Here's what you have to do to renounce your U.S. citizenship
- Go to a foreign country
- Appear before a consul or other diplomatic official
- Sign an oath of renunciation
This might sound easy, but you'll more than likely run into some problems. Obviously, unless you already hold dual citizenship
, you'll become a stateless person. This means that you can't travel, because you can't have a passport
. You also can't stay in the country, because you won't have a visa
. You can get deported to the US, but you won't be a US citizen, so you'll have to apply for an American visa—without any citizenship, mind you—and then you're basically in a worse situation than when you started.
Even if you have another citizenship to fall back on, the U.S. government can still mess with you. If you have any warrants out for your arrest, they can still arrest you. If you owe back income taxes, they can hunt you down and audit you. If Selective Service has called you up, you'll still have to report for duty.
If you have children under 18, you can't renounce their citizenship: they'll still be Americans until they reach the age of consent. Sorry.
The following actions also imply that you're renouncing your citizenship, so don't do any of these unless you're sure you don't want to be an American any more:
- Enlisting in a military that is at war with the US
- Becoming an officer in any foreign military, wartime or not
- Entering a policy-making job in a foreign government (merely running for public office won't disqualify you, unless you're serving in the national legislature)
- Being convicted for treason
Basically, the Immigration and Naturalization Service
will only deactivate your citizenship if you make it clear that you want it deactivated.
Once you renounce your citizenship, you'll have to fill out IRS Form 8854, which tells the government how much tax you owe them. And with that, you're free!
Well, sort of.