We often use separate terms for “renunciation” and “relinquishment” since there are some notable differences between renunciation and the other methods of terminating one US citizenship. However, renunciation is actually one of the 7 methods of relinquishment, as set out in Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a). This post explains some of the similarities and differences.
RENUNCIATION – Immigration and Nationalities Act, s. 349(a)(5)
Renunciation is only form of relinquishment where the relinquishing act itself takes place at a US consulate. It is performed by taking the oath of renunciation (form 4080). Form 4081 (Statement of understanding of consequences) is also required. Form 4079 (Request for determination of loss of citizenship) is not strictly required, but the DOS procedure manual does state that “it may prove useful” regarding intent and it seems that most consulates do require it.
Depending on the consulate, renunciation may take one or two visits. Since 2012, there seems to be a trend to switch to one visit.
Since July 2010, there has been a $450 fee for renunciation. It increased to $2350 on 12 September 2014. This fee is payable at the visit where you sign your papers.
In the case of renunciation, the loss of citizenship is effective, for all purposes, as of the date you sign the forms at the consulate.
Of the remaining 6 methods of relinquishment, the most common means is by naturalisation in a foreign country s. 349(a)(1) with the intent of relinquishing one’s US citizenship.
[This is of particular interest in Canada because whilst over 100,000 US-born Canadian citizens believe themselves to be “Canadian Citizen Only,” according to the 2006 census, it’s believed that almost none have a Certificate of Loss of Nationality because we were told we terminated our US citizenship automatically upon taking Canadian citizenship, particularly prior to 1990 when the administrative presumption changed, and almost no one seems to have even heard of a CLN before 2011.]
In the case of relinquishment not done by renunciation (eg. naturalisation), although the loss of citizenship occurs at the moment the relinquishing act is performed, the relinquishment is not effective in the eyes of the US government until the US government is notified by signing forms at a US consulate. Required forms are 4079 (Request for determination of loss of citizenship) and 4081 (Statement of understanding of consequences). It’s also a very good idea to supplement your 4079 with a statement illustrating your intent, how your post-relinquishment conduct has been consistent with lack of US citizenship. Your post-relinquishment conduct would include indicators of loss of citizenship such as not voting in US elections, travelling on a US passport, etc.
Your CLN will show that the US govt recognises your loss of citizenship did occur on the date you performed your relinquishing act (eg. naturalisation) not the date you signed your CLN application.
When you attend at the consulate regarding this type of relinquishment, you’re essentially notifying them that you already have relinquished. Consequently, this requires only one consulate visit.
There is no fee for processing relinquishments done under these sub-articles. UPDATE: September 2015 – Dept of State has announced relinquishment-based CLNs will cost $2350 beginning November 9, 2015.
Once this is done, the US government will consider the loss of citizenship effective as of the date of the actual relinquishment, except IRS will consider the loss to have occurred on the date you signed the forms at the consulate.
This IRS policy became effective on 4 June 2004, so it may not apply to you if your relinquishing act was performed prior to that date, in which case you ceased to be a citizen before the law came into effect. Please see Read These if Relinquishing Act Performed Prior to 4 June 2004 regarding this.