I suppose that I am no longer a US person from the point of view of the immigration law. Of course, I have been de facto not an American since February 28, 2011, but then I was like Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz–I lacked the piece of paper proving what was already true.
But now there is still the Internal Revenue code–so I am a weird sort of legal absurdity: a non-citizen who is still US person for tax purposes, until I settle with the IRS with Form 8854. Renounce’s latest post, however, encourages me to file it with “FIFTH AMENDMENT” written all over the parts about which the IRS has no right to make me tell them (i.e., about my assets and where I keep them).
This process has taken over two years. It started with the my decision in late February, 2010, to renounce my citizenship due to Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act (2008), the measure that I dubbed the New Berlin Wall. When I learned a year later about the new $450 renunciation fee I was sore vexed, but discovered on the verge of gaining my Canadian citizenship that it was possible to relinquish citizenship upon committing an expatriating act. Thus, I would not have to renounce my citizenship and I could rightfully avoid any consular fees. Indeed, I can now confirm that I really have avoided the $450 fee, since the Toronto Consulate tells me that they are sending the CLN in the mail, and I have paid nothing. The cost of renunciation was two tokens on the Toronto Transit Commission; since you can’t take your electronic car key into the building, I had to take public transportation.
Then, on February 28, 2011, I became a Canadian citizen and I informed the judge who took our oaths at the citizenship ceremony that I was upon becoming a Canadian also relinquishing my US citizenship. The judge said that was the first time she’d heard anyone say that–it will not be the last. I also made an iPhone video to record my intention to relinquish US citizenship as a record of my intention. Finally, on April 7, 2011, I visited the Toronto consulate after making an appointment according to the instructions of Mrs. A. and I informed them of my decision to relinquish my US citizenship upon becoming a Canadian citizen.
My experience should also encourage others who want to lose their US citizenship but who want to avoid paying expensive immigration lawyers. I went into the US Consulate in Toronto armed only with my knowledge of the process that I gain through reading internet sites, especially renunciationguide.com, which I relied on heavily; to my knowledge, however, that website has not acknowledged that there is a distinction between relinquishing and renouncing citizenship. That is an extremely important thing to know, and I invite everyone to read my post, “Relinquish don’t renounce, if you can.”
Here is my e-mail correspondence from today. Sad news for anyone wanting to use the US Consulate in Toronto, Mrs. A. retired earlier this month. If I had not sent the e-mail, it is my opinion that the Toronto Consulate would have continued to sit on the CLN. Whatever.
From: Peter W. Dunn
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:58 AM
To: Toronto, Passport
Subject: RE: Message for Mrs. Anderson, Confirmation of appointment April 7
Dear Mrs. A., or to whom it may concern:
I am wondering if there is any news about a Certificate of Loss of Nationality, as on April 7, 2011, I informed the US consulate in Toronto that I had relinquished my United States citizenship upon become a Canadian citizen on February 28, 2011. I was expecting to hear something from you, but now I wonder if I need to contact you to see if any progress has been made regarding my case.
Thank you for your consideration of my query.
Peter W. Dunn
The Answer from the Consulate came, 14:39 Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Thank you for your inquiry.
Mrs. A. retired from the US Consulate on April 2nd of this year.
Your certificate of Loss of Nationality has now been approved. We will forward to you today, your approve Certificate of Loss of Nationality along with copies of submitted DS 4081 Statement of Understanding and DS 4079 Request for determination of possible loss of US citizenship for your own files.
We ask you to follow instructions on cover letter, acknowledge receipt of your certificate of loss of nationality and return the signed letter to this office.