The United States engages in a human rights violation by making it difficult/impossible to renounce U.S. citizenship because of the high citizenship renunciation fee it imposes.
The Association des Américains Accidentels (AAA) seeks Canadian plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State that will contest the unreasonably high citizenship renunciation fee.
The lawsuit will be launched in early 2021.
It is expected that some plaintiffs, for example,will have already have paid the fee and have renounced, but others were not able to renounce because they could not afford the high fee.
You will have to provide your name, residence, facts surrounding your U.S. citizenship (e.g., you might have no meaningful relationship with the U.S. but had citizenship imposed) and your renunciation/desire to renounce details.
Assume that your name will be published in a public record and that you might have to sign a written declaration at some point in the future.
If you are interested in being a plaintiff your questions will be answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Plainte USA”
AAA seeking Canadian plaintiffs in US lawsuit contesting high renunciation fee.
That’s a tough ask in 2020 when (a) there are no renunciations due to the plague and (b) the stimulus benefit is available as a subsidy.
Until such time as the renunciation fee is drastically lowered to a realistic administrative fee, the problem remains. Temporary ban won’t change that. And obviously the stimulus payment isn’t directly related enough to the issue to affect a judicial decision. Be kind of neat to use one’s US stimulus cheque (or part of it) to support the lawsuit to fight the US (or, of course, for one’s own renunciation).
My current plan is to not request the stimulus benefit until it doubles, then use the money to renounce. If it doesn’t double then I probably won’t bother, with either.
Donating the money to a lawsuit is an equally ironic gesture.
The fee is of course ridiculous. I have no idea whether it can be challenged, but that’s a question for the lawyers. I merely point out that this year seems a particularly bad time to find a Canadian in the needs-to-renounce-but-can’t-afford-to demographic.
For more information or to financially support this action :
The state department had an open period where they excepted comments on the proposed increase from $450 United States dollars to $2350 United States dollars for the renunciation fee.
During that short time of approximately 3 to 4 months, I posted my concerns and stated that I opposed the fee being raised due to their claim that it was being raised due to the fact that it was of no benefit to the government & or embassy s.
It seemed a pretty deliberate move, since this went into affect shortly after FATC started to be implemented all over the world, through fear and intimidation of 30% withholding / sanctions of entire financial industries with US funds. The 30% withholding is legal within the United States to an individual estate and trust I believe, which forces them to file a return to get that money adjusted and or obtain a refund or rebate. However they threatened this 30% sanction to entire countries, which made them sign under duress as Canada did, and was put in place by the treasury department, which did not present it to the US Senate for ratification as required by the United States Constitution thereby rendering the entire process null and void.
This should be the approach in my opinion in international law.
I’m actually very disappointed that US citizens abroad were included in the stimulus payments. The main purpose of this IMO is to justify to other governments around the world why US citizens should be obligated to pay taxes to the IRS. It wouldn’t surprise me if someday congress decides to remove the FEIE and/or FTC etc. to recoup the deficits brought on by this reckless spending.
Do you seriously think someone actually thought about non-residents when they passed the legislation? They are not that Machiavellian.
If Congress removed the FEIE and FTC and tried to impose full double taxation on non-residents, they’d all simply stop filing, and in most cases there would be eff-all the IRS could do about it. Taxing non-residents would be a teeny tiny drop in the deficit bucket (and if you believe in MMT, sovereign debt isn’t much of an issue anyway). Non-residents will never be on Washington’s radar, which is both a good and bad thing (or an indifferent thing for the 90+ percent who don’t file).
The FTC (not necessarily the FEIE though) should be safe from being eliminated because 1) Not having the FTC would wreak havoc with many tax treaties and 2) It would affect homelanders too (such as if they have foreign-sourced income).
It’s worth noting that they recently raised the fees for naturalization in some cases by 83%, using the same excuse as they did with renunciation fees: to allegedly recoup actual processing costs. But everyone knows the real reason: a xenophobic measure to cut down on immigration. Just as everyone knows the real reason for the renunciation fee hike, to discourage such actions.
Makes me wonder whether any immigrant advocate groups will protest or sue over this naturalization fee hike, and whether AAA might consider pooling resources with them for a combined lawsuit over all immigration fees, including for renunciations, since in both cases it could be argued that the actual processing costs are far lower than the fees being charged. It would make a much stronger case overall, and deflect from the issue of “traitorous” renunciants.
Not sure where I saw this, but Germany–which generally forbids dual citizenship–allows exceptions in a number of cases, including for immigrants from countries whose renunciation fees are punitively high. The USA is on the list of such countries. I suppose this means that US citizens who hope to naturalize and become German / US duals, would hope that the US renunciation fees remain where they are.
If you or anyone can find on line the statement you made about Germany allowing exception to dual citizenship if renunciation fees are punitively high, could you please post the link?
I can’t find the thing I saw before (which specifically named the USA), but Wikipedia (subsection “Dual Citizenship, point 3) has some footnotes indicating that exceptions can be made for “hardship” and/or if the cost is greater than about 10,000 euros:
It depends on individual circumstances, but anything under 10,224.84 euros is assumed to be irrelevant. See p. 35 of this:
Hmm, p. 33 says one may be excused if the renunciation fees exceed one’s monthly income, and are at least 1,278.23 euros (which the US fee is).
From what I’ve heard about Germany it’s decided on a case-by-case basis and yes, if the renunciation fee exceeds monthly household income, one may keep US citizenship.
Page 33 states gross monthly income of the applicant, though anecdotally I’ve heard of household income being used as the test by the individual official making the ruling.
Page 35 concerns other economic damage caused by renunciation, such as higher investment or inheritance taxes for non-citizens.
Zla’od and Ron, thanks!
I could be wrong, but I think that the details of someone trying to keep their US citizenship because of cost grounds were actually reported here, some years back. I can’t remember whether they were successful or not. As with many things in Germany it can really depend on the individual official making the decision (which is why it pays to be nice to them).
Some discussion here from 2015, but the last comment is from 2018.
@Stephen, I found this re Germany, dual citizenship exception based on exorbitant/excessive fees;
Look for following phrase;
“….the process for release from the foreign citizenship entails unreasonable difficulties, and failure to grant naturalization would constitute special hardship (e.g. excessive fees);in……”
which is from;
“……In principle, entitlement to naturalization requires renunciation of the previous citizenship. Pursuant to the German Nationality Act, cases of multiple nationality should be avoided. Consequently, candidates entitled to naturalization need to lose or give up their previous citizenship.For candidates entitled to naturalization, dual citizenship is accepted only if one of the following cases applies:the law of the foreign state makes no provision for giving up or losing its citizenship;the foreign state refuses to grant releasefrom citizenship; release from the citizenship of the foreign state is not possible because a) the application was refused, or b) the authorities of the foreign state refuse to hand out the necessary forms to fill in, or c) the authorities of the foreignstate have failed to reach a decision within a reasonable time (two years) on the application for release from citizenship which has been submitted in dueand complete form;the process for release from the foreign citizenship entails unreasonable difficulties, and failure to grant naturalization would constitute special hardship (e.g. excessive fees);in case of recognised refugees, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees verifies that persecution is still continuing before naturalization is effected;the process for release from citizenship entails difficulties for applicants aged over 60years and/or with health problems…..”……
See bottom of pg5-pg 6 of document ‘Ad-Hoc Query on Dual Citizenship Requested by EEEMN NCP on 10th May 2012 Compilation produced on 21st June 2012 Responses from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany,Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (21in Total)’
……….”dual citizenship in case of entitlement to naturalization –exceptions pursuant to Section12 of the German Nationality Act
EMN Ad-Hoc Query: Dual CitizenshipDisclaimer: The following responses have been provided primarily for the purpose of information exchange among EMN NCPs in the framework of the EMN. The contributing EMN NCPs have provided, to the best of their knowledge, information that is up-to-date, objective and reliable. Note, however, that the information provided does not necessarily represent the official policy of an EMN NCPs’ Member State.6of 15(Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz) In principle, entitlement to naturalization requires renunciation of the previous citizenship. Pursuant to the German Nationality Act, cases of multiple nationality should be avoided. Consequently, candidates entitled to naturalization need to lose or give up their previous citizenship.For candidates entitled to naturalization, dual citizenship is accepted only if one of the following cases applies:the law of the foreign state makes no provision for giving up or losing its citizenship;the foreign state refuses to grant release from citizenship; release from the citizenship of the foreign state is not possible because a) the application was refused, or b) the authorities of the foreign state refuse to hand out the necessary forms to fill in, or c) the authorities of the foreign state have failed to reach a decision within a reasonable time (two years) on the application for release from citizenship which has been submitted in due and complete form;the process for release from the foreign citizenship entails unreasonable difficulties, and failure to grant naturalization would constitute special hardship (e.g. excessive fees);in case of recognised refugees, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees verifies that persecution is still continuing before naturalization is effected;the process for release from citizenship entails difficulties for applicants aged over 60years and/or with health problems.”
Also further to question re naturalizing in Germany, dual citizenship, and exceptions due to hardship in obtaining a renunciation of previous non-German citizenship;
See mention in footnote 82 from
THE GERMAN POLITICS LECTURE 2007
The Causes and Consequences of Germany’s New Citizenship Law
Marc Morjé Howard
Pages 41-62 | Published online: 22 Feb 2008
“82. Hailbronner, ‘Germany’, p.225. According to the new law, ‘exceptions apply as in the past where the nationality cannot be given up, or where it is only possible to do so with particular difficulty’. Specific provisions exist for older people, refugees, and people from countries (such as Iran and Afghanistan) that essentially do not allow someone to give up that citizenship, or that charge exorbitant fees in order to do so. The full citizenship law, including both the original 1913 law and subsequent amendments, is available from the Comparative Law Society’s ‘German Law Archive’, at http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/StAG.htm.”
(Note; You’ll be redirected from http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/StAG.htm and https://web.archive.org/web/20170804045845/http://www.iuscomp.org/gla/statutes/StAG.htm to the current site https://germanlawarchive.iuscomp.org/?p=266 )