updated 8:46 PM CEST, Sep 28, 2020

State Dept closes two renunciation-processing offices in Canada

The U.S. State Department has said it is no longer processing renunciations of U.S. citizenship in two Canadian cities, sparking concerns among dual citizens in the country that this will result in longer waiting times to renounce as well as added costs, due to the travel that may now be needed to reach other renunciation-processing offices.

The State Department revealed the changes in a correspondence sent on Feb. 28 to individuals who had been scheduled to attend "loss of nationality appointments" at one of the two venues.

Important changes to loss of nationality services in Canada "Effective immediately, the U.S. Consulate in Halifax and Quebec City will no longer schedule loss of nationality appointments. You are receiving this message because you had previously requested an appointment at one of these locations and are in the queue for an appointment," read the correspondence, a copy of which was posted recently on Twitter by John Richardson, a Toronto-based citizenship lawyer (see left).

The announcement was also reported on the Isaac Brock Society blog. 

"We kindly request that you reply to this email as soon as possible to designate another post in Canada for your loss of nationality appointment, or to advise us if you wish simply to withdraw your request."

The correspondence then lists just four cities where those still interested in attending a "loss of nationality appointment" might arrange for one: Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver. 

"By closing renunciation opportunities in Halifax and Quebec City, the State Department has significantly raised the cost for accidental Americans to renounce their unwanted U.S. citizenship," Richardson told the American Expat Financial News Journal.

"It is hard to understand why the State Department would do this. After all the US$2,350 renunciation fee should cover at least the processing cost.

"It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the United States is simply attempting to create new barriers to renunciation."

A State Department official told the American Expat Financial News Journal that the U.S. consultates in Halifax and Quebec City would no longer be processing the applications of U.S. citizens who wished to renounce their citizenship "in order to make the best use of resources".

The official added: "U.S. citizens who wish to schedule an appointment for renunciation in Canada may learn more at https://ca.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/citizenship-services/."

As reported here last August, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is in the process of closing all but seven of what had been, until last year, 23 overseas offices, including those in London, Frankfurt, Rome and Bangkok.

This represented a change from its earlier plan, announced last March, that it would close all 23 of the outposts, as part of a cost-saving measure.

It said the only offices it planed to keep open would be those in Beijing and Guangzhou, China; Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Guatemala City, Guatamala; Mexico City, Mexico; and San Salvador, El Salvador.

[Editor's Note: This story was updated on March 9 to include the State Department's statement.]

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