US Citizenship

Citizenship Update - 2015

The following is a summary of the Citizenship Update presented at the Rome Conference held in March 2015; in case there are questions/comments, please contact me at

The overlap of tax issues and citizenship issues is greater than ever before. The short answer is to become compliant with FBARs (at least the past six years) and other tax requirements (at least three years of federal returns), regardless of any decision to retain or renounce US citizenship. Make sure that the tax situation is clear. Renunciation is often NOT the answer and it could very well not have the outcome that was intended when the renunciation was made, i.e. inheritance issues, travel, etc.

FAWCO continues to view renunciation of US citizenship as a very personal and “last resort” option. One is giving up more than the mere status – rights, responsibilities, freedom to travel in various parts of the world, all will be affected.

Renouncing citizenship is final and the only way to re-obtain citizenship is if one has an adult US citizen son or daughter who qualifies as a petitioner and is willing/able to do so.

IF one has renounced citizenship, but has yet to receive confirmation of the renunciation (which will be back dated to the date the decision was taken at the overseas consular office), that individual is still considered a US citizen and can (and must) travel to the United States on his/her US passport. This is especially important information for those with elderly/aging/ill family members.

The second topic that is of interest to the membership is regarding children born overseas outside US territory.

  1. The requirement for someone to confer US citizenship on a child or grandchild is to have lived in the United States (or US territory) for a total of five years, two of which occur after the age of fourteen (14). Grandparents may confer US citizenship on their grandchildren if they qualify and if the parent(s) of the child/ren cannot confer citizenship themselves.
  2. If you need to prove physical presence in the U.S., keep careful records of the entries into the U.S. - expired passports with date stamps, boarding passes from flights, school records – “official” documentation is the best.
  3. It takes more time than you might anticipate to accumulate the required physical presence. For example we are assuming that with her travel outside the US during school breaks, it will take most of my daughter’s four years of college in the two years to add up the time for TWO years of physical presence.

Judith Furukawa
FAWCO Citizenship Chair

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