Closely following on the heels of their previous announcement that the $2,350 fee for renunciation — twenty times as high as in other developed countries — “protects” the human right to change nationality, the folks at the State Department have announced that they’ll be extending that “protection” to people who relinquished U.S. citizenship under 8 USC § 1481(a)(1) through (4) and seek to obtain Certificates of Loss of Nationality documenting that fact as well.
In the latest Schedule of Fees for Consular Services to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday (80 FR 53704, 53707), Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy or one of his ghostwriter minions proclaims:
Currently, nationals who renounce nationality pay a fee of $2,350, while nationals who apply for documentation of relinquishment of nationality by the voluntary commission of an expatriating act with the intention to lose nationality, do not pay a fee. However the services performed in both situations are similar, requiring close and detailed case-by-case review of the factors involved in a request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality, and both result in similar costs to the Department.
In the past, individuals seldom requested Certificates of Loss of Nationality from the Department to document relinquishment. Although the Department was aware that an individual relinquishment service was among the most time consuming of consular services, it was rarely performed so the overall cost to the Department was low and the Department did not establish a fee. Requests for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality on the basis of a non-renunciatory relinquishment have increased significantly in recent years, and the Department expects the number to grow in the future, causing the total cost of this service to increase. At the same time, the Department funds consular services completely from user fees. The Cost of Service Model continues to demonstrate that such costs are incurred by the Department when accepting, processing, and adjudicating relinquishment of nationality cases; therefore, the Department will collect a fee from all individuals seeking a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. Taking into account the costs of both renunciation and non-renunciation relinquishment processes, the fee will be $2,350.
If you do not need a CLN in the first place, nothing in the Immigration and Nationality Act requires you to obtain one to document your loss of US citizenship, and people who relinquished before 4 June 2004 did not have to report their relinquishment to the State Department in order to end their status as U.S. tax subjects either. However, FATCA regulations and IGAs require people with U.S. indicia to show their banks a CLN or provide a “reasonable explanation” of why they do not have U.S. citizenship.
See this earlier post for discussion of what banks might accept as a “reasonable explanation”, and let us know if you find a bank which will accept the absurd price-tag as an explanation of why you don’t have a CLN.