Renouncing US Citizenship

Every year, thousands of permanent residents get naturalized. Though there is an increase in the number of persons getting naturalized every year, you also have a small percentage of persons who wish to renounce their US citizenship. A US citizen can renounce his/her citizenship under section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

There are a few things that you have to do to renounce your American Citizenship. You have to go to a US Consulate/Embassy and renounce your citizenship voluntarily. You have to do this in a foreign country and also sign an oath of renunciation. US citizens cannot renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or even while being present in US. One has to know the effects of renouncing their American Citizenship before doing so.

Rights and Privileges 

You will be losing all the privileges of citizenship. It is not possible to retain some privileges. If you wish to retain, the Department of State will not approve such renunciation.


Before renouncing, make sure you have a foreign nationality. Else you will be left stateless if you renounce your US citizenship and will result in no protection from any government. Apart from these, you might be subject to extreme difficulty while traveling, as you may not possess a passport from any country. If you are not stateless, you will be required to obtain a visa to travel to the US, or prove that you qualify under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP). If you cannot get a visa or qualify under the VWPP to enter the US, there are circumstances under which you could be barred from entering the US.

Tax and Military

Renunciation will not have any effect on your US tax or military service obligations. It will not allow you to avoid possible prosecution for crimes you committed in the US. In addition, you cannot escape from the repayment of financial obligations that you incurred in the US or abroad.

Minor Children

It is only possible to renounce your citizenship. You are not allowed to renounce US citizenship on behalf of your minor children. To do so, you have to be able to convince a US Consular Officer that your child fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation. The minor child should also be able to convince the authorities that he or she is not subject to duress or undue influence, and that he/she voluntarily wants to renounce his or her citizenship.


Note that renunciation of American citizenship is irrevocable, except under provisions in section 351 of the INA. It cannot be canceled. However, persons who renounced their citizenship before reaching 18 years of age can have the US citizenship reinstated if they notify the Department of State within six months after they reach 18 years of age.

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