Apologies for the break from FATCA and FBAR posts. I am one of the few who have “lost U.S. nationality by willfully committing an expatriating act called naturalization with the understanding that doing so causes the loss of U.S. nationality and then formally reporting it.” That mouthful of legalese is called “relinquishing your U.S. citizenship.”
I had written about my experiences with losing my U.S. citizenship while living in Japan (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) and my difficulties in doing so.
While the final process when I met a real consul officer was civil and smooth, my biggest problem was actually making appointments just so someone would see me. U.S. embassy and consulate “American Citizen Services” have been by-appointment (preferably via web, not phone), for some time, and those appointment systems have been optimized to handle the standard ACS services: reporting a birth, a marriage, obtaining a visa, etc.
I noticed that the TACS (Tokyo American Citizen Services) has updated their web site. An older page actually gives a phone number and an expectation as to when the appointment will occur. A newer web page just says to please email them at a group-managed address and play it by ear.
I wrote about this on the following page:
Tokyo U.S. Embassy Updates its Loss of Nationality Procedures
TL;DR version: to renounce/relinquish, don’t use the web appointment form. Email to email@example.com.
You don’t have to have naturalized to Japanese to use Tokyo’s services; the only requirement for renouncing/relinquishing your U.S. nationality is that you don’t do it within the United States (with a small exception made for extreme circumstances, like times of war).
In fact, I was considering using Taiwan’s “American Institute in Taiwan; no way are we an embassy or consulate; we just do everything an embassy/consulate does (wink wink)” even though I live in Japan because I believed they gave better service.
Yours was one of the most interesting and well written case studies of the process you had to go through to relinquish your Citizenship. Thanks for updating with this posting. Very good read! Recommend that others read your past accounts 1, 2, 3 and 4.
It’s always nice to hear from you Eido. I remember reading about your journey out of US citizenship. Your writing was very entertaining but for you the process had to have been more frustrating than entertaining to go through. Anyway all’s well that ends well and who knows maybe you are partly responsible for them updating their procedures.
@Em Ha! The vain person in me likes to think the consolate has a “social media” section like many corporations these days and actually did something regarding their procedures after reading my blog. I can envision some TACS working doing a web search for “Tokyo Embassy”, getting my blog entries, reading them, then standing up behind their desk and saying to the whole office:
“OH MY GOD! HAS SOMEBODY READ WHAT THIS GUY WROTE ABOUT OUR INNER WORKINGS?! NOTIFY AMBASSADOR ROOS IMMEDIATELY!”
I’m pretty sure it didn’t go like that. 🙂 I actually used “Wayback Machine” to figure out when those state.gov web pages about making a renunciation appointment with Tokyo were created. It says the first page with the phone number was created just slightly (by days or a couple weeks) before I began my process, which may be why I missed it (I already had a phone number, after all).
The later page with just the email address and no promises was written after I wrote my posts complaining about the poor appointment process. In other words, they decided they’d like less people like me calling them. 🙂
So yeah, who knows?
Eido, now you know the Japanese word for “persevere through adversity “, eh? 😀 Gambare. As a Nikkeijin (third generation born Japanese-Canadian) in Canada, The funny thing is, I’m Canadian and it’s my wife that’s “hakujin” American. And just like you, she’s on my koseki in Japan (my father put me on it at the time of my birth). We’re going through the relinquishment dance with the USA and my dislike for the United States couldn’t be higher. She’s not too happy with them either considering that she has family still there (her mother). Which brings me to my second Japanese philosophy “Shikata ga nai” – it can’t be helped. WE have to do what we have to do in order to protect ourselves. My wife is thinking about our children when she gains her Canadian citizenship and relinquishes her US one. Small comfort though, knowing her mother will be entrapped by the United States for the rest of her life.