Individuals with American citizens living overseas have realized that their ability to forge new ties outside of the United States has been hampered by the nation’s failure to process their applications to renounce their citizenship in the United States.
Following the implementation of COVID-19, approximately 30,000 Americans seeking to renounce their citizenship have faced delays in the application process because U.S. embassies, including the one in London, “are currently unable to accept appointments for loss of nationality applications,” according to a report published on Friday by The Guardian.
The United States State Department required a face-to-face conversation before allowing citizens of the United States to renounce their citizenship but has put these meetings on hold due to concerns about COVID-19, according to The Independent.
However, for some people who are wanting to start a new life in a foreign country, this halt in the procedure has put a burden on their financial situation.
A 2010 law known as the Other Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) mandates banks and other financial institutions in foreign countries to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) any clients they suspect of having accounts in the United States.
Americans who live overseas are required to report their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which might subsequently levy potential taxes. According to The Guardian, Eritrea is the only other country with a policy similar to this.
After receiving a request from the Internal Revenue Service to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes on a profit, he made from the sale of his London home in 2017, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was born in the United States but had not lived there since the age of 5, brought the effects of FATCA to public attention in 2017.
The law of the United States had an impact on another politician, Marie Sock, who was the first woman to run for president of The Gambia in history.
Sock is a naturalized citizen of the United States, and he was forced to withdraw from the election after failing to meet the constitutional requirement that a candidate does not have citizenship in another nation.
“In order to comply with this requirement, I contacted the American Embassy in the Gambia last year and again this year on several occasions for the purpose of renouncing my American citizenship,” Sock said in a Facebook video.
“I was told that I needed to renounce my American citizenship,” Sock said in a Facebook video. “I requested that a senior official at the United States Embassy accept my renunciation and begin the procedure. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the United States Embassy was unable to provide any services other than in emergency situations.”
The State Department is being sued in federal court by nine American residents living abroad who have been put in Sock’s position, according to the newspaper The Guardian.
The Association of Accidental Americans, a French-based organization that has brought the lawsuit forward, told The Guardian that the United States’ refusal to allow for renunciation impedes the rights of their clients in the country.
In a statement, the group stated that the United States appeared “determined to prohibit its nationals from exercising their natural and fundamental right to voluntarily relinquish their citizenship.”