What would it take to make you leave the U.S.A. *and* renounce your citizenship?

I was reading a blog post today about a fellow who had moved to another country and had renounced his U.S. citizenship, without naturalizing in another country. In other words, he willingly became a stateless person.

I presume, the country he lives in now must treat stateless persons at least somewhat favorably, otherwise doing such a thing would seem incredibly stupid.:smack:

Anyway, it got me to thinking… How bad would things have to get for me to consider that?

For me, it would have to be a very last resort. There would have to be a real risk of harm or persecution perpetuated by the government itself. My family and friends are all here, and while I could probably communicate in Spanish (somewhat) and Japanese (barely), I’m far from fluent in anything but English.

Now, moving to another country by itself is not something I would be opposed to, but doing so and renouncing citizenship, thereby forever giving up my right to return here, the times would have to be dire indeed.

What would make you “jump ship,” as the saying goes?

I keep thinking about the sorts of things it would take, and they’re all along the same lines as “There would have to be a real risk of harm or persecution perpetuated by the government itself”. But I honestly can’t say that I would leave as opposed to starting/joining an armed rebellion to take my country back, however ill-fated and futile a gesture that may be. Because if a power arose in the USA that was wicked enough to turn on its own citizens, there is really no place else on Earth that would be safe from it for very long.

Generally, the United States won’t let you renounce your US citizenship unless you can show you have citizenship in another country.

Even if the United States turns fascist and I had to leave the country, what would be the point of renouncing my citizenship? If they’re fascists they’ll persecute me whether I try to renounce my citizenship, and if they’re fascists they probably won’t let me renounce my citizenship.

The only reason to renounce my citizenship is if I were permanently settling in my new country, never to return, and citizenship in the new country made settling there easier.

I can’t think of anything that has a reasonable chance of actually happening.

I didn’t think that was possible. It certainly is incredibly stupid.

Before I answer, what exactly would renouncing my citizenship do? It is really as simple of me no longer being an American? or am I not allowed back in the country or wanted for treason or something like that?

Well, I am also a Canadian citizen, so I suppose some fantastic opportunity up there, which for some reason required me to be only Canadian.

Say they appointed me Minister for Money Laundering. :wink:

Every 4 years we get a flurry of folks declaring, “If this or that jerk gets elected, I’ll move to (usually Canada).” Rarely does anyone actually do it, because a) hey, it’s cold up there, or b) they’d rather stay here and bitch about the jerk they hate.

I love this country, despite all of her faults. My favorite nom de plume is Oliver Faltz for that reason.

If ever there were a crazy circumstance where I could become fabulously wealthy, but only if I didn’t live here, I’d probably leave. Let’s face it, though, that’s never going to happen.

Many (most?) countries don’t need you do renounce your US citizenship to gain citizenship in your new country. Much of the world including the US is fine with dual citizenship.

Terry Gilliam renounced his American citizenship. He wasn’t stateless because he already had British citizenship. He lives in the United Kingdom and Italy.

The practical result of this is Gilliam now has limitations on how long he can reside in the United States. He cannot be in the United States for more than twenty-nine days a year. A British citizen who is not a former American citizen can reside in the United States for up to ninety days and can generally have more than one ninety-day period in a year.

And the most important reason is c) Canada doesn’t let people permanently move to Canada without permission.

You know, just like here in the US we don’t let Mexicans move here just because they’re sick of Mexico.

nevermind c) which is “Canada isn’t just going to say 'oh yah, eh, come right on in buddy!” How do these people think they’ll make a living? It’s damn hard to get a job in Canada (or most countries) unless you have an employer sponsoring you and they take care of the hard stuff. Such as “Why should this person get this job instead of a Canadian citizen?”

moving to another country is a lot harder than just figuring out how to pay for the plane ticket.

eta: Ninja’d by Lemur866

Well if there aren’t any “enemy of the state” repercussions, then I suppose if some European country paid me 1 Billion Euro and guaranteed me citizenship in their country then I would probably do it for that.

My understanding (I’m Canadian, so please correct me if I’m wrong) is that the USA requires its citizens to pay income taxes regardless of where they live or earn their income. ISTM that renouncing your citizenship would remove that requirement.

I had to consider that as my 18th birthday approached, and decided I’d go to Nam or to jail before abandoning my country. A lot has happened since then, but I still don’t see it happening.

Yes, and no.

Yes, if you are no longer a US citizenship your tax obligation with any foreign income ceases. No, that if your intent to renounce your citizenship has any shred of evidence so as to avoid your tax obligations can make it extremely expensive.

There are a number of hurdles that must be overcome to divorce America.

  1. The blog you read is probably a fantasy; I am a U.S. citizen who did leave under Nixon but retained my U.S. citizenship. I have been an academic (in the related field here) travelled 53 nations and have never heard of voluntarily becoming stateless.
  2. The U.S. in its relentless Bully-of-the-world position has lately forced other nations - incl Canada, and ex-pats to tow the line on truly onerous assets declarations by all individuals and financial institutions that make reporting complex and expensive - to the extent that for every (W-4? like) statement I have in my tax prep., the charge here is $150-250 extra. No French bank now will even give a bank account to a U.S. citizen no matter how long they have lived in France or are dual citizens.
  3. As a result, thousands of ex-pat U.S. citizens are attempting to disavow their U.S. citizenship around the world. So, of course, there is a huge back-up and processing delay, and of course, the U.S. has raised the fee to about $2,350. You also need to do it in the presence of 2 other U.S. citizens which means an appointment at a consulate or embassy of the U.S. There are other complications.
  4. Canada is safe, sane (in a relative sense), not at all what U.S. people think it is (incredible propaganda there), but dull. About 80% of the pop. hate Americans, 98% are smug and cannot stop admiring their own navels, and hockey.

ETA: Well you can go before a diplomatic officer of the US in a foreign country and sign and oath: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal-considerations/us-citizenship-laws-policies/renunciation-of-citizenship.html

Can’t think of any reason why I would renounce my nationality in the current sphere of events.

Cue the Lee Greenwood music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4E

If I was guaranteed a solid salary in Canada, Australia or a western European nation, I’d go for it. Not as any anti-American measure but because I’m not so attached that I wouldn’t leave to enjoy a guaranteed similar standard of living elsewhere.