Locked Into US Citizenship: Do Americans Have The Right To Renounce? Should Renunciations Take Place Through Video Conferencing?
November 29, 2020 - Participants Include:
John Richardson - @Expatriationlaw
Diane Gelon - London, UK based New York lawyer
One the hand one, many Americans abroad are desparate to pay the $2350 USD fee to renounce US citizenship. On the other hand, the US State Department has stopped providing appoints to renounce.
Do US citizens have the right to renounce?
The 1868 Expatriation Act suggests that they have a statutory right to renounce.
R.S. § 1999 provided that: “Whereas the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and whereas in the recognition of this principle this Government has freely received emigrants from all nations, and invested them with the rights of citizenship; and whereas it is claimed that such American citizens, with their descendants, are subjects of foreign states, owing allegiance to the governments thereof; and whereas it is necessary to the maintenance of public peace that this claim of foreign allegiance should be promptly and finally disavowed: Therefore any declaration, instruction, opinion, order, or decision of any officer of the United States which denies, restricts, impairs, or questions the right of expatriation, is declared inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Republic.”
The 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Afroyim suggests they have a constitutional right to renounce.
The fact is that there is no bar to conducting renunication appointments through video conferencing. It's too bad that the US government won't allow this.