September 25, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

The Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American, Episode 8

Note from Phil: this is the eighth 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)

The First Appointment

A went to her first appointment at the Embassy in London. Here is her report:

Dear Phil

Just back from London visiting the US Embassy. The whole experience was not as bad as I had thought. My appointment was scheduled for 11 am today and we got there with about ½ hour to spare, which was just as well. Firstly, we went into the wrong entrance in the wrong building (good start!) as signposting was either not very clear or we were tired, not to mention rather nervous.

Once in the correct queue (line) I went through the process rather quickly, albeit past a few confused officials, who did not really know what to do with me. Obligatory security checks, no problem, followed by following signs to reception. Poor thing did not know what to do with a minor in this instance and gave me a form to fill out, although he did not know if it needed to be filled out, but on the basis “do it anyway”, left me to it . (Info: It did not need to be filled out until my final appointment.)

Sat in the waiting room, waiting for my number to be called up. Very quiet, did not have to wait very long before my number was called and I was asked, yet again, what I was doing there. Handed my passport and original forms in and sat down again. Another few minutes passed, and then was actually called up by name. Was asked what I was doing there (again!) and as it turned out, this was to be my informal interview, which was not made clear from the start. Luckily I figured this out after the first question. As I did not see another person (who should be present with a minor) I asked if there was one. The second person sat a little way away and could not be very clearly seen and initially appeared to be doing another job. Only after I asked for a second person to be present was I made aware that this was what she was meant to be doing. The lady interviewing me was actually quite confused seeing me for an initial interview as normally they only do the final interview. Normally they do the initial interview over the phone and only if it has been requested.

Questions that were asked were:

What are you doing here (as previously mentioned)?

Why are you not keeping both American and Irish nationalities? As I mentioned that I might want to attain British citizenship in addition to Irish nationality, due to me having lived in the UK for the last 13 years, she mentioned that I could have more than 2 nationalities and might want to consider retaining my US passport.

Was I sure and was I aware of the consequences? (As per the “Informal Acknowledgement” form.)

Did I talk to my parents about it?

After about 10 minutes or so I was told that I should send them an e-mail to confirm that I was intending to go ahead with the renunciation. Only then would they (the Embassy) confirm a date for the final interview. It was also at this point that she returned my passports (expired US and current Irish) as well as original birth certificate.

I assume as I was told to send the “re-thinking” and reconfirmation e-mail that I had been accepted as being sane and voluntarily wanting to renounce and that the final interview will go ahead once I have sent the requested e-mail.

The whole process from getting into the wrong door to my proper exiting of the Embassy took roughly 1 hour. On the whole people were very friendly, although a little bit confused at times as to my presence there.

Kind regards

Expatriation Expatriation Chronicles of an Accidental American