How Many People Renounce Their American Citizenship Each Year?

Whether it’s the result of a highly competitive economic environment or a misalignment of political views, each year, a number of Americans decide to leave their country behind by renouncing their citizenship. 

Even though the State Department strongly advises citizens not to take this step, over 6,700 renunciation submissions in 2020. But who is leaving the US for good and why? And what does that entail for those who make this decision?

Moving forward, we will go through these points and a few others to shed a bit of light on what it means to be a former US citizen and how to deal with the whole situation. 

Why Do Americans Renounce Their Citizenship?

Wait, isn’t America the land of dreams come true? Doesn’t every non-US citizen want to get there and fulfill their American dream?

In all fairness, the US is still one of the most sought-after countries globally when it comes to immigration. To give you an idea, in November 2021, the monthly survey of the Census Bureau Current Population Survey revealed there were around 46.2 million immigrants in the US. This is an impressive number, even compared to pre-pandemic times! 

And yet, some people want out. Among the main reasons, you will find tax issues (especially for the ultra-wealthy), disappointment towards how the government handled the pandemic, an unfavorable economic climate, and more. 

But you’ll also find people who left the US in search of something new and exciting and ended up finding their calling in another country. Overall, the reasons are diverse, and in many cases, personal.

Is It Easy to Renounce Your Citizenship?

Under normal circumstances, the process is not too tedious. 

As learned from the guide on 1040 Abroad, you have to go through a face-to-face interview with a government official to give up your citizenship. 

However, due to pandemic restrictions, many US embassies worldwide have put the process on indefinite hold. As a result, it is estimated that around 30,000 US citizens are stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

It is also important to specify that the US is one of the two countries taxing people based on citizenship. This means that, even if you live and work in a different country (where you also pay taxes), you may also have tax obligations to the home country. 

Understand the Consequences

Besides the apparent hurdles you have to go through to give up citizenship (time, patience, and money), there are a few rather severe consequences you need to consider. 

You give up the right to vote in US elections and forgo government protection and assistance outside the country. Also, you won’t have unrestricted travel access in the country whenever you return. 

It’s also important to understand that this is an irrevocable act – you can’t change your mind after a few years and say you want back. So, before you start your renunciation application, it’s best to analyze this move from all angles. 

Wrap Up

Living in a different country is incredibly eye-opening, and not only will you learn new skills, but you’ll also get in contact with other cultures. 

Plus, if you struggle with high-income tax and health insurance policies in the US, you may feel more at ease in countries with a universal healthcare system and a low cost of living.

Regardless of your decision, US citizenship renunciation is not an easy decision. And if you do take it, it doesn’t mean the US is a wrong country – it just means it’s not for you anymore.

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