How to Renounce US Citizenship in UK
Renunciation of US citizenship is a legal process that must be undertaken at a US Embassy or Consulate Office outside the US.
It is permanent and irrevocable. Once you have formally renounced your US citizenship, you cannot rescind, retract or reverse the process or your status.
How to renounce US citizenship from the UK
For renunciation to have legal effect, you are by law required to apply with intent and voluntarily in-person to a US Embassy or Consulate in a foreign country and sign an oath of renunciation.
The renunciation process comprises two key stages:
- Submission of documentation including form DS 4079
- In-person interview at a US Embassy outside the US
Failure to meet any of these requirements, such as applying within the US, will not constitute renunciation.
You will also be required to pay the requisite processing fee ($2350 as at the time of writing). The fee is subject to change and you are advised to confirm the prevailing fee at the time of making your application.
Renunciation will become official on reciting the Oath of Renunciation and you will be issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.
Note also that a list of those renouncing US citizenship is published in the Federal Register.
The implications of renunciation
Renunciation is a process that should only be entered into if fully informed of all the implications of loss of US nationality – this includes considering the legal ramifications as well as, for example, taxation implications.
For example, renunciation can be an attractive solution for individuals looking to simplify their lives. Where individuals have lived and worked in a different country for a significant period of time, have raised a family there and now own property and other assets in that country. Renouncing citizenship can offer a way to simplify the administrative burdens of maintaining ties to the US through nationality.
Before embarking on renunciation, take advice on your circumstances to ensure you have taken full account of the effects on your rights and legal obligations.
Loss of rights post-renunciation
It’s critical to understand however that loss of nationality also means loss of the rights afforded to US citizens. You will no longer have the right to vote in US federal elections and you will also lose the right of protection from the US government when travelling outside the US.
Once you have renounced your citizenship, you are giving up your rights to enter the US freely. You will become subject to US immigration rules and entry will be dependent on having secured relevant authorization under US law.
This means satisfying the requirements for eligibility relating to the visa you are applying under, as well as the general grounds for entry such as being of good moral character.
If you have a criminal record and hold a valid American passport, you retain the right to enter the country. As a non-US national with a criminal record, you risk being deemed inadmissible and would generally be required to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility for entry. Even with a waiver, entry will remain at the discretion of the border official.
If you do not have a criminal record, for short-term travel, if you are a national of a Visa Waiver country, you may be able to travel under the Visa Waiver Program if you are ESTA-eligible. Where you are not ESTA eligible or require a longer term stay in the US, you would look at specific visas such as the B-2 visa for tourism.
Having renounced your citizenship, you also give up the right to work in the US without restriction. This means you would need to hold an appropriate visa in order to carry out business-related activity or gainful employment while in the US.
To travel to the US, you would need to factor in visa processing times and the onerous requirements of making an application to a US Embassy, including attending a visa interview.
Even where a visa has been granted, you may face scrutiny at the port of entry. Border officials have discretionary powers to single out and question individuals as to their reasons for the visit and plans and intentions for their time in the US. It is within their power to deny entry into the country.
Impact on family members
Renunciation will limit future immigration options for spouses and family members to enter, remain, live and work in the US.
For example, it is worth considering the impact of loss of nationality on any minor children since the option to attain a US passport or Green Card can offer valuable opportunities and choices in the future.
US citizens who have resided in the US for five years (at least two of which must be after the age of 14) can automatically transmit US citizenship to a foreign-born child.
This right is removed where the parent renounces their US citizenship.
If a parent has already transmitted US citizenship to their minor child, this will not be affected by the parent subsequently renouncing US citizenship.
You would usually have to be 18 or over to renounce US citizenship, which means a parent would not be able to renounce a child’s US citizenship on their behalf.
Renunciation also removes eligibility for Green Card by Marriage, meaning the reliance would be on securing employment-based visas.
Renunciation is often driven by considerations or concerns outside the legal issues – but legal ramifications can be equally far-reaching and should demand equal consideration not just on the impact on the individual looking to renounce their US citizenship, but on their spouses and children, and their future rights to enter, live and work in the US.
It’s also crucial to seek an approach between your tax adviser and lawyer. NNU are highly experienced in all aspects of the US renunciation process.