You know those people who say they will leave the country if candidate X wins the next presidential election? Now they have another excuse not to follow through with their threat: the expense.
I was surprised to learn from a NPR story on State Department fee increases (including passports) that beginning next Tuesday it will cost $450.00 to renounce one's U.S. citizenship.
Why does it cost so much? Congress has mandated that fees match the cost of services. Apparently a renunciation of U.S. citizenship generates a lot of work for a consular officer--it's a more involved process than simply deleting your name from the citizen list.
Incidentally, if you're curious just how one goes about renouncing citizenship, here's the general process:
A person who is a national of the United States whether, by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States 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; or
(6) making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not contrary to the interests of national defense.
In most cases this requires that you make the renunciation outside the United States. It's possible to render yourself stateless if you renounce U.S. citizenship without having already acquired another nationality. With a few exceptions, renunciation of U.S. citizenship is an irrevocable--you cannot simply take it back if you change your mind.
So if you want to flee America to escape a Death Panel or some other threat, those are a few of the rules. But you better get cracking--come Tuesday it will cost you $450.00 more.