Citizenship Services

Renounce Citizenship

Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(5)) is the section of law governing the right of a United States citizen to renounce abroad his or her U.S. citizenship. That section of law provides for the loss of nationality by voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing nationality:

“(5) making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State” (emphasis added).

 

A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:

  1. appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
  2. in a foreign country  at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; and
  3. sign an oath of renunciation

Renunciations abroad that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of Section 349(a)(5), U.S. citizens can only renounce their citizenship in person, and therefore cannot do so by mail, electronically, or through agents. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below.

Questions concerning renunciation of U.S. citizenship in the United States pursuant to INA section 349(a)(6) must be directed to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov\