Renunciation is the most unequivocal way by which a person can manifest an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship before taking this serious and irrevocable action. The information below provides some basic information about renunciation. If you have further questions regarding renunciation, please contact the U.S. Embassy Consular Section in Niamey (20 72 26 61, ConsulateNiamey@state.gov) for more information.
A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
Renunciations abroad that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), U.S. citizens can only renounce their citizenship in person, and therefore cannot do so by mail, electronically, or through agents.
A person seeking to renounce U.S. citizenship must renounce all the rights and privileges associated with such citizenship.
Citizenship is a status that is personal to the U.S. citizen. Therefore, parents may not renounce the citizenship of their minor children. Similarly, parents or legal guardians may not renounce the citizenship of individuals who lack sufficient capacity to do so. Minors seeking to renounce their U.S. citizenship must demonstrate to a consular officer that they are acting voluntarily, without undue influence from parents, and that they fully understand the implications and consequences of renouncing their U.S. citizenship. Children under 16 are presumed not to have the requisite maturity and knowing intent to relinquish citizenship.
Persons intending to renounce U.S. citizenship should be aware that, unless they already possess a foreign nationality, they may be rendered stateless and, thus, lack the protection of any government. They may also have difficulty traveling, as they may not be entitled to a passport from any country. Statelessness can present severe hardships: the ability to own or rent property, work, marry, receive medical or other benefits, and attend school can be affected.
Persons who wish to renounce U.S. citizenship should be aware that renunciation of U.S. citizenship may have no effect on their U.S. tax or military service obligations. In addition, the act of renouncing U.S. citizenship does not allow persons to avoid possible prosecution for crimes which they may have committed in the United States, or escape the repayment of financial obligations, including child support payments, previously incurred in the United States or incurred as United States citizens abroad.
Finally, those contemplating a renunciation of U.S. citizenship should understand that the act is irrevocable, except in very limited circumstances. Former U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States or show that they are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Program. If unable to qualify for a visa, the person could be permanently barred from entering the United States. If the Department of Homeland Security determines that the renunciation is motivated by tax avoidance purposes, the individual will be found inadmissible to the United States under Section 212(a)(10)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act
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