The latest expat honour roll has been placed on public inspection for printing in tomorrow’s Federal Register, under a brand new title with a wider variety of punctuation: “Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate; Quarterly List”. Though it claims to have been approved for publication nearly three weeks ago ago, on 18 July, it was not actually published as required by 26 USC 6039G(d), nor even placed on public inspection, until a week after the 30 July deadline, making this the eighth quarter in a row in which the list has been late.
Coincidentally, this month’s NICS report from the FBI was also delayed — they tried uploading it yesterday, slightly later than usual, but due to an issue with the Plone content management system they use for their website, all of the PDF files went missing. Fortunately, they had more success when they retried the upload this morning. The report reveals that they’ve now hit exactly 26,000 records in the “Renounced United States citizenship” category, up by 577 since last month and 2,193 since the end of last year.
NICS includes only renunciants, not relinquishers; if the previous ratio of 4 or 5 relinquishers for every six renunciants still holds true, that suggests that roughly 3,500 to 4,000 people have given up U.S citizenship in one way or another this year. In contrast, the Federal Register list — which is supposed to include renunciants, relinquishers, and even some green card holders — has just 576 names, giving us a total of 1,577 “published expatriates” so far this year — with many confirmed cases of missing names.
Meanwhile, 124 Kyrgyzstanis among a diaspora of half a million and 817 Ghanaians among a diaspora of between 1.5 and 3 million renounced their respective citizenships in all of 2013.
Media reports of individual relinquishments
The three public figures who gave up U.S. citizenship in 2013 and were still missing as of last quarter’s list — Cuban intelligence officer René González, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines’ former U.N. Representative Camillo Gonsalves, and Pakistani politician Fauzia Kasuri — remain missing from this quarter’s list as well. These missing names made up a total of about a quarter of the media reports of famous people — mostly politicians, rather than the nearly-mythological “wealthy people fleeing the estate tax” — who gave up U.S. citizenship that year.
I am aware of three more media reports of people giving up U.S. citizenship up to the end of June: Bitcoin investor Roger Ver, reported by Bloomberg News to have gave up U.S. citizenship in late February after buying Saint Kitts & Nevis naturalisation; one woman who naturalised in the Federated States of Micronesia in December, according to the government press release (the FSM does not allow dual citizenship for adults, though it is not clear what standard of proof they require that a naturalised citizen has given up his or her prior citizenship); an NCO in the Taiwanese army briefly interviewed by the Taipei Times, who renounced sometime before January. None of their names appear in this quarter’s list either.
Mona Helen Kabuki Quartey also gave up U.S. citizenship to take up a position as Ghana’s Deputy Finance Minister, but only on 10 July, more than a week after the end of the second quarter. She probably will not appear in the Federal Register before the fourth quarter list, if ever. The relative paucity of people giving media interviews about giving up U.S. citizenship this year suggests that most of the latest batch of newly-minted ex-citizens — both those whose names appeared in the Federal Register and those absent from it — are mostly not public figures, or are trying to avoid drawing attention to themselves.
Comparison with other countries
Meanwhile, 124 people renounced citizenship of Kyrgyzstan in all of 2013. The total number of Kyrgyzstani citizens living abroad was reported to be between half a million and six hundred thousand, or about one-tenth the size of the number of extraterritorial U.S. citizens. This means that, adjusted for diaspora population, there are at least three times as many Americans abroad giving up citizenship as Kyrgyzstanis abroad.
However, due to uncertainty about the size of the Ghanaian diaspora, it is not clear whether the American diaspora renunciation rate has surpassed the Ghanaian diaspora renunciation rate yet. In 2013, 817 Ghanaians gave up their citizenship, almost all to naturalise in countries like Germany which place restrictions on dual citizenship. The International Organisation for Migration, citing third-party studies, estimates that there are between 1.5 million and 3 million Ghanaian citizens living abroad.
Eric, I think you’re right about both effects. As a result of the Veblen effect, I expect my CLN to be worth a lot as a collector’s item when my heirs sell it on eBay. A third reason for the increase in renunciations may be that people are anticipating even further inflation of the fee. Since the U.S. government is definitely a monopoly seller of its CLNs, there really is no limit to how high they could price them.
BTW, my latest cheque for ADCS is in the mail.
NICS “Renounced U.S. citizenship” category stands at 29,413 as of 30 April 2015
Up by 767 from last month (28,646 as of 31 March 2015)
And up by 2,173 from the end of last year (27,240 as of 31 December 2014)
That’s more than $5.1 million in fee revenue for the State Department! (Since NICS only includes fee-paid renunciants and not no-fee relinquishers).
Based on the old 4:6 or 4:5 relinquishers-to-renunciants ratio, that implies roughly 1,400 to 1,800 renunciants so far, or around 3,600 to 4,000 total people giving up citizenship so far this year. However, since the renunciation fee has been hiked so much, people may now be willing to go to more extreme lengths to qualify for relinquishment (e.g. getting a government job temporarily, applying for a third citizenship by ancestry since they can’t use their second citizenship to qualify for relinquishment, etc.), so the number of relinquishers might be even higher
Last month, the FBI responded to Patrick Cain’s query about the big jump (+1,030 renunciants) by claiming “the Department of State is working on updating this file, and thus the increase”. Presumably the Department of State updates this file every month, and if they were clearing a backlog the FBI would have stated they were clearing a backlog.
IRS Q1 20015 expatriate “name and shame” list is available at this link:
Preliminary count is 1,336 names.