Delays for Embassy Appointments to Expatriate


Posted by:
Phil Hodgen

Written on:
March 15, 2012

Posted in:
Expatriation

A frequent visitor, commenter, and email buddy (hi, Don) left a comment last night on the “Crowdsourced Expatriation Data” post. The Isaac Brock Society has been collecting information about the numbers of people terminating U.S. citizenship. But anecdotal evidence about waiting time is scarce. The Vancouver Consulate, from reports I have had, is a bit backed up, or at least it was at year-end 2011.

Interesting stuff. He’s a one-man data gatherer. Does anyone else have information like this? Leave comments here if you like. Perhaps one of the Isaac Brock Society contributors will start to collect this data as well — that would seem to be a better place to centralize this extremely useful information.

One take-away for would-be expatriates: do not leave this job until late in the year. There is no guarantee that you will get that appointment before the end of 2012. If you DO want to cancel your citizenship in 2012, either do it at the first possible opportunity or be prepared to call all the Embassies and Consulates in the world and fly anywhere if you’re running close to December 31, 2012.

Here is the comment. Thanks Don.

I had a bit of spare time so I rang some US Embassies around Europe for a straw poll asking how long to wait for a first interview to renounce.

Here are the results:

  • Belgium – 23/3
  • France – 5/4
  • Italy – 2 – 4 weeks
  • Portugal – 2 weeks
  • Russia – 26/3

The reaction is quite interesting when you ring up.  The embassies in France and Italy the line dropped or I was hung up on, only to ring back and be put through. The tone of people’s voices change suddenly when you mention the dreaded “R” word.

If you say you’re the person who wants to renounce, they can become somewhat unhelpful, but if you say that you’re an attorney representing a client, the tone of the conversation becomes matter of fact.

US Embassies often only take phone calls for a few hours during the afternoon for Consular Services such as renunciations.

US Embassies are closed both US and local holidays and one working day a month.

The embassy in France told me their appointment times had suddenly changed 2 days ago from August 2012 to April 2012 while another embassy told me the whole process can take up to a year.

What’s going on?  Have they moved up the first renunciation interviews to “as soon as possible” and then crawl through the process over the next 12 months because it gives the impression the US Government is happy to process renunciations – no sour grapes.

Has State Department told the embassies to tell the public “only a couple of weeks?” for the first interview?

Another embassy reminded me that it will cost me $450.

In general the subject of renunciation continues to be a somewhat touchy subject even among locally employed staff at the embassies.  Obviously there have been emails or discussions that have taken place on renunciations inside the State Department.

Your Phase II will prove more interesting how long the process takes from start to finish and if the only thing that has changed is the first interview date is not only a couple of weeks waiting time.

I agree with Don’s bemusement. A “two weeks to get your appointment” timeline is staggeringly efficient. That’s not been my experience, nor the experience of most of my clients. Something must have happened upstairs at the State Department.

  • Lisa

    So far our experience is far from efficient. We asked the US Embassy in Stockholm when the next available appointment was and how long it took to get the CLN from Washington. This is the answer we got back. It totally ignored our questions.
    ———————————–
    Dear Sir/Madam:
    Renunciation of U.S. citizenship is a very serious and irrevocable exercise and should therefore only be undertaken after serious consideration of its consequences. Please read more about the procedure and consequences on http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_776.html.

    If you are still interested in renouncing your U.S. citizenship after reading this information, let us know and you will be scheduled for a visit at the embassy for a consultation. Please see our website for our opening hours: http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/consulate/am_cit_index.html.

    Thereafter, if you remain interested, you will be scheduled for another appointment where you formally renounce your U.S. citizenship. The fee to renounce U.S. citizenship is $450.
    We hope this information will be of assistance.
    ———
    A friend who renounced in 2011 was originally scheduled for 2012 and was able to move to 2011 when a slot became available. However, one cannot always be sure of cancellations.

  • http://isaacbrocksociety.com Pacifica777

    Don, wow, that was a really pro-active idea! And very interesting observations along with the wait time info. Brock currently has process times posted for about 20 1st/2nd visits, and so far 1 cln; and will be adding booking wait time as well. Phase II will be people’s descriptions of their consulate visit/s, their impressions of the personnel they dealt with, aspects of the procedure that vary from elsewhere, etc.

  • http://hodgen.com/ Phil

    @Lisa, thanks for this first-hand report.

    /Phil

  • nobledreamer

    Another good reason to renounce earlier in the year is that it leaves more time to prepare all the final returns – esp 8854. The extra time also gives a little more insurance that you can answer the dreaded question “Do you certify under penalties of perjury that you have complied with all of your tax obligations for the 5 preceding tax years (see instructions)?” affirmatively.

  • http://isaacbrocksociety.com Pacifica777

    Re: “The Vancouver Consulate, from reports I have had, is a bit backed up, or at least it was at year-end 2011.” Good news for Vancouverites since your November post on this. Three people have recently reported to Isaac Brock Society that Vancouver is now scheduling appointments within two weeks.