I recently wrote a post describing some of the objective tax, immigration and financial planning issues surrounding the renunciation of U.S. citizenship. For all people tax and financial planning issues should be objectively considered. But objective issues can take one only so far. We are all individual human beings who experience the world differently. We all ascribe various degrees of importance to different things. Citizenship is about more than immigration, tax and financial planning. Citizenship is also a huge component of how we see ourselves in the world. Citizenship is part of who we are!
Therefore, for many people the renunciation of U.S. citizenship is very much a psychological and emotional process. It is a process of transitioning to a both a new stage of life and a new stage of self! This is because citizenship is very much a component of (1) who we are today, (2) our personal histories and (3) how we see our futures. I was recently seated at a lunch table with a new Canadian citizen who immigrated to Canada from China. By becoming a Canadian citizen he ceased to be a citizen of China. I asked him how he felt about losing Chinese citizenship. He said that he felt very bad and very sad. But, he said his present and future was in Canada and that he wanted to be and identify as a Canadian citizen. (U.S. citizens do NOT automatically lose their citizenship by naturalizing as Canadian citizens.) To think about citizenship is to think about life planning and (especially for U.S. citizens) financial planning. Citizenship can deprive people of opportunities or open up new opportunities.
As I was counselling a people who was renouncing in February 2024, I was asked:
“Do many people regret renouncing U.S. citizenship?”
In all the years I have been assisting people I have had exactly two people regret their renunciations. But, this was immediately after renunciation and the regret was short lived. In most cases, people comment that they wish they had renounced sooner. That said (especially for those who grew up in the United States) people wish they were not placed in a position where they feel they must renounce.
When it comes to renouncing U.S. citizenship:
People are NOT renouncing because they want to.
People are renouncing because they feel they have to.
Two podcasts to help people overcome the regret of renouncing U.S. citizenship
1. The Retired Citizen – You can always identify as a U.S. citizen if you want to
2. The Dodge Stratus ad – You’re not losing a sports car. You are GAINING two doors!
Hope this helps you clear the emotional hurdles!