How Do You Renounce Your Citizenship?

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In August, the Dallas Morning News outed Texas senator Ted Cruz as a native of Calgary, Alberta and likely dual American-Canadian citizen. In response, Cruz announced that he would be renouncing his Canadian citizenship. 

“Nothing against Canada,” he said in a statement. “But I’m an American by birth [his mother was a U.S. citizen living in Canada], and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”

Renouncing your citizenship involves a little more than just saying you’re doing it (same with declaring bankruptcy). First Cruz has to prove his eligibility to de-Canadianize himself by asserting that he’s over 18, does not live in Canada, and meets certain other criteria. If he passes that inspection, he fills out an online application, pays a $100 fee, and then waits for his request to process. Once he gets the okay, boom!, he’s all American. 

If the shoe was on the other foot, and Cruz was a member of the Canadian Parliament and a secret Texan who wanted to renounce his U.S. citizenship, he’d have a little more work to do than just filling out a web form. He’d start by finding an American consulate or embassy in a foreign country. There, a consular or diplomatic officer would then conduct an exit interview with him and have him fill out an oath of renunciation and some other paperwork asserting that he understands the ramifications of his decision. Then, he’d pay a fee of $450 and wait for his Certificate of Loss of Nationality.