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The Expatriate – How Americans Can Renounce Citizenship

by Bill Rounds Esq. on November 18, 2009

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

One of the most extreme acts that can be taken by an individual in attempt to secure more privacy is to renounce their citizenship of the United States and become one of a growing number of expatriates. Although the reasons for expatriation differ, hundreds choose to take this drastic step every year.

I will provide you with a brief outline of what the law requires to recognize you as an expatriate. Failure to meet the three part test may mean that you will still be subject to US law as a US citizen, even if you do not intend to be.  There may be significant saving in taxes if you can find the tax free states to expatriate to.

US law recognizes the right of any person to relinquish their citizenship.  There is a general principle held  almost universally by all nations and that is that “statelessness” is undesirable. Therefore, before you can expatriate, you will need to obtain citizenship of another country. In addition, there are three steps that a person must take in order to renounce US citizenship. A person must 1) take a statutorily enumerated act of expatriation, 2) Do so “voluntarily,” and 3) Act with the specific intent of relinquishing their nationality.

Act of Expatriation

Some of the acts of expatriation include obtaining naturalization in or taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state, formally renouncing your citizenship before a diplomatic or consular officer in a foreign state, or fighting in the army of a nation engaged in hostilities against the US.

I hope that I don’t have to point out that I do not recommend fighting in the army of a hostile nation. That has the lowest life expectancy of any of the options. Simply obtaining naturalization or taking an oath of allegiance is also a weak option because that in and of itself is done often throughout the world without relinquishing citizenshi

There are many who maintain what is commonly known as dual citizenship therefore they are not considered expatriates. Therefore the best option is to formally declare that you renounce your citizenship before a diplomatic or consular officer.

Voluntariness

Whether you acted voluntarily to renounce your citizenship, or to fight in a hostile army, is presumed. You can of course present evidence that you did not act voluntarily, ie: that you were forced to fight for the Taliban or else be forced to eat nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days straight. Since the presumption is in favor of the expatriate, there should be no problem for those wishing to renounce.

Specific Intent To Relinquish US Nationality

A formal declaration of renunciation tends to lead to the inference of an intent to relinquish. Therefore the formal declaration kills two birds with one stone. This is not all that is required, however. Other evidence can be used to establish, by inference, that there was no intention to relinquish, even though an otherwise valid formal declaration was given.

Things like returning to the United States soon after your declaration could lead to an inference that you did not have the specific intent to renounce. The person who wishes to expatriate has the burden to prove the act of expatriation and that they had the specific intent to relinquish US nationality.

Conclusion

Expatriation is an extreme measure that may not even produce the desired results. You may also still be subject to unwanted tax consequences many years after expatriation. You will also not have the right to enter the US. It may, however, be just what you are looking for if all of the other privacy protection methods in How To Vanish the book do not satisfy you.  You should consult with an attorney to discuss the option of expatriating to make sure that you do it correctly.

What Privacy Issues Concern You?

I write articles based mostly on what I am thinking about and what I think other people would be interested in learning.  I have also been spending some time putting these ideas down in a very detailed and organized way in a book so that I can present it as good resource for everyone.

I have also been asked to write about some topics that answer some of the questions of readers for other websites. When those are published I will let you know, but I want to make sure that I am addressing all of the issues that you, the readers, are concerned about.   Leave comments and emails about what privacy concerns you have and I will do my best to respond to your concerns.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This is not intended to be legal advice, only a general overview of what is required by US law to expatriate. Individuals should consult with an attorney to determine applicable law in their unique situation.

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11 comments

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Rounds, Esq. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from California Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article of 123 by .
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mark January 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

There is another country you can claim! The state in which you were born or live in. This is a return to the true country before the 14th amendment citizenship political status was constructed. http://www.notmygovernment.us

2 Bill Rounds J.D. January 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I would be careful about relying on a legal argument that is not persuasive to a court, or any other authority. Even if an argument is philosophically or theoretically correct, the practical reality is that it will fail to protect your property or your freedom unless the authorities accept it as valid.

3 Sam February 1, 2011 at 5:23 am

I would like to know what happens to a person’s social security and/or retirement funds after the renounce their U.S. citizenship? Are they still allowed to own properties or businesses in the U.S., and what would happen to properties that they already own after they renounce?

4 Jim Hallett May 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I was not aware that expatriation involves NOT being able to enter the U.S. again. I have heard from many others (e.g., The Sovereign Society) that one is allowed to spend up to 122 days per year here, even if you now are a citizen of another country. I do not know why anyone would want to keep U.S. citizenship, since this has become an encroaching police state intent of robbing as much property and tax loot as it can from its citizens. There are MANY other freer places on earth, and only the U.S. claims to have a right to your income, no matter where it is earned. I have also heard horror stories about the fact the Sewer rats (Congress) have mandated that one pay an exit fee to expatriate. What crap!!! I would never pay these thugs a fee to live someplace else. What on earth have they done to earn that?? I have NO intention of receiving Ponzi scheme funds (SS, Medicare), and intend to live outside the U.S. for a large part of the year, but since I have many friendships here, and love the “free state” (relative term, of course!) of New Hampshire, I intend to spend some of the Memorial Day-Columbus Day time (the only time weather is decent!) there. Please clarify your understanding of the prohibition against entering the U.S., once one has expatriated. I would have NO intention of giving one thin dime to the immoral IRS thug pigs, once I had left the U.S. and was earning money elsewhere.

5 Trace Mayer, J.D. May 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

Jim, if the expatriate has a passport where a visa is required for entry then the United States could deny a visa to an expatriate and this would prohibit legal entry into the United States.

6 Ammie Nelson May 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Hello,
Is it possible to get a passport from another country with your information?
Thank you
Ammie

7 Trace Mayer, J.D. June 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Ammie, yes, there are legal procedures in place to get passports from many countries.

8 John May 12, 2013 at 5:00 am

I am currently experiencing being harassed by public “group”stalking and a “TOTAL” invasion of personal privacy! I fully intend to leave the country, at least for awhile, but why should I be bullied out and have stolen from me, any of my SS or any other government benefits that I paid into for 37 years of hard up and down struggling, from any foreign or domestic, public or political current agenda or political climates! I’ve had my personal, corporate professional and my social life, my reputation and my own Mother being influenced by mysterious outside influences. My US Citizenship life has been hijacked by this current “suffocating” personal U.S. Civil Liberties climate” in the USA by all sides of the “GPS” monitoring civil and government approved populace. But
I see no need to give up my citizenship and any possible government or retirement
benefits in the long run. I will not be pushed out of my own country, even if I decide
that I would be more comfortable at this time to escape, even for awhile, to some safe
sanctuary or haven. Under the current economic and social climate, I can’t make a comfortable living in my current situation!

The bottom line is that I won’t give up my citizenship, but I feel that there is a great
number of ambitious US Citizens and their families that need at least a temporary
escape or break into a “New Land of Opportunities”.
0
But,

9 George July 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

I included a link to a website where one former American describes his reason for going Stateless. For US citizens that seems to be an option available to them, contrary to what the article stated above.

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