Renouncing US Citizenship – The Effects

You can a US citizen by birth or through Naturalization. You can also acquire citizenship through your parent(s) if they are US citizens parents depending on satisfying certain requirements. If you qualify based on satisfying all the eligibility requirements, you have to file Form N-400, the citizenship form with the USCIS. There are millions who wish to get naturalized and there is a very thin percent of persons who want to renounce their US citizenship.

It is Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that governs the option for you to renounce your US citizenship. Should you need to renounce your US Citizenship, you should do voluntarily by appearing before a US consular or diplomatic officer in a foreign country (generally at a US Embassy or Consulate). You will be required to sign an oath of renunciation. If you do not do as stated above, renunciations will not have an effect legally. Remember that you cannot effectively renounce your citizenship by mail, an agent, or even while being inside the US. US courts have held certain attempts to renounce US citizenship to be ineffective on many accounts.

Rights and Privileges :

If you renounce your citizenship, you cannot retain the privileges of citizenship, as this would lead to logical inconsistency regarding the renunciation theory.

Statelessness :

It is very important to remember that you might be left stateless if you renounce your American citizenship (unless you already have a foreign nationality). It would also lead to lack of protection from any government. In addition, you will also face difficulties during your travel because you may not be entitled to a passport from any country.

You will need a visa to travel to the US, or prove that you qualify for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). If you do not qualify for a visa or the VWPP to enter the US, you could also be barred from entering the US, in certain circumstances. Renouncing your US citizenship will not stop a foreign country from deporting you back to the US in some other non-citizen status.

Tax and Military Obligations :

Renouncing your citizenship will not have any effect on your US tax or military service obligations. Also remember that renouncing your US citizenship will not permit you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes you committed in the US. In addition, you cannot escape from repaying the financial obligations you incurred previously in the US or what you incurred as a US citizen overseas.

Minor Children :

Though you have the right to renounce your citizenship, you cannot renounce citizenship on your minor children’s behalf. Prior to administering an oath of renunciation to a person under the age of eighteen, he/she should be able to convince a US diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully aware and understands the nature and consequences of the oath. In addition, he/she should also be able to convince that he/she is not subject to undue influence and is voluntarily renouncing his/her US citizenship.

Irrevocable :

Another reason you need to consider before renouncing s that renunciation of American citizenship is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA and cannot be canceled. But if you had renounced your US citizenship before the age of 18, you can get it reinstated if you let your wish known to the Department of State within six months after reaching 18 years of age.



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