Relinquishment of citizenship
Certificate of Loss of Nationality
of the United States, issued by the United States Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay. According to the document, the subject had acquired no other nationality at the time of issuance; hence leaving him stateless.
U.S. citizens can relinquish their citizenship, which involves abandoning the right to reside in the United States and all the other rights and responsibilities of citizenship. "Relinquishment" is the legal term covering all seven different potentially-expatriating acts (ways of giving up citizenship) under § 1481(a). "Renunciation" refers to two of those acts: swearing an oath of renunciation before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer abroad, or before an official designated by the attorney general within the United States during a state of war. Out of an estimated three to six million U.S. citizens residing abroad, between five and six thousand relinquished citizenship each year in 2015 and 2016. U.S. nationality law treats people who performs potentially-expatriating acts with intent to give up U.S. citizenship as ceasing to be U.S. citizens from the moment of the act, but U.S. tax law since 2004 treats such individuals as though they remain U.S. citizens until they notify the State Department and apply for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN).
Renunciation requires an oath to be sworn before a State Department officer and thus involves in-person attendance at an embassy or consulate, but applicants for CLNs on the basis of other potentially-expatriating acts must attend an in-person interview as well. During the interview, a State Department official assesses whether the person acted voluntarily, intended to abandon all rights of U.S. citizenship, and understands the consequences of their actions. The State Department strongly recommends that Americans intending to relinquish citizenship have another citizenship, but will permit Americans to make themselves stateless if they understand the consequences. There is a $2,350 administrative fee for the process. In addition, an expatriation tax is imposed on some individuals relinquishing citizenship, but payment of the tax is not a legal prerequisite for relinquishing citizenship; rather, the tax and its associated forms are due on the normal tax due date of the year following relinquishment of citizenship. State Department officials do not seek to obtain any tax information from the interviewee, and instruct the interviewee to contact the IRS directly with any questions about taxes.