Relinquishment Report from Hong Kong

USxCanada can vouch for the reliability of the following reporter, personally known for over three decades. This report of no-fee relinquishment in Hong Kong, authorized for release to Brock, is cut-and-pasted from a just-received email. This case provides further evidence that residents of Canada are suffering execrable treatment by the country from which they seek release.

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Date of first appointment: 2012.02
Date of second appointment: 2012.03
Date of receipt of CLN: 2012.04 (stamped approved by DoS end of March, received end of April)

The consulate informed me at my second appointment that it should be “weeks, not months” till receipt of my CLN as Washington was supposed to be processing quickly, which turned out to be the case.

I truthfully characterized my intent at the time of performing my potentially expatriating act (working for a foreign government) as “if not knowing, at least negligent or reckless” as to loss of US citizenship, which DoS accepted.

I likewise characterized my subsequent filing of US income tax returns (2 or 3 years’ worth) as “evidence less of intent to retain US citizenship than intent to avoid IRS *filing*-related penalties” (I have not *owed* lo these many years), which DoS likewise accepted.

I hope this information is useful to those waiting for their CLNs and especially to those hoping to relinquish.

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15 thoughts on “Relinquishment Report from Hong Kong

  1. I am shocked that it is taking so long to get a CLN in Canada. My wife has been waiting since October 2011.

  2. This person from Hong Kong actually did some things which should have caused his CLN to be slowed down not speeded up.

    Canadians are waiting over a year just for a simple, no complications relinquishment CLN. Are Canadians being discriminated against?

  3. So why would they be processing Hong Kong super fast and Canadians the slowest? Is it because there are so many Canadians renouncing?

    I went to see my therapist today and promised myself I wouldn’t bring up FATCA and I didn’t. But he brought it up all by himself. It’s amazing how many Canadians are aware of this. Maybe he has other patients obsessing about FATCA.

  4. A couple of thoughts:

    I know there are Canadian’s have been published in the Federal Register however, I wonder if there has somehow been a “super spike” in Canadians renouncing. I have always wondered what would happen if the number of names on the Federal Register went to up lets 5000 in a quarter would the State Dept. try to stall the process to smooth out the numbers(not that I think it would work because the numbers are going up in the medium term not down).

  5. Thanks for this post. It’s good to get confirmation that the rumours of a two-year waiting list in Hong Kong are not true (unless they’re giving special treatment to some people). My general impression is that they process politicians and government officials very quickly. And their names always show up in the Federal Register (because State knows that members of the public might be checking for it). The only politician I’ve ever heard of whose name failed to show up in the Federal Register is Boris Johnson.

    The Hong Kong consulate is in kind of a weird situation, since those of us who are naturalising here are not allowed to retain dual citizenship and need to renounce — so we need our CLNs very quickly, otherwise we are trapped in the city and cannot even go across the border into mainland China. But on the other hand those who were born here are not deemed to have given up Chinese citizenship when they obtained their U.S. citizenship. So they’re processing two disparate groups of people. My guess would be that they don’t have a procedure for separating them out when they send the files to DC — they all go in the “Hong Kong” pile, and they get the done quickly so the renunciants do not get stuck for a year without a passport and without the ability to leave town even for a domestic holiday.

  6. Eric,

    Did Hizzoner (Lord Mayor Boris Johnson) ever actually renounce or otherwise relinquish his US citizenship?

    I know from his 2006 article recounting his experience with US immigration during a stopover in the USA that he was surprised that he had it.

    In the meantime, do you think he has dumped it or is he still on the hook for past and present US income tax and information return obligations.

    It might be fun to contact him and ask since he is currently standing for reelection. He is so enormously popular in London that even were it discovered that he might be subject to blackmail by the grasping “colonials”, it would do little or no damage to his reelection chances.

  7. This Hong Kong result is consistent with the numbers we have in our (admittedly selective) chart on the home page. As of yesterday when I last checked, we had six reports of CLNs actually issued. One (Petros) was in Canada and took 11 months to process. The other five are all from other countries, and none took more than about two months, several just a few weeks. Petros was a relinquishment; the other five cases were all renunciations.

    There may be special considerations in these specific cases that could explain the differences between Canada and other countries, but I don’t see them. As I mentioned in a reply in the thread under the chart yesterday, I can understand a relinquishment CLN taking longer than a renunciation CLN. There are a lot of things that may need checking, from State’s perspective, to verify or at least spot-check that the relinquishment is “legit” and the person hadn’t subsequently invalidated it by exercising some US citizenship rights later. (Pretty damn unlikely in Petros’ case where there was only about a two month gap between his becoming a Canadian and his filing for relinquishment, but for now we’ll slide over that …)

    For a renunciation, however, I have trouble understanding what the time delays are for. You swore a renunciation oath. Unless the consular officer has reason to believe your renunciation was under some sort of duress (hard to swallow, given it’s just the officer and the applicant in the room during the oath), or unless it the US passport office is absurdly inefficient at checking their files to make sure that the renunciant isn’t recorded as having a current US passport that hasn’t been surrendered, what else is there to investigate for a renunciation? Surely they aren’t slogging through all the stuff on Form 4079 for renunciation cases; those questions about your ties to your current country and to the US aren’t very relevant to a renuncation. They’re clearly intended to provide grist for the mill of “preponderance of evidence” concerning a claim to relinquishment.

    We have Canadian renunciations that have been in limbo since last October or November. All CLNs are approved in the same office in Washington. If there are separate “desks” for different parts of the world, and some of those desks are deluged and others are twiddling their thumbs, then any competant office manager would re-allocate the staff to even out the workloads. I’d expect the staff themselves would notice and start complaining.

    What is going on? I’m not sure whether it’s managerial incompetence or managerial or perhaps political malevolence in Washington, but I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with better explanations than those two.

  8. @schubert1975 – It could just be that whatever office in Foggy Bottom issues CLNs hasn’t been scaled up to meet the increased demand. Better service for would-be renunciants isn’t ever likely to be a State Department priority, so there you are.

  9. @all
    Could the ‘slowdown’ for Canada, actually be in the consulates in Canada, rather than in Washington DC. When Petros contacted the consulate in Toronto a few weeks ago, it sounded like the CLN was there but no one had, as yet, bothered to let Petros know. Perhaps the employees in the consulates in Canada are inefficient or overworked.

  10. Thanks usxcanada. I will include this information on the database. Yes, it will be useful to those waiting for their CLNs and especially to those hoping to relinquish.

  11. @Eric

    I believe the guy from Sydney’s story(Someone in Canada had a similar experience). I don’t necessarily believe the main article or in general much of anything Simon Black or Bob Baumann writes.

  12. @ Tim
    I (me, myself) AM the person Simon Black wrote about the other day! It is VERY true that DoS has REFUSED to accept my Relinquishment filing!!! I am desperately seeking legal counsel (VERY difficult to find attorneys w/ real expertise in E-migration (FROM u.s.) matters!)

    And in stark contrast to the VERY lucky H-K guy, i provided EXTENSIVE documentation that i had been working on (completely) giving up U.S. citizenship, since well BEFORE “committing a potentially expatriating act”! ACTIONS (especially the expenditure of MANY hundreds, if not thousands of “LCUs” (hat tip to ‘Just Me’), as well as many KILOBUCKS in legal fees!!!) speak FAR LOUDER than a mere declaration of intent, imho…

    It did take me a number of months more than Petros between doing the ‘Act’ & the time i was able to file w/ consular office abroad (to get all my U.S. real estate transferred, to avoid the incredibly punitive & discriminatory taxation of IRC sec 2801!). But not the several years interval we can safely infer for Mr H-K (who apparently filed tax returnS – indicating at least one whole year and at least part of a second, between his ‘expatriating Act & his filing w/ DoS).

    And in my ~10 mo. interval, i did continue using the U.S. passport at times – as well as my new one. But because it has been my unwavering intention to (completely) “give up” the ‘privilege’ of “U.S. citizenship” since about two years ago, it never occurred to me that DoS might use ” ‘post-expatriating-act’ use of the US pp” as a (LAME!) excuse to deny my clearly, unequivocably stated and documented Intent to give up!

    I’ll have MUCH more to say about this, after i manage in whatever way (whether by relinquishment or a full Renunciation) to get out from under their thumb.


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