by Chris Haire
FITSNews is reporting that disgraced state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel has renounced his U.S. citizenship, a claim that so far appears to be based solely upon a series of Facebook posts allegedly made by T-Rav.
I've put a call out to Ravenel, but I've yet to hear back from him. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed.
That said, I don't know about you, but the FITSNews post caused me to WTF myself. In fact, I fear the stains on my pants will never go away. I mean, exactly how does one go about renouncing their U.S. citizenship?
According to the U.S. State Department, here's how you do it:
A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
* appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
* in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate); and
* sign an oath of renunciation
Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of section 349(a)(5), Americans cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below.
So, unless T-Rav in is in Bora Bora right now instead of right here in the Holy City, he's still a U.S. citizen.
However, if he does renounce his U.S. citizenship, he can't get it back ... ever.
Finally, those contemplating a renunciation of U.S. citizenship should understand that the act is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1483), and cannot be canceled or set aside absent successful administrative or judicial appeal. (Section 351(b) of the INA provides that an applicant who renounced his or her U.S. citizenship before the age of eighteen can have that citizenship reinstated if he or she makes that desire known to the Department of State within six months after attaining the age of eighteen. See also Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations, section 50.20).
Renunciation is the most unequivocal way in which a person can manifest an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship, described above, before taking this serious and irrevocable action.
Now, let's say Thomas ain't bothered by all of that and goes ahead with renouncing his U.S. citizenship, then he better make sure he does one thing — pledge his love to another nation:
Persons intending to renounce U.S. citizenship should be aware that, unless they already possess a foreign nationality, they may be rendered stateless and, thus, lack the protection of any government. They may also have difficulty traveling as they may not be entitled to a passport from any country.