Recently, the U.S. Embassy in London confirmed a new procedure for renunciation of US citizenship. Prior to the change, applicants were required to fill out enough paperwork to cause hand cramps prior to requesting an appointment at the U.S. Embassy. The amount of Forms has decreased and the process now reflects a new informal method. Applicants are now required to complete Form DS-4079 and provide copies of identification documents. Withers continues to coordinate paperwork and send in appointment requests, however the applicant himself or herself must also confirm via e-mail a number of points and answer 2-3 questions about residency.

That's not all, folks. Along with the reduced paperwork comes reduced appointments. Don't think that you will be able to get an appointment next week. These slots are arguably more highly coveted than a three Michelin star restaurant, and you will have to wait your turn. This begs the question: Could an applicant go appointment shopping in other countries? While there is no clear residency requirement to renounce in a particular U.S. Embassy, it is possible it will reject your request for an appointment in Rome if you live in Hong Kong. Spaghetti alla Carbonara and renunciation, anyone? Maybe, maybe not.

We continue to see great interest in expatriation and have managed the process for clients in embassies throughout the world, however London has always been the busiest. In addition to these changes, individual green card holders can no longer mail or hand in green cards to international field offices outside of rare circumstances. Rather, abandoned green cards must be mailed to the USCIS Eastern Forms Center in Vermont. Are these new changes indicative of a policy to discourage expatriation or is it merely a cost cutting exercise? Only time will tell.

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