Well, its done, it’s over and a big step toward being free!
The first thing is that Toronto now has a system for keeping keys, cell phones and so on. Not big items, no purses and so on. You give it to the security guard – there is a storage cubby against the wall. You get a number, present it when you leave and get your belongings back. I do want to stress though, only small items. The non-citizen service area was packed and it felt so odd to feel that energy of so many people wanting to get visas, to get in to the US and I was so wanting to get out.
Mrs. A. went over all the paperwork, got it ready to be reviewed with vice-consul. I have always found her to be totally delightful and we laughed and joked a bit. Then waited quite a while (it felt like forever) and overheard another fellow who was in to relinquish. Had come to Canada in 1975, citizenship in 1979 and didn’t have a clue he was still USC until questioned at the border about US birthplace. As he passed to start filling in his paperwork, I asked him if he participated in the expat sites. He said not, though he sounded completely familiar with all the right things to know and say. It seemed there was another lady also there to renounce/relinquish but I couldn’t hear enough to be absolutely sure.
The interview was quite simple. I would prefer not to mention the fellow by name but it was not Eric. He also did my first meeting. He was very friendly, not formal in the least and there was no sense of needing to feel concerned about any topics being off-limits. A very comfortable conversation. When we were nearly done with signing everything, I asked him if there were more than usual numbers for renouncing. He said no, that it was about the same as always. I mentioned that I had heard the normal number in Toronto was 5 per year and he looked a bit perplexed. Then he asked me why would I think there would be more? I said, “You don’t know?” I then spoke about how important it was to understand it was not about taxes. He thought for a moment and said that he observed that most who came in mentioned that they just didn’t feel an allegiance to the US anymore, not in a negative way, just that they felt more Canadian. He seemed to understand that this would be a natural consequence of living abroad for a long time and didn’t have a problem with it. He indicated that retaining USC came with “responsibilities.” He thought some came in due to some of the press coverage when they otherwise might not have, but again, that it was more about “being Canadian” than anything else. I am sure he truly believes that. It made me wonder, if even the consular folks are completely aware of all the issues involved for us.
Then I was quite surprised that he said I would have to raise my right hand and repeat all of the wording on the actual oath page. I was really not prepared for that. But I did make a point of emphasizing the words “absolutely and entirely renounce my United States nationality…..I make this renunciation intentionally, voluntarily, and of my own free will…..” And then it was over. I asked for a copy of the oath and he said they were no longer doing that – that a couple of months ago, Washington had decided that until the renunciation was approved, and a CLN given, no copies of the oath were to go out, since the entire process hadn’t been completed. But that the actual date of the renunciation was today. I mentioned that I had concerns about trying to travel without that and he told me to just explain the situation to the CBP officer; he seemed to think it would be no problem. I told him it really didn’t matter since I had an EDL anyways. He seemed surprised by that and said “you do?” And I said “of course.” Judging from some of his reactions, I imagine some of the people that come in to renounce are not as aware as the people on this forum.
As I left the building and walked down Simcoe towards Queen, I noticed the buildings, all the different types of people walking around and felt “this is my city; this is where I belong.” I realized that while I may not have been very aware of it, I really had changed in all my time here and that, in a positive way, I wasn’t American; that there was no reason to feel bad about having to renounce. I can’t quite put it into words but it was unexpected and liberating! I definitely recommend it! 😉