Recently, Flott & Co. assisted a client apply for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (“CLN”) based on his relinquishment of US citizenship in 1984. He has now succeeded in obtaining an official CLN from the US Department of State, showing that he ceased being US citizen as of March 1984.  The CLN itself is stamped by the Department in October 2012, but the date in it confirms the loss of US citizenship as of 1984.

Although the rules that apply to relinquishment cases are still vague or at least not clearly spelled out in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) (see earlier post), the Department’s issuance of a CLN as of a prior date confirms our understanding applicable law.

Any US citizen who can establish facts and circumstances that support an intentional relinquishment of US citizenship should be able to obtain a CLN.  For example, when he or she took an oath of allegiance to another country, the CLN should state the date the person became a citizen of his or her new country.  We hope new written guidance will soon be available from the Department setting forth procedures for Consulates to follow when processing these relinquishment cases.

What is important in this client’s case is that his expatriation pre-dates the adoption of more stringent “exit” rules for US citizens.  Relinquishment is not as straightforward as renunciation, but it can help former citizens sidestep increased “exit” formalities and taxes that have become law since 1996.  Certainly, any US citizen who has become a naturalized citizen of another country has the option of taking the relinquishment route if facts and circumstances exist to support that option.  If not, there is always the more traditional route of renunciation.