipstick? Is it just lipstick in a tube that is forbidden or is it forbidden on the lips too? I’m not planning on kissing Consulate staff (Yuk!) so they shouldn’t be intimidated by lipstick on my lips.
In any case, it’s irrelevant to me. I renounced (wearing red lipstick!) 39 years ago when I became a Canadian citizen. That’s good enough for me. I’m not going anywhere near US Consulate or the IRS–with or without lipstick.
It’s strange how inconsistent procedures are between different consulates. Toronto was by-the-book but very straightforward – I was in and out for a first interview in 45 minutes. (Too by-the-book to do the whole thing in one interview, unfortunately.)
Can anyone tell me, is Calgary still one appointment as so many still say its two appointments?
Also, the 8854… I was under the impression regardless whether we hear from the IRS, we send i the 8854 with our next due income tax form and be done with it. (From our renounciation date) Is this not correct?
That’s my understanding, yes. I’m going to wait for the Canadian tax season to be over (so my accountant has time to focus on it) and send in the final package – 2011 return, vestigial 2012 return, 8854 and so forth.
I am slightly skeptical of the entire procedure as I do not trust the US Government..
I believe that once the IRS gets in involved, there will be some form of a audit before they decide to let you leave your citizenship.
I would like to hear from those who have successfully went through the entire process, right through to having received there CLN.
And what if one wants to relinquish as oppose to renounce…is the process consist of more that one interview?
I still want to know why we are considered criminals no matter what we do: pay or not pay the IRS; keep or renounce our citizenship. At the risk of being rude: exactly how much is the IRS exit tax sticking you for for the privilege of renunciation? If citizenship is an accident of birth, it follows I simply picket 100 meters in front of a consulate and renounce just as quickly. Thank you for your candor on your journey through this onerous and ridiculous process.
I do not think they would have the resources to audit all of us who renounce. My 8854 will be failry blank as it is, I am well below the 600,000 or whatever it is and I do not have large income or assetts. I just want my freedom, Im not hiding anything so they can audit all they want. I highly doubt they can send staff though to audit us in canada unless they have suspicion we are hiding things and it would be worth their time and effort. It would be nice to kow people who have been through the whole process and to hear about their individul experiences with the different consulates as they are all so differnt in the way they handle renounciations it seems. Can someone provide some feedback on the Calgary consulate on how they go about the appts and how many.
@Mach7: “And what if one wants to relinquish as oppose to renounce…is the process consist of more that one interview?”
No. Relinquishing is reporting a decision that is already made – no need to send you away to think about it.
Having read the State Department manuals I have *some* sympathy for the two-interview process as a responsible consular approach to *some* people’s situations. Applying it to well-educated, mature accidental Americans with citizenships in other First World countries who have clearly done their research is heavy-handed, but I see the point of the policy in general.
@broken man The two part renunciation process is a manual procedure of the State Department designed to make sure that the person does so with their volition, understands what he/she is doing and is not being coerced to do so. All this is true.
I think other such procedures should be put in place as obstacles to other fundamental rights (expatriation is a fundamental right). For example voting: When an eighteen-year old democrat goes to vote for Obama for the first time, there should be an unelected official of the federal government standing at the poll ready to talk the young person out of voting for Obama, who then tells the young person to go away for two months and come back after having thought about the gravity of what they are doing. In fact, why stop at eighteen year olds? Why not stop everyone who wants to vote, try to talk them out of voting, and tell them to come back in two months just to make sure they really want to vote and that they understand what they are doing. Plus, we should also charge them $450 for that right, make them fill out a bunch of tax papers and pay, let’s say, a 2% tax on their wealth once they decide that they really do want to vote.
@Peter, good analogy on the 18 yr. old voter. As we’ve narrowed down the reasons on here, we are “resources” to the USG and they don’t want to lose control very easily. Unfair– definitely. In Brazil, foreigners have to pay a lot more for visas and things like ID card replacements. I just pay up because my life will be a lot easier. I see the $450 US renunciation fee as the same as a Brazilian Government opportunistic fee. Let them have it. Once I pay it, I will be able to go on and generate MUCH more money.
In case it’s not clear, I see this $450 as a 3rd world abusive fee. I told the consulate people the same thing. Obama REALLY lowered the American standards since he was the “genius” who came up with it. It should be our right to renounce if we live in other countries. It’s almost surreal to see how “America” has declined so much since the 1990’s. Nowadays they resort to scaring expats into handing over after-tax money to them. Everyone who works in a US Government Office or IRS that works to this end should be ashamed of themselves. When I read about JustMe’s case, I’m absolutely shocked. My first question would source of income and tax receipts. If taxes were paid, then no penalties should be due. Shame on them!
I live in a city that is about 5,000 feet above sea level – high up in the mountains. I would much rather be here in Dec 2012 than in the US, if the predictions turn out to be anything serious. But if they do, then the US is screwed because every natural disaster afflicts that country. Nobody will have FBAR or FATCA worries after 2012.
I am just re-reading the post from one of your readers One_Relinquisher’s_First_Interview
FEBRUARY 19, 2012 AT 7:23 PM
I continue to waffle about my relationship with the US, and read the post above on several different occasions.
The last lines read like a poem – every time I read them it makes me feel like crying – and I wish to express my commiserations with the author of the post;
“I knew all this but it was still sobering to hear it again and all the anger and sadness I have had about this whole process came welling up and is still very present in me.”
Thank you ‘One Relinquisher’.
“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.”
– H. L. Mencken
*I have drifted away from the Brock blog because the more I read the more anguished I become.
Since the Consul in Marseille told me I should receive my CNL in about two months (I have now been waiting for six months), creeping paranoia is taking over my life. (I am the fool who decided paying €1,000 for a professional tax consultant was an unjustified expense since, having no income, I should have been able to fill out my own tax forms. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!)
I checked the Federal Register for the first quarterly “Name and Shame” list, but didn’t see my name…yet. The next issue should be coming out sometime in August. I can’t help wondering, as the length of the “Name and Shame” list becomes progressively longer if some vestige of government embarrassement won’t start to set in. Upon reflection, I doubt it, since the data is entered into some massive, mysterious database from numerous sources, digested and excreted into the Federal Register without ever being read, analyzed or evaluated for its existential meaning by human eyes (aside from those of us searching for our names so we can consider ourselves duly shamed).