Confirming reports passed on by commenters at the Isaac Brock Society, DiploPundit points to a State Department interim rule just placed on public inspection for printing in tomorrow’s Federal Register, which raises the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship (but apparently not relinquishment) to US$2,350, more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. As they state:
[D]emand for the service has increased dramatically, consuming far more consular officer time and resources, as reflected in the 2012 Overseas Time Survey and increased workload data. Because the Department believes there is no public benefit or other reason for setting this fee below cost, the Department is increasing this fee to reflect the full cost of providing the service. Therefore the increased fee reflects both the increased cost of the provision of service as well as the determination to now charge the full cost.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality”, while the Expatriation Act of 1868 says that renunciation of citizenship is “a natural and inherent right of all people” and that “any declaration, instruction, opinion, order, or decision of any officers of this government which restricts, impairs, or questions the right of expatriation, is hereby declared inconsistent with the fundamental principles of this government”.
As of press time, the State Department has not yet commented on whether it sees “public benefit” in other human rights such as freedom of election or freedom of marriage, or whether anyone seriously believes that charging people a month’s salary to get a ballot paper or a marriage certificate would not restrict or impair those rights.