According to the FBI’s latest report, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System gun control database (“NICS”) now has 30,973 records of people who have renounced U.S. citizenship, up by 856 since last month and 3,733 in the first seven months of the year. This means the State Department has extracted nearly US$8.8 million in renunciation fees from people seeking to exercise their human right to change their nationality.
Above you can see a chart of monthly additions of renunciant records to NICS since April 2011. The twelve-month moving average now stands at 414 renunciants per month, up by 61% since a year ago. In addition, I estimate there have been around 2,500 to 3,000 no-fee relinquishers since the beginning of the year (based on a potentially-outdated ratio of renunciants to non-renunciant relinquishers), as well as more than 10,000 people giving up green cards (based on USCIS statistics from 2013). And some consulates have a backlog of renunciation appointments up to ten months long as of April.
Based on the the Q2 Federal Register list and its absurdly small total of 460 “published expatriates” over three months, the Wall Street Journal and their sources seem to think that there has been “a leveling off of sorts after a flurry of renunciations as Americans reacted to Fatca and global banking challenges”. The NICS reports offer no support for that idea: the last “leveling off” of the 12-month moving average was between August 2013 and August 2014, during which period it remained in the 240 to 260/month range. Since then, the monthly average number of renunciants has resumed its upward trend.
A little over three years ago, in April 2012, the twelve-month moving average was just 92. And five years before that, during 2007, the FBI was adding an average of just 26 renunciant records to NICS each month (compare the year-end renunciants 2007 operations report to the 2006 one). Meanwhile, 124 Kyrgyzstanis and 817 Ghanaians gave up their respective citizenships in 2013, while 3,400 Pakistanis became ex-Pakistanis in the past five years.