September 1, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

The Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American, Episode 5

Note from Phil: this is the fifth 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?)

Back story

A is busily marching towards renouncing her U.S. citizenship. In order to renounce U.S. citizenship, you need to neutralize:

    • The Nationality Borg (aka the State Department); and
  • The Money Borg (aka the Internal Revenue Service).

A was told by someone at the London Embassy that she has a Social Security Number. She was told to send her Irish passport to the Embassy and Good Things Would Happen. She did as told.

What happened

Here is her status report:

The US Embassy London returned my Irish passport on Saturday, but we missed the recorded delivery and could only retrieve it this morning (bank holiday Monday yesterday). But no social security number! And no indication as to when to expect it. 🙂

As soon as I had my passport in my hands I forwarded all the requested scanned renunciation documents to the US Embassy – 1st September 2015, 11.44 am local time.

Let’s see how long until I hear from them.

Social Security Number

A’s deadline for having a U.S. tax identification number in her hands is 15 June 2016. On that date she must be able to file Form 8854 (and possibly a 2015 income tax return).

Here we sit on 01 September 2015. Ten months! Easy, right?

No. Now is the time to double down with effort. Here are the things I will be exploring with A, in attempting to track down her SSN (assuming that she has one, of course, and I believe that she does have one):

    • Get an answer from the London Embassy people. Maybe they will say “Expect a letter in the mail in N weeks.” Maybe they will have a different answer. Objective: find out with certainty exactly what the Embassy will do. If the answer is unclear, then don’t wait. Instead . . .

Never underestimate the amount of time needed to accomplish a task.

I hope something good will come from the London Embassy. In theory, it should be possible. A has an expired U.S. passport, and provided her current Irish passport as verification that she still exists. 🙂 Let’s hope that this is sufficient for the system to send her a new Social Security card with her number.

The alternative (if the Embassy does not come through with a result) is more paperwork, including (probably) getting a certified copy of her birth certificate from the United States.

First attempt at renunciation

Finally, note that A is moving at high speed. She has already submitted all of her stuff to the London Embassy in an attempt to get an appointment for the renunciation meeting. We shall see what happens here.

I am interested in this for three reasons:

    • Will the London Embassy allow her (at age 17) to renounce her U.S. citizenship? (They have discretion on this point and could possibly tell her to come back when she is 18).
    • Will the London Embassy require one or two appointments to complete the renunciation process? (Once upon a time it took one appointment to get the job done. Then, two appointments. Then . . . .)
  • How long will it take for A to get through the whole process? What is the backlog at the London Embassy?

Enquiring minds want to know. LOL.

Expatriation Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American