Cross-posted from Maple Sandbox
We often use separate terms for “renunciation” and “relinquishment” since there are some notable differences between renunciation and the other methods of terminating one’s US citizenship. However, renunciation is actually one of the 7 methods of relinquishment, as set out in Immigration and Nationality Act, s. 349(a). This post explains some of the similarities and differences.
RENUNCIATION – Immigration and Nationality Act, s. 349(a)(5)
Renunciation is only form of relinquishment where the relinquishing act itself takes place at a US consulate. It is performed by taking the oath of renunciation (form 4080). Form 4081 (Statement of understanding of consequences) is also required. Form 4079 (Request for determination of loss of citizenship) is not strictly required, but the DOS procedure manual does state that “it may prove useful” regarding intent and some consulates do require it.
Depending on the consulate, renunciation may take one or two visits. Over the years, there’s been a trend of more consulates moving to one visit. The vast majority of renunciations being reported by Brockers have been one visit.
Since July 2010, there has been a $450 fee for renunciation. It increased to $2350 on 12 September 2014. This fee is payable at the visit where you sign your papers.
In the case of renunciation, the loss of citizenship is effective, for all purposes, as of the date you sign the forms at the consulate.
Of the remaining 6 methods of relinquishment, the most common means is by naturalisation in a foreign country s. 349(a)(1) with the intent of relinquishing one’s US citizenship. [This is of particular interest in Canada because whilst over 100,000 US-born Canadian citizens believe themselves to be “Canadian Citizen Only,” according to the 2006 census, it’s believed that almost none have a Certificate of Loss of Nationality because we were told we terminated our US citizenship automatically upon taking Canadian citizenship, particularly prior to 1990 when the administrative presumption changed, and almost no one seems to have even heard of a CLN before 2011.] Also relatively common are relinquishment by government employment (s. 349(a)(4)) or military service (s. 349(a)(3)).
In the case of relinquishment not done by renunciation, although the loss of citizenship occurs at the moment the relinquishing act is performed, the relinquishment is not effective for practical purposes in the eyes of the US government until the US government is notified by signing forms at a US consulate (although once your CLN is processed, the US govt does recognise the citizenship loss as having occurred at the time of the relinquishing act. Required forms are 4079 (Request for determination of loss of citizenship) and 4081 (Statement of understanding of consequences). It’s also a very good idea to supplement your 4079 with a statement illustrating your intent, how your post-relinquishment conduct has been consistent with lack of US citizenship.
When you attend at the consulate regarding this type of relinquishment, you’re essentially notifying them that you already have relinquished. Consequently, this generally requires only one consulate visit.
There is no fee for processing relinquishments done under these sub-articles. UPDATE: September 2015 – Dept of State has announced relinquishment-based CLNs will cost $2350 beginning November 9, 2015.
Once this is done, the US government will consider the loss of citizenship effective as of the date of the actual relinquishment (this date will appear on your CLN), except IRS will consider the loss to have occurred on the date you signed the forms at the consulate. However, this law, creating separate dates for loss of citizenship and loss of “tax citizenship,” came into effect on 4 June 2004. Important — if you performed your relinquishing act before that date, Brock posts If your expatriation date is before 2004 , Did you relinquish before February 6, 1995, and Pre-1995 Relinquishers and the IRS: Three Recent Legal Opinions discuss this matter. Tax lawyer Michael J. Miller has written an excellent article on this, which is very clear reading with useful references to legislation and case law as well.
Instead of getting a CLN, a relinquishment can also be self-documented for purposes such as for banking/investment in Canada. This is due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s Guidelines allowing self-documentation as proof of non-citizenship. Self-documentation may not a viable solution in all countries or for all situations, but it’s worth considering if it would be right for you. See Self-Documented Relinquishment.