Last chance to renounce US citizenship for free!

With no announcement and little warning, the US State Department will, effective July 13, charge US citizens a whopping $450 “processing fee” to renounce citizenship. This change was hidden in the new consular fees issued the other week, which basically slightly raised visa processing and passport fees, and substantially raised processing services related to judicial matters. The citizenship renouncement fee is the only new fee (together with getting new passport pages — I’m glad I got that a few months back!).

Why the sudden fee to renounce US citizenship? I chalk it up to American spite — many Americans seem incensed at the very idea that a US citizen would give up his or her passport. And the US is one of the very modern few states where there is incentive to give up citizenship, because of the taxation of overseas Americans. With this latest move, there’s yet another tax — a citizen’s departure tax.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this fee — Senator Joe Lieberman is pioneering an over-the-top response to the botched New York bombing by a naturalized American citizen of Pakistani descent, the Terrorist Expatriation Act (read the text of the bill here). If passed, this bill would allow the State Department to revoke the U.S. citizenship of people who commit acts deemed terrorist in nature or who affiliate with or give material support to organizations designated terrorist by the government.

Don’t feel like paying the processing fee? Just affiliate yourself with Al Qaeda or some much group or give them some kind of support!

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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14 Responses to Last chance to renounce US citizenship for free!

  1. Bud says:

    As an American living overseas I worry that sooner or later the US is going to want me to pay taxes there too. Currently I believe they base it on how much time is spent within country. They catch wealthy people who spend half the year in the US and half the year in the South of France or wherever. It is my understanding that a lot of these people have been dropping their US citizenship to avoid double taxation. I have not been back to the US since I left a year ago so currently I am off the hook, but if that changed it would be unfeasible for me to pay taxes in two countries at the same time. A change would force me to either move back to the US or give up my citizenship. I don’t want to do either. Although the US seems to be headed down the bankrupt European socialist branch of the evolutionary tree, Americans are resilient if nothing else. I am reasonably confident the country will at some point pull its head out and return to governance based on the basic principles that made it such a success in the past.

  2. That Lieberman thing is eye-rollingly stupid. I can understand the notions behind it, but it seems very silly, especially since as far as I know conviction of a crime isn’t required. I also find myself wondering what they’ll do with someone who was born here. There’s no where they can be deported to, after all.

  3. Jupiter says:

    The citizenship revocation is rather reactionary, but I’m a little more concerned about the precedent that will be set when Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, is legally assassinated by his own government. Not that the guy doesn’t deserve a Hellfire to the face, but it’s still unsettling– I can imagine an unscrupulous future administration reviving the legal justification to employ against other domestic ‘threats to national security’.

  4. von Kaufman-Turkestansky says:

    Actually, I’m not sure what Lieberman’s bill will accomplish. In the bill, amendments to Section 349 of the INA are proposed. The first part of subsection (a) in the current Act says “A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality -”. The Lieberman bill does not change that. So to be “expatriated”, in this new regime, you would still have to engage in terrorist acts “with the intention of relinquishing US nationality”. Not sure if you could easily prove that.

    As is stands, S. 349(a)(7) allows loss of nationality for “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States”. Surely the tactic of terrorism involves arms? Is the intent to catch anyone who uses terror tactics against any country “with the intent of relinquishing US nationality?”

    Am I not getting something?

  5. von Kaufman-Turkestansky says:

    @ Curzon – I am not sure if it’s really spite. It costs money to do the paperwork for this “service”, and perhaps the logic is why should taxpayers be denied the $450 it costs to go through the necessary hoops? What’s in it for Americans? Since there is no particular benefit, perhaps State decided not to subsidize this at all (even where user fees are charged, there is probably some amount of subsidy going on for many other services). Anyway it’s not like you will see much sympathy among taxpayers for those who would presumably complain: “this is a barrier for me joining a foreign army!”… “now my dream of running for mayor of a French village has been crushed by your user fee!”

  6. Fat Tony says:

    >What’s in it for Americans?

    I would have thought that one was obvious. You get the right to renounce your citizenship for free in future, if you so desire.

  7. Why not charge the fee that it costs to push the paperwork through? Think of all the paper that has to be processed in the first place – and every hand that has to touch every piece of paper gets paid a more-than-decent wage.

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  9. bobdobbs says:

    You can probably avoid paying it, depending on the legislation governing societies in the USA.

    It is most probably unlawful in the USA for a society to compel membership. Simply issue a notice revoking your membership, and the rules of that society no longer apply to you.

  10. Tdaxp says:

    Keep in mind that USCIS is self-funded, so without this fee, costs for renunciation processing would be paid for by immigrants.

  11. thomas says:

    If you assume that expats are the most likely candidates to choose to revoke their US citizenship, I would think the taxes they pay (or not if under the cap, but then, they receive few benefits while overseas anyways) would more than cover the $450 ‘processing charge’.

    Until the 7mil.+ expats have their own collective representation (i.e., singular voting block), I’ll never believe homeland Americans care about anything outside its borders.

  12. Roy Berman says:

    Thomas, there are plenty of democracies in the world that don’t even have overseas absentee ballot voting at ALL. American ex-pats do. So really, what are you whining about exactly?

  13. Dexter Trask says:

    @ von Kaufman-Turkestansky: Even in the case of treason, under INA a person must state that their intent was to relinquish their U.S. citizenship.

    @ Fat Tony: No worries, Tony: You can still renounce your citizenship for free by taking up a high-level job with a foreign government, becoming a commissioned officer in a foreign military, or (for the more adventurous) simply enlist in foreign military engaged in hostilities with the United States. You will, however, still have to make your way to an embassy or consulate and fill out the forms to relinquish your citizenship…

    @TDAXP: DOS makes final determination of relinquishment of U.S. citizenship, not DHS.

  14. jay Crosby says:

    After serving in the U.S.A. Army, and witnessing treason, committed by high ranking officials clear to Capitol Hill, including Black Operations. Myself , being harassed by the Federal Governments false war on terror , Muslims, but truly a war against its own citizens who have committed no crimes against its countrymen or Government. It is treason being committed by elected officials, both Federal, and State for not holding sacred the constitution of the land! So I have come to conclusion, it would be a wise decision to make plans leave this once vibrate nation. I am truly sicken by its plight to issue in the New World Order against it’s own, as well abroad. I am also aware of the globalistic institutionalization of the union of the Anglos grip around the world through Lies, Illegal wars, tyranny , and taxes! I have never witness evil to this extent ! Washington is truly one of the homes of Satins helpers. Apologies for saying that type of thing about a nation I served in military status honorably! Only to be considered a threat against those I care not to frequent any further shoulder, to shoulder in battle . This is due to their neglect to properly uphold the sovereignty of this nation , and continued ill will of treason against the masses! I am surprised that the masses have not retaliated in the worst of ways, of an all out revolution! I fear for the fall of the Republic, and blood will soon run heavily in the land of Milk, and Honey !