My Certificate of Loss of Nationality is in the mail

I suppose that I am no longer a US person from the point of view of the immigration law. Of course, I have been de facto not an American since February 28, 2011, but then I was like Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz–I lacked the piece of paper proving what was already true.

But now there is still the Internal Revenue code–so I am a weird sort of legal absurdity:  a non-citizen who is still US person for tax purposes, until I settle with the IRS with Form 8854.  Renounce’s latest post, however, encourages me to file it with “FIFTH AMENDMENT” written all over the parts about which the IRS has no right to make me tell them (i.e., about my assets and where I keep them).

This process has taken over two years.  It started with the my decision in late February, 2010, to renounce my citizenship due to Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act (2008), the measure that I dubbed the New Berlin WallWhen I learned a year later about the new $450 renunciation fee I was sore vexed, but discovered on the verge of gaining my Canadian citizenship that it was possible to relinquish citizenship upon committing an expatriating act.  Thus, I would not have to renounce my citizenship and I could rightfully avoid any consular fees.  Indeed, I can now confirm that I really have avoided the $450 fee, since the Toronto Consulate tells me that they are sending the CLN in the mail, and I have paid nothing.  The cost of renunciation was two tokens on the Toronto Transit Commission; since you can’t take your electronic car key into the building, I had to take public transportation.

Then, on February 28, 2011, I became a Canadian citizen and I informed the judge who took our oaths at the citizenship ceremony that I was upon becoming a Canadian also relinquishing my US citizenship.  The judge said that was the first time she’d heard anyone say that–it will not be the last.  I also made an iPhone video to record my intention to relinquish US citizenship as a record of my intention.  Finally, on April 7, 2011, I visited the Toronto consulate after making an appointment according to the instructions of Mrs. A. and I informed them of my decision to relinquish my US citizenship upon becoming a Canadian citizen.

My experience should also encourage others who want to lose their US citizenship but who want to avoid paying expensive immigration lawyers.  I went into the US Consulate in Toronto armed only with my knowledge of the process that I gain through reading internet sites, especially, which I relied on heavily; to my knowledge, however, that website has not acknowledged that there is a distinction between relinquishing and renouncing citizenship.  That is an extremely important thing to know, and I invite everyone to read my post, “Relinquish don’t renounce, if you can.”

Here is my e-mail correspondence from today.  Sad news for anyone wanting to use the US Consulate in Toronto, Mrs. A. retired earlier this month.  If I had not sent the e-mail, it is my opinion that the Toronto Consulate would have continued to sit on the CLN.  Whatever.

From: Peter W. Dunn
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:58 AM
To: Toronto, Passport
Subject: RE: Message for Mrs. Anderson, Confirmation of appointment April 7

Dear Mrs. A., or to whom it may concern:

I am wondering if there is any news about a Certificate of Loss of Nationality, as on April 7, 2011, I informed the US consulate in Toronto that I had relinquished my United States citizenship upon become a Canadian citizen on February 28, 2011.  I was expecting to hear something from you, but now I wonder if I need to contact you to see if any progress has been made regarding my case.

Thank you for your consideration of my query.


Peter W. Dunn

[my address]

The Answer from the Consulate came, 14:39 Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thank you for your inquiry.

Mrs. A. retired from the US Consulate on April 2nd of this year.

Your certificate of Loss of Nationality has now been approved.  We will forward to you today, your approve Certificate of Loss of Nationality  along with copies of submitted DS 4081 Statement of Understanding and DS 4079 Request for determination of possible loss of US citizenship for your own files.

We ask you to follow instructions on cover letter, acknowledge receipt of your certificate of loss of nationality and return the signed letter to this office.



45 thoughts on “My Certificate of Loss of Nationality is in the mail

  1. Congratulations Petros. You’re our fearless leader!

    Hope the IRS doesn’t harrass you anymore but if they do who cares. We’re in Canada, home of the free land of the brave. Hey wasn’t that somebody else’s line?

  2. Congratulations! It is so good to see someone from Canada finally getting their CLN. I’m still two weeks away from the 3 month mark but I think when I reach it I may email the consulate – just in case cage rattling helps.
    Thanks so much for all your invaluable help and excellent advice.

  3. Petros, I’m so pleased that you finally have this good news. And, yes, as Roger says, let us know when it is actually in your hot little hands. Many, many congratulations, our friend!!

  4. Congratulations Petros!

    Too bad you had to wait so long. My CLN came in about two months.

    Never thought I would see such a day, but the journey of life can take one down a path never imagined.

    Yours in liberty,


  5. Thank you for sharing the good news and hope that you will continue to post to those of us left behind. I always enjoy your posts.

  6. Congratulations! I am sure eveyone on the site is happy for you. That it takes so long is difficult for eveyone who wants to finally be free.

  7. Uncle Sam shot himself in the foot again — so many hardworking educated Americans all over the world being forced to cut their ties with the US. A great loss indeed.

    Congratulations and good luck Petros!

  8. Congrats Petros! The harder part is dealing with that 8854, but at least this should give you some piece of mind.

  9. @deckard1138, @runawayslave- my prefered analogy was to compare our situation to that of people who defected from the former Soviet Union. Because we at one time we were actual citizens. Eventually though we grew to find the governmental oppression to be much to great and had to leave in favor of more FREE countries.

  10. USSA using the Exit Tax to prevent American Refuseniks from leaving the Empire.

    It might even make a good movie, better yet, a reality TV show.

  11. Congratulation, Petro.

    Rick, I am surprised that you got your CLN in 2 months. When did you apply?

    My wife has been waiting since Oct, 2011.

  12. Greyowl,

    I received my CLN back in 2010.

    Something I did which might have helped break through the bureaucratic inertia is that I sent a polite e-mail to the consular’s office every 2-3 weeks to ask about the status of my CLN.

    I think the gentle prodding may have helped speed things up. Remember the old saying, its the “squeaky hinge” that gets the oil.

  13. With your clear-cut case, your long wait, and your public stance, it seems destiny that you become poster child for receipt of the first contemporary CLN in Canada. As far as we know? This should at the least be a press release. You should even consider holding a press conference on the sidewalk in front of the Toronto consulate. This is a story. Barrie McKenna, where are you? Carry this water! Congratulations.

  14. @Petros
    Congratulations, Petros. And thank you for all you do on this website. I know it has personally helped me.
    I think that usxcanada is on to something. Perhaps an interview with Barrie McKenna in front of the consulate in Toronto!

  15. @usxcanada – hahah, that would be funny! But it’s a good idea

    @Peter. Congrats on being ONLY a citizen of the country where you live! Think about it: no more being called a “liar, cheat, thief, not paying your share–” when you ARE paying your share where you live. You have gained your freedom from the plantation.

  16. @geeez
    hate to rain on your parade, but there will always be those ignoramuses who say he expatriated to avoid paying future taxes, why else would anyone choose to leave the best damn country on earth?

  17. ahhh! I get so tired of hearing that!! I live in a country where the taxes are double/triple the US. When I chose to visit this country, in the very beginning, the only thing I DIDN’T think about was taxes.

    That’s why I think the best thing to do is renounce/relinquish and hope you never have to go back there.

    The whole country is on a major drug-induced “trip”. If you don’t like the way they do things, you have to go to a consulate and “renounce or relinquish” your citizenship. How bone-headed is that!!!

  18. Yeah Petros! This is the best news I’ve heard all day! I am glad Mrs. A did get her retirement; she told me she had put in for it for April but at that point, it hadn’t been approved. Good for her but sad for the many who will not be on the other side of her help.

    Wow, it’s hard to imagine how you must be feeling. Any ideas why it took soooooooooo long?

  19. @grey owl, Rick Blaine,
    Have a look at the statistics we are gathering on relinquishments, renunciations and CLN’s. Petros is the first report we have in Canada in this recent era to get a CLN — other than those lucky ones like Schubert and Mr. Ladybug way, way back. We are hoping more Canadians will soon be reporting receipt of CLNs so we can update the database at

    We have four reports of recent receipts of CLNs in the “rest of the world”.

    There does not seem to be any standard operating procedure from Consulate to Consulate, Embassy to Embassy — regarding CLNs, number of appointments required, getting a copy of what is signed — some kind of receipt. The rules seem to be made up to suit the particular Consulate.

    So, congratulations once again to our Canadian CLN poster boy!!

  20. Congratulations Petros. I still believe that an increasing number of CLN’s being granted, especially to Canadians, will be one of the things that makes the U.S. take notice of all the “unintended consequences”. It’s perhaps wishful thinking but it may encourage a discussion about the U.S.’s changing place in the world. Tens of millions of people in the West do not view U.S. citizenship and/or residence as the pinnacle of aspiration and many unfortunates view it as something akin to a genetic problem, which risks being passed on to one’s children. It’s time to think more about how to co-exist and less about how to operate as if other sovereign nations don’t exist.

  21. Belated congratulations, Petros! It is however apalling that it took twelve months for them to issue your CLN. But at least you’re about to get it, finally.

    Sorry to hear Mrs. A has retired. I hope her replacement is as civil and polite, and not nasty as I’ve heard her counterpart in the US embassy in Ottawa has been.

    @renounceuscitizenship, I’ve also read Liberty’s Exiles. Excellent book, and a chilling account of how horribly loyalists were treated by the “patriots” after the end of the revolution. Some nasty threads in the US character haven’t changed in two centuries, alas. Another good read is Charles Dickens’ American Notes. Reviewers in the US hate it, say it was his worst book, but that’s because they don’t like what he says about the US of 1840 — which was very unflattering, and rightly so. Particularly disturbing are Dickens’ descriptions of US jails and prisons; Guantanamo has a long and ignoble historical precedent throughout US history. Also read Daniel Okrent’s Last Call about Prohibition — excessive penalties are nothing new to the US, Okrent mentions that under one set of penalties, anyone caught in public possession of beer or liquour more than once or twice could get hit with a fine way beyond the means of most Americans back then, or face about 27 years in prison to work off the penalty at a dollar a day. The US has all sorts of very nasty streaks going back a very long way, ask any First Nations person or descendant of a slave …

  22. @ Schubert Truly, Mrs. A. was civil and understanding. She did not recriminate or second guess my intentions. Most of my dealings with the consulate were with her, and only at the end did the official consular officer take my sworn statement. She herself is a Canadian, and that may have something to do with it. Those renouncing or relinquishing their US citizenship would not have seemed like they were attacking her personally.

  23. @Schubert and Petros,

    I think Mrs. A was more than civil, I believe she really cared for the predicament we were (are) in. She spent time with me on the phone and did not try to sway me one way or the other, emphasizing it was a tough one and not to try and rush it. I remember her from previous years as well, she was just the sort of person who people gravitate toward. I am really sorry people in Toronto now, may not find that kind of support. BTW, she may be Canadian but I suspect she is dual. Her accent is as strong as mine is. 🙂

  24. I renounced in October 2009 at the embassy in Bern, it was approved two weeks later, and I received my CLN in late January or early February 2010. I finally got around to filling out the 8854 by the end of the year.

    The embassy staff in Bern were all very nice throughout the process, and it was the only thing I have ever gotten done for free by them!

  25. @msd

    The most important point we can make:

    After renunciation, you have the same rights vis-a-vis the United States as any other citizen of your country.

    Barring entry because of “taxpatriation”: The Reed Amendment

    In 1996, Congress included a provision in the expatriation law to bar entry to any individual “who officially renounces United States citizenship and who is determined by the Attorney General to have renounced United States citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation by the United States.”

    This section of the 1996 Immigration law, known as the Reed Amendment, added ex-citizens to the list of other “excludables” which includes practicing polygamists, international child abductors, and aliens who have unlawfully voted in U.S. elections.

    The Reed Amendment has never been enforced. There is no case of a former ctizen who was barred entry to the United States because of tax reasons.

  26. @greyowl, as a draft dodger during the Vien Nam war, you are ok. President Carter issued a blanket pardon for that.

    One of my cousin’s son’s also fled to Canada at that time. Unfortunatelhy for him he did not become a Canadian citizen. His immediate family is all in Canada. I have not heard from him since my cousin passed away about 5 years ago, but I suspect he is not making any visits to the US since I know he had never submitted US tax returns. I don’t know, but suspect that today he has no passport of any kind unless he has subsequently beome a Canadian citizen.

  27. @Roger Conklin
    Thanks for the information. With all the recent issues, I have decided to never go to the US again even though I have Canadian Citizenship and a CLN from years ago. My wife is awaiting her CLN,and then we will feel safe again in Canada.

  28. @greyowl, descretion is always the better part of valor. No sense in exposing yourself to even the remote possibility of recrmination.

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