Study Shows 1200% Increase in Americans Relinquishing Citizenship in Wake of COVID-19

Over 5,000 Americans have given up their citizenship in the first half of 2020.

Americans gave up their U.S. passports at startlingly high numbers this year compared to 2019

According to a study from accounting firm Bambridge Accountants New York, 5,816 Americans gave up their citizenship in the first six months of the year — a more than 1,200 percent increase from the six months prior when only 444 U.S. citizens relinquished their passports.

In 2019, the country saw only 2,072 Americans gave up their citizenship.

“There has been a huge turnaround during coronavirus of U.S. expats renouncing, where the figures have been in steep decline since 2017,” Alistair Bambridge, a partner at Bambridge Accountants New York, said in a statement.

hand holding up a passport

Bambridge said the current political climate in the U.S. along with annual tax reporting requirements could explain the rise in numbers.

“The huge increase in U.S. expats renouncing from our experience is that the current pandemic has allowed individuals the time to review their ties to the U.S. and decide that the current political climate and annual US tax reporting is just too much to bear,” Bambridge added. “For U.S. citizens living abroad, they are still required to file U.S. tax returns each year, potentially pay U.S. tax and report all their foreign bank accounts, investments and pensions held outside the U.S. For many Americans this intrusion is too complicated, and they make the serious step of renouncing their citizenship as they do not plan to return to live in the U.S.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. passport hasn’t held as much weight as it did previously, and only some countries are allowing Americans to enter for non-essential reasons. But some U.S. citizens can get a passport to another country without giving up their own if they have a grandparent (and in some cases even a great-grandparent) who was born out of the country.

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