What Happens When You Renounce Your US Citizenship?

By Christopher Michael
Your U.S. passport must be surrendered when renouncing.
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Renouncing United States citizenship is irrevocable. Once completed, United States citizenship cannot be re-obtained, even through naturalization. The renunciation must be done formally on foreign soil, in front of a U.S. government official at an embassy or consulate and must be done in writing. The application then waits to be approved by the U.S. State Department.

Application Process

Proof of foreign residency must be established when renouncing citizenship at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The consulate will ask the applicant why he is renouncing his citizenship and send his application to the U.S. Department of State. The department will investugate the application, and the application will either be approved or rejected. The renunciation is not legally binding until the Department of State approves the application.


The name of the applicant is put on a list with the U.S. Department of State. The applicant will never be able to obtain a U.S. passport again. The applicant will then need to apply for a visa to enter the United States in the future. If the applicant is ineligible for a travel visa, then he will never be able to legally travel to the United States again.

Loss of Nationality

The applicant will lose all protection of the U.S. government and will not be able to travel abroad on a U.S. passport. The applicant may endure hardship as a stateless person if he does not have another nationality outside the United States at the time of renunciation. Travel and obtaining employment would become very difficult without a nationality.


A person may not renounce his citizenship to avoid financial, military or criminal responsibilities in the U.S. The application will have no effect on taxes owed. The United States will not end any criminal investigations against the applicant. If the applicant has a prison or military term to serve at the time of application, then renunciation will not effect those obligations.

About the Author

Christopher Michael began writing in 2010 for Break.com. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Writing sports and travel articles helps support his professional baseball career, which has taken him to 49 states, five continents and four oceans.