How can a minor child renounce U.S. citizenship? 

How can a minor child renounce U.S. citizenship?

Question: I am a citizen of China. My daughter was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Originally, we planned to live in the U.S., but now we have decided not to immigrate to the U.S. Can I cancel my minor child’s  U.S. citizenship?

Answer: A U.S. citizen who is under 18 years of age may apply to renounce her U.S. citizenship. She will have to convince a U.S. consular officer that she understands the consequences of renunciation and that she is renouncing her U.S. citizenship of her own free will.

Is it difficult for a minor child to renounce U.S. citizenship? 

A child under the age of 18 may apply to renounce her U.S. citizenship, but there are legal safeguards to ensure the child’s renunciation of citizenship is made knowingly and willfully. If a minor seeks to renounce her U.S. citizenship, the U.S. Department of State will carefully scrutinize the case to ensure the renunciation is made voluntarily and knowingly. Children under the age of 16 are automatically presumed to lack the requisite maturity and understanding to relinquish U.S. citizenship. 

First, a parent may not decide to renounce a child’s U.S. citizenship. The child must decide herself whether to renounce her U.S. citizenship.

Additionally, a minor child who seeks to renounce her U.S. citizenship must demonstrate to a consular officer that she is acting voluntarily and that her parents are not forcing her to make the decision to renounce her citizenship.

The minor child must also demonstrate that she fully understands the implications and consequences of the renunciation of U.S. citizenship. 

What is the process for a minor child to renounce U.S. citizenship?

The process for renouncing U.S. citizenship is the same for minors as it is for adults. A U.S. citizen cannot renounce her U.S. citizenship inside the U.S. Moreover, a U.S. citizen may not renounce her citizenship through an agent or through the mail. Instead, the applicant must appear in person before a U.S. consular officer outside the U.S. In general, renunciation is an irrevocable act and cannot be appealed or canceled. But a person who renounced U.S. citizenship before she turned 18 years old can nullify her renunciation within 6 months after turning 18. 

Does renouncing U.S. citizenship cancel my debts in the U.S.?

Relinquishment of U.S. citizenship does not cancel any outstanding financial obligations, such as taxes or child support. Similarly, a minor cannot evade prosecution for crimes committed in the U.S. simply by renouncing U.S. citizenship. 

How much does it cost to renounce U.S. citizenship? 

The cost to renounce U.S. citizenship is $2,350. The U.S. State Department imposed this fee in 2015, raising it from the previous fee of $450, in an effort to deter U.S. citizens overseas from renouncing citizenship.

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