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November 3, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

The Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American, Episode 10

Note from Phil: this is the tenth episode of The Expatriation Chronicles, in which we follow the renunciation process from start to finish with a 17-year old Irish girl who is an Accidental American.

  • Episode 1 (Phil’s introduction)
  • Episode 2 (A’s introduction – why she wants to renounce her U.S. citizenship)
  • Episode 3 (What to do when you don’t have a Social Security Number)
  • Episode 4 (When can a minor renounce U.S. citizenship?)
  • Episode 5 (A submits her renunciation application to the London Embassy)
  • Episode 6 (A pushes the London Embassy to keep things moving)
  • Episode 7 (A has her first expatriation appointment scheduled)
  • Episode 8 (A goes to her first appointment)
  • Episode 9 (A schedules her second appointment)

Renunciation appointment completed

A showed up for her second appointment and successfully renounced her US citizenship. Here is her report:

I’ve done it!! Apart from some minor issues, like still having to file for zero taxes and having to wait for the official renunciation confirmation, I am now no longer American, but Irish only!

On the whole it went rather smoothly and everybody was extremely friendly, although subtly pushy at times.

There are a few things worth mentioning, like you either need to pay in cash (dollars would be better as the exchange rate used by the Embassy was not the most beneficial for me, but in favour of the Embassy). A credit/debit card would have been acceptable, but it has to be one’s own and not a relative’s. However, as I do not yet possess one, this was not an option for me. Additionally I had to pay for the courier to return the final renunciation certificate (approx. $15.00).

Secondly, it is worth noting that should you turn up before your appointment time you will be turned away and told to come back later. As I had travelled in by train and arrived quite a bit earlier, I had tried to “slip in” before my appointed time, but, alas, no luck. Never mind.

This is what happened when my time came:

Once I was through security (it still freaks me out having people with machine guns standing close by), things moved along really quickly. Several minutes wait, call to the “questioning window” – why renounce, am I sure? – the usual!

Forms DS4080 and 4081 were pre-filled and I had to read through them to make sure everything was correct, at which point I was requested to give a separate written explanation of my reasons for renunciation as I am under the age of 18. The latter was a bit of a surprise.

After that a bit more re-reading, confirming I understood the dire consequences of renouncing and a few boxes needed to be ticked.

Off to pay the renunciation fee.

And only then did I have the final interview. I wonder what would have happened to the money if at this point they had refused to agree to my request to allow me to escape (also known as my right to renounce). A member of staff looked through my additional explanation sheet I had supplied, asked me several questions (how long had I been thinking about renunciation, why, was I really REALLY sure – his comment: “You do not have to feel American in order to have an American passport”).

Next: forms to sign and the oath to be read out.

Lastly, I was given a letter acknowledging that I’d renounced, which will serve as proof until the actual certificate arrives – hopefully within the next six months.

The whole process, excluding going through security, took about 1 hour. Once outside again, I called my mum and told her I had finished and then celebrated with an ice cream.

Incidentally, my social security number card arrived in the post on Tuesday. Tax returns, here I come!

Expatriation Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American