Crossing the US Border on a non-US passport showing a US birthplace

There is a bit of anxiety concerning what happens at the US border once you have a CLN or once you’ve applied for one.  Or for that matter, if you have a Canadian passport that shows a US birthplace, have no US passport and don’t want one, and haven’t yet decided whether a CLN is a good idea for you.  If you’re one of any of these concerned people, this post and thread are for you.
My wife and I just returned from a week-long family visit to the US. We travelled by air, crossing US customs and immigration at pre-clearance at Pearson Airport in Toronto. My wife had applied for a relinquishment CLN several months earlier. She is still waiting for it, but in the meantime, the vice-consul told her at the interview that her CLN application file is now on the State Department website and is accessible to DHS staff at the border, if there is any question about why she is crossing the border on a Canadian passport that shows a US birthplace.  (If you have a CLN or have applied for one, there is no way you can possibly have a US passport.  If you had one before applying for the CLN, you are required to surrender it during the application process.  Once you’ve sworn either the relinquishment or renunciation oath, you cannot be issued a US passport.  So it would be absurd for a border guard to insist that you present a US passport at the border.)
Both of us have Canadian passports with US birthplaces. I have a CLN that was issued to me in 1976, based on my relinquishment upon becoming a Canadian in 1975. I would assume, in fact I would hope, that my CLN is flagged on the DOS and DHS computer systems; I’d be disappointed if it weren’t. But, I’m not going to ask a border guard or any other US official if it is. I don’t believe in kicking sleeping bears; such behaviour tends to be bad for the health.
Our border crossing last week was our first crossing since my wife applied for her CLN, so we were a little nervous, on her account (I always carry a photocopy of my CLN with my passport when I travel).  Needlessly, as it turned out.
The pre-clearance area at Pearson wasn’t very busy; we were referred to an agent almost immediately after we arrived in the area. The agent examined both our passports, then scanned both of them into his computer. He examined the computer screen. He asked us how long we would be visiting the US, the purpose of the visit, and the usual questions about what we were bringing into the US (no tobacco, no alcohol) and the value of any gifts we’d be leaving behind in the US. He then entry-visa-stamped both our passports, initialed the visa stamps, and wished us a nice trip. No questions about citizenship, about why no US passport, about CLNs, nor any reference to the T word. He didn’t need to ask where we were staying; I had to give the hotel name, address and phone number to the airline when getting the boarding passes (which information I believe is now routinely shared between the US and Canada and probably many other countries), and also had to give that information on the US customs declaration form.  No ogres awaited us as we got off the plane in the US. At no time during our week-long stay at the hotel were we ever contacted by any official of any level of US government. Our return to Canada was uneventful.
So, at least in our case, two Canadians born in the US, both of whom have relinquished their US citizenship, crossed the border together on their Canadian passports in mid-August 2012 without incident.
What if you have a Canadian passport that shows a US birthplace, don’t have a US passport and don’t want one because you don’t consider yourself a US citizen, and want to cross the US border?  Stories here are mixed.  My wife was in those shoes until a few months ago.  She’s been across the US border for decades on her Canadian passport with US birthplace and has never once been “cautioned” or “warned” that she “has” to have a US passport to go back.  But we have two friends who have been cautioned.  Both our friends want to keep crossing the US border, because they both have adult children and now grandchildren living in the US, whom they want to visit.   One has decided he wants to remain a dual US-Canada citizen, got a US passport, and spent thousands of dollars to become compliant with IRS demands (he hadn’t filed any US tax forms since becoming a Canadian).  The other friend has absolutely no desire or intention ever to get a US passport, never has had one, also hasn’t filed US tax forms since becoming a Canadian more than 30 years ago, and has been “warned” when crossing by land (never, so far, during air crossings).  Each time she has been warned, she smiled calmly and said essentially “I’m a Canadian, I’m not an American, this is my passport, and I want to cross on it.”  She’s had her name entered at least once in the US border computers over this, has then been let in, and has subsequently gone back across without any further problems, at least not yet.
The lawyer my wife and I consulted in my wife’s case has a client who so far has been “warned” four times and still crosses; the warnings have delayed his border crossings, but he still gets in.  As far as we can tell, so far these “warnings” seem to be random, at the whim of the particular border officer, and don’t (yet) have any serious consequences.  But that could always change.
On the subject of visa stamps: since August 2011, my wife and I have crossed the US border five times on various family visits, twice by car (in Vermont) and three times by air (twice at Pearson and once clearing US immigration in Newark NJ). All three air crossings netted us US entry visa stamps on our passports (as a matter of what seems to be routine now at the airports; we didn’t ask for the visa stamps nor did we need to); none of the car crossings resulted in visa stamps (we presented our passports at both those crossings). Thanks to the air crossings, we now both can prove beyond any doubt that we’ve been admitted to the US carrying Canadian passports that show US birthplaces.  Our feisty friend who keeps crossing in spite of warnings on land has also acquired a collection of US visa stamps in her Canadian passport, when she flies into the US.
Things can always change at the border. Lightning can strike at any time in the future. An incoming asteroid could destroy life or civilization as we know it on Earth. So far, however, the sky is not falling.  We will enjoy what’s left of the summer, and we look forward to the maple leaves turning this Fall.  We’ll be vigilant and prepared when we cross the border, but we aren’t losing any sleep over the issue of our passports and citizenships, at least not yet (if ever).
I invite other US-borns living in Canada (or elsewhere outside the US) who have Canadian (or other) passports showing a US birthplace, and who do not have a US passport, whether they have a CLN, have applied for one, or haven’t applied for one, to share their border-crossing experiences on this thread in the coming months, especially if anything disturbing happens.  When you report your experience, please identify whether you have or have applied for a CLN (and if so, whether it was a renunciation or relinquishment), or not, and also indicate whether your experience was at an airport or at a land crossing.  If you feel comfortable doing so, also indicate which airport or border crossing was involved.
I hope this thread can serve both to provide some comfort level (for as long as that’s appropriate) and, as needed, an early-warning system for things that may come, and perhaps some ammunition to use to try to nudge our government to take issue with the US over this if things start to get out of hand.  (Remember Blaine Washington …)
PS I just edited the title of the thread, which originally read “Canadian passport” instead of “non-US passport.”  Sorry for the Canada-centric tendencies; I am Canadian and that’s my perspective, but I recognize and respect that there are lots of US expats/former USPs (to use Johnnb’s point which I also have raised elsewhere) who live in countries other than Canada and who share some of these concerns.  Not sure whether people entering the US from, for example, Switzerland (to pick a country which raises some hackles in parts of US officialdom these days) will get treated differently from people crossing from Canada.  In theory everyone should be handled the same way, but we all know that there’s always a big gap between theory and practice.  If you reply to this thread with border-crossing examples, please indicate from what country you were coming into the US if it wasn’t Canada and if you think that may have made a difference to your treatment.

269 thoughts on “Crossing the US Border on a non-US passport showing a US birthplace

  1. @Schubert, thank you for this. Reading about your experience and Blaze’s recent trip has made me calm down a bit. I have no intention of crossing the border (ever, if I can help it), but I do see problems at the border as an indication of things to come. So it’s fantastic to know your trip was uneventful.
    And, you pose an interesting question, will former US citizens of other countries be treated the same as Canadians? I hope someone does come in and give us their experience.

  2. @Schubert
    Great idea for a thread. Crossing the border is definitely something to fear and keep tabs on for all of us in the situation of showing a U.S. birth place in our passports.
    I crossed at a land crossing from B.C. in Washington state back in June. There was no problem at that time. I will be crossing again at Pearson in mid-October and will plan on posting my experience afterward. I presently have an appointment at the Vancouver consulate for September to apply for my CLN as a relinquisher. So if I go ahead with those plans, when I cross in October, I would at the very least be able to say that I had started the process, should I be asked.

  3. Thanks Schubert for starting this thread.
    I have been a Canadian citizen since 1973. I have always entered US as a Canadian citizen since then, despite my US place of birth.
    In 2004, when I applied for my Nexus card, a very pleasant US Immigration Officer looked at my Canadian citizenship and US birth certificate and informed me I was still a US citizen. We had a discussion with her insisting I was and I was insisting I wasn’t. In the end, she agreed to issue my Nexus card as a Canadian because that was how I applied.
    She, however, told me I should always enter US as a US citizen. She explained as a US citizen I had the right to return whenever I wanted, for as long as I wanted and I was not required to say how long I was staying or where I was going. I truly think she was trying to be helpful. She did not mention anything about being legally required to enter as a US citizen.
    I came home and Googled it and discovered due to Supreme Court decisions. I could still be considered a US citizen. However, I also learned on that website (which seems to have been taken down since then) that if I entered US as a US citizen. they could refuse me access to Canadian officials if I needed them. So, I always entered as a Canadian citizen. I decided not to renew my Nexus card in 2009 because it seemed like too much of a bother.
    Between 2004 and 2011, no one ever mentioned anything about entering as a US citizen. Then, last October (just two months after I learned about IRS issue), a border guard politely told me I should get a US passport. Not wanting to have the discussion again, I simply nodded and went on my way.
    I was concerned I would have difficulty when I visited my mother in May and August, 2012. Both times, friendly border guards looked at and scanned my passport, looked at the computer, asked a couple of simple questions and I was finished.
    I think there are far more reports of not having problems crossing than there are of problems. I do know a few have been bullied or intimidated into getting US passports and are now living with the IRS monster, but I think they are in the minority. I’m just grateful I’m not one of them.
    Most of my crossings have been by land at Fort Erie Ontario into Buffalo New York, but I have occasionally flown into US, usually with screening at Pearson in Toronto.
    I hope people will share their experiences so we can learn from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Like Schubert, I hope folks outside Canada will report on their experiences as well.

  4. Congratulations on your new site, Blaze and outraged!!
    Thanks for this excellent account, Schubert. I’m so glad it went well for you and your wife.
    I, too, really think that border activity experiences need to be tracked and a good resource for all of us.
    I know that I am paranoid about crossing and won’t do so with my son. Most readers know my story — my son was born in Canada, raised in Canada, never registered with the US, never lived in the US, never had any benefit from the US (nor do I see that he ever would as his “benefits” are much better in the country in which he was born – Canada as he has a developmental disability). The US Consulate denies any Parent/Guardian/Trustee the right to renounce “supposed” US citizenship of a family member with a developmental or any other perceptual disability such as dementia, etc. when we consider it in the best interest of that family member. I know that my son is not in compliance and that I am not able to easily, if at all, have his status changed.
    At this point, it is my choice not to cross the US border again (with or without any of the rest of my family) unless some kind of emergency arises with one of my siblings that live in the US. The anticipated stress for me, after my one crossing incident which led me to get my first and only US passport, would be just too much. But, that is me.

  5. i know this is totally irrelevant to this thread, but I just remembered a crossing into Quebec from Maine some years ago at a small crossing. I stopped at the border and waited for the Canadian border guard to come out. After a considerable wait, I went into the border crossing building only to find the one guard asleep. This was in the middle of the afternoon.
    After gently waking the guard up he quickly let me through and presumably resumed his nap. I was going to Montreal to see Janis Joplin at the Montreal Forum, so you know how long ago this happened.
    This was before I permanently moved to Canada, but may have unconsciously influenced my decision to immigrate to such a welcoming Country.

  6. About ten years ago I visited Deer Island which is a small New Brunswick Island which connects to Campobello Island where Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a summer home. There is also a ferry to Eastport Maine from there.
    I was amused to see that the customs house – which looked like a sentry box in front of Buckingham Palace was unstaffed ad had a sign on it which said “Toot your horn for service.” Better times. Better times.

  7. @John: I read an article several months ago that about 50% of residents of Campobello Island were born in US because ferry service to the mainland of New Brunswick does not operate in the winter, meaning many women go by bridge to have their babies in Maine. I wonder if any of them ever got held up on the way to birth the next generation because they didn’t have a US passport.
    The article was in both the Vancouver Sun and a New Brunswick paper, but I have not been able to access it for a few months. This issue was causing a lot of anxiety there. It would be great if we could get some of the Capobolo Island folks to join us in the sandbox.
    On another note, anyone up for a game of chess? Here is an interesting article about others giving up their US passport rather than deal with IRS. http://theamericanclubs.com/wordpress/news-articles/articles-on-useful-topics/tax-game-of-chess-between-us-expatriates-and-the-irs-with-passports-and-dual-citizenships/
    The author points how how difficult it will be for IRS to track people living outside US who do not renew US passport. Interestingly, she’s a tax lawyer specializing in expats.

    1. That’s a shame that article is no longer available. It was excellent. There is a recent one, published on Canada Day, in the Portland (Maine) Free Press http://www.pressherald.com/news/Challenges-for-Campobello-Island-A-crossing-to-bear.html
      “The island’s year-round population has already fallen by one-third since 9/11, in part because border complications make it more difficult to attract new year-round residents to replace those who move away or die.”
      Quite ironic that US president FDR had his cottage there, so you could say it was for many years symbolic of the friendly relationship between the two countries, and now the US is causing hardship and fear for the island’s residents and contributing the island’s depopulation.

    2. That was a terrible article. It’s all about people getting a second passport from a “tax haven” to “flee” US taxation. The impression one gets is not that people are quietly living their normal life in another country, but that we’re all former US residents who have left to evade taxes.
      It is interesting to hear that she doesn’t think the IRS will find people who try to disappear with a second passport. It seems that she probably makes her living advising people who do just that.
      But to refer to the second passports as being from “tax haven” countries, and then to mention Canada shortly thereafter is laughable,

  8. Campobello is in a really bad situation. In the winter when the ferry isn’t running their only connection with the mainland is a bridge crossing to Lubec, Maine. It is a 90 minute drive from Lubec to the nearest Canadian hospital in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. As a result many of the life long residents of Campobello are accidental USC.
    The border crossings at each end of the bridge used to be more of a family affair for the locals but that has all changed now and there have been some incidents which caused friction. A silly one was a fellow who bought a bag of dog kibble in Maine, brought it home to Campobello only to be told by his wife it was the wrong stuff. He tried to return it but US customs wouldn’t let it into the country – even though he had bought it there just an hour before!
    I don’t know if anyone from there has been involved in any of the discussions. They are a hard working lot of mostly fishers. There have been numerous articles in the local English language dailies down here but the issue seems to have disappeared.
    One person who was in the press frequently was Russ Hunt, a teacher at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. I check his web page ( http://people.stu.ca/~hunt/ustaxinfo/ ) frequently but there hasn’t been anything new there since June. I suspect he finds it easier to defer to IBS. I will email him and invite him to the Maple Sandbox.

  9. “When I have been in Canada, I have never heard a Canadian refer to an American as a “foreigner.” He is just an “American.” And, in the same way, in the United States, Canadians are not “foreigners,” they are “Canadians.” That simple little distinction illustrates to me better than anything else the relationship between our two countries.”
    (Franklin D Roosevelt, 1936 in a visit to Quebec City)
    The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge connects Campobello Island (where Roosevelt spent summers) to Lubec Maine. That is the bridge many Canadian women take to have their babies in Maine. Little did those women know their children would become prey for the US.
    What would FDR say about the IRS declaring Canadian banks where Canadians have banked for decades (some their entire lives) foreign financial institutions and our accounts offshore foreign financial accounts?

  10. Just to inform everyone that my adult daughter with the disability and I crossed the Manitoba/N.Dakota border in August by car. I had my Canadian passport and a notarized copy of my CLN. I did not show the CLN, nor mention it. The border guard just asked “how is it that I have Houston as my place of birth?” I said, “I was born there,”, married a Canadian, and have lived in Canada almost 40 years. She did not question me on my daughter’s Canadain passport; I did have her expired U.S. passport, which I do not intend to renew. The border quard did not question me about my daughter having dual citizenship. The U.S. expired passport was never brought up in front of the guard.
    My sister-in-law, a Canadian, was also in the car and she asked how we were related, and I said, “sister-in-law.” The guard then waved us on. The conversation was very quick, and there was no problem crossing into North Dakota.

  11. There are some wealthy people born in the US who have become Canadian citizens over the years.
    Rick George former CEO of Suncor Energy(Canada’s largest oil company)
    http://www.leadershipcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=59&lang=en
    Based in Calgary, Rick was named Canada’s “Outstanding CEO of the Year” in 1999 after leading a remarkable business turnaround at Suncor, lifting the company from an underperformer to a leader in Canada’s energy industry. Since Rick took the company public in 1992, Suncor’s market capitalization has increased to more than $40 billion from less than $1 billion. Originally from Brush, Colorado, Rick spent 10 years with Sun Company both in the United States and the United Kingdom. During this time he held various positions in project planning, production evaluation, exploration and production, and in the international oil business. He moved from London, England to his current position as chief executive officer of Suncor Energy in 1991.
    Mr. George holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University, a law degree from the University of Houston Law School and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development. He and his wife have three children. The entire family became Canadian citizens in 1996.
    (My understanding is the Federal Register list from that year is too inaccurate determine at all what happened to his families US citizenship).
    Karen Sheriff CEO of Bell Aliant Telephone in Halifax was also born in the US but at some unknown point became a Canadian citizen. It is not clear either if she was ever on the Federal Register.

  12. @Cecliia, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s nice to hear first hand that crossings are still relatively easy at this point in time. It will be interesting to look back a year from now and do a comparison.

  13. @Tim, this is a iittle bit off topic, but this seems like something you might have knowledge of. I just spent an hour googling place of birth for alberta politicians and our Canadian senators. I couldn’t find a single one born in the US (really!). However, I ran across Senator Hugh Segal, who published a book last year, The Right Balance: Canada’s Conservative Tradition. I haven’t read it, but in several excerpts I read, it appears he lists a set of priorities, starting with “1. “to build a Canada where the accident of one’s birth, disadvantaged or otherwise, does not limit one’s ability to succeed and contribute”
    So, my question is this, what are the chances he might be a person we could engage positively on this issue? To me, what is happening to us is the exact opposite of that statement. He probably means disadvantaged to be someone born in poor circumstances, but…
    I’m not very politically inclined, so I could be barking up a very wrong tree here, I just don’t know. Do you have any thoughts on it?

  14. In terms of Alberta MLA’s and Canadian Senators. Offhand I can think of a couple.
    Now former Alberta MLA and Cabinet Minister Cindy Ady
    Now former Alberta MLA and Cabinet Minister Ted Morton
    There is also a believe a current Alberta MLA born in the US but I cannot think of their name.
    Senator Linda Frum’s mother was born in the US and her brother is a US Citizen(what would that make her??)

  15. The Canadian government is very clear: “Always use your Canadian passport if possible, especially when entering the country of your second citizenship.”
    If that applies to Canadians who consider themselves dual citizens, it would certainly apply to Canadians who consider themselves Canadian only. http://www.voyage.gc.ca/publications/dual-citizenship_double-citoyennete-eng
    Plus, this really important piece of information: “Using your Canadian passport may provide the basis under which Canada can provide you with consular assistance if you run into problems.”

    1. That’s really important to remember. Of course, they go on to say the other country may not recognize your Cdn cit, and may refuse you consular assistance from Canada, but I cannot believe that situation would arise between the US and Canada given the close ties. Travelling on your Cdn passport may be your only protection, in fact.

  16. @Outraged, Tim: Dianne Ablonczy (maiden name Broadway) was born in 1949 in Peoria, Illinois. Her family moved to Alberta a year later. I recall reading something about a year ago that she had renounced US citizenship when she became a Canadian. I would think that was probably pre-1986, so I wonder if she knows about the Supreme Court decision. I also wonder if she was a minor when she did that.
    Elizabeth May was born in 1954 in Hartford Connecticut. She moved with her family to Nova Scotia in 1972. Again, I seem to recall reading an article that she believed she had renounced US citizenship when she became a Canadian citizen (I think in 1978). She seemed as stunned as the rest of us that the US would still consider her a citizen when news hit last summer.
    Ms. May has not responded to my letters or e-mails to her. I believe she has replied to someone (Perhaps Tiger?). However, Ms. May has written to the Prime Minister: http://elizabethmaymp.ca/parliament/letters/2011/09/12/letter-to-the-prime-minister-regarding-irs-and-foreign-tax-laws/
    In her letter, Ms. May says Canadian citizenship does not require renunciation of other citizenship. She is clear, however, that she would have done this to be fully engaged in life in Canada. She does not seem to realize the US actually now requires renunciation to be before a US Consular official to be recognized by US.
    I wonder if either of them or David Alward have ever been told they should get US passports. Again, I remember reading David Alward filed returns with IRS because of his need to travel regularly to US–even though he became a Canadian citizen decades ago.

  17. @Blaze
    Yes, it was me that Elizabeth May responded to. The letter is dated March 12th. In the letter, she states “As a Canadian citizen born in the US, I can assure you that I share your concerns and am dedicated to defending the equality rights of all affected citizens.”
    She goes on in the letter to state that she has sent correspondence to the Prime Minister and that she has met with David Jacobson. In her own handwritting at the end of the letter she says: “I think that the US is not interested in coming after average citizens – but we need to remove the threat”.
    Of course, removing the threat is what we all wish would occur.
    She does mention in the letter to keep her posted through her constituency office of ‘any changes in your situation’.
    Her constituency office is:
    1 – 9711 Fourth Street
    Sidney, BC V8L 2Y8

  18. According to Phil Hodgen’s blog, David Alward is (or was as of October, 2011) in OVDI. hodgen.com/new-brunswick-premier-is-in-the-ovdi/cc
    If true, I hope Mr. Alward opted out before things proceeded too far. If it is accurate, I don’t think Mr. Alward received very good legal or accounting advice. I suspect he became a Canadian citizen prior to 1986.
    Next, will IRS want access to all of New Brunswick’s financial information because Mr. Alward as the Premier has signing authority?
    Phil did an interesting summary of comments by some Canadian politicians, including Alward, who said he believes federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is doing the best he can to fight the U.S. rules.
    “Ottawa is fully engaged in this,” Alward said.
    Oh, dear. ”Best he can.” ”Fully engaged.” ”We’re trying to work through a process.”
    More recently,(as Tiger has said many times), Ottawa’s silence has been deafening. They need to follow Phil Hodgen’s advice:

    “Please, Villagers of Ottawa. Do not be polite when marching on Castle Frankenstein.”

  19. I am delighted and relieved to hear that Elizabeth May has written to Harper about FATCA and to read her excellent letter. Thanks for finding and posting this, Blaze. AFAIK May is the only party leader who has written to the PM about this.
    Also, if you’ve been following CBC News website lately, you likely have heard the very sad news (both for us and for her constituents) that Denise Savoie is resigning her seat in Parliament, effective August 31, for health reasons. She has been a bastion of sanity and support for us on this issue, and I gather from various blogs on the news story that she is respected and liked by her constituents for whom she has done a lot. Canada is losing a great MP, but I hope her health rebounds from the stresses of traveling between BC and Ottawa frequently. Let’s hope that in the eventual by-election her constituents return another MP who is as stalwart an advocate for justice in our common cause against the US and the IRS, as Savoie has been.

  20. @Schubert, Others: Like you, I am not aware of any other party leaders writing to the Prime Minister about IRS. .
    However, the BC NDP members did write an open letter to Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Here it is: http://www.libbydavies.ca/parliament/openletter/2011/10/26/letter-ministers-flaherty-and-baird-urging-them-defend-canadian-us#.UDkXbpGCXZ8
    Somewhere, I have a copy of a letter which NDP CIC Critic (I think!) Don Davies received from Mr. Flaherty. I will try to find it, scan it and post it.
    I wrote to Mr. Davies. Although his riding is 3000 miles from me, he phoned me personally and left a message (I was not home at the time) expressing his views about Canadians, IRS and FATCA.
    My own Conservative MP sent me a letter calling me a dual citizen and enclosing a fact sheet about my obligations to IRS to file FBARs.
    Now that the NDP has had a new leader for a while, it would be helpful if Thomas Mulcair would write to the PM.

  21. Getting back to the original question…
    I’ve entered the US 4 times since getting my CLN and German passport.
    My German passport has the name of the town I was born in, but not the state or country as “place of birth”. Probably one needs to be familiar with the German language to realize that I can’t possibly have been born in Germany. (The town name is French.)
    The first time I flew to the US on my spanking new passport, the first security check person in Germany before boarding the airplane (the person who asks who packed your bags etc.) asked me if I was American and wanted to inform me that I had use my American passport entering the US. So I waved my photocopy of my CLN at her and she was satisfied.
    Since then, no one has asked. It’s just been the fingerprints and eye scans at passport control upon entry.
    I’ve found that if you fly with an American carrier, most of the passengers on the plane are American. That means the lines at passport control for us “furriners” are shorter than for the Americans. (Unless you arrive just after a plane from China, which happened last time.)

  22. @cecilia @calgary411 and others with USP children having disabilities and not being competent to renounce, hence facing double taxation (or single taxation by the US on benefits untaxable in the country of residence) on their “unearned” benefits (no relief is granted by the FEIE*** for such income, as far as I know):
    You might be interested to know about the International Social Service (http://www.iss-ssi.org/2009/index.php?id=2), based in Geneva, that has branches around the world, including Canada: http://www.iss-ssi.org/2009/index.php?id=50. They deal with problems children have due to international migration.
    Although they don’t seem to mention these sort of cases on their website, they would probably be interested as there must be a large number of such cases, given the estimated 5-7 million USC’s living outside of the homeland.
    At the very least, the ISS might a contact point for people with the same problem at which statistics could be assembled. Perhaps they could put a section on their website that we suggest everyone links to (from Maple, ACA, IBS, Hodgen, Townsend, Mopsick, AARO.org and other sites and blogs) requesting people to share their stories about this problem (in much the same way that ACA collects testimony about banking and tax issues, to wit: http://americansabroad.org/issues/taxation/share-your-banking-or-tax-story/)
    Helping people to organize around this issue would ultimately help all USPs living in Canada and abroad as it would shed light on what seems to me to be one of the very unfair and unjust (even abusive) side-effects of the US citizenship-based taxation regime.
    Up to you to write them and see what you can arrange. Perhaps if you can find others with the same predicament then you can all write them at the same time so that the significance of the issue is recognized.
    *** Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (approx USD 90k per annum).

    1. @Jefferson,
      I want to thank you for finding this additional resource. International Social Security (ISS) should be made aware of the reality we face with our children with developmental disabilities (as well as for families with family members with other disabilities rendering them lack of mental incapacity) regarding attempts to renounce US citizenship on behalf of a family member not able to do so him or herself.
      I will forward my story and the second-hand knowledge I have of two other families having approached the US Consulate in Calgary to be told they did not have the right to renounce US citizenship for a family member, as Parent, Guardian or Trustee.
      I feel there will be countless families who will face the same when they know what they face and believe that renunication of US citizenship is in the best interest of their family member.
      Thanks for all you find and do, Jefferson!

  23. @Sally: Thanks for sharing that information.
    It’s interesting it was an airline employee and not a US Immigration official who raised the issue about the US place of birth. Do you think she would have refused you the right to board if you hadn’t had your CLN? That is what happened to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.
    You mentioned “just the fingerprints and eye scans.” at passport control on arrival. Have I missed something? Is fingerprinting on arrival from abroad at a US airport now required? Is it only required for people on non-US passports or for US citizens as well?
    @Jefferson: I hope Calgary and Cecelia may find that information helpful. Great new source.
    @Schubert: Do you think we should change the title to Entering the US on…. I wonder if Crossing the US Border may cause people to think we are only speaking about the border between Canada and US. I hope if there are others like Sally with experiences from other countries, they will add them here.

    1. I think the airline employee may have been trying to “help me out” so I don’t get in trouble with US immigration. Being fluent in German, she probably knew that my birthplace couldn’t be a German town.
      Fingerprints and eye scans have been the routine for all non-US citizens that do not have green cards entering the US at airports for some time now. This supposedly keeps the terrorists out. This was implemented fairly soon after 911, as soon as they could get the equipment installed at all the airports.
      I do not understand why US citizens don’t need the fingerprints and eye scans…except maybe citizens might object to being treated as crooks and vote the perpetrators out of office.
      And now citizens of “visa waiver countries” need to pay for a “non-visa visa” too. They say its not a visa, but you have to apply in advance, they have to approve it and you have to pay $14 for it. Sounds like a visa and a fee to me. $4 of that is supposedly to pay for the border guards checking you and the expense of having signage etc that you can understand. Essentially to make the immigration process a “nicer experience”. The other $10 is for advertising to induce you to want to go to the US. This additional $10 fee was thought up by some tourism organization, so their members don’t have to pay for the advertisements themselves. But it was passed by Congress.
      The visa that supposedly isn’t really a visa means that you must have a credit card and you must give this info to the US government.

  24. About a year ago, soon after learning about the possibility of relinquishment, my wife and I consulted an immigration lawyer. He repeatedly asked us how did we respond at the border when asked what our citizenship was. Neither one of us
    recalled ever being asked about our citizenship. The lawyer just won’t believe that we weren’t asked.
    When crossing we usually traveled by car and were only asked the standard where are you going, how long will you be staying, were we bringing any gifts or food items ( no questions about dog kibble!) and were whisked through. Perhaps travelling in a car with Canadian plates helped. Our last trip was by bus south to New York from Montreal We did present our Canadian citizenship cards. Again , no problem, although the fact that we were probably the only non Haitians on the bus may have helped.
    We haven’t crossed the border since passports were required. Others with US birth places have told me that they were told to get US passports and then were allowed to continue on.

    1. I’ve crossed from Canada into the US and back many times and have always been politely treated and waved through. Only once was I questioned about my place of birth (NY) but I simply explained that I have lived in Canada since 1965 and have been a Canadian citizen since 1971. “Have a good trip!”

  25. @blaze as to comment back to Sally: I don’t think an airline employee could deny boarding to someone who has a valid foreign passport, visa and/or visa waiver eligibility for the US if that person insists that they are no longer a USP. US birthplace is not a proof of USC status, even though many people around the world know that people born in the US get US nationality (which is not the case in many other countries). Still, I wouldn’t want to land in the US and let the CBP do the “heabeus grabbus” on me for having USP status and no green card or US passport on my person.
    I had some problems years ago going the other way. You see, in many European countries, USC’s don’t get their passport stamped: “why don’t you have a return ticket”… “This is my return ticket, I live in Switzerland”…”But you have a brand new passport with absolutely no stamps or visas in it”. The US passport I had at the time was issued in Bern, Switzerland, so I told the airline employee that, and that they had to let me catch my flight to the major US airport I was changing planes at, or else I would sue them, as a US citizen who was not being allowed to travel freely in the US. (This was before 9-11, Patriot Act, and the insidious and opaque “No Fly List” policies.). My coup de geuele worked. “Well, I guess we can’t stop you from taking the flight from here to [major US airport], but you might be refused boarding on the European flight”…. “Fine, I will take care of that when I land at the [major US airport]”. All I had to do when arriving at the major US airport was go straight to the Lufthansa desk on the concourse where my flight was supposed to leave from, ask for my boarding pass, show them my baggage claim ticket and ask them to check that my baggage was checked through to Switzerland because the airline employee at the smaller airport had some issue with checking my baggage through. Fortunately, I had a very long connection there so there was enough time, and the conversation I had with Lufthansa there was with a German lady and we spoke High German, and she didn’t question one minute what I was up to. “Ich wohne seit 5 Jahren in der Schweiz”. That was enough for them, no haggling over whether I had Swiss papers, (my German had probably been corrupted by French and Swiss German by then, so that must have made things clear) they were even sorry that the partner airline with which I had booked the connecting ticket via the same reservation number had not checked the bag through, they thanked me for stopping by the desk early to get everything sorted out. They could see that I had purchased the ticket from Lufthansa office in Switzerland and they wanted to fulfill what I had paid for. They got on the phone and got my baggage pulled off of the domestic carrousel and rerouted. I have not yet lost a bag or even had one delayed with Lufthansa. Good airline, good and reliable service, they don’t dote on you, if they miss something or you need something you just raise your hand and ask them for what you want politely and you get it if it is part of the deal.

  26. @Blaze. I like your suggestion of changing the title of this thread to “Entering the US…” rather than “Crossing the US border…” for the reasons you suggest (the latter implies land crossing or maybe air crossing from Canada or Mexico, “entering” is more generic and less likely to be interpreted as Canada- or Mexico-centric.
    However I tried to make the edit from my Profile and it wouldn’t “take.” Also, I’m a little worried that if someone has “subscribed” to be notified by mail of further comments to this thread, whether that “subscription” gets messed up or dropped if we change the thread header. I’m not enough of a techhie to be able to answer that question, but I’m enough of a techhie to realize it might be a problem and to worry about it.
    So over to you, Outraged or whoever else on this thread knows more than I do about how WordPress would handle this … I have no problem with the header change in principle, only I might in practice if it causes problems for “subscribers” to the current thread and header …

  27. @myself and everyone
    Oops spoke too soon, I guess there’s a time lag on edits, now the title is incorporating the change I tried to make (successfully as it now turns out).
    Apologies to anyone who subscribed to the thread under the previous title, if this messes up your subscription …

  28. It’s really interesting to see how the perception really changes depending on the country. My aunt left for Canada over 20 years ago and my family does not really perceive her move as being to another country (go figure). Canada is simply “not so foreign” to Americans and perhaps Canadians feel the same way? But when I moved to France I had the impression that my move filled my family with a combination of excitement (how exotic!) and fear (the French are not at all like us, you know. They actually have Communists there!) Yes, and some of them are friends of mine. 🙂
    I have had questions at the border about what I’m doing in France. The easiest answer has always been, “I married a Frenchman” and I prefer it because it usually stops the questioning cold. It got a bit harder to use when I started traveling around the world on business and I have a lot of cool stamps and visas in my passport. In Canada, US and UK they wanted an explanation and I had to give more info about the company I worked for and what I did. I’ve never been asked about taxes.

  29. @Schubert, when the title of the post changed, the ‘slug’ didn’t. That’s the URL that’s automatically created with the post. It still says ‘canadian’ rather than ‘non-us’. That means that anyone following your post or the comments is fine.
    I did a google on ‘crossing the us border on a non-us passport’, and it came up with your post. IF you look at the url it displays, it does show the ‘canadian’. I’m not sure it’s necesary to change the slug since people will find the post without it. If you would like to change the slug, we’ll have to do a redirect from the old to the new. Just let me know your preference on this, either here or by email.

  30. @OutragedCanadian Thanks for checking into this. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” has always been my motto, so if the “slug” is working, let’s leave it alone. “Slug,” eh? Gotta love some of the words the tech folks come up with …
    @Victoria. My US relatives certainly don’t think of Canada as very foreign when they visit, except when we get into political discussions. The fact that we have the Queen, that I swore an oath of allegiance to her and her heirs and successors, and that I am a member of a party that some in Canada and everyone in the US would describe as “socialist” (the NDP) and am quite proud and even aggressive about that, does startle them though. As for how Canadians think about the US, I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I find the US to be much more foreign to me than Switzerland or Germany, in spite of the obvious linguistic differences, though I find Greece is certainly more foreign and not just because of the alphabet and language (and great beaches). I’ve never been to France except in transit via CDG so I can’t really make a comparison there.
    The US has changed so much since I left in 1969, and has become so horribly polarized politically, even more than in the McCarthy era in the 50s which I remember quite well, that I feel far less comfortable having any conversation with anyone in the US outside my immediate family on most topics, and even with them there are topics I avoid (like, is the prison in Guantanamo still functioning and why is that, not to mention remote-control and even automated drone strikes against people in foreign countries, what ever happened to the concept of separation of church from state never mind politics, etc.). I find the US far more foreign to me than I find two of the three European countries in which I’ve traveled fairly extensively. I used to travel extensively in the UK but haven’t recently, but back in the 1980s I found the UK more comfortable and familar than the US and actually more like Canada than the US, especially once one gets past accent and idiom and gets into political or even quasi-political discussions about health care, the important role of (democratic) government in society and the economy, parliamentary versus presidential style of government, etc.
    I recently read cover-to-cover for the first time a good translation of Alexis de Toqueville’s “Democracy in America” and was struck by how prescient he was in identifying dangerous trends inherent in the US political system, and how little certain things have changed there in 170 years. Ditto many parts of Charles Dickens’ “American Notes.” I think both writers would be apalled at what the US is today, if they came back to it now. Not sure how they’d react respectively to modern France and UK, but I think more favourably than to modern US.
    On the subject of Communists: in my riding of Ottawa Centre, the Communist Party of Canada has run a candidate in every federal election I can remember. In a couple of elections there was even a candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (don’t ask me what the difference is, I haven’t a clue). The Communists have always finished dead last in the election and have always lost their election deposit; they come lower in the totals even than the Natural Law Party (which advocates solving public policy issues by “yogic flying” and meditation). There are usually 100 or so voters in the riding (out of maybe 60,000 or more) who vote for them. I’m quite happy to see them on the ballot in a democratic election and get democratically clobbered every time by the voters who exercise their own free choices, than see the US approach where I believe they are banned from ballots (or would probably have their party headquarters fire-bombed or machine-gunned or something). I don’t like our Quebec separatist parties and would be profoundly saddened and upset if Quebec were to separate, but I like that they’re a legal party and even have seats in the federal parliament, something the US Congress would probably never permit. But that isn’t a topic I feel I can discuss with my family never mind other Americans; most Americans are so hopelessly brainwashed into believing they are the only truly, or the most democratic, nation on earth in spite of all kinds of glaring examples to the contrary.

    1. One thing I have always thought is many Americans have this idea of Canada as being a very rural country when in fact the major urban areas especially Toronto are extremely dense and congested. I always like the story one of my American acquintances parents who hate driving in “big cities” and live in Northern Vermont that were travelling back from Indiana and decided it “might” be nice to cut through back through Canada. While there many interesting tourist attraction along Highway 401 from Windsor to Montreal if you don’t like the type of big city traffic jams common in NYC, LA, or Chicago driving Highway 401 through Toronto is definately not for you. I think given the way the US Rand McNally Road Atlas de-emphasizes the scale of the Greater Toronto Area they definately found themselves in a rude awakening. (I myself don’t particular like heavy traffic myself and try avoid 401 if I can which typically is less often than more).
      A less well known view of Canada(if you aren’t Canadian):
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Highway_401.png
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_401
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Freeway_Overload.jpg
      While there is not a similar defintion of Metropolitan Area in the US and Canada I believe that Greater Toronto is only eclipsed in size by Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Additionally if Ontario was a state its population would only be exceeded by New York, California, Texas, and Florida.

    2. @schubert, Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking for the past few years. I left at a later date (1989) but when I go back to visit the US, I don’t recognize the place anymore. Hard to put my finger on what changed but I’ll give it a try.
      Fear: I didn’t grown up in fear and yet I was a young adult during the end of the Cold War. We were concerned, yes, but not to the level of paranoia I see now.
      Economic Insecurity: Every time I go back I feel like people are poorer. Visibly so. Especially the middle class. Everyone I know except for my parents is in debt up to their eyeballs. On paper they make good money but things are tight and everyone is afraid of losing their jobs. All the homeowners I know have seen their house values plunge and that was the only savings these folks had.
      Political Polarization: Someone already mentioned this. All I can say is that I concur 100%. People are prickly and quick to attack if they think you are dissing the US or you have an opinion that they disagree with. Zero sense of humor and zero capacity to discuss things rationally.
      General Culture: Along with this is something I find terribly frightening and that is a kind of ignorance I just don’t see in other places. Americans aren’t dumb but they are incredibly ill-informed and lack that kind of “culture générale” that is the basis of rational civil argument. What you hear all too often is pure emotion and zero facts. And I’m talking about basic stuff like what “socialism” is or where Venezuela is located on a map. Often they don’t even know what they don’t know. And I’m not talking about folks who come from terrible inner city schools – I’m seeing this in people who went to “good” schools in nice suburbs.
      And finally what I see is something that just breaks my heart – Americans are starting to have a mean streak. On half of the country despises the other. Everyone is hurting but their lives have become so narrow that they have no energy for empathy. And they go after each other, their fellow citizens, in ways that are terrible to see. If those people over there would just behave better/think my way/go home then *my* country will be alright. Some essential glue that held this place together is getting very thin. No sense of solidarity or national purpose. This is a nation at war with itself and people are hunkering down and trying to protect their own little piece of it and to hell with everyone else. Obama couldn’t fix it and I doubt Romney will do better. The social contract is going, going, almost gone. And God help us if the US implodes.
      My .02.

      1. wow Victoria, what a well-worded and succinct summary of what is wrong with the US. I was going to suggest you try to get it published somewhere in the US media, but then a) it’s highly unlikely they’d accept it and b) it’s even more unlikely that a significant number of Americans would read it and take it to heart and think about what it means and what, if anything, they can do to try to set their country and society back on the path they all used to aspire to. There still are some thoughtful Americans and one or two sane and thoughtful media outlets down there, but they’re mostly hunkered down and fearful of everyone else right now. I keep wondering whether it was like this before the outbreak of the US Civil War …

        1. Hi schubert, Thanks. Yeah, I don’t think they don’t want to hear it and the moment they hear that I live in France I’d lose all credibility and they’d slap me around from the West to the East Coast before kicking me over the border. Hopefully (please God) that would be the *Canadian* border. 🙂

  31. @Schubert: My wife and I share a lot with you. We knew we were Canadians when we visited family in the US and then came home. It was such a relief to see the Maple Leaf flying over the border crossing. We really felt that we were coming home when we re-entered Canada.
    Our families have no idea. They think of Canada as an extra state to the north and we *never* discuss politics with them. When they mentioned once about freedom being the defining feature of the US we mentioned that some of our friends were vacationing in Cuba and that USC couldn’t do that the temperature in the room dropped considerably. Everyone avoids politics since then. If they knew that we belonged to a socialist party they would be shocked even though they have to know we are to the left of anyone they meet at home.
    Our visits now are short. We catch up on family matters but have so little else in common. We have been in Canada now for more than 2/3 of our lives. We have almost everything in common with Canadians so conversations which assume background are easy here and uncomfortable in the US.
    The only time we feel at all like ex-pats here is every four years when friends seek us out to ask yet again to explain the electoral college to them!
    One thing we would change if we could is the wording of O Canada. In a nation of immigrants it is strange to say “…Our home and *native* land.”

  32. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I cross under the Canadian flag at the top of the Peace Bridge on my return home to Canada. Despite the name of the bridge I always take, I never feel peaceful when I’m in US.
    I think many Americans think of Canadians as Americans with “socialized” health care (some say it with envy, others with a sneer) and same-sex marriage.
    On the Cuban issue, my elderly mother for years snuck Cuban cigars back across the border for my niece’s husband, who was a fighter pilot in US Navy.
    They think of us like the lovable black sheep of the family–sort of like how the Royal Family probably thinks of Prince Harry these days.
    I remember reading an article a few years ago that said American values are now more in sync with those of Great Britain, while Canadian values are more in sync with those of continental Europe. I personally found that surprising.

  33. Like all of you, I have been Canadian longer than I was American, having first come to Canada 51 years ago. The thought of returning to live there is a bit like watching a horror movie.
    I have four siblings living in various parts of the U.S. One sister, whose family has always worked in the federal government system (a brother-in-law holding very senior positions in the Bush administration), is ultra conservative. Another sister, now retired to South Carolina, says she and her husband are probably the only democrats in the whole state. When the two of them are in the same room, I feel like I must be a peacemaker. The republican sister won’t allow CNN on in her home; the other sister does not allow Fox news on in her home. It does not happen often that we are all together as a family, but when it does occur, I thank God that I left and settled here in Canada. I am not sure they think of me as the ‘black sheep’, but I suspect they feel sorry for me. You know, the bane of high income taxes, universal health care, the GST. How ever do I stand it!!!

  34. As I am certain many of you are aware, USPs are not the only people whose lives are being severely affected by US extraterritorial taxation and reporting policies and the aggressiveness of the IRS / DoJ, etc.
    Bank employees are also losing their jobs, having trouble getting new jobs, and afraid about their reputation or even fearful of travelling outside of Switzerland because their employers have transmitted their names and documents to US authorities, and they often don’t even know exactly what has been transmitted.
    In accordance with discussions I had with various participants here at Maple about the need to see what the foreign press is covering, I would like to share with you here a cross-post from IBS, containing a partial transcript of two interviews which appeared on Swiss francophone TV last night. At the bottom of the post there is also a pingback to discussions about stories regarding the detention of children of Swiss bankers who were visiting family in the US, and other articles (unfortunately in German and not yet translated) about other categories of people (notaries public, CPAs, etc) being advised not to travel.
    http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2012/08/28/interviews-on-swiss-tv-bank-employees-upset-about-their-names-being-disclosed-to-the-us/#more-12321
    I am not going to copy the transcripts here (4 pages). Perhaps the moderators could open a new thread?

  35. @Jefferson: It seems Switzerland has been the hardest hit. It’s like Switzerland and the Swiss have become the easiest line of attack for US.
    United States of Arrogance is a country that seems to always need to be at war or at odds with someone. They’re like the classic bully in the schoolyard playground. They always have to find someone smaller than themselves to beat up.
    Right now, it’s the Swiss which I find totally bizarre. The US is probably the greatest tax haven in the world. US banks are doing exactly what the Americans are trying to jail Swiss bankers for.
    How much lower can the US go than detaining Swiss kids visiting grandparents in US? Unfortunately, I fear we haven’t yet seen how low US can go.
    As stressful as this may be for us in Canada, I can’t even imagine being considered a US person in Switzerland or many other countries right now.

  36. A quick update about our border crossing, in light of wonderful news in this afternoon’s delivery from Canada Post.
    My wife received her CLN by regular mail today from the US consulate in Toronto. She had applied for a relinquishment CLN there 4.5 months ago. The consulate took one week for the Consul (presumably the vice-consul’s boss) to approve her CLN. Washington took three months for final approval. Then it took five weeks and a couple of days for State in Washington to send the approved CLN to Toronto via Tortoise Express or God knows what other slow-poke. Canada Post took three business days to get it to us in Ottawa from Toronto, which isn’t great but is a model of efficiency compared with the State Department. Anyway, it’s here, back-dated to her Canadian citizenship of 1977, and she’s “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last.”
    I just realized that when we crossed the US border as mentioned at the beginning of this post, her CLN had unbeknownst to us been approved in Washinton four weeks earlier. Possibly that information was on the DHS computer at pre-clearance in Pearson and possibly the border guard knew we both have CLNs, from his computer. Or not, depending on how inefficient State’s IT people are at inputting data into the computer network.
    We plan a ‘slap-up’ meal at a neighbourhood restaurant to celebrate. And God Help any banker who tries to out either of us to IRS under FATCA now; “go ahead, make my lawyer’s day,” to paraphrase Clint Eastwood.
    I will continue to monitor and occasionally participate in this website from time to time, in solidarity and sympathy with my fellow former and present US persons, but I hope you understand that after twelve months of Hell, my wife and I both want to regain our lives and sanity so I’m not going to be spending as much computer time on this issue as I have been. I am subscribing to this thread though and will see any replies and respond if or when I think it constructive and helpful to do so.
    Good luck to you all and God Bless You Every One.

    1. @Schubert, thanks for updating us and sincere congratulations to both you and your wife for escaping IRS hell. I’m green with envy, but I totally understand how you might want to actually forget about all this and just live the lives you’ve worked toward all these years. It would be nice to hear from you now and again, you could do a show and tell on what we can all look forward to, once this monkey’s off our backs!

    2. Our sincere congratulations to your wife on this ordeal finally being over. I know our relief was palpable the day ours arrived.
      Let’s hope that the logjam in Toronto is finally breaking up.

    3. Congratulations, schubert! That is wonderful news. Time for a pause and a chance to get back to real life without all that nonsense hanging over your heads like the sword of Damocles. Good luck to you. I’ll be watching the Quebec elections as well. My daughter is, as I write this, on a plane from Seattle to Montreal and my husband just left the house 15 minutes ago for his flight from Paris to Montreal. 🙂

    4. @schubert; I am very happy for you and your wife. And also glad that it seems that Toronto seems to be moving faster now. Thank you for all your posts and updates. I got used to seeing various people in this and the IBS community, and will miss seeing you as one of the ‘regulars’ here and there. Enjoy your freedom, and your celebratory dinner!
      best wishes,
      badger

  37. @Schubert: “Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”
    (Nelson Mandela)
    Congratulations.

  38. I’m so happy to hear this!!!!! I’m always happy when someone reports receiving their CLN. But this is Toronto … so I’m double-happy! After the Calgary, then Halifax, then Montréal CLNs arrived over a period of weeks in June-July, nothing happened in Canada for over a month. Just this week, I was wondering when they’ll get to Toronto or if the train had stalled. I think I’m in the same batch as Mrs. S. Great news!
    You’ve been very supportive to me, and all of us, in this convoluted mess, so it’s a good time to say thanks. I’m really happy to hear that your lives are now in order (officially and irrevocably). Have a great celebration! Have a big bottle of wine! I think I may have a glass myself this evening 🙂

  39. Thanks all. I am genuinely touched by your sentiments, as is my wife.
    It’s au revoir, if not a bientot. No doubt I’ll be checking in from time to time, just not as often.
    Now if we can just get ourselves past the Quebec election … always something to worry about politically it seems, but also necessary to smell the coffee and the roses. I’m looking forward to getting back into volunteer work with my photo club, which I’ve been neglecting the past year, not to mention the backlog of great photos I got in June 2011 in Switzerland. (Great photo, Blaze!)

  40. Congratulations Schubert and to your wife. Thank you, too, for all of your excellent advice. You have been one of the most helpful individuals to me since I first read your posts back at Expat Forum. This is an especially exciting development for me since I relinquished at Toronto in December. Hopefully mine is on the way, too. Must feel great to have the monkey off your back!

  41. @Quincy,
    You state you relinquished in Toronto in December, 2011. It sounds like Schubert’s wife, relinquished 4 1/2 months ago. Any idea why some Toronto relinquishments get processed faster than others?

    1. It seems that Dept of State has divided the world into several zones for CLNs, and that in all zones, except Canada, the standard delivery time for a CLN is one to two months.
      Canada processing in Washington got really backlogged and it was taking a year to get a CLN here. I was told in May that they were now trying to clear up the Canadian backlog. I don’t know, of course, how the backlog occurred or what’s going on… but it seems seems like these Canadian CLN applications must have just been sitting there for months because all of a sudden CLNs started to arrive here in bunches.
      CLNs began arriving in Canada in batches geographically: Calgary (June), then Halifax (July), then Montreal (July). It looks like now it’s Toronto’s turn. They seem to arrive in bunches by consulate, but not in chronological order.
      An example: the first, and so far only, Calgary CLNs that were reported to Brock came in in June. Six people reported receiving their CLNs between June 9th and June 21st.
      The 6 people had filed their CLN applications at the Calgary Consulate in: January (CLN received June 9), March (June 12), February (June 13), May (June 15), November (June 16) and February (June 21).

    2. @tiger I have no idea why some relinquishments/renunciations are taking longer than others. I’m optimistic though that I may get mine soon based on the pattern that Pacifica described at the other Canadian consulates.
      @Pacifica thanks for summarizing the order the CLNs were received in Calgary. Keeps me from feeling anxious that someone that went later than me already received theirs. I’m assuming that Toronto will follow a similar pattern.

  42. @Pacifica
    Have you noticed whether there is a different response time for CLNs based on relinquishment vs CLNs based on renunciation?
    I have two nephews who are foreign service officers for the State Department. If I were a ‘pushier’ type, I would ask them to look into the country discrepancies and the differences in U.S.consulates in Canada. I have certainly spoken to their mother (my sister) about all of this on the phone. She has not volunteered to ask her sons to look into it.

    1. @Tiger,
      I don’t think there is any difference in the turnaround time between renunuciations and s.(1) relinquishments. Of course, our sample is very small.
      There was only 1 relinquisher in the Calgary group of 6 people. That happened to be the first CLN that arrived. He was the second earliest of this group to apply for a CLN (January). All 6 CLNs arrived within 11 days in June.
      At Halifax, we had 4 CLNs reported. 3 relinquishers (January) and 1 renunciant (February) all received their CLNs within about a week in July.
      Montreal we had 1 renunciant (March), received CLN July.
      For other continents, we only have 2 relinquishments, they both got their CLNs in 1-2 months, which seems to be pretty standard for the reunciations outside Canada too.
      Hopefully, with Washington now clearing up the Canada backlog, from here on in they will be processing Canadian CLN applications as they receive them, as they’ve been doing with the other countries.

  43. @quincy and anyone else
    To repeat a response I gave on the IBS site yesterday, for those who don’t monitor it:
    If your CLN meeting was several months ago and you haven’t heard anything, I think it’s reasonable to assume it’s somewhere in the chaotic stack on someone’s desk in Washington and/or still under review. It’s highly unlikely, unless there is something terribly deficient in your application that the consulate didn’t pick up on in your interview, that your application is going to be rejected at this stage.
    I say this because I know two people in Canada who mailed their forms directly to the State Department office in Washington a few months ago, on the advice of a lawyer, hoping to end-run the queue. Five weeks later, which is REALLY fast in Candian experience, their forms were returned to them by mail with a polite letter saying essentially “nice try, but no cigar; if you want us to process your application, you MUST go to an embassy or consulate to do that.” So if something is off the rails you should have heard about that by now. They do seem to be prompt (for them) at getting back to you, if you screw up somehow. At least that’s what I think is a reasonable assumption, given the above and everything else I’ve heard and can guess at.
    However if you’ve been waiting more than about six months, I’d politely call or email the consulate (maybe even ask for the consular officer you spoke with, if you got the name) and ask what’s happening. They’ll likely tell you they don’t know either, because once it leaves the consulate and goes to Washington it’s beyond their control or ken. However we do know of one prominent case (Petros at IBS) whose relinquishment application did somehow get in-boxed in Toronto and sat there for a while before he called and they realized they’d forgot to mail it to him … so no harm in contacting them for a follow up, just be calm and polite about it.
    At the end of my wife’s interview in Toronto, she was told her application should take two-six months. The consular officer went on to stress that once the application goes to Washington, it’s in a large bureaucracy and he couldn’t guarantee anything about how long they’d take. He went on to say that if she hadn’t heard anything in six months, she should call or email the consulate (he actually gave her a specific email address on a piece of paper) to check up on it. So they probably won’t mind, certainly not in Toronto from the evidence, if you politely and quietly follow up with them after a reasonable time delay (six months is reasonable, it seems, and certainly anything longer than that warrants a call IMO).

  44. My wife and a friend went on a shopping trip to Maine today. Easy crossing and didn’t get asked anything about a CLN nor was she told this time that she was a US citizen. I think she was a little bit disappointed.

  45. schubert, some months ago I read a horror story by someone who was detained when crossing into the US with a Canadian passport showing a US birthplace. I can’t find it now, but it may well be the story that you refer to when you say “remember Blaine, Washington”.
    Can you point me to this story? Thanks.

  46. *WhatAmI Sorry for the vagueness. The story I was referring to wasn’t specifically about crossing the US border with a Canadian passport, it was about a particular border guard who had repeatedly harassed people crossing into the US (particularly women, from what I recall), was eventually “outed” by a number of complaints, and was I believe fired or forced to take early retirement, anyway he’s no longer at the border crossing at Blaine. The story did highlight however that border guards have arguably too much discretion and, as may be inevitable when large numbers of people have that discretion, some people abuse their power, especially when they aren’t being observed or monitored by higher-ups.
    I do know someone who was crossing by car with her Canadian passport (US birthplace) and with her adult son in the car (Canadian passport and Canadian birthplace, but it came out in the grilling that he was her son and hence arguably a USC). They were detained about fifteen minutes while the border guard argued with the woman about her citizenship (who refused to conceed USC, she’s eligible for a relinquishment though AFAIK she hasn’t applied for a CLN yet) and then tried to pressue the son into conceeding he is USC. After 15 minutes of this abuse, they were let through, rather shaken and outraged at the experience. The woman saw the border guard make some sort of entry into their computer, but she’s crossed the border by car since then, still with her Canadian passport, without further incident. So for now I’d chalk this up to random bullying by someone who should never have been given a uniform or a badge, rather than any remotely systematic attempt to enforce a formal policy. This particular incident I only know about privately from the woman involved (a friend of my wife and me), hasn’t been in the press, and I know the woman doesn’t want any publicity over this if it can identify her.
    I don’t have a link to that story about Blaine, it was on the CBC News website I think about a year ago. It made the Canada-wide section, it wasn’t just in the BC section of the website.

  47. schubert, OK, thanks, that’s not the story after all. The story I’m looking for was about crossing the border by car, somewhere in BC to the US, likely Washington. As a result of the entry problem (I think they were denied), if I remember correctly, they got US passports, started filing with the IRS and all sorts of things and their lives have been turned upside down. It may be that I’m confusing multiple posts I read early this year. It was all quite upsetting so I had to leave it be for a few months.

  48. @WhatAmI: I think the person may be Calgary411. I hope Calgary doesn’t mind me giving her example here. She was hassled crossing into US (don’t know which border crossing) and told she must get a US passport. She did. Her life since then has been a nightmare of having to become compliant with IRS.
    I don’t know your details, but if you have a Canadian passport with US place of birth, my advice is don’t get a US passport, even if you are told to do so. I was told in 2004 to always enter as a US citizen. In 2011, I was told to get a US passport. I have not and will not get a US passport. Since then, I have had no problems entering on Canadian passport with US place of birth.
    Some border guards are going to try to make life difficult, no matter what. Here is a report about problems of Canadians simply going to a baseball game in US.
    http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/08/28/53024/
    Three Canadian women have complained of being strip searched at US border: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/03/13/wdr-border-assault-lawsuits.html
    To the best of my knowledge, neither of these relate to a US place of birth on passport. There was a report at Brock about someone at the border being told something like “You will stop being a US citizen when we tell you you are no longer a US citizen.”
    On the other hand, Canadian border guards also sometimes make life difficult. http://bc.ctvnews.ca/travellers-report-rude-accusatory-border-employees-1.940707
    I personally have always found Canadian border folks friendlier. A recent report found Canadian border guards have drawn their guns or used pepper spray less frequently this year. Yikes!
    (link no longer works at Calgary Herald – removed)
    The two important things are that the problems seem to be limited. Most people are having no problems crossing on Canadian passport with US place of birth. Don’t let yourself get intimidated into getting a US passport.
    Most importantly, don’t let this whole IRS issue stress you out too much. It was probably wise to take some time away from it it was causing problems.
    Welcome to Maple Sandbox. I hope you will continue to share, grow and explore with us.

  49. I’ve been hassled three times at by US border guards about my US birthplace, and all of them were long before any of this hit the radar. One threw my Canadian passport at me, another one threw my Cdn citizenship paper (pre-passport requirement days) on the floor and told me I was a US citizen, period. Another just verbally harangued me. Frankly, I just chalked it up to bullies finding any opportunity to bully a woman who couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t take any of it seriously. Interestingly, none told me I had to have a US passport to enter the US, they just insisted I was a US citizen and that what I thought about it didn’t matter.

  50. @Outraged. Sounds like the bullies you ran into got career promotions to the embassy here in Ottawa, from all reports including one today where someone was told to come back for their second renunciation appointment in August 2013. I know someone else in Ottawa who was treated much the same as you were, in the embassy during an abortive relinquishment interview earlier this year. As I’ve said before, there are some people who should never be given a badge, a uniform, or a desk with their national flag behind it. These people are supposed to represent their country, and their behaviour reflects badly not only on them but on the country whose badge and uniform, and under whose flag and in whose name, they behave like that.
    All our US friends who come up here have commented to us on how nice and polite Canadian border guards are, and how rude US border guards can be even to Americans coming back on US passports.

      1. Yup.
        There needs to be some serious house-cleaning at the US Embassy in Ottawa, starting at the top with the current ambassador. When you have a repeated pattern of bullying over (to my knowledge based on reports from friends whose judgment and veracity I trust) about 12-13 months in the same building, the buck stops at the top. There is a seriously malicious culture operating in that particular building, I think, and based on several stories I’ve heard or reports I’ve seen. Problem is, host countries rarely get to pick who the foreign ambassador is, even if they’re sufficiently motivated to raise a stink over it.
        Does not speak highly for the administration that appointed that ambassador, whatever one thinks of their opponents in the coming election. (If I still were an American and contemplating the choices in November, I don’t know whether I’d disappear into the woods with a case of wine, write “Bugs Bunny” into the write-in space on the ballot, or open my wrists with a razor in a hot bathtub. Or, more likely, do what I did anyway in 1969 and leave the country never to return. The choice in 1968 was just as grim, and arguably even worse with Wallace and Lemay on the ballot though they didn’t have a serious chance of winning.)

        1. I think people unconsciously hold an embassy/consulate to a higher standard than, say, border patrol or the driver’s licence bureau — a diplomatic post is seen as representing a country. People certainly do not expect to harassed/bullied/etc at a diplomatic post of all places.
          A paradox with the extreme behaviour at Ottawa is people say it felt like they were trying to get out of the Soviet Union. That would really diminish one’s esteem of the US. Which is completely counter-productive to why countries have embassies in the first place.

        2. This topic just reminded me of a comment I made recently on Brock in a discussion about Toronto (a consulate widely regarded as a credit to the country they represent).
          [Start Quote] “I found the consulate staff very pleasant, cordial and professional to deal with. I actually left the consulate feeling good about the United States … and after the hassles we US-born people have been dealing with lately, that’s pretty impressive!” [End Quote]
          That’s how people should leave a consulate. Face it, there’s always been a lot of people in the world who dislike the United States. Their own consulates should be the last people trying to increase that number!
          With new US policies destroying the lives of US citizens and former citizens outside the US, sensible consulates are, in effect, doing a sort of damage control. Of course, I’m still outraged about this whole “US mess” … but the US govt representatives at their Toronto consulate made me feel like, well, I wasn’t escaping a fascist regime, I was terminating a contractual relationship amicably.
          Bluntly put, the US govt representatives at Toronto created a positive impression of their country, which enables me to move forward without hating their country.
          If a person were to bullied, harassed and/or obstructed in their final transaction with the US, what is their lasting impression of the United States? And what good does it do anyone?

          1. Very well said. I had the same favourable impression leaving the consulate in Halifax. Professional, polite and helpful.

    1. @schubert, there is a great term in French – le petit chef (the little boss) and to get it just right say it with a sneer. 🙂 It refers to someone in a bureaucracy or hierarchy who has just enough power to be a nuisance and who uses it to abuse people even though he or she is not necessarily very high up in hierarchy or very important. A petty bureaucrat might be another way to translate it who just chooses to be unpleasant just for the hell of it.
      I think they exist almost everywhere….

      1. You’re right, we even have a few of those in Canada. I had this misfortune of having to report to one or two during my tenure in the federal bureaucracy. Somehow I naively believe/hope that embassies would do better than that, given what they’re supposed to represent, but I realize that’s dreaming in technicolor for any country. Still doesn’t excuse the behaviour though.
        I must remember that French phrase, I hope my execrable accent doesn’t ruin it when I say it … I wonder, does the cartoon strip “Dilbert” run in France, and if so do they translate “pointy-haired boss” with “le petit Chef”?

  51. @Schubert: My American family and friends usually would far rather deal with Canadian border guards coming into Canada than they would deal with US ones on their return to US.

  52. My husband and I crossed the border at the Peace Bridge into the USA on August 10. My husband has no US ties (born in Denmark, Canadian citizen for decades). I was born in the USA, and came to Canada in 1971 as a student, been living entirely in Canada since then, and became a citizen in 2002. Since 2002 I have always traveled with a Canadian passport and never had any questions asked about my US birthplace or any problems. However since I heard about this tax mess last fall I have been very nervous about crossing, but once again there was no problem at all. The border guard looked at our passports and asked the usual questions about length of stay etc.
    I don’t have a CLN nor have I applied to relinquish. It seems that many on this site are in the same position as me, and don’t know what to do. Stay off the IRS radar, or relinquish?

  53. @Somerfugl,
    I don’t know if the answers to the following questions make any difference to your case, but I’m curious:
    – how old were you when you left the US for Canada?
    – did you ever have a SSN, work and submit tax forms to the US?
    – did you sign a form indicating that you wanted to keep your US citizenship when you became a Canadian citizen? (a friend of mine did that when becoming Canadian in 2003).
    – have you ever had a US passport?
    – have you renewed a US passport after becoming Canadian in 2002?
    Do you have children? They are likely US citizens if born before 1986/11/14 and you were 19 or older when you left the US. If born after that date, they are USCs if you left the US when you were 16 or older.
    http://www.greencardlawyers.com/citizenship/citizenbybirth.html#Chart%20to%20Determine%20Citizenship%20Rules
    http://www.grasmick.com/citizen.htm#CITIZENSHIP%20FROM

    1. @WhatAml. I was 23 in 1971 when I came to Canada from the USA to attend grad school. I worked in the USA when I was a university student on a co-op program. I have a SS number, but my income was so low I don’t remember if my mother filed taxes for me or not. I got a US passport when I was age 21 (and living in the US) because I took a trip to Europe. I renewed it in Canada right after I got married to my Canadian husband and we took a trip to Europe. I had not been in Canada long enough to take out Canadian citizenship, so had no choice re: passport.
      After that I usually just used a Canadian drivers license or whatever to cross the border to visit relatives. Rules for crossing were a lot simpler then. Once that US passport (from the 1970’s) expired I never renewed it.
      When I became Canadian in 2002 I assumed that I was losing my US citizenship which is what I wanted. I did not sign any papers to keep US citizenship. Since then I have done nothing to claim US citizenship and I always travel on a Canadian passport.
      Yes, I know my 2 daughters have US citizenship. One actually took advantage of it after completing her PhD and works in the US. However, I don’t think this should affect me, as I have done nothing since becoming Canadian , to claim US citizenship. I have never filed US taxes once I left the US. My adult life has been lived entirely in CAnada.
      My other daughter is considering relinquishing her US as she has done nothing to claim US citizenship, lives in Canada and has no intention of ever living in the US. She also does not want to get her Canadian husband involved in the FACTA mess.
      So I’m not sure what to do regarding relinquishment. With FACTA coming I guess I should make a decision soon and go ahead and apply for a CLN.

      1. @Somerfugl, your details are similar to those of a fellow I spoke with (not on this forum) who applied for a retroactive CLN. It seems to be going through and he’s waiting for it to arrive in the mail. He came to Canada when 5 yrs old, but he later registered for the military/draft and had a US passport, but did nothing US-related after getting his Canadian citizenship. He never had a SSN or worked in the US though. I don’t know if that matters.

        1. @WhatAmI: Having a SSN or working in US prior to having become a Canadian citizen does not make a difference to being able to relinquish.
          What is important is what happens after one swears that Oath of Allegiance to US. Somerfugl did nothing to reclaim her US citizenship after that date. It is also my understanding that she became a Canadian citizen with the intent that she was relinquishing her US citizenship.
          Because she became a Canadian before 2004, she had no obligation to inform IRS. Therefore, she should be able to get a back dated CLN. The question she and many of us have is whether we are better off with a CLN or better off staying away from DOS and IRS completely.
          I personally have made the decision to stay away. I compare it to Schubert’s Sleeping Bear. I personally am turning around and not going to cross the bear’s path. Others are choosing to gently tiptoe around the bear by getting a CLN. There may be risks, but we assess that risk and make the best decision we can for ourselves.

          1. Thanks for those details. I seems Somerfugl has a good chance at a back-dated CLN.
            I’m in the position of trying to determine if I can get a back-dated CLN without exposing myself to the DOS in order to ask! Other than going to the consul in the 70’s, I didn’t do any physical act of relinquishment other than to ignore the US and live intentionally as a Canadian. Why would I have, since the consul told me I wasn’t a US citizen!
            My own story is here:
            http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2012/09/06/what-am-i-born-in-the-us-but-the-us-consulate-told-me-in-1970s-that-i-am-not-an-american

    2. @WhatAml. I was 23 in 1971 when I came to Canada from the USA to attend grad school. I worked in the USA when I was a university student on a co-op program. I have a SS number, but my income was so low I don’t remember if my mother filed taxes for me or not. I got a US passport when I was age 21 (and living in the US) because I took a trip to Europe. I renewed it in Canada right after I got married to my Canadian husband and we took a trip to Europe. I had not been in Canada long enough to take out Canadian citizenship, so had no choice re: passport.
      After that I usually just used a Canadian drivers license or whatever to cross the border to visit relatives. Rules for crossing were a lot simpler then. Once that US passport (from the 1970’s) expired I never renewed it.
      When I became Canadian in 2002 I assumed that I was losing my US citizenship which is what I wanted. I did not sign any papers to keep US citizenship. Since then I have done nothing to claim US citizenship and I always travel on a Canadian passport.
      Yes, I know my 2 daughters have US citizenship. One actually took advantage of it after completing her PhD and works in the US. However, I don’t think this should affect me, as I have done nothing since becoming Canadian , to claim US citizenship. I have never filed US taxes once I left the US. My adult life has been lived entirely in CAnada.
      My other daughter is considering relinquishing her US as she has done nothing to claim US citizenship, lives in Canada and has no intention of ever living in the US. She also does not want to get her Canadian husband involved in the FACTA mess.
      So I’m not sure what to do regarding relinquishment. With FACTA coming I guess I should make a decision soon and go ahead and apply for a CLN.

      1. Just wondering if you have recieved any feedback on your situation. I have a simlilar story. I was born in US though, I have renounced my citizenship but after having my two children. I have never registered them with US but assume if enough border hassle was done they would want to claim them. I am just concerned if ever traveling with them, would these questions come up and would a simple “OK, Thanks for pointing that out” work? I may be safe though as after the age of 14, I was out of US for quite some time (more then 6 months) so technically, I wasnt physically present long enough to pass the citizenship requirements. I left US at age 16.

          1. The possible “automatic” transmission of US Citizenship and being hassled at the border for my kids to claim it, it should be their decision if they wish later in life to pursue it or claim it if they can. I do not think they are US citizens but of course depending on “who” you talk to, what internet site etc, they all state different things. I want to protect my kids from this garbage and it would be nice to not live in fear of traveling to the US to visit their grandfather. Some sites say it doesnt have to be you as the parent but kids can get it from grandparents citizenship.

  54. Victoria, Schubert, Tiger, Pacifica, Blaze, and others,
    I share your sentiments. I, too, am a long-time ex-pat (left US over 40 years ago, Canadian citizen for over 30 years). I applied for a relinquishment CLN at the Toronto consulate in June and am still waiting for the CLN to arrive. Meanwhile, my wife and I are refraining from travel to the US, as we have done for over a year.
    I’m not quite sure what to do re the IRS after the CLN arrives. I’m thinking of writing them a letter, since I agreed on form 4081 that I would contact them, but I don’t plan to fill out any IRS forms, because I don’t think they have legal grounds to demand that. I’m interested in hearing about the experiences of other long-ago relinquishers with that issue.

    1. I would like to point there is no requirement for Relinquishers to fill out form DS-4081(Only DS-4079). However the State Department “strongly” encourages you to do so. Some day I am going to try to write a post explaining this in more detail.

      1. will be most interesting in seeing such a post.
        Do you know of anyone who has successfully got a CLN or had a CLN application accepted without submitting a form 4081? My reading of the situation, based partly on decades as a (Canadian) federal bureaucrat, is that it’s unlikely a vice-consul is going to accept and process a CLN without the 4081. I believe it’s there to cover State’s butt from various things the Supreme Court and lower courts have said about various CLN-related cases. However I’m no lawyer and could be wrong about this. But I am quite skeptical that walking into a consulate with a 4079 and refusing to file or sign a 4081 is going to get you very far. It certainly would provoke some attention, I expect.

  55. @AnonAnon: My understanding is you don’t have any obligation to IRS. You relinquished prior to 1986. It was automatic (supposedly “permanently and irrevocably”) that one relinquished US citizenship then by becoming a citizen of another country.
    As you may know, Michael J Miller posted at Brock that it was his understanding from a conversation with an IRS agent that anyone who relinquished prior to 2004 had no obligation to inform DOS or IRS. Personally, I would not report to IRS. But, I’m not even going to get a CLN, so I certainly understand that it is a very personal decision that each person has to make.
    My only reason for crossing the border is to visit my elderly mother. After her death, I will simply stay in Canada and spend my money here.

  56. @Tim: I was posting at the same time as you did. Your input is much more objective and informed than mine. I look forward to a further post on this–although I’m still not planning on filing any forms with IRS.

  57. @anonanon: My wife and I are about the same as you. We came to Canada 44 years ago and took out Canadian citizenship after the then mandatory 5 year waiting period. Thought we had given up our US citizenship when we became Canadian and swore an oath to the Queen. We had never even heard about CLNs back then.
    About this time last year we started hearing stuff about an amnesty for tax evaders and thought nothing of it – not us for sure. We had had some interesting conversations with border guards when crossing into the US. They handed back our passports and told us we were still US citizens. We said we weren’t but they insisted. Since they let us in we didn’t press the issue.
    Someone then told us that if you were considered a US citizen by the US then the whole tax mess applied to you and you also should have a US passport to enter the US. We got very worried and started to look into things and found this rats nest of conflicting opinions, threats from the IRS, dire warnings from accounting firms, well, you know the drill.
    Even though Flaherty said Canada would not collect penalties we felt that getting the paper that confirmed what we already knew – we relinquished back in 1973 was our best way to go. We were afraid that laws would change or the US would change the rules yet again and we wanted something that said we were out in ’73. Notice that by December we knew about relinquishment vs renunciation, 4079 from 4081, more than we ever wanted to know.
    We booked appointments in Halifax in January, signed everything and got our CLN’s just one week short of six months later.
    There is one special circumstance we have which we think works in our favour. Since we were US citizens up until the end of 1973 we had filed US tax forms every year to then. We filed a final (joint) return for 1973 and sent a cover letter saying we no longer considered ourselves US citizens and would not be filing any more US tax returns. Since form 4081 says that it is our responsibility to contact the IRS we think that cover letter satisfies that. If it doesn’t we were not planning on saying anything to them anyway as we refuse to admit that if the CLN is dated 1973 we would have any obligation to the IRS now. I don’t think they are going to say anything to the people in our situation.

  58. Thanks for all the replies. What I’m really hoping for is someone who has received confirmation from the IRS that those of us who relinquished before 2004 (or 1996, or whatever the relevant date is) have no further obligations to report to them, as far as they are concerned. That may be too much to hope for, but when I get my CLN and write to them, that is what I will be asking them for. Among other things, I plan to quote from Michael J. Miller’s comments on that. If and when I get a reply to my letter, I will be happy to share it on this site and on the Isaac Brock Society site. I wish and hope the people at the IRS would have the human decency to let it be known what they think are the legal limits of their claims to our past, and why.
    I would be happy never entering the U.S. again, except that we have some relatives and friends there who are in declining health and whom we would like to be able to visit.
    Also, relevant to this discussion thread: I recent years when we traveled by car to the US, the border guards a couple of times have noted my US birthplace and said that I was a US citizen and should be entering on a US passport. I didn’t want to argue with them, on the principle that one can never win an argument with them. So I just smiled and said “oh” or “ok” and continued to use my Canadian passport the next time.

  59. @AnonAnon
    I don’t give advice on taxation matters, since I’m neither a lawyer nor an accountant and hence not qualified. Also, I’ve had enough lay experience in this area through private and internet exchanges to know that everyone’s situation is a bit different, and “one size does not fit all.”
    That being said, and along the lines of my other thread here
    http://maplesandbox.ca/the-sleeping-bear-metaphor/
    I would personally and non-professionally suggest that you NOT contact the IRS, nor respond to any correspondence you might get from them, concerning the matters you raised, without first getting some legal advice from a lawyer who is familiar with the issues. Possibly even two lawyers, if you can afford it, because there are enough legal grey areas in the subjects that you raise, that two qualified lawyers might give somewhat different advice on how to proceed or indeed whether to proceed at all. In the end, it’s a decision only you can make.
    Whether or not you contact a lawyer, I very strongly suggest you refrain from any contact with the IRS until you have your CLN in your hands. I see no need for you to have contact with them before then, if ever, and I can think of several good arguments why you shouldn’t contact them before the CLN arrives (in a decades-old relinquishment case, for sure).
    I am not endorsing or recommending any of the following lawyers, beyond saying that I personally know of at least one person who has used each of them (four people, one for each lawyer, I don’t know anyone who’s gone to all four) and have spoken or corresponded privately or on the internet enough with those individuals (the relinquishers, but not with all the lawyers though I have with a couple of them) to feel comfortable that all four are reasonably-to-very knowledgeable in this area, and I believe that all have dealt with similar cases already. However to my knowledge no one who has received a relinquishment CLN has yet had any definitive result re the taxation matters you raise. (Except me, but I’ve had my CLN for 35 years, and if the IRS were to contact me now all they’d get from me is a verbal analog to my upraised middle finger.)
    I believe that, if you keep your questions focussed and present your background information clearly enough, the costs of getting advice won’t likely be exorbitant. There may be other lawyers I don’t know about who are as qualified and maybe more conveniently located for you. I am deliberately not including US-based lawyers because I don’t feel comfortable about them with these issues as they affect Canadians. I know at least two of these lawyers will do telephone and/or email consultations long-distance and suspect one or both of the others might as well.
    As always with any lawyer, start with a confidential summary of your case and questions, and get a fee quote, before deciding to proceed. The quote shouldn’t just be an hourly rate (you might faint at one or two of those), but also how many billable hours they think it would take (that’s where you may be a little more relieved, especially if you’re getting verbal and not written advice and not planning to go into court over this, which I doubt would be necessary).
    In no particular order (except I believe the first one has likely handled more relinquishment cases than the others):
    http://www.keelcottrelle.com/directory.php?lawyer=cperry (Toronto)
    http://www.moodystax.com/meet/our-team/roy-berg.html (Calgary)
    (editor removed broken link) (Charles Rotenberg, Ottawa)
    http://www.barnessammon.ca/blog/2012/06/15/kenneth-j-bickley/ (Ottawa)
    If anyone else visiting this site has lawyer names or links to share, please do so.

  60. AnonAnon, I am a little concerned that the Toronto Consulate asks for your last US address. I immigrated to Canada at age 6 in 1956 and my parents are both deceased. The only thing I could find was an ancient letter with what looks like a rural route number and P.O. box number, but it’s hard to read. That and the town are all I could provide. Don’t know if that would be a deal breaker. I received my citizenship file from 1972 in July(it took approx 5 weeks to get) and have been sitting on the fence since. The situation has shown no sign of improvement so I am leaning toward the CLN option now. I think Schubert has offered sound advice, and I woud likely contact an experienced lawyer prior to making the consulate visit. As Tim suggests I would prefer to not sign the 4081 but I am sure the consulate rep would insist otherwise.

  61. @CDN, AnonAnon. I overlooked the bit about your last US address.
    I don’t know about renunciations, but I can confirm that when she went forward with her (now successful) relinquishment application to Toronto, at no time was my wife ever asked her last US address. I doubt she remembers it (it would have been in the late 1960s), and it’s utterly irrelevant to her and probably any other relinquishment. Relinquishment is dated from when you committed your expatriating act (likely becoming a Canadian or other foreign citizen). What you did or didn’t do, and where you lived, prior to then is irrelevant to your application. I very much doubt you got your “foreign” citizenship while still living at a US address.
    The only question about previous address that is any of their business is on Form 4079 Question 5, where they ask you to list the dates and countries of residence OUTSIDE THE US since you were born. And even then, they don’t want every street or town address, all they want to know is what country, and during what years. On question 13a they ask if you still maintain a residence in the US and, if so, please explain. Having a residence in the US, maybe even a holiday residence like a Florida condo but I’m not sure about this, could be a “deal breaker,” or not, depending on what it is and why you have it. Absent any guidance anywhere on the State website about what counts or doesn’t, and how much, in the “preponderance of evidence” “calculation” is anyone’s guess right now. On that specific point, if in doubt, contact a lawyer (I suggest the one in Toronto named in an earlier post of mine a couple of days ago, because she’s handled a large number of cases and might have run across this — though whether there is any feedback yet in such a case re CLN/no CLN I have no idea).
    They also want to know on 4079 the date and number of your last US passport (if any, and if you still have that information) and where it was issued, but the latter is likely the nearest consulate and maybe not even the town you were living in.
    I think it would be highly irregular for a vice-consul to ask for your last US address during this process, at least in a relinquishment case (and even in a renunciation I don’t see how it can have any relevance to your renunciation). Maybe one of the dark-side bullies in the embassy in Ottawa might try that on you (I leave it to your best judgment what might be the most appropriate response to intrusive and irrelevant questioning during the interview, but probably best to keep your middle finger under control while in the building), but I’d be very surprised if anyone in any other consulate in Canada would press you on this. If (unlikely IMO) it does come up in the interview, the first response might be “why do you ask and what does it matter, I don’t see anything on these forms that asks that.” Just be polite and smile as you say that … But as I said and will repeat, I have trouble understanding why anyone outside the Fuehrerbunker on Sussex Drive would throw such a question at you.

    1. As I understand it, a US citizen living outside the US remains registered to vote in the district of their last US address. Also, voting in a US election after an expatriating act is evidence that the person intended to retain US citizenship rather than relinquish it. That’s why I think the State Dept. wants the last US address for those of us who are claiming relinquishment. I don’t think it would be relevant in cases of renunciation.

    2. Interesting. I also was not asked my last US address when relinquishing at Toronto earlier this year. As AnonAnon was asked his/hers more recently, perhaps they’ve changed their policy on that, or it varies by who you’re dealing with? The only place I was aware of that was asking relinquishers this was Vancouver, who sent the same info sheet to both renounce and relinquish people. It definitely seems to be required for renouncing because they fill it in on the renunciation oath form.

    3. @Schubert
      You mention Question 5 on the DS-4079 where they ask you to list the ‘dates and countries of residence outside the U.S. since birth’. I thought you only were required to give that information, if you answered yes to the following part of Question 5: ‘ if not born in the U.S., did you acquire citizenship by birth outside the U.S. to U.S. citizen parent(s).’
      I have not listed the places I have lived outside the U.S., as I was born in the U.S. Am I perhaps wrong and need to list the places and dates (it would show only Canada from the date of my landing up to and including the present.

      1. @Tiger. Interesting point, and thanks for reminding me about that.
        My wife and I interpreted Question 5 the same way you did and left it blank on her original form, since like you she was born in the US. However, at the consulate the one question the vice-consul did ask her about her 4079 was to write into that space on Question 5 everywhere she’d lived outside the US since birth, which is only Canada so she penned that in front of him on her form, giving the years from date of landing in Canada to present, before signing it. No big deal, but he did want that filled in, not sure why. You would do the same, I guess, just show Canada from date of landing to present. Or do as we did and leave it blank and see if you’re asked to complete it.
        You’re right, looking at the form again just now, it’s a rather strange interpretation of that question by the vice-consul, asking my wife to answer that question. Maybe even vice-consuls find these forms confusing, which perhaps is related to other discussions on this thread and IBS today regarding whether or not you have to give last US address in a relinquishment, I’m not sure the State Department officials are any clearer on that point than we are …
        Now I think about it, just leave Question 5 blank in your case, but be prepared to insert the information in pen if the vice consul asks you about it.
        Take comfort, perhaps, in the thought that US officials themselves find these forms and their interpretation rather confusing (especially given the absence of clear guidance in a relinquishment-specific chapter in their foreign affairs manual, which has one on renunciation but doesn’t seem to have one on relinquishment, which isn’t really addressed in the renunciation chapter.
        And then there’s the 7200-plus-page-and-counting IRS tax code. Wanna take bets on how many IRS employees actually understand all that turgid prose, and share the same understanding of every page? Never mind poor US expats … or their overseas accountants.

        1. @Schubert
          Good idea. I will leave Question 5 blank and see what unfolds at the consulate. If they do ask me to fill in those blanks, well, it is easy enough – I have lived in Canada since 1964 when I crossed the border and ‘landed’ at Windsor, Ontario.

  62. @Schubert, CDN, AnonAnon – Form 4080 “Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of United States” includes a line that starts: “That I formerly resided in the United States at: ”
    This is where they insert your last address of residence in the US.
    Also, in material sent to me from the Vancouver Consulate for my second renunciation appointment is a list of “Documentation required for Voluntary Relinquishment/Renunciation Cases” in which number 7. says: “You must know the last U.S. address (including zip code) you resided at.” This is the address shown on my Form 4080 noted above.

  63. Maybe they want the last US address for police or FBI background checks. Who knows? They work in mysterious ways. This would all be funny if it weren’t so maddening. Some day I hope we will all be able to laugh and share a glass over it.

    1. … preferably sharing a glass in front of a very large dart board festooned with photos of both the Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury, plus a photo of whatever official (if there is one) who is responsible for editing US government documents for clarity (what a concept … believe it or not, our Canada Revenue Agency actually employs English lit. grads for that purpose –or did until the Harperites started laying off federal scientists I hope not also the editors — , I happen to know one who worked in that job … wanna take bets on whether IRS has ever employed people for that ha ha ha ha ha ?)
      If any of you ever hit Ottawa after getting your CLNs, let’s try to get in touch and meet at one of our nicer pubs over this for a few hours …

      1. and let’s add to the dartboard photos of our evil friends the Commissioner of the IRS and the US Ambassador to Canada who is in charge of the bullies in the embassy and who told everyone to “sit tight” and not to worry, back last October …

  64. I stand corrected; if they do check voting records, then yes I guess they might want your last US address. Though if, as noted in one post, you moved to Canada at the age of 6 from your last US address, they can’t possibly believe you’d have voted from that address later, could they? (Maybe they could, this is the US of Paranoia after all. But what wingnut voter registrar is going to register someone to vote who hasn’t lived in the town since age 6? I thought the default voting address for overseas Americans is Wahsington DC if there’s any ambiguity or doubt where it should be … but maybe I read that incorrectly; it’s not something I care about for me or my wife so it’s off my radar. Also, I was a deputized voter registrar during one of the 1968 Primaries in the US, and I distinctly recall we couldn’t register anyone who hadn’t lived in the town for at least the last three months, that was State law. In fact I wasn’t able to vote in 1966 for exactly that reason, I’d moved from one state to another as a student about two months prior to the election and didn’t meet the residency requirement in either State.)
    I can’t believe it would be a “deal-breaker” if you don’t remember the street address (never mind zip code) of your last US address 40 years ago. maybe the town would suffice. But as I say, this never came up in my wife’s interview. I suspect it’s something they’re more likely going to be concerned about in a recent, rather than decades-ago (like my wife’s), relinquishment.
    Maybe for renunciation they want to contact the registrar in your last town of residence to make sure you never vote there again (as if you’d want to! never mind the residency requirement; maybe they want to get your name off the rolls, if it’s there, to make sure a “ghost” doesn’t show up under your name next election day, that sort of thing happens in certain cities and states in the US from time to time). However, please remember that Form 1080 is NOT for relinquishments and you shouldn’t complete it or swear that oath if you are relinquishing. A relinquishment is a claim you gave up, intended to give up, and believe you gave up, your USC years ago. How can you renounce something you don’t believe you have, and what does that do to your claim to have relinquished if you do sign 4080. While as I’ve noted elsewhere I don’t think refusing to sign 4081 is a good idea or a viable option, if I were relinquishing I absolutely would refuse to have anything to do with 4080. And again, my wife was never given 4080 during her interview nor was it ever mentioned in the interview.

  65. Thanks for the input Schubert and Anon. Since I left as a young child, never voted, no ssn or passport I don’t see how my last address could be relevant. Isn’t a SSN required to vote? On another point, I do remember that a representative from the US consulate was present at my citizenship ceremony and technically, that should constitute knowledge of my relinquishment. Not sure how that would be of any benefit, since as far as I know, a CLN was never issued.

    1. CDN, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Imagine what a story it would make in the press if they went after someone like you, who left the US as a 6-year-old child in 1956!

  66. @CDN: Thank You! I also recall someone from US Consulate being at my 1973 citizenship ceremony in Vancouver. No one else recalls this, so I thought maybe I had mistaken the Canadian official who witnessed my renunciation for an American official. I’m glad someone else remembers it.
    Because you became a citizen in 1972, your Canadian citizenship oath should contain your signed renunciation oath. Was that in the information you received from CIC?
    BTW, there were no zip codes in 1956. US zip codes did not come into being until 1963–seven years after you left US as a young child.

  67. @Schubert: As I understand it, Washington DC is the default address for IRS purposes for US citizens living outside US–not for voting.
    US citizens living overseas vote in their last state of residence. They register there and receive an absentee ballot at their out of country address. I have a friend who has lived in Canada for over 40 years, became a Canadian citizen about 10 years ago, but still has a US passport and votes in all US Presidential elections in her home state. That’s why Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad are so anxious to get folks registered–especially those whose last residence was in a key swing state.

  68. @WhatAmI: I only now noticed your post with the link to your story at Brock.
    Based on my understanding, I don’t think US would allow you to relinquish. I think you would have to renounce because you did not perform what US considers to be an expatriating act–ie. swear allegiance to another country.
    I think Petros advice is good. Stay away from US. There is no reason for IRS go after you. If you go to Consulate, you could be putting yourself on the radar of DOS or IRS, especially because your only option to get a CLN would likely be to renounce rather than to relinquish.

  69. Ladybug and Schubert, I won’t be signing a 4080 and maybe logic would dictate the that in relinquishment cases the address requirement is applied on a case by case basis. A 6-year-old has little background to check.
    AnonAnon, I would hope that they wouldn’t come after someone like, but logic doesn’t always rule in this nightmare .
    Blaze, yes it’s all a little fuzzy, but I was made aware of the American official’s presence before the ceremony. I don’t recall if I spoke to him or the citizenship judge alerted me to his presence. He was standing off to the side during the ceremony and was obvious because the group of new citizens was relatively small. Yes I have my signed renunciation as part of the package.

  70. I will be leaving tomorrow morning to travel to US. I hope my border crossing goes as smoothly as the last two times. I will have only limited access to a computer when I go to the library in my mother’s small village (how archaic, I know!), but I will try to check in occasionally.
    I will be away until around Thanksgiving or just after. For those of you who live in countries other than Canada, you may not know that Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October.
    Cheers. I hope things will be resolved by the time I return. Well, I can dream, can’t I?
    Tiger, I think your appointment at Vancouver Consulate is Friday. I will be thinking of you. Remember, they don’t let you take lipstick into the Vancouver Consulate. I think it’s OK if you wear it on your lips (as long as you’re not planning to kiss anyone!), but not in a tube. Good Luck.

  71. I’ve been in Pennsylvania since last week. A smiling, cheery border guard asked a couple of quick questions and said “Have a good visit. Safe travel.” No comment about US place of birth.
    I have now crossed three times (Peace Bridge, Fort Erie) since being told I should get a US passport with no further mention of it).
    I will be in Pennsylvania until Canadian Thanksgiving, but I will check in occasionally. Cheers.

  72. Quick update on my feisty friend whom I mentioned in my original post, the one who was “cautioned” at the border about crossing by car with a Canadian passport showing US birthplace. I mentioned that my friend observed the border guard making some entry in his computer during the 15-minute grilling, and that she had subsequently re-crossed by car without incident. Ran into her today; she told me that crossed again over Thanksgiving weekend, again by car, again showing her Cdn passport with US birthplace, again without incident.
    So far these “cautioning” events seem to be sporadic and isolated cases of overzealous inidividual border guards who have a bee in their bonnet that day for whatever reason.

  73. Thanks Schubert. That is my experience too. I was told once in 2004 I should always enter as US citizen. Not mentioned again until 2011 when I was told I should get US passport. I’ve crossed three times since with friendly, cheery border guards and no mention of need for US passport.
    Hopefully, the experiences that have been reported here will help to ease some anxiety–and will keep us out of a nightmare like Calgary411’s.

  74. @all
    I will be crossing at Pearson Airport on Thursday afternoon. In addition to my passport, I will be carrying a copy of my Canadian citizenship oaths (including the renunciatory oath), a copy of the email notice re the consulate appointment when I applied for my CLN, a copy of an email from said consulate, informing me they had received my ‘pending documents’ and would be in touch re 2nd appointment.
    Some might say “I am armed”!
    Will report back on my return to Canada.

  75. @Tiger: Have a fabulous trip.
    The border has become a dangerous place. If this CTV story is true, the Canadian border guard who was shot in the neck yesterday was hit by accident. This says the suspect shot himself in the head. Then, the same bullet struck the border guard in the neck. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-border-guard-struck-with-same-bullet-that-killed-shooter-1.999179
    She is reported to be in stable condition. I certainly hope she recovers fully as CBC is reporting. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/10/17/bc-canada-border-officer-shot.html

  76. Thanks so much for this forum. To the administrators, would it be possible to clean it up so that it sticks to the subject and hand (and remove duplicate reports). This is so helpful, I renounced almost 2 years ago, EU citizen, and do not dare fly back to see family (besides being totally disgusted). Perhaps if the reports here continue to be so good my family will be reunited again for a nice vacation one day.

    1. @all
      Just wanted to report that I crossed into the U.S. on October 18th at Pearson airport. It was possibly the easiest border crossing I have ever experienced. I was not even asked the usual question – “What is the purpose of your trip”. Border guard just scanned the passport and said “Have a nice day”. I was ‘armed’ with consulate emails, renunciatory oaths etc. but thankfully had no need for any of those things.

  77. The purpose of this post is to advise everyone, and to reiterate an earlier post some months ago, that, at least in the case of my wife and me, crossing the US border with two CLNs is NOT an issue.
    We drove across the US border at Cornwall ON/Massena NY last week (same day that Blaze crossed at Fort Erie) to visit family in the US for American Thanksgiving. My wife has had her relinquishment CLN approval for four months now; I’ve had mine for nearly 36 years. Plenty of time for State and Border Services to annotate both of us on their computer network. We were carrying photocopies of our CLNs, but we never needed to show them.
    Border crossing was slow; everyone was being asked to open their trunks. Questioning as to where one was going, for how long, and why, was a bit more protracted than normal. Given past conversations I’ve had with people in Canadian border services, I know this usually is because the computer system is running slowly. They were quite obviously stalling for time while the computers could check passport and vehicle license numbers.
    “Our” border guard had ample time to inspect our Canadian passports (both showing US birthplaces) in detail and at leisure. At no time was any mention made of our birthplaces, nor of our CLNs. Other than the slower crossing due to more leisurely questioning than normal, it was an uneventful border crossing.

  78. My wife and I went to the US for their Thanksgiving. Crossed the border with absolutely no problem. The border guard was very pleasant and even commented about our “Going home for Thanksgiving” but in a totally friendly way – and he had our passports right in front of him.
    Crossing the border is, for now anyway, a non-issue.

  79. Just saw an interesting and, I think, important post on the Isaac Brock site by someone who has been with that site for some time. She renounced her US citizenship in February 2012, has a CLN, filed an 8854 with IRS in January 2013 (not a “covered expatriate” she says), and she IS on the 2013 First Quarter “name and shame” list that IRS published earlier this week on the US Federal Register. She mentions that since getting her renunciation CLN she’s crossed the US border three times on a Canadian passport showing she was born in the US, and she’s had absolutely no hassles, in fact she says the border guard the last time was very polite and friendly.
    More evidence that, so far at least, border crossings for CLN holders are NOT a problem.
    Thought anyone following this thread should know about this story, as it’s pretty compelling in my mind anyway.

  80. Just stopping by to report crossing by car from BC to Washington state four or five times since I was granted Canadian citizenship mid December 2012. My brand new Canadian passport shows a US birthplace.
    All crossings were pleasant and without incident. I do not yet have a CLN (in fact have been unable to even persuade the Vancouver consulate to give me an appointment to register my relinquishment). I still have a valid US passport but do not carry it with me and I’ve offered to mail it to Vancouver; they told me not to as they would simply send it back.
    If it ever becomes an issue at the border my argument will be that with or without a CLN I am no longer a US citizen and using a US passport would not only be improper, it would negate my claim of intent to relinquish.

    1. Hi Maz. I think your approach in the last paragraph is very astute and proper. Let us know if it ever comes to that, and what response you get if you invoke that approach.
      I know a former US citizen who has been Canadian for decades, doesn’t consider herself an American, has no US passport, and has been challenged when crossing on a Canadian passport showing a US birthplace. She’s adamantly stuck to her guns that she’s not a USC she’s a Canadian and no way is she applying for a US passport. She has no CLN and last I heard has no intention of applying for one either, I think her approach is “it’s up to me to say whether I’m their citizen, not up to them, no way am I even asking them for a form” or along those lines. So far she keeps getting admitted for visits. If push comes to shove, I suspect she’ll just stop visiting. And God help any banker in Canada who tries to close her account over the FATCA issues, she’ll go screaming to the press and her lawyer and I suspect will likely make the banker wish he’d never been born …

  81. Thanks for sharing that Maz57. That’s great to know you have had no problems. That certainly seems to be the usual situation.
    When the border guards have asked what is your citizenship, do you reply “Canadian.” That is what I have done for 40 years and what I will continue to do.
    How frustrating that Vancouver will not give you an appointment. IRS considers the date of relinquishment the date you advise the Consulate. If they won’t let you advise the Consulate, that certainly complicates things, doesn’t it?
    Have you considered going to another Consulate. I know others have found Vancouver difficult to deal with, but I thought it was getting better.

  82. I notified the Vancouver consulate by email the afternoon of the day I became a Canadian. They replied to that email indicating they had received and read it. I have kept a record of that email correspondence and as far as I’m concerned they have been duly notified of my “expatriating act”. They have all the information they need and cannot argue otherwise.
    I considered spending the time and money to travel to Calgary to get a CLN, but I believe it is totally unreasonable to force me to go to another province when there is a Consulate only thirty miles from where I live. The business I have at the Consulate could be done in ten minutes.
    I filed a final FBAR because I was a US citizen for most of 2012. I didn’t file a 1040 because my income (mostly CPP and OAS) is not taxable in the US therefore putting me under the filing threshhold for MFS. After downloading and reading Form 8854 and it’s instructions I decided I would never file one of those because it’s essentially giving the IRS a shopping list. 8854 is the most offensive form I’ve seen in what we know is an IRS universe of offensive forms.
    After trying for several years to become “compliant” I have concluded that it simply isn’t possible without prostrating oneself; I would lose my self-respect if I continued to try to be a good IRS sheep. I won’t be filing anything more with the US government, ever. ( No more mister nice guy, lol.)

  83. Pearson airport 3 p.m. No line at US pre clearance! New baggage procedure for in transit from elsewhere in Canada appears to be working well. (You can check your bags right through and don’t have to claim them in T.O.)
    No hassle -‘ where are you going? , how long will you be there? , have a nice trip’

    1. @ Duke…..
      Do you think it’s just possible that the people who work for DHS don’t like the IRS any more than we expats do?
      Or is that too much to hope for?

  84. Has anyone had any issues traveling on their Cdn Passport in Miami when boarding a Criuse ship? I intend to apply for a CLN but probably will not have in hand by early 2014 when needed.

    1. @ Milt….
      Last time I was in Miami was in December 2010, and there were no issues.
      The only time recently I had an issue was going through Houston a couple of years ago. When I told the guy that I am a cheapskate and didn’t want to incur travel and hotel bills to a faraway US Consul, when I could get my Canadian passport for $100 by mail, and when he realized that Canada was my destination, he waved me through.

    2. @Milt,
      Schubert reports in the main post at the top of this thread, paragraph 2:
      ” … My wife had applied for a relinquishment CLN several months earlier. She is still waiting for it, but in the meantime, the vice-consul told her at the interview that her CLN application file is now on the State Department website and is accessible to DHS staff at the border, if there is any question about why she is crossing the border on a Canadian passport that shows a US birthplace. …”
      Also if you are renouncing, there is a $450 fee payable at the consulate, and you get a receipt for it, indicating that renunciation occurred.

  85. We’re now just past the first anniversary of my starting this thread. I thought I’d update with the experiences (or non-experiences, more like) my wife and I had with two US border crossings this month. We both flew into the US via US pre-clearance in Toronto airport; aside from the long lines and the feeling of being herded like cattle, there was no problem even though the border officer examined both our passports (Canadian with US birthplaces) quite carefully and spent a fair bit of time typing something into his computer — but he was doing that with everyone ahead of us (I paid attention). No comments about our birthplaces. We both had copies of our relinquishment CLNs with us, but never needed to produce them. No problems getting through.
    Same story, only better, with our auto crossing near Stanstead QC (AR55-I-91 into Vermont). I was a little nervous because there were no cars ahead of us or behind us in the line, and two border officers were shooting the breeze with ours as we pulled up. I figured they’d at least go through our trunk, since they obviously weren’t very busy. No. Border officer was polite, even friendly, cheerful, examined our passports and his computer screen carefully and stalled us for time for the computer to do its thing, then wished us a nice visit after handing back our passports. Again, no comments at all about our birthplaces, and again no need to show copies of our CLNs. No problem.
    Maybe a renunciation CLN (if they make that distinction on their computer files) might have resulted in a different reaction, I wouldn’t know. But I can attest that for decades-ago relinquishments, crossing the border is not a problem for us (and never has been for either of us, even before my wife got her CLN, since we became Canadian citizens).
    BTW at Toronto both of us got visa stamps on our passports, with inked-in expiry dates six months hence. No visa stamps were issued on the auto crossing into Vermont.

  86. Good to hear, Schubert…
    I’m visiting with my family right now, and so I asked my siblings and mother about their experiences crossing the border. My sister went to the US and back about a month ago, flying, and experienced no issues. However, interestingly, both she and my sister said they’d been questioned or hassled in the past, going back many years, about having a US birthplace on their Canadian passports. Both have been told several times (as have I) that being born in the US makes you a permanent US citizen. grrr. At least they didn’t have their passport thrown in their face, like I did at one border crossing a few years ago.

  87. A young US person (who is a Canadian citizen) leaving Canada for US was recently advised by a US border official at Toronto airport that she needs to begin filing to IRS. Might be isolated incident or not. Sequence was something like this.
    -She presents Canadian passport to US Border official at airport who asks “where were you born?”
    -”I was born in US (but left at very young age and I live in Canada as Canadian Citizen.)”
    -She is then informed that she needs US passport, which she does not have, to enter. Argument begins and supervisor brought in.
    -In the course of the discussion she is asked whether she has been paying US taxes and responds “Why? I have lived in Canada since age…” and is then told that she needs to begin filing to IRS because she is a US person.
    -Eventually she is allowed to enter US, but there is now a US border “file” associated with her (forwarded to IRS?) which could contain a statement that she was advised of IRS filing requirement.
    [I originally posted this on IBS:
    http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/09/04/2011-message-for-americansabroad-in-canada-how-does-it-look-two-years-later/

  88. I think that is the first report here of someone being asked about taxes when entering U.S.
    Do you know this young woman? Would she be willing to share with us directly?

  89. if I were a border guard I would tear you out of the car and put you into jail.
    You all are criminals here , tax cheats / human garbage

  90. @anon: Thank you for your comment. your impeccably reasoned arguments presented with such clarity show a real grasp of the issues surrounding citizenship based taxation vs. residency based taxation. Coupled with your knowledge of the impact of foreign bank account reports and the foreign account tax compliance act a clearer picture of the issues is now available.
    Perhaps you could now turn your attention to the subtleties of relinquishing vs. renunciation of citizenship. I’m sure we would all benefit from your profound insights.
    I am certain your middle school and mother are both very proud of you.

  91. Yikes! Johnnb I hadn’t seen AnonAnon comment until you posted your reply.
    His or her attitude is a good reason why he or she is not working as a border guard.
    Thank you John for your calm, polite and measured response.
    We all know we are not tax cheats. I won’t have the debate with “human garbage.”

  92. I crossed the Peace Bridge (Fort Erie-Buffalo) today.
    No problems. Friendly border guard. Only one question–anything to declare. No questions about where I was going, purpose of trip or how long I was staying.
    He looked at my Canadian passport with US place of birth, then looked at the computer. I was expecting him to remind me that I was told two years ago to get a US passport. He didn’t.
    Instead, he stated “You were born in Warren Pennsylvania. I replied “Yes.” He said “Wow.” Then, he waved me ahead.
    I found that bizarre because my passport doesn’t give a state, just Warren USA. There are better known Warrens in Michigan and Ohio.
    Before I suspect NSA, I know I have said Warren Pennsylvania in the past when asked where I was born, but that was many years ago before passports were required.be Maybe it’s in their data base from when I had a Nexus card or from some other time.
    I have no idea why he said “Wow” about Warren Pennsylvania. It’s just an average American economicaly depressed town in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.
    I’m not going to do any Tea Leaf reading into it, but the Wow comment has me curious.
    I will only be checking in occassionally over the next week. Time with my 90 year old mother will be my focus.

  93. Thanks for the report on your border crossing. Wow???
    I hope you’re able to savour every moment of the visit with your mom as you help in her care.
    Take care, Blaze.

  94. None of this surprises me. The Americans have taken a total leave of their senses. Their government is infested with idiots at all levels.
    Having said that, I crossed the border into the US last week in transit to South America to a connecting flight in Miami. I travelled that route reluctantly, but I was flying on points and that was the way I was routed.
    Fortunately I had no serious problems. The pre-clearance customs official noted my US birthplace, and asked why I was not travelling on a US passport. I told him that I had lived in Canada since 1949, that Canada was my destination upon return, that travel costs to a US consul were too high to undertake the process, and that I had renounced in any case. So for me, not only was a US passport an unnecessary document, I was no longer eligible to have one anyway.
    He then asked my business in South America. I told him I am a snow bird who flies farther south than Canucks who go the Florida. Then he spoke to me in Spanish (he was originally from a Central American country), which I promptly answered in Spanish. I suppose he was testing me to see if I was some sort of phony. I showed him my date stamps from the winter before. I also told him (in Spanish) that health care was so prohibitively costly in the United States that said country could never possibly be a destination for me again.
    I also encouraged him to never abandon the citizenship of his Central American homeland because he might actually need it some day. I told him that my Canadian passport was a better one to have anyway, and encouraged him to get one if he ever has the chance.
    He mentioned taxes. I told him that I was compliant in my filings and that because of Canada’s higher taxes, I never had to pay in the States anyway.
    The entire exchange was cordial. He then wished me a pleasant flight.
    I think their customs people are getting used to handling people whose circumstances are similar to ours.

  95. @Arctic: I surprised he asked about taxes. It’s not unheard of, but it doesn’t seem to be common.
    It was great you were able to converse with him in Spanish.
    There are some reports of bully border guards (like the ones in Hazy’s article), but most reports here are of polite or friendly ones.
    Enjoy the winter in a southern climate more welcoming than the U.S.!

  96. I mentioned in an earlier posting that the United States could never, under any circumstances, be a travel destination for me again. That country can be a transit point (which I do reluctantly), but it cannot be a destination.
    The reason is simple: health care costs. If something serious happens, the financial consequences could be ruinous. There are other reasons too. They can take their crime-ridden cities, their interracial violent crime (mostly black on non-black), their paranoid banking and taxation laws, their appalling ignorance (50% of Detroit functionally illiterate…….the Chairman of their School Board an illiterate too), their arrogant attitudes to anything non-American, the crappy service I have experienced on their airlines, etc., etc., etc., and stick it all where the sun doesn’t shine. They are devolving (some would say “have devolved”) into third world status. I don’t want anything to do with them as a country.
    I have suggested to some Americans with whom I have spoken, that with what they have for leadership now, they would be better off if, in 1776, they had remained loyal to King George III. People have responded with laughs, chuckles, and even handshakes.
    I do see many of them in my travels, and I find most of those friendly and easy to get along with. Americans who travel on business generally seem to have more of a clue about the world than those who don’t. I was in Bogota airport on the weekend, and as I was recharging my iPhone, a man came up to me and spoke to me in English asking if the outlet was available. We then chatted. He was in the aviation consulting business. I asked him if he realized that if he were a candidate for a senior level signing-authority position job like that in Colombia, he would not likely get the job, for no other reason than his passport is American. He was incredulous. I then launched a tirade as to how much I hated the buffoon anointed by the press in the White House (the teleprompter and chief). He smiled throughout my torrent of invective. I told him my story. Like most Americans who live in the States, he had no idea. When we parted, he shook my hand.
    Back to being a snowbird. Are not more Canadians and other foreigners cluing into the notion that the United States is not a good place? I seem to remember a mention in this forum of some European snow birds who, because of the “substantial presence rule”, have stopped going to the States. For me, the United States is a non-starter. In Colombia, I have a beautiful apartment, 2 cell phones, power, internet, and water in a rural setting for about $300 per month. A visit to the doctor at the local hospital costs me about $9. They check my blood pressure whenever I want (gratis). Lab costs are about $3.50 in the event I have stomach problems (very common here, even among locals…………that is just the way life is in the tropics). My dental X-Ray cost $3.50. I am having two dental implants, and have had all my mercury amalgam fillings replaced with porcelain fillings. Total cost……..about $5,000.
    For something very major, we insure ourselves here with something called the ASSIST CARD. That costs us about $2200 for 6 months (covers both of us). That is more expensive than the RBC insurance we had before, but with the ASSIST CARD, we don’t need to go through the hoops that we had to go through with RBC. Making a claim with them is cumbersome and time consuming. We just show the ASSIST CARD, and everything is covered.
    The cities here are surprisingly safe. They are most definitely a huge cut above the degenerate inner cities of the United States.
    I speak Spanish. Can anyone explain why, in my right mind, I would winter in Florida or Arizona? Other than the convenience of being able to speak English, I cannot think of any earthly reason why anyone would. There are large foreign communities here in the Coffee Triangle, and in cities in other countries like San Miguel in Mexico, where English is widely spoken, and where we are much less likely to be robbed, mugged, or shot. The United States of Arrogance simply does not cut the mustard as a snowbird destination.
    Finally, here we don’t have to listen to a compliant and biased press that genuflects every time that scumbag who signed FATCA into law appears on a TV screen.

  97. If you live in Ontario, I was told you can obtain an enhanced driver’s licence, which states your citizenship, but does not state your birthplace. These are adequate for crossing the border by land, but not by air. Seems that it’s the land crossings that have been most problematic for people, so if you live in Ontario, perhaps its something to consider. Most other provinces don’t have that option, unfortunately.

  98. Thanks for posting that Gwen. As the comments here show, most people are not having a problem crossing on a Canadian passport showing a U.S. place of birth.
    An enhanced driver’s license may help, but it’s very likely the border guard would still ask where you were born.
    I asked about having a passport issued without my place of birth several years ago before FATCA. I was told Canada can do that, but there are 16 countries that will not admit anyone with a passport that does not give a place of birth. Then she grimaced and said “United States is one of them.” Because I still need to travel to U.S. to visit my elderly mother, that was not an option for me. I did not ask what the other 15 countries are.

  99. For the record, my wife and I crossed by car into the US last Tuesday on a six-day trip for US Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Crossing the border at Cornwall/Massena was a non-event, in fact I think it was the fastest and most efficient crossing yet. Only a car or two ahead in the queue, perfunctory questioning just long enough for the car-license reader and the passport scanner to register our details and check the data bases. We showed Canadian passports with US birthplaces, had copies of our relinquishment CLNs with us but never needed to show them. No comments at all about US birthplace. It took longer coming back, due to traffic queues at the end of I-89, but once at the Canadian Border Services wicket we were processed just as fast. Going over the Champlain Bridge at Montreal, traffic closed to one lane in each direction due to emergency replairs arising from that big crack they discovered in the bridge, was another story …
    Boston Globe column about Diane Francis’ book treated it tongue-in-cheek, saying that about once every 20 years someone resurrects the idea of merging the two countries, here’s another one. Also mentioned Harper’s book on the history of hockey, saying it proves that being PM of Canada “is almost a full-time job.” Ouch. Maybe Harper really wasn’t paying attention to what was going on in the PMO, he was delegating and spending too much time playing with his hockey history? Interesting alternative interpretation of events, I guess.

  100. DHS at Vancouver airport now easier then ever.. You scan your passport into a touchscreen computer yourself, answer the usual questions-been on a farm?, got more than 10k? Etc. on the touchscreen and hand a copy to the guy who says ” thanks” and that’s it. You can even press 1 key that picks ‘no’ to all the questions. 20 minutes from curb to departure gate. No mention of birth place. Painless.

  101. We crossed at Peace Bridge (Fort Erie-Buffalo) today. Canadian passports scanned. My friend’s place of birth is Canada. Mine is US.
    Polite young female guard: Purpose of your trip?
    Bob: A funeral.
    Guard: Condolences. Have a safe trip.

  102. I was born to Canadian parents in Washington, DC. My dad was studying for his PhD and we returned to Canada when I was just one year old. I didn’t even realize I had dual citizenship until I was in my 30’s. I have never lived, worked or voted in the US. I have been filing my tax returns and FBARs for the past 5 years but am thinking about renouncing my US citizenship. Do you know how long the process takes? I understand the process with the US Embassy but what is involved with the IRS? Thanks in advance.

  103. @J.C. the length of the process partly depends upon where you live and which embassy you go to – and the backlog that the DOS is dealing with. I believe that you will need to show that you are up to date on your tax filings. There are others here who have been through the process and who will be able to talk to this much more eloquently than I can, and I’m sure some will pop in to offer guidance. I know it can take quite a while – there’s a lot of waiting time.

  104. JC . You have been filing so you are golden. Once you renounce, you file an 8854 stating that you are tax compliant for 5 yrs. and that your net worth is less than 2 mill. That and a final 1040 for the yr. you renounce and you are a free man.
    You do not have to be tax compliant in order to renounce. If you are that’s a huge bonus.

  105. @JC……..
    Like water off a duck’s back. I renounced and then became compliant. The renunciation process was actually expedited by the Toronto Consul. They moved us all to the front of the line. I did mine September 16. I mailed in my 5 years of 1040’s and my 6 years of FBAR’s later that day. I owed nothing. I also have lots of unused credits.
    Too bad you have waited until the New Year. It means you will have to file a 2014 Form 1040 as well. My 2013 Form 1040 along with the FBAR will be my last.
    My advice? Get it done. Totally ridiculous that we have to go to such lengths and expense to prove that we are Canadian and to prove that we owe those arrogant tyrants nothing.
    After all is said and done, I am going to mail Obama an invoice for my time and trouble. I will tell him I won’t demand payment if he files 6 years of FBAR’s to Kenya.

  106. I was born in the US but have never ever lived there. Dual citizenship oh what fun. I am Canadian and pay my taxes annually to the Canadian Gov’t. Can anyone tell me what the advantages / disadvantages would be keeping the US Citizenship?

  107. @Unbelievable. Oh boy, that’s a loaded question.Advantages? Well, I think you could quite easily go down and work in the US, maybe? I actually don’t really know since I’ve only ever considered myself Canadian since the age of 6, and have never considered living or working in the US. Disadvantages- please check out the post at the top called ‘Have you must learned that the US considers you a US person?’ Primarily the disadvantages, IMHO, are having to spend large amounts of money in filing tax returns (and back tax returns), reporting on your private financial accounts (and those of your spouse if you have one), not being able to have signing authority on charity or business accounts unless you want to share the details with the IRS, and running the risk of incurring huge penalties for not having filed reports (FBARs) on your bank accounts before now.

  108. Other big disadvantages of being a ‘ tax compliant’ US person living in Canada include:
    RESPs, TFSA’S, and Canadian mutual funds are actually handicaps rather than advantages.
    You will be double taxed on unearned income (i.e. pensions, RRIFS, unemployment insurance benefits, disability income, investment income, capital gains from the sale of your home ), etc.
    Your spouse may not want your name on any of her/his accounts because then they become FATCA and FBAR reportable accounts.
    All accounts with your name on them become FATCA and FBAR reportable; even having power of attorney on an account makes it reportable.

  109. I flew into Philadelphia International Airport for the first time post-renunciation yesterday afternoon. It was very quiet as it was a Monday and early February is a not busy there. The man at the checkpoint fingerprinted me on both hands and took a photo. His first question was where was I born; when telling him a US city, he looked at my British passport and asked why I wasn’t using a US passport; upon telling him that I’d renounced, he paused and looked taken aback and then asked if I had any documents to prove it; upon showing him my photocopied CLN, he explained that they’d have to briefly question me in another room while they verified everything.
    I was quite nervous, but he was polite at least; I had to take my passport to this other room and sit for about a half hour after which I was called up to the desk and the woman asked me quite bluntly why I’d renounced. She seemed incredulous.
    Even when I renounced I wasn’t asked this question directly!! I just said that I was trying to reduce the complexities in my life and that I’d been married to a British man and living in the UK for over 25 years. She seemed to accept this and said something along the lines of ‘well, I suppose we also make you pay taxes over there…’. I honestly told her that it wasn’t the tax so much as the huge ongoing accounting fees. She just then let me go but reminded me that I can never live nor work in the US again.
    In a way I’m glad this happened to me because I am no longer so frightened of the process but could imagine that had I come over in high summer that I might have been forced to wait several hours if they’d been questioning lots more people. It’s also possible that they might question fewer people if they were processing loads of arrivals though. They also both asked me what I do for a living.

  110. monalisa,
    Of all persons to be reporting of this happening to you!
    But, as you say, I too am glad that you went through this process and see that you were able to answer the questions in the uncomfortable atmosphere. We just need to be prepared in how we will answer such questions and not offer any ‘editorial comment’ (as a boss once told me he didn’t want!). How strong you have become!
    Bravo, monalisa, you handled it well. Enjoy every minute of your visit.

  111. Many thanks, @Calgary!! 🙂 I suppose my biggest fear going forward is no longer the IRS but, instead, potential difficulties crossing the border on future visits if they decided to enforce the Reed Act or pass the Ex-Patriot Act. However, I believe they already realize that the vast majority of recent renunciations have been due to FATCA and CBT compliance burdens. My distinct impression was that they probably won’t bother minnow ex-citizens too much but that we’re not much above amoeba in their eyes. I am aware that I am definitely an ALIEN now.
    Another I observed in that room was that they were in the process of departing a couple of musicians and could overhear them explaining that they would be detained there but placed on the next available flight out of the US. I believe they were visa waiver visitors who’d overstayed. I realize now that the very worst thing they could realistically do is not allow me in and place me on a return flight.
    It will be interesting to see if we remain a curiosity or if the amounts surge in the coming years whether they’ll continue to be civil or start harassing visiting ex-citizens.
    I also get the impression that they’re more used to encountering renunciants on the Canadian border. I suspect that they haven’t encountered many CLNs at Philadelphia!

  112. Whoa. Two huge issues.
    First, since when is it common practice for people with no indication of criminal activity to be fingerprinted and photographed on arrival at a US airport on an international flight from a US-friendly country?
    Second, I’m sorry you were subjected to this questioning even if it was polite. Is that likely to be the standard treatment (or worse) for anyone entering US with a CLN in airports in the future?
    Thanks for sharing Monalisa. I know what a wrenching decision renouncing was for you. It’s sad this experience probably added to your pain.
    Enjoy your time with your family.

  113. @Mona Lisa, I visited the US not long ago, on a Canadian passport, for family reasons, and they made no comment on my US birthplace or ex-citizenship, and didn’t ask for a CLN – but it was from Canada, and also not via air. I don’t know if those variables make any difference, or just the ill/luck of the draw.
    Sorry to hear of your experience.
    Perhaps it will inspire your US family to see how this is all an unnecessary diversion from what is supposed to be the central purpose of border security. If they’re diverted and preoccupied wasting time and resources on ordinary people who UPFRONT show and tell that they are NOT US citizens, and have a CLN to boot, then that is staffing and resources not being spent on people they are supposed to be truly concerned about.
    And if they start doing that to those visiting US family, I would hope that those US resident relatives would start complaining – about the deprivation they as US citizens are experiencing if their law abiding family members are being kept from stateside visits and succour . What might appear to be solely inconvenience or a bad experience for those ex-citizens seeking to visit also DEPRIVES the US citizen residents who they have come to see. At some point will US citizen residents start balking at the exclusion or barriers erected which may keep family from abroad who are visiting them to provide help, comfort, etc.?
    And Canadians are going to curtail those casual crossborder shopping, tourism visits if one or more renunciant members will make any crossborder visits en masse unpredictable or unpleasant. I wouldn’t subject a visit with children or friends and other family members to an unpredictable border experience that could get ugly if US border agents feel like swaggering around like Rambo. US border agents are already seeking to be exempted from adhering to Canadian laws on Canadian soil due to US Canada border security harmonization initiativeshttp://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/u-s-wants-cross-border-officers-exempt-from-canadian-law-1.1359107
    Canada is a big country. We don’t have to visit the US. And currently our dollar is down vs. the US$ – so US border states will see less of us anyway.
    And a FATCA IGA will definitely discourage friendly feelings about spending money or visiting in the US.

  114. @ Blaze,
    Fingerprinting/photographing aliens entering the US is a routine policy started sometime in the 2000s. Canadians are exempt from it (maybe this exemption comes from the WHTI — don’t know). I recall when the US started doing it, it was on the news that Brasil retaliated by fingerprinting only Americans entering Brasil and the Americans were upset about it. Sounded like turn about is fair play to me. (Don’t know if Brasil still does it or if they gave in to American pressure to stop. I hope not.)

  115. @Pacifica: Yikes! WTF?!?
    Our high school exchange student was from Boliva. Fast forward 46 years. She lives in Sweden with her Swedish husband where she is a Swedish citizen.
    She is a physician. He is an executive. They own homes in Spain and Sweden. They have traveled extensively around the world. He speaks eight languages fluently. She speaks four.
    A few years ago, they visited her host “sisters” in Pennsylvania. It was his first visit to U.S. and her first back in over four decades. I spent some time with them when we were both there at the same time. They said their treatment by US border officials in Detroit was horrendous. It was the wost they ever experienced anywhere.
    They said they will never return to United States again. I have invited them to Canada. They have invited me to Sweden.
    Is this really the way Congress wants tourists to be treated? Oh wait, it was Congress who gave us FATCA.

  116. @ Blaze,
    Here’s some info about fingerprinting/photographing aliens entering the US.
    US Embassy, Ottawa. http://canada.usembassy.gov/visas/forms-and-programs/us-visit.html
    DHS’ page on Biometric Identity Management
    http://www.dhs.gov/obim-enrollment-requirements
    Also from DHS. Office of Biometric Identity Management Biometric Procedures: Applicability to Canadian Citizens
    http://www.dhs.gov/obim-biometric-procedures-applicability-canadian-citizens

  117. @Mona Lisa, holy cow, I can’t believe that. It sounds like you handled with grace and aplomb, but you shouldn’t have had to ‘handle’ it at all. Well, I have to go to the US in about a week and a half. I’ll certainly report on my experience, bad, good or neutral. I would NOT like having my fingerprints taken, but I have to say that I wouldn’t make a stink about it. At least not until I’m back on home soil in Canada.

  118. @To all, I really appreciate all the empathy and supportive comments. I believe that more and more former citizens will be questioned more closely when attempting to cross, especially those with US birthplaces. I thus feel somewhat resigned to having to put up with this (and the fingerprints, photos, requests for CLN, etc.) It just goes with the territory.
    However, now that I’m in Delaware and among family, I feel completely safe. People here are good and friendly. It’s just those damn borders. I’m determined to not let it get me down or put me off continuing to make future visits to see family or old childhood haunts.
    I feel quite embittered that, as collateral damage, I’ve had to become exiled from my homeland. It’s just not right. I am still certain that I made a wise decision though it really was a Sophie’s Choice. It’s emotional torture. Part of me will also always regret it and wonder if I renounced in haste though realized that the stakes were too high to risk putting it off. It shouldn’t have to be this way, all these ultimatums…
    Anyhow, the point is that I’m determined not to let all this ruin my life. It’s just officialdon and bureaucracy. In some ways, I’m already used to it, living in the UK. They too have become an Orwellian society. The way I see it, what I did was an act of self-defense.
    I feel similarly about governments’ often draconian view towards recreational drug users. I feel that governments can be predatory and persecute those whom they lable as misfits.
    I have grown wary though It shouldn’t have to be this way…but I’m not going to let a bit of rough treatment stop me from visiting family because it would be even more of a victory for Voldemort if I did; I have to be thick-skinned and not take it personally.

  119. When I told the friend whose husband first alerted me to FATCA about Carl Levin’s demands that our FATCA information be available to US law security and national security agencies for investigation of drug trafficking, terrorist financing, corruption, fraud and other crimes, first a look of horror came across her face. Then she said “What a paranoid country.”
    When I told family or friends in the US about FATCA, the response was often “Why do we wonder why everyone hates us so much?”
    I am horrified that all non-US citizens (except Canadians) must be fingerprinted and photographed on arrival. How many other countries do this?
    Monalisa, I’m glad you can put it aside and enjoy time with your family. It personally makes me even more determined not to visit the US now that my mother is no longer alive.

  120. The ignorance and arrogance of some Americans is mind-boggling. On a recent a cruise, one American woman suggested that the IRS had the right to know the business of foreign residents if said foreign residents worked the the foreign subsidiary of an American company.
    So I suggested the following to her.
    (1) All American employees of banks owned by TD should report to Revenue Canada. Remember, TD, Sun Life, and other Canadian companies have a big presence in the States.
    (2) Obama should file a tax return and an FBAR to Kenya.
    She didn’t like those ideas.
    I am really coming to dislike a lot of them.

  121. Well, I’m in my hotel room in the U.S. I flew out of Calgary this afternoon. Nary a word was said regarding my birthplace on my passport. Only question was business or pleasure?… have a nice visit, ma’am.
    All that angst, anxiety and dread – all for nought. This was actually the easiest border crossing I’ve ever had!

  122. I’m glad to hear it went well Outraged. I didn’t think you would have any problems, but I knew you were worried.
    Did you do clearance in Calgary or did you do it on arrival at a U.S. airport?

  123. Sure, sure — that’s what you told me too, my fellow Calgary protester.
    So glad you did go on that work-related trip to Las Vegas and that it was all a piece of cake — hope the work-related stuff was too.
    I thought of you as I’m listening to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCu7HELGPy0 — it calms my laid-back pooch even more and having her plus this helps me read what we continue to read and comment on.

  124. Here’s a twist we didn’t expect. We’ve all focused on crossing into the US.
    Today, on returning to Canada from the U.S., IRSCompliantForever (a dual Canadian-US citizen) was required by Air Canada to show his US passport before he could board his flight.
    Yes, you read that correctly. A Canadian citizen returning to his home in Canada on Canada’s national airline was required to show his American passport before he was permitted to board.
    I have his consent to post some of the details in his own words:

    I entered the US using a US passport because I had no choice (I am a US person).
    At the Air Canada desk in Seattle, for boarding the plane to Toronto, I showed a Canadian passport, because I am a Canadian citizen and it is reasonable for Canadian citizens to use a Canadian passport to return to Canada (!).
    The attendant refused to accept the Canadian passport because I used a US one to enter the country. I explained “But I am a Canadian!” but to no effect.
    I didn’t want to hold up the line (which was very long) and just gave in and showed my U.S. passport, and told the attendant that Air Canada needs to change its behaviour. You can imagine the mood I was in–and on a Canadian ! airline.

    With each passing day, the world gets more bizarre.

  125. the US requires citizens to use a US passport when leaving and entering .
    the use of a US passport was probably entered into the Air Canada database when purchased or boarded your flight. It is not a problem when traveling by land because you are already at customs when you first need to show a passpoet

  126. Hi, I am US born (moved when I was one to Canada, never lived in the US since). I am in the process of complying but I will need to go to the US to obtain my social security number before I’m able to file taxes to IRS.
    I have a question regarding relinquishment/renunciations. I read articles that intertangle the two meanings to the point, I’m not sure what criteria needs to be met before application for either.
    I’ve done a lot of research and I’m unable to find this answer so I will ask point blank:
    What do I need in advance to relinquish my US citizenship?
    Ideally, I would like to get this started ASAP regardless of taxes, but I’ve heard two different things: you need to have 5 years taxes before RELINQUISHMENT and that you do not need to have 5 years taxes…I’m confused. Any help would be great.

  127. @ CBValley,
    Welcome to Maple Sandbox.
    You may find some answers in this post and thread
    http://maplesandbox.ca/2012/renunciation-and-relinquishment-what-are-the-differences-is-there-a-difference/
    Basically there are 7 ways in which a person can relinquish their citizenship, all set out in s. 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act — one of these 7 acts is renunciation. (There’s a link to this section of the Act in the above-mentioned post.)
    An important thing to know is were you a dual citizen since birth or did you naturalise as a Canadian citizen? Have you performed a potentially relinquishing act as set out in s. 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act? If so, have you acted as a US citizen since the date you performed the potentially relinquishing act — eg, voted, used a passport (unless under duress), etc?
    I strongly suggest you do not start the process of applying for a ssn or filing taxes or do anything before first learning more about this so you can determine exactly what your citizenship status with regards to the US is and weigh the options to decide the best course of action of take.

  128. Thank you for the response.
    I was born in the US, moved away when I was 1. Moved to Canada when I was 4 and became a Canadian citizen when I was 9. Unfortunately, my parents opted to keep renewing my US passport as it was stipulated that crossing the US as a US citizen, you should present yourself as a US citizen. I also used my US passport about 13 years ago when I was under the same understanding, only to be harassed by customs – to which, I never used it again. I have not renewed the passport; and quite frankly, would have never used it had I not been informed by the Canadian embassy website that I should present myself as a US citizen when entering the US. I have never voted in the US and do not have a SSN (yet). I do not necessary want to apply for a SSN and further screw up my chances of relinquishment but at the same time, do not want to delay this entire ordeal more than I have.
    I am not sure how I will know what my US citizenship status is with the USG unless I apply for relinquishment and find out? Based on my history, I feel that I would not qualify for relinquishment.
    Thoughts?

  129. I’m crazy busy right now with plans for another website to launch our Charter Challenge fund (Stay tuned everyone!), so I hope Pacifica will help you work through this quagmire.
    It will be important for her to know when you became a citizen. The fact you were a minor may complicate things. You may be able to make a case that your passport was obtained for you when you were a minor and you got one as an adult because of a misunderstanding from the US Embassy website. You could then share the experience about when you used it and why you have never used it since.
    Someone may also want to move this discussion over to the Relinquish/Renounce thread so there is a record there.
    Most importanly, CBValley, don’t panic. Don’t rush into anything. Learn all you can before making a decision.

  130. @Blaze
    @CBValley
    There is a possibilty of loss of citizenship if you came of age before 1978 and also did not present yourself to swear allegiance to the US at a US consulate within three years…but those three years, if I understand correctly, also had to run out before 1978. If that seems to be CBValley’s guess, better to check with a more reliable source than me.

  131. @ CB Valley,
    As Petit Suisse mentioned, the rules for minors were different before 1978. So, could you let us know the year you were born as it could make a difference.
    I’m not really up on the pre-1978 rules for minors, so best I leave that for someone else to answer. Anyway, if pre-1978 rules for minors don’t apply to you, this is what I think. Bear in mind of course it’s not legal advice, just what I picked up since I became caught up in this US citizenship mess.
    I don’t think you’d likely be successful with a relinquishment based on naturalisation. But you might have relinquished your US citizenship if you worked for the government or were a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the military.
    Documents cited:
    Immigration and Nationality Act
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1481
    Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual
    http://americansabroad.org/files/3013/3478/0295/18-04-2012_1318_971.pdf
    (1)
    I don’t think you’ll be considered to have been able to form the intent to relinquish at age 9. Section 349(a) Immigration and Nationality Act states :
    “(1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of eighteen years;”
    I haven’t seen anything about minors and s. (1) relinquishment in the Dept of State Foreign Affairs Manual.
    FWIW, there is a section that deals with minors and renunciation. It says at 7 FAM 1292 (i),
    “Children under 16 are presumed not to have the requisite maturity and knowing intent;”
    Presumably that presumption is rebuttable, but age 9 would be really young, and also there is no age specified for renunciation ((349(a)(5) Immigration and Nationaitty Act), whereas it does state 18 for relinquishing under s. (1). So, unfortunately I don’t think s. (1) is looking very positive.
    (2)
    But there are two possible relinquishing acts that you might have performed as an adult.
    s. 349(a) (3) “entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if … (B) such persons serve as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer;”
    s. 349 (a) (4) (A) “accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after attaining the age of eighteen years if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state;”
    (3)
    There’s also a third possibility, but it doesn’t seem to apply easily to most people.
    s. 349(a) (2) “taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of eighteen years;”
    There’s a four pronged requirement for such an oath (7 FAM 1252(h)). Prong (4) is
    “The making and receipt of the oath or affirmation alters the affiant’s legal status with respect to the foreign state,”
    which appears to mean that if you’re already a citizen of Canada, making an oath of allegiance to Canada doesn’t change your legal status with respect to Canada.

  132. Back to the border, perhaps when being unnecessarily hassled a person could whip out their smartphone and ask the official if it’s alright to record the conversation. I know, it would probably make thing worse but I’d love to see the reaction.
    I’m US-born, naturalized in 1973 and will soon be informing Uncle Sam of my relinquishment. Have crossed the border by plane and car several times over the years and my POB has never been questioned. Last time by car in September, before that by air in October 2012. While it appears that all we are seeing so far are a few power-tripping border officials and nothing systemic, I don’t like not having peace of mind. Will be glad to have the CLN but I know that’s not a guarantee either.
    Thanks to all the contributors here and the site administrators. Thank goodness for the Internet.

  133. Just to give a bit of an update. I crossed into the US by car on March 6, 2014 using my CDN passport with no issues, albeit, I disclosed to the US Border guard that I was crossing for the purposes of obtaining a SSN. He was jovial and welcomed me “home”. Total time spent chatting with him was 30 seconds.
    Went to the Bellingham SS office. Great guy who dealt with me. No issues. Very professional and understanding of my situation.
    As my trip was purely for that, I returned within two hours (no shopping, not even gas…get the hell outta there). Using my CDN passport, I got hassled coming back into Canada. Perhaps it was the short duration of my trip or the fact that I was entering the US for a SSN. He kept asking about a possible job I had in the states. I had to explain to him the entire tax situation and that I live/work in Canada before a 2 minute silent stare at his computer before he said “Fine. Go.” Not sure how long I spent sitting there but felt like a root canal.

  134. @CB Valley:  Why have you decided to become compliant?  Are you aware CRA does and and will not collect for IRS?
    What the heck business was it of the Canadian border guard if you have a job in the US or not?  If you are a dual citizen, you have the right to work in either country.
    Combined with IRSCompliant’s recent experience of having to show his US passport to be able to board an Air Canada flight to return to Canada, this is getting downright insane.

  135. I decided to become compliant for a few reasons:
    1) Travel. I like to frequent the US at least once a year.
    2) I have found a local, honest and reasonably priced accountant so my compliance costs are low.
    3) I may work in the US later in my life.
    4) If I do not renounce and my wife and I decide to move to the US upon retirement, then it’d be an easier process
    I am not (or less) concerned with the IRS coming after me, per se. Nor do I think CRA will. And even if they did, I have nothing to hide. I pay taxes honestly. My concerns lie more with spending thousands of dollars on a family trip only to be denied entry into the US due to taxes. For me, with the low cost of compliance, it’s not worth it. If I get denied anyway, well, at least I can say that I did everything I could.
    I have many issues with the entire thing, don’t get me wrong. I’m not simply rolling over for the sake of it. If I had no intention of ever setting foot in the US again, I’d give them the finger and not think about it again. I did my research as best as I could, discussed the matter with those in similar situations, discussed with my family and friends and made a decision that best suits my current and future situation. I’m not “at peace” with my decision as I feel intrinsically trespassed but I’d feel like that regardless. After much deliberation, I believe that this was the best decision for me and my family.

  136. Thanks for being willing to share your reasons CB Valley.  We all need to make the decisions that give us the most peace of mind–even if it isn’t complete peace.

  137. Thanks for the update CBValley, I’m glad to hear things went relatively well. Odd about about the CAnadian border guard, though.
    What gives us peace of mind is unique to each of us. Good for you for doing research and then making up your mind and moving foward with your decision.
    There are some people, in certain sectors of the work force, who might need to have the option of working in the U.S. for their careers. We all need to do what makes us feel best about looking after our families and ensuring our futures.
     

  138. CB Valley,
    All well thought-out decisions have merit. You have compared the Pro’s and Con’s for you and made the decision right for you. Good work!
    What you have shown with your decision based on research and looking into your future is just what each of us needs to do. Each of our cases differ so much from another.
    Going forward from the point of our decisions, we must realize and deal with whatever consequences.

  139. I’m travelling to the US in late May. I have a CDN passport but not a US. Given that the processing time for a US Passport is 4-6 weeks, I need to get on it if I’m to get one. I have an appointment already for next week but can always cancel if need be.
    Has anyone had any stories lately about air travel? Good hopefully…

  140. THIS IS WHY I AM CONFUSED!!!!! First is from the Ottawa Consulate. Second is from the Toronto Consulate. Love how they are both US consulates but are SO different in terms of direction.
    If you are a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen you should always present yourself as a Canadian citizen when entering Canada and as a U.S. citizen when entering the United States.
    http://canada.usembassy.gov/traveling_to_canada/entering-canada.html
    U.S. law requires U.S. citizens to enter and depart the U.S. documented as U.S. citizens. Improperly documented U.S. citizens may be barred or delayed considerably at a port of entry.
    http://toronto.usconsulate.gov/service/frequently-asked-questions.html

  141. @CB valley “I did my research as best as I could, discussed the matter with those in similar situations, discussed with my family and friends and made a decision that best suits my current and future situation.”
    you did the right thing for you based on the above. as each and every one of us have unquie situations that is all any one of us can do. what best suits our needs

  142. @CB Valley: If you check back a few posts, you will find that Outraged travelled to US on a Canadian passport with a US place of birth. She didn’t have any problems.
    She precleared US Customs in Calgary.
    In January, KalC posted that clearing US Customs in Vancouver is now easier than ever.
    You’re right, this is all very confusing and there are often mixed messages. I often think it’s intentional. Sorry I know that’s not much help.

  143. I am going to “chance” it with just my CDN passport. Having said that, I’m probably chancing it even if I had a US passport tattooed to my butt. I think it’s more awkward if I presented as a US citizen with my toddler who is Canadian. I think I’ll keep it to Canadian.
    I’ll update accordingly, whether it be in California or if US jails have decent wifi signals.

  144. last week we transited at Pearson (what a confused zoo-why can’t they have some clear signage).
    One dual with US birth place. 2 Canadian passports.
    The only complaint the border guy had- I didn’t hand him the passports,boarding cards and new photocopied receipts in a neat manner!!!!! Be neat people.

  145. I transited the States last week through LAX. We stayed overnight before continuing on. The official in uniform noticed the US birthplace on my Canadian passport. The conversation went something like this.
    Agent: Where are you going?
    Me: In transit to Vancouver.
    Agent: You have a US birthplace. Why don’t you have a US passport?
    Me: Canada is my destination.
    Agent: This is the United States. Do you have a US passport?
    Me: No.
    Agent: Have you ever applied for one?
    Me: Yes.
    Agent: Why don’t you have one now?
    Me: It has expired.
    Agent: Have you applied for another one?
    Me: No.
    Agent: Why?
    Me: I have lived in Canada since 1949. I feel no need for one, and I am Canadian by birth through my mom and dad.
    Agent: That’s good to know. We are still checking for deserters.
    Me: Mr. Carter gave them amnesty in 1977. Why is it that I know that and you apparently don’t? In any case, Canada has been my home since I was an infant.
    Agent: Have you ever renounced citizenship?
    Me: Yes.
    Agent: Why didn’t you tell me at first?
    Me: You didn’t ask me at first.
    Agent: Why did you renounce?
    Me: The more relevant question is why I would even want to keep it, but I will answer your question. Canada is a freer country. Americans think they have freedom, but they are not even free to leave. I don’t appreciate your government’s attempt at the extra territorial application of your law in my country. The United States is attempting to violate my country’s sovereignty. I do not wish to be a citizen of a country with such an arrogant attitude toward others.
    Agent: You certainly have some strong opinions.
    Me: Freedom of speech still exists here?
    Agent: Yes.
    She stamped my passport and wished me a pleasant trip.

  146. @ ArcticGrayling. Wow, A.G. Some conversation. A tip of the refusnik hat to you. I don’t think I’d have the cojones to engage a US border guard in an exchange like that. While I agree US bullshit needs to be called when they deserve it (which is most of the time), it takes a strong constitution to toss it in their face like you did. Thankfully you are now safely back in Canada (presumably).
    I carry a copy of US expatriation law in my glove box in case I need to “educate” a US customs goon but so far none of them have made an issue of my Canadian passport with US birthplace. My US passport isn’t even expired but I absolutely refuse to use it. It sits in a dresser drawer and that’s where it will remain. I’d rather be turned back than be forced to produce it.

  147. @ maz57
    I didn’t lie to the agent. I simply answered her questions. I offered no more information than was required to answer the question.
    The way I look at it, the answer to a question simply has to be the truth. The answer need not be embellished with other information, even if additional information may be relevant. That’s why I didn’t volunteer the information about my renunciation. I only told her when she specifically asked.

  148. Crossing the border by way of Vancouver airport was easy. I went to visit relatives in California for the holiday. The US customs agent did not appear to notice the New York birthplace on my Canadian passport. I greeted the agent in a nice, polite Canadian manner. He said have a good trip.
    However, it was great to arrive safely back in Canada. I anticipate that it could get complicated to cross the US border in the future. My appointment for relinquishment of US citizenship comes up in two weeks. I have given myself time to be prepared, calm and polite for the interview so hope all goes well. I spend as little time as possible in the US and hope for any future trip to have a CLN.

  149. Went to the US today just for a quick trip across the border in Maine.
    My wife and I pulled up to the border guard and handed over our (Canadian) passports. He’s a very young guy and very polite but he looks at the passports and says, “You know you’re US citizens, right?” We say no and he starts telling us that we are unless we have renounced and then proceeds to mime raising his hand to take an oath of renunciation! We informed him that we had relinquished rather than renounced which he didn’t seem to understand so we offered him our CLNs. He looked them over and exclaimed in excited tones, “Wow! I’ve never seen one of these before. DS-4083, huh? Thanks. This is something really new to me. Have a nice time.”
    I really think we made his day. Probably points to the difference between big city crossings and driving into very rural Maine. Total time at the border under four minutes.

  150. Oh man I dropped off my wife and son at Vancouver airport for a short flight to Seattle. I have been to the states dozens of time just using CAD passport but I would bring US passport as a backup in case I lost my CAD passport (cannot do that now, the blue thing has been cancelled and have the CLN golden ticket). But because my son was going to a summer job in Seattle, the Dept of Homeland Insecurity kicked into full action. They spent an hour lecturing my son on the beauty of being an American and wondered many times why he does not have a US passport. After 2 hours (I was at home, having returned from the airport) I did manage to FAX them the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which is the main document that children born outside USA can verify US citizenship. But my son never asked for US citizenship. My wife and son ended up missing the flight but there was another 2 hours later. They also put my son on a list and said that if he ever flew through YVR again he would have to have a US passport (this is like the “no fly” list for terrorists). What a totalitarian country!

  151. kermitzi,
    It is believable to me — I’m sorry your son went through this experience. Will he see what the US is?
    His experience seems to come under “a law is the law is the law” (per Mr. Mopsick?) except when it hasn’t been the law (ignored) for decades.
    This is what happened to me at the border several years ago — I was told by a border official that he would let across the border “this time” but “the next time” it must be with a US passport. The rest is history told at Isaac Brock and Maple Sandbox.

  152. Kermitzii, there is 1 inconsistency in your tale. You said your son was going for a summer job. Normally work in the south requires citizenship or a green card. If he was claiming citizenship, then the border guy could make a case.

  153. KalC/C411– My son got a summer job with Facebook which has a new branch in Seattle. I am proud of him. He is a US citizen as I was, but he never had a US passport just a Canadian birth certificate and passport. I did fax the consulate report of birth abroad which I filled out when he was 3. He should have brought that. He will stay right next to Pike Place market so he will have a distorted picture of the US. He should live in eastern Oregon. He will have to get a US passport in case he comes back to Vancouver briefly during the summer.

  154. @schubert – I just wanted to say that I find it fascinating reading comments like yours on this blog (and IsaacBrock) by Canadians who left the USA during the Vietnam war (70s in general).
    Additionally, it illustrates that at one time borders and sovereignty meant something. I suspect we live in a world today where Canada/Europe would just send everyone back to Uncle Sam.

  155. I crossed the border into Washington State last week. The official noticed immediately the previous entry stamps into the USA along with my US birthplace. He asked me straight out if I had renounced, to which I immediately replied “yes”.
    He then advised me that I only have privilege of entry rather than right of entry. If I have any police record whatsoever, such as a DUI, he could refuse me entry. So he asked me if I had ever had dealings with the police, such as a DUI. I replied that, years ago, the police phoned me one time after a neighbour complained about me urinating on my front driveway, but that was about it. It was after my entire family and I had returned from a long trip, and there was a mad dash to the available bathrooms. He burst out laughing, stamped my passport, and wished me a pleasant trip.

  156. PET airport Montreal to USA. Scanned passport with the new scanner-you answer the questions by touching ‘no to all’. It takes your photo & prints a receipt. You hand it to the very pleasant lady who asks ‘how long will you be in the states? Then she says ‘have a nice trip’. C’est tout!

  157. I was born & raised in Canada, never lived a day in the US and don’t have plans to. I have US citizenship through my father who received his as an adult. Don’t ask me how but he’s sadly since passed away and the history of why with him. I have a US passport & social insurance card. Both my US & Canadian passport have Mtl, QC Canada as my birthplace and I am deciding whether or not to renounce my US citizenship as it serves me no purpose. My concern is that once I renounce and even with a Canadian birthplace on my CDN passport that I’ll have trouble travelling to the US, that somehow I’ll be flagged at the border…

  158. @Mariposa, we can’t know what will happen in the future, how all of this will shake out. But I personally think that losing the US noose around your neck is worth a bit of bother at the border, if that did happen.Everyone’s situation is different though, and only you can weigh it all out and decide what’s best for you.
    Any renouncers out there have any stories to share with Mariposa?

  159. @Mariposa: Check out Arctic Greyling’s comment. He renounced, but only had a few questions in a U.S. airport.
    Monalisa had a few more problems and had to answer several questions and be fingerprinted. However, I learned from that all non-U.S. and non-CAnadian citizens must be fingerprinted to enter the US. I was shocked at that. Monalisa is British, so that was why she was required to fingerprint.
    Some members of Congress want to ban renunciants from ever entering the U.S. ever again. We don’t know if that will happen or not.

  160. Crossed into the US yesterday on my Canadian passport with US birthplace:
    Guard: Where do you live?
    Me: M——. (Town near the border)
    Guard: When did you leave Texas?
    Me: Huh?
    Guard: It says here you were born in Midland.
    Me: That would be Midland, Michigan, not Midland, Texas. There are Midlands all over the place. We’ve even got a few in Canada.
    Guard: Oh, I didn’t know that. I come from Midland, Texas. Where are you going?
    Me: Portland.
    Guard: For what purpose?
    Me: Family visit.
    Guard: What are you bringing back, er, taking down with you?
    Me: Some clothes, and my golf clubs.
    Guard: Have a nice day.
    So the guy clearly noticed my US birthplace and made no issue of it at all. Is it possible they have been given instructions to back off on this? This was by car at a land crossing. Maybe airports are different. It sure wasn’t a problem for this guy.

  161. @maz: Based on what we have heard here, only a few border guards at land crossings have made an issue about a U.S. birthplace. Twice in eight years I was politely advised to get a U.S. passport. I ignored the advice both times and never again had an issue in multiple crossings.
    Interestingly, the first time was in 2004. That was the year the IRS rule about reporting to a U.S, Consulate came into effect. The guard, however, did not mention anything about taxes or IRS. I had been a Canadian citizen for 31 years then.

  162. @Maz57, thanks for this. I think it will help Mariposa sleep a bit better at night. My last trip to the US was in Feb and I also experienced no problems, by air. Not even a comment about my birthplace, just a ‘have a nice trip’
     

  163. I became a Canadian citizen in 1978, at which time I was told by the U.S. Embassy that I had lost my U.S. citizenship. I told all my relatives in the States that I was becoming Canadian and would be losing my U.S. citizenship. Time passed and all was well. But recently I traveled to the U.S. and a customs officer, seeing my US. birthplace in my passport, told me that I was still considered a U.S. citizen and I should not come back without a U.S. passport. I found this quite upsetting after so many years. I still have a few relatives in the U.S. and would like to attend their funerals. I am looking into getting a CLN before things get worse. Have not attempted to go back to the U.S. since the incident.

    1. Harry, Welcome to the sandbox. The border guy was mistaken. Unfortunately it doesn’t pay to argue with them. He was mistaken because , when you became Canadian, you knew you would lose your US ness and it was your intent to do so. Therefore you haven’t been an American since. Don’t be bullied into applying for a passport.
      Intent is all that is required to establish relinquishment. You will be able to get aCLN. It will take months to get an appointment and a few months after that to get it in the mail. You have NO tax obligations. All the info,you need is on this and the Isaac Brock website

  164. @Harry: Welcome to Sandbox. we are nicer than US border guards.
    I was told in 2004 at the border I should always enter the US as an American citizen. I debated it (friendly) with the border officer because, like you, I believed I was no longer a U.S. citizen because U.S. consulate told me I was “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing U.S. citizenship in 1973.
    I continued to enter the U.S. as a Canadian citizen with no further mention until 2011 when another border guard told me to get a US passport. This time, I nodded, smiled and went on my way. I did not get a U.S. passport. It was never mentioned again in numerous crossings. Since my mother`s death last year, I plan to never travel to the U.S. again.
    Do NOT get caught in the trap of being bullied into getting a U.S. passport. If you do, you could get caught up in the nightmare Calgary411 went through.
    Are you aware of the whole IRS and FATCA nightmare we are now living because of our place of birth and the betrayal of our own Canadian government?

  165. Over the last few years, entered the US by air and twice by land with no questions about US birthplace on Canadian passport.
    Crossing by land, got asked this time and explained parents Canadian, moved back when a kid and US citizenship lapsed when I turned 25 in Canada.
    That provision of the INA was repealed effective October 10, 1978 — works for me.

  166. Thanks GeorgeNotBush I think you are new here, Welcome to the Sandbox.
    It sounds like you had a reasonable border guard–but it’s disturbing to know people have to know such details about the law just to travel.
    Have you had any issues with your bank?

  167. thanks for sharing your experience, GeorgeNotBush. While I agree with Lynne that it’s a shame we all have to know so much, it’s great to hear that there are still rationale human beings out there, even on the US border side

  168. Crossed into US by air having renounced 5 months ago. Haven’t received a CLN but consulate told,me to carry my receipt from consulate with me. No questions about US place of birth. Just how long a stay? Where to? Bringing anything in? Have a nice trip.
    However, In last 3 years I had been warned twice about US passport required, I applied and got one. Although cumbersome it removed the bullying tone from conversations with customs staff.
    I renounced in April and although anxious on this last trip, I had no issues.

  169. US born in the mid 60’s, to Canadian parents. Returned to Canada at one year of age and been here since. Still cannot believe the absurdity of this…
    Crossed into US at Vancouver international in the spring of 2014 on Canadian passport with US birth place. Polite agents, standard questions, “Have a good trip”.
    Crossed into Washington State by car, summer 2015. Horrendously rude agent, had me shaking as he yelled and barked questions. (I guess being obnoxious flushes out terrorists)
    I was already on edge (being a tax criminal) and this had me shaken and sweaty. I’m surprised I wasn’t taken away and executed. Through it all, no mention of the US birth place and daughter and I were tersely sent on our way. We had a fantastic time in Washington State and were reminded that the average American is the same as the average Canadian – everyone we encountered was fantastic, warm, welcoming and friendly.
    **Keep up the good work.. I send small PayPal donations when I can.

    1. @ FATCA-Oh Dear
      Thank you for sharing your border crossing experiences with us. That last one was a doozie. It’s so true — people on both sides of the border are mostly salt of the earth. It’s too bad you sometimes have to pass through a cloud of mustard gas at the border to get to the good folks on the other side. BTW, thanks for sending a donation.

    2. Thank you for donating.  Some of those border guards are on a real power trip.  I’m glad he didn’t make an issue of your U.S. place of birth. He must have thought general harassment was enough.

      Welcome to Sandbox.  You are among friends here.

  170. My other half (we’re not married, just common-law) was born in the US and moved to Canada at age 3. She just recently got her Canadian citizenship certificate and is now applying for her passport. We haven’t started the process of renunciation or even dealing with the IRS yet (she’s been unemployed for a few years anyway).
    I’m just wondering if that’s something that may come up or if I shouldn’t be too worried and just keep moving forward? It’s on the to-do list of course, but if we want to travel the US in the next year on her Canadian passport should we be concerned at all?

    1. Based on reports here and elsewhere, I do not think there is much risk to your partner crossing the border on a Canadian passport.

      Most people have not encountered a problem.  I was told twice in over 40 years of crossing that I should get a U.S. passport. The first time, I debated it with the Border Officer.  The second time, I smiled,, nodded and went on my way.  It was never mentioned again in several more crossings.

      What are you referrimg to when you say “I’m just wondering if that’s something that may come up or if I shouldn’t be too worried…”

      Are you asking about renunciation, the IRS, the Canadian passport, or something else?

       

    2. Hi Lynn,
      I mean without taking care of her taxes (or lack thereof) with the IRS, if that may cause issues. I have no idea.
      As mentioned, it’ll be taken care of when we start renunciation, just not yet.
      Thanks 🙂

    3. @Chris:  If your wife recently became a Canadian citizen, she can relilnquish her U.S. citizenship by reporting to the US Consulate that she did so with the intent of elilnquishing American citizenship.  She will need to pay the same $2350 US fee (about $3000 Canadian) but it another choice for her.

      The Consulate should not ask anything about taxes other than advising you to report to IRS.  Many people have filed several years of back returns after relinquishing or renouncing.  Others do it before they renounce or rellinquish.

      You may want to make an appointment now.  The last I heard, the Toronto Consulate had a waiting time of 10 months for appontments.  Other Consulates in Canada also have long waiting lists, but I think they are shorter than Toronto’s.

      Good luck.  Let us know how it goes or if you have any more questions.

       

    4. No, she’s been in Canada for 37 years (moved here when she was 3).
      We didn’t know anything about taxes until quite recently, but we still want to travel.
      She just “officially” got her Canadian citizenship, though.

  171. I have a Canadian passport with a United States birthplace (Texas). Crossing into Chicago I was questioned very closely by U. S. customs and asked for my U.S. passport. I didn’t have one and still don’t. He let me through but warned me to get a U.S. Passport. I want to go to the states this summer to visit friends but I am now hesitant. What could happen either there or on the way back? And how could I prepare for it?

    1. Bart. It’s a crapshoot. Only a few border guys seem to get excited by this but you never know when you will run into one. We have crossed the border hundreds of times over 30 years without problems. So have many others. A few of us have been coerced into obtaining a passport.
      Your course of action depends on the circumstances.
      E.G. If questioned, you might say you relinquished when you became Canadian and ,at that time, a CLN was unheard of. Then there is the question of taxes…. If you apply for a US passport after many years your name will be given to the infernal revenue society and then nobody knows what would happen. It’s a tough call.

    2. @Bart Several of us have been told to get a U.S. passport.  Some complied but then got caught up in the IRS nightmare.  I was told twice that I should get a U.S. passport.  The first time (2004), I debated it with the friendly border guard.  No one mentioned it again for seven years. (2011)  That time, I merely nodded and went on my way.

      It was never mentioned again in several crossings.  My last crossing into the US was for my mother’s funeral in 2014.  Since her death, I resolved never to travel to the U.S. again.

      We have not had any reports of anyone being turned away or having anything bad happen for not having a U.S. passport.  My personal feeling is a U.S. passport would cause more problems long term than not having a U.S. passport. But we don’t actually know what will happen over time.

  172. Born in the US and renounced in 2014 with a CLN. Just got back from a Canada/USA trip and crossed into the US twice on my Australian passport, border guards on both occasions were very friendly and neither asked any questions with regards to me being born in US, US passports or showing them my CLN.

    1. Thanks for letting us know BJ.  It’s good to hear that there were no problems at a Canada-US border with a passport that is neither Canadian nor American.

  173. What is CLN and how do I get one? I became a citizen in 1974. According to the laws in both countries I lost my US citizenship then since I swore an oath of allegiance to the Crown and to Canada and willingly and knowingly made this oath realizing it would result in my loss of US citizenship.. I moved to Canada in the fall on 1968. I voted in elections, joined a political party, taught at both the university level and at the high school level. I have received a merit award from the Prime Minister of Canada and from the Truth and Reconcilation Committee. When living in Alberta I was a member of the Metis Nation there. This was before the patriation of the BNA Act. I think people like me would be subject to slightly rules. How far back can these people (IRS) go. Does what they are trying to do go back to 1867? The great grandchildren of thea generation are still alive? Fredrich a devoted Canadian

    1. Fredrich. All the information you need is in the links to the right.
      Briefly a CLN is a certificate of loss of (US) nationality.
      You get one by making an appointment at aUS consulate to inform them that when you became Canadian you intended to give up US citizenship . That plus $3000 gets you a CLN . The process takes about a year.
      Whether or not you need one is another question.- you probably don’t.

    2. Frederich As DoD has advised, you may or may not want to get a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN).
      You are correct that in 1974, neither Canada
      nor the U.S. allowed dual cutizenship. I became a Canadian citizen in 1973. Like you, it was with the very clear understanding that I was relinquishing American citizenship. In fact, my Canadian citizenship oath required me to renounce U.S. citizenship. (That was not required in 1974).
      I personally will not go anywhere near an American Consukate. I don’t trust them based on past experiences. I refuse to give them my name, address or any other information about me to pass on to IRS.
      Other people have made different decisions. Many have played the American game and applied for a CLN based on long agonrelinquishments.
      Why do you want a CLN? Is it to give to your bank? Is it for crossing the border? Is it for peace of mind?
      One very important point to understand is CRA does not and will not collect for IRS for any Canadian citizen. IRS does not have jurisdiction in Canadian courts.
      FATCA makes everything a whole new ball game. If your financial institution asks where you were born, FATCA regulations and the IGA allow them to accept proof of non U.S. citizenship and a “reasonable explanation” for why you don’t have a CLN.
      Do NOT–under any circumstances–get a U.S. passport for the purpose of entering the U.S. If you do that, you will be caught up in a never ending nightmare.

  174. Some people are reporting they were detained and questioned on their way to Washington protests. It appears this couple do not have U.S. citizenship.
    Other protesters were turned away at the border–including a dual Canadian-American citizen. He was trying to enter on his Canadian passport–but that does not seem to be the reason he was denied entry.
    More Canadians in pussy hats are planning to join the Women’s March in Washington today. It will be interesting to see how many actually made it over the border.

  175. So happy to have just discovered your website! You are providing a great service. I am a dual US/CAD citizen (US by birth). My current situation is a bit unusual in that I am currently in Australia, where both passports were stolen. I replaced my Canadian passport but have not replaced the US one yet, as I don’t have my birth certificate with me. I’d like to fly into Seattle but I’m wondering what will happen if I don’t have a US passport. Can I be refused entry? I’ve made it a habit up until now never to show US Customs my CAD passport, but now I will have to. I suppose everything is shared these days anyway and the US knows I am a dual citizen. But what’s the worst that could happen, not having a US passport?

    1. Hi North by Northwest
      Welcome!
      How unfortunate to have to deal with when not in either country! Question: How could you replace your CDN passport without a birth certificate?
      It is U.S. law, for several years now, that a U.S. citizen is to enter the U.S. with a U.S. passport. We hear of lots of people being hassled about not using one but I am not aware of anyone outright denied entry. Of course, the worst is you could be denied. But that would be it. You certainly would not have any issue entering Canada.
      I would not presume anything at this point. Unless you have renounced or something like that, there is nothing I am aware of that points to an exchange of passport info between U.S. Dept of State and CDN CIC. Even under their new system, unless I misunderstand, each country records and can share both entry and exit into either country. But if you use two different passports, I am not aware there is some sort of matching program………..
      Good luck!

    2. I also am unaware of anyone being refused entry.  However, some airlines insist on a US passport for anyone born in USbefore they will permit them to board a flight to US.

      UK’s Boris Johnson is the most high proflle person affected by that.  He becamse aware of his unwanted U.S. citizenship severalyears ago when he was denied boarding a f;ight with his famiy on a trip to Mexico with connections in the US.

      In another situation, Canada’s national airline, Air Canada insisted Stephen Kish give them his American passport to board a flight returning to Canada from the U.S. after he showed them his Canadian passport. 

      I have no idea how you might be affected ny all of this.  It mat be there are no problems.  It may be that your airline will refuse to allow you to board.  If you do board, it may be that the US immigration folks will advise you that you should get a U.S. passport but they will allow you to enter.  Or, they may refuse to allow you to enter.

      I’m sorry we couldn’t give you a more definote answer.  You may want to check with the American Embassy or Consulate in Australia but I suspect they will probably tell you that you must get an American passpport to travel to the U.S.

  176. The last time I crossed the US border, pre-OMG, post-FATCA, was probably early 2012 by car. I’ve never traveled to the US (or anywhere else) on anything other than a Canadian passport, and recall the border guard making mention of the US birthplace on my Canadian passport and asking me if I was a US citizen. I didn’t think much about that conversation until fall 2012 when I discovered I was a ‘US tax cheat’. At that point, I decided not to enter the USA for an indeterminate amount of time like many other US chattel. Sadly that also meant giving up the semi-annual girls’ Seneca weekends in Niagara. But after 5 years of missing out on all the fun, my BFF finally managed to convince me to go again, this past weekend. The border guard didn’t mention a thing about the US birthplace on my Canadian passport. And I had a great time as usual. Did I just get lucky? Will I get grilled next time as to why I don’t travel on a US passport? Who knows? But now that I’ve done it once, post-OMG, I’ll likely do it again.

  177. I renounced in 2012. I was previously convinced that when I became a Canadian in 1978 I had ‘automatically’ renounced. I lived as only a Canadian (passport, etc.) for all the years in between.
    A newspaper article in 2010 caused me to believe I was still a US citizen, soon confirmed by a lawyer I consulted. He advised me to file US tax returns, that cost thousands in fees, not taxes.
    After this I visited the US Consulate in Toronto. The very nice agent told me he could have back-dated the renunciation to 1978, had I not filed any tax returns! I have no idea how they would react today.
    And from other posts here, I would confirm US departments do not seem to contribute to a massive database where a border agent can look you up. I reckon that will come sooner or later.

    1. Hi WhiteKat and Larry.
      Whitekat, glad to hear you got across with no hassles. However, you may have got lucky, or maybe my wife and I got unlucky about a year ago (or would have been unlucky without or CLN photocopies). It wasn’t a car crossing, we’ve never been challenged (yet) in a car on Canadian passports with US birthplaces, but going through US pre-clearance in Toronto two years ago flying to see my son and grandkids who live in the US, the US border officer asked us if we were US citizens on seeing our passports. We both said “no,” whereupon she specifically asked if we had CLNs. We both said yes (and both had copies of ours with us), which surprisingly (to me anyway) she just accepted our word for it and didn’t ask us to produce them, just grumpily said “have a nice visit.” I didn’t think to report this on the website at the time, because I didn’t actually have to show the CLN. FWIW.
      So far that’s the only time we’ve been asked about this, including last month when we drove into the States for US Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law’s family, travelling with another sister-in-law and brother-in-law, her travelling on a US passport and him on an EU passport. We had to go inside the building because my brother-in-law needed a visa form he didn’t know about (called an I-94, at first I thought they were talking about highway directions…) and all four of us had to surrender our passports and get them reviewed by a polite Hispanic officer who was at a computer and who was getting advice from another officer. The whole thing took maybe ten minutes, my brother-in-law got his form, and she said nothing about either my wife’s Canadian passport or mine, which were returned to us without comment. Frankly I was expecting to have to show our CLNs, given the special pull-over attention, but it never came up. I do strongly suspect that both my wife and I are on their database as having CLNs, given that’s what the US Vice Consul told my wife would happen when she applied for her CLN.
      So it may or not be risky to continue crossing without a CLN, but given all the times we’ve crossed the US border so far that one time two years ago at Pearson pre-clearance was the only time we were briefly questioned. The worst I think they are likely to do if you do get caught is to be cautioned that they won’t let you in again without a US passport, I’ve heard that’s happened but I’ve also heard in at least one case that they don’t follow through when the person crossed several times later without anyone bothering her.

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