How to Renounce US Citizenship In 2024

US Flag And Passport For Citizenship

Choosing to renounce US citizenship is a significant and life-altering decision that requires careful preparation and an understanding of the legal, tax, and personal implications. In 2024, the process remains as complex as ever, involving meticulous steps to ensure that those opting out of their US nationality do so with full knowledge of the consequences.

We’re here to provide a comprehensive overview of the journey from the initial considerations to the post-renunciation period, providing you with the necessary insights to navigate this irreversible decision.

From securing citizenship elsewhere to fulfilling tax obligations and understanding the personal ramifications, this article is an essential resource for anyone contemplating how to renounce US citizenship in the current year.

The Renunciation of US Citizenship

Renouncing US citizenship is a profound decision that means giving up all rights and responsibilities associated with being a US citizen. This process is irreversible, except under specific circumstances outlined in Section 351(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). To renounce citizenship, you must contact a US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you plan to live and sign an oath of renunciation.

It’s a step that requires considerable thought, as it’s the most definitive way a person can express their intention to relinquish US citizenship.

Legal Implications of Renunciation

The legal consequences of renouncing US citizenship are significant. Once the Department of State approves the Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN), the decision is final unless you successfully appeal administratively or judicially. Renunciation must be conducted in a manner the Secretary of State prescribes to be legally effective.

Additionally, renouncing citizenship doesn’t free you from potential prosecution for crimes committed or that may be committed against US law. It’s also essential to secure citizenship in another country to avoid statelessness, which can lead to severe hardships and a lack of legal protections.

Effects on Tax Obligations

Contrary to some might think, renouncing US citizenship doesn’t exempt you from your US tax obligations. You must fully comply with US tax laws before renouncing, and renunciation isn’t a way to dodge past taxes. If you’re still earning income from US sources, it’s subject to a 30% withholding tax.

Moreover, if you’re considered a covered expatriate, additional tax implications exist, especially concerning gifts to US persons. It’s also worth noting that the foreign country of your new citizenship may impose higher taxes, and renunciation doesn’t protect against deportation to the US in some non-citizen status.

Impact on Social Security and Retirement Benefits

Renouncing US citizenship doesn’t necessarily mean losing eligibility for Social Security benefits. However, it does affect your ability to work or live in the US without a visa. You’ll no longer be able to vote in US elections, hold a US passport, or receive consular services.

Furthermore, renunciation doesn’t release you from military service obligations or from repaying financial obligations, such as child support payments incurred in the US or as US citizens abroad.

Citizenship Vs. Permanent Residency: Differences in Renunciation

It’s crucial to distinguish between renouncing citizenship and relinquishing permanent residency. While both involve giving up certain rights, the process and consequences differ. Permanent residents don’t face the same hardship as those renouncing citizenship, as they aren’t at risk of statelessness.

Permanent residents looking to relinquish their status must also know the legal and tax implications. These can include facing a visa requirement for future travel to the US and the potential impact on their tax obligations.

US Citizenship Paperwork

Initial Steps Before Application

Consultation with an Immigration Lawyer

Renouncing citizenship is intricate and necessitates a solid grasp of the INA, specifically Section 349(a)(5). Engaging an immigration lawyer for tailored advice is prudent. They can elucidate the ramifications of your decision and ensure the accuracy of your documentation, helping you navigate the complexities of the process.

Securing Citizenship or Residency in Another Country

Ensuring you have another nationality or legal residency before renouncing is imperative to prevent statelessness. This step guarantees the continuation of your access to essential services and rights and the ability to travel internationally.

Financial Planning and Considerations

You must settle your tax responsibilities for five years before renouncing. This includes submitting Form 8854 to the IRS, which also assesses whether you are a covered expatriate subject to the expatriation tax. For those with significant assets or income, an “exit tax” may apply, simulating the sale of all assets the day before renunciation and potentially incurring considerable tax liability. Adequate financial planning is essential to address these obligations and grasp the full financial repercussions of your decision.

Notifying Family and Employers

Discussing your decision with family is essential, as it may influence their lives, particularly if they have connections to the US. It is also advisable to inform your employer, especially if your work is contingent on your status as a US citizen, to ensure a seamless transition.

The Renunciation Process

Filling Out DS-4079 and DS-4080 Forms

Initiating the renunciation process involves completing the DS-4079 form to assess your eligibility and intentions. Subsequently, during your renunciation appointment, you must complete the DS-4080 form, the formal Oath of Renunciation. Additional documentation, such as the DS-4081, DS-4082, and DS-4083, will also be part of your submission, encompassing statements of understanding and witness attestations.

Booking an Appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate

The renunciation must be done in person at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. The specific steps can differ depending on the location, so it’s advisable to inquire directly with the embassy or consulate to understand their unique procedures and to arrange your appointments. Two interviews are mandatory: the initial one to ensure you comprehend the ramifications of your decision and the subsequent one to administer the oath.

Preparing for the Interview

Preparation for the interviews is crucial. The first interview is designed to confirm your awareness of the ramifications of renunciation, including the loss of citizenship rights and the potential for tax obligations. The second interview is the formal occasion where you will affirm your decision to renounce.

Payment of the Renunciation Fee

A fee is required for the renunciation service. While the fee was previously $2,350, it is anticipated to be reduced to $450. This fee is payable at the time of your appointment. After the oath is taken, your paperwork will be forwarded to the Department of State for final processing. The issuance of the CLN may take several months.

A final US tax return must be filed to resolve any outstanding tax responsibilities and establish your non-resident status for tax purposes.

US Citizenship Paperwork

The Day of Renunciation

What to Bring to Your Appointment

On the day of your appointment, ensure you have all necessary documents, including your US passport, which will be surrendered. The fee for processing the renunciation, anticipated to be reduced to $450, must be paid at this time. Renunciation cannot be done by mail or outside the prescribed procedures. Contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for any clarifications.

The Oath of Renunciation

The oath is a solemn declaration of your decision to relinquish US nationality, performed in the presence of a diplomatic or consular officer. This act is the final affirmation of your intent. Once the CLN is issued, your status as a citizen is permanently terminated.

Receiving the Certificate of Loss of Nationality

The CLN serves as official proof that you have renounced your citizenship. It is only provided after the Department of State has confirmed your renunciation. With the issuance of the CLN, your status as a citizen is conclusively terminated.

Post-Renunciation Procedures

Following renunciation, you will be regarded as a foreign national. You must obtain a visa for any future travel to the United States. Remaining compliant with US tax laws is mandatory, including the submission of a final “dual-status” tax return using Form 8854 for the year of renunciation.

If you meet the criteria of a “covered expatriate,” you will be subject to the exit tax and different taxation on gifts or bequests to US persons. Minors must demonstrate comprehension of the consequences of the renunciation and a lack of coercion. Those who are renounced before eighteen have the opportunity to have their citizenship reinstated by notifying the Department of State within six months of reaching the age of majority.

While you may be unable to transmit citizenship to children born after renunciation, your Social Security benefits typically remain intact. Any outstanding tax liabilities and penalties must still be resolved. Professional advice is recommended to manage post-renunciation tax complexities and fully comprehend your decision’s implications.

Life After Renunciation

Adjusting to New Citizenship Status

Adapting to a new national identity involves understanding the changes in your international legal status. With the renunciation, you forfeit the privilege of consular support and the right to participate in American elections.

For those who are renounced as minors, the Department of State offers a brief period post-majority to reconsider. Within six months of turning 18, you can seek to have your citizenship reinstated.

Tax Obligations After Renunciation

Certain tax responsibilities may persist post-renunciation. Resolving any remaining tax liabilities is essential. The exit tax, a consideration for some, pertains to the value of your assets at the time of renunciation. Income derived from US sources post-renunciation necessitates filing Form 1040-NR. It is subject to a 30% tax on specific types of investment income.

Covered expatriates must be mindful of the tax consequences on gifts to US citizens, which may incur taxes at the highest applicable rate if they exceed the annual exclusion limit.

Reentering the US as a Foreign National

As a foreign national, you must adhere to the entry requirements for non-citizens. Former permanent or conditional residents who have been abroad for extended periods may require a new immigrant visa to reestablish permanent residence. The returning resident special immigrant visa is an option for those whose absence was due to uncontrollable circumstances, provided they can demonstrate their intent to return was not abandoned.

On official orders, the spouses and children of US Armed Forces members or civilian employees can reenter with an expired Permanent Resident Card, assuming they have maintained their resident status.

Staying Connected with US-based Family

For those with family in the US, managing the emotional and practical challenges of cross-border relationships is vital. While legal affiliations with the US are cut, familial bonds often persist. Addressing the tax implications of financial exchanges and adhering to immigration rules for visits is crucial.

The task of preserving these relationships will demand thoughtful planning to respect the new legal parameters that now delineate your association with the United States.

Embracing Your Decision

Deciding to renounce US citizenship is undoubtedly monumental, and navigating the process is no small feat. It’s a step entailing serious legal, tax, and personal considerations. With the right preparation and understanding of the implications, you’ll be equipped to move forward confidently into your new chapter.

As you transition to life as a non-citizen, remember to keep abreast of any tax obligations and respect the laws governing your status. Whether it’s for tax purposes, family reasons, or a longing for new citizenship, your journey doesn’t end with renunciation—it’s a new beginning. With thoughtful preparation and a clear vision for your future, you can embrace the path ahead, carrying with you the experiences that have shaped you wherever your global footprint may lead.


Can you live in the US after renouncing citizenship?

After renouncing US citizenship, you can still live in the US. Still, you must obtain the appropriate visa or residency status, such as a tourist visa, work visa, or permanent resident status (green card). Renouncing citizenship means you no longer have the automatic right to live and work in the US, so you must comply with the same immigration laws as other foreign nationals. Planning ahead and securing the necessary visa or residency status before renouncing your citizenship is important.

What certificate do I need to renounce my US citizenship?

To renounce US citizenship, you need a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN), which the US Department of State issues. The process involves:

  • Making a formal renunciation at a US embassy or consulate abroad.
  • Completing several forms, such as Form DS-4079 (Request for Determination of Possible Loss of United States Nationality).
  • Paying the required fee.

Once your renunciation is approved, the CLN serves as official documentation that you are no longer a US citizen.

What is the US exit tax?

The US exit tax, or the expatriation tax, applies to certain individuals who renounce their US citizenship or long-term permanent residency. It is a tax on the unrealized capital gains of your worldwide assets as if you had sold them on the day before you expatriate. To be subject to the exit tax, you must meet specific criteria, such as having a net worth of $2 million or more, an average annual net income tax liability above a certain threshold over the previous five years, or failing to certify compliance with US tax obligations for the last five years. The tax ensures that the US captures tax revenue on gains accrued while you were a citizen or resident.

Do you still pay US taxes if you renounce citizenship?

After renouncing US citizenship, you no longer have to pay US taxes on your worldwide income. However, you remain liable for any taxes owed up to your renunciation date. Additionally, you are subject to the exit tax. In that case, you must pay taxes on your unrealized capital gains as of the day before your expatriation. Fulfilling a final tax return and Form 8854 (Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement) is essential to report your renunciation and certify that you have complied with all US tax obligations for the previous five years.


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Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

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