Going stateless: the cost

20 February 2010 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary | 11 Comments »

What can you get for free by happening to be born within some arbitrary boundaries, but must pay $450 to get rid of?

US citizenship, if the State Department’s recently-announced plan to raise consular services fees goes through.

From the Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer, LLP blog:

Documentation for Renunciation of Citizenship – The cost study found that documenting a U.S. citizen’s renunciation of citizenship is extremely costly, requiring American consular officers overseas to spend substantial amounts of time to accept, process, and adjudicate cases. A new fee of $450 will be established to help defray a small portion of the total cost to the government of documenting the renunciation of citizenship.

  1. 11 Responses to “Going stateless: the cost”

  2. By George Donnelly on 20 February 2010

    Price going up? There must be high demand!

  3. By Seth on 23 February 2010

    Still seems like a rather nominal free for throwing off the death-machine-tax-cattle yoke of U.S. submitizen-slaveship

  4. By Robin on 25 February 2010

    Err… I’m going to pay a government to make them believe I don’t accept them as a government any more?

    Geeze, every government around the world could start claiming everyone as a citizen and then make people pay to tell them no. Thanks, no thanks.

  5. By Temujin on 25 February 2010

    And they make you pay their fees with the only “currency” they say is legit.



  6. By Edward Ringwald on 4 March 2010

    A person’s decision to renounce US citizenship is his or her choice. However, charging $450 is a steep price considering the amount of time on average it takes for the US Consular Officer to interview the prospective renunciant and prepare the paperwork. Then you got staff at the State Department in Washington that actually reviews the paperwork and makes the decision. After all, most cases are straightforward but there are a few cases that require special attention.

    By comparison, anyone wanting to apply for an non-immigrant (tourist) visa to the USA pays $131 as an application fee. Now what kind of paperwork and time does the consular officer deal with adjudicating the visa application?

    If the State Department wants to charge for renouncing US citizenship to cover the costs of paperwork and associated activities, they can. But I think $450 is too expensive and too steep.

    By the way, this is a great site – keep up the good work!

  7. By Dave on 6 March 2010

    @ Edward
    Actually, that is not a good comparison; IMO one would do better to compare this price with the fees charged for permanent residence and/or naturalization status. The fees begin just shy of $400 and go up from there, depending on the situation.

  8. By Subversive Uncle Frank on 21 March 2010

    Amazingly the U.S. still claims the right to tax you on worldwide income for up to ten years AFTER you renounce your citizenship.

    So it’s not that great of a deal.

    Of course, the concept of “renouncing” doesn’t necessarily entail paying a fee or jumping through the hoops of the U.S. government. You can renounce publicly and avoid both.

    Those who signed the declaration of independence didn’t ask King George for the proper form to fill out and the proper fees to pay.

  9. By Mike Gogulski on 21 March 2010

    Well, those old-school renunciants did have the advantage of an ocean and widespread public support for what they were doing. Not so in my case.

  10. By Dragon's Eye on 25 March 2010

    I still don’t see anyone having to “pay” just to make his or her decision publicly known! Just goes to show you how corrupt a system, and how much they want you to keep paying through the nose! Last time I remembered, a simple and dedicated “recission” document, filed with your Secretary of State’s Office WAS all that WAS needed! ( That was, until an executive order by William Jefferson Clinton made that all ” go away “! )

    The only thing I can think of, is when you move overseas to somewhere like Bermuda, Barbados, or something of the like; JUST DON’T COME BACK!!!

    Of course, you could stick around and keep up the good fight, because “running away” isn’t going to do a damn thing except maybe “delay the inevitable”!

    ” BE the change that you seek! ”
    – Mohandas Gandhi

  11. By Edward Ringwald on 1 April 2010

    Dave, to clarify my comparision:

    1. All United States nonimmigrant visa applicants pay a $131 fee (immigrant visa applicants pay a $355 fee) – no exceptions. This fee is not refundable if the application for a visa is denied. The processing fee applies whether you are a nonimmigrant or an immigrant.

    2. The $131 or $355 fee covers the consul’s costs in processing the visa application.

    3. If a nonimmigrant visa is applied for and approved, the applicant pays an additional fee – called an issuance fee – which is the same fee the applicant’s home country charges American citizens for the same type of visa.

    4. If an immigrant visa is applied for, there is an additional $375 non-refundable fee if you apply for an immigrant visa as part of the diversity visa lottery program. Also, there is a security surcharge of $45 tacked on to your immigrant visa fees. Don’t forget, you have more fees tacked on for the medical examination, affidavit of support and other things.

  12. By Christopher on 23 December 2010

    @Subversive Uncle Frank

    No longer true. In 2010 (section 877A) they simply charge you a market to market tax for any unrealized gains which are valued above $627,000. 877A looks like it eliminates the 10 year filing requirement.

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