Monday, March 24, 2014

Renouncing My U. S. Citizenship, Part 3

כ"ב לחודש השנים עשר ב' תשע"ד

Read the Prelude: Toying With the Idea of Renouncing my U. S. Citizenship.

Read Renouncing My U. S. Citizenship, Part 1.

Read Renouncing My U. S. Citizenship, Part 2.

Read why Batya won't Renounce her U. S. Citizenship.

U. S. Consulate, Jerusalem
Last Thursday was my final "interview" in the process of renouncing my U. S. Citizenship.

I arrived early. Upon approach to the entrance, I was greeted with a scene over to the right, an Israeli Border Patrol soldier was putting on Tefillin, and preparing to pray, while his female counterpart continued their guard duties.

I took that as a sign.

At security, I not only had to check my phone, but also the pencil sharpener. Could that have been used as a weapon? I suppose, so do not begrudge the U. S. government my temporary lack of ability to sharpen my pencil. But, who do they expect to show up at the Consulate? MacGyver?

 Besides that, the Arabs manning the front desk took the opportunity to display their inefficiency and lack of professionalism, even more so than when I was last there.

As I walked to the bathroom, with my native Israeli security "escort," I asked him in Hebrew how he deals with such nonsense. He just laughed. 'Nuff said.

When I entered the waiting area, I was taken almost right away, even though I was early. Again, I was the only one there beside my "escort." It all wen pretty smoothly, as I spoke with the same official with whom I spoke the last time. He was very helpful through emails back and forth, scheduling this appointment so that I could deal with him, and not with somebody new, who might take longer, asking me repeat questions, and reviewing my paperwork.

The "interview" went quickly, with the official only asking me if I "still wanted to go through with 'it.'"

I said, "Yes." I signed the forms I had brought with me already filled out. Then he signed them. All that was left to do, was to pay the $450 fee, and then wait for my official certificate, which was expected to arrive by mail in a few weeks. By the way, I chose to bring in a self-addressed, stamped envelop, with enough postage for registered mail, instead of using the Consulate's courier service. ₪11.40 was enough for up to 500g (about 1 lb.), more than enough. I even put a registered mail sticker o the envelop for them, with matching form. Perhaps that was overkill, but whatever.

At this point in the process, I was told that the only person who could take my fee was still out. He should be there soon, and was specifically told that he needed to be there by my appointment time.

Twenty minutes later, I was informed that a call was just received from the only person who could take my money was very close

Meanwhile, the security guard and I chatted, about a variety of topics. Like the security guard from my previous visit, this one also wanted to know why I wanted to renounce my U. S. citizenship.

About forty minutes late, I was finally called over to the cashier's window for the privilege of giving the U. S. Government money, so that it would no longer own me.

Think about that for a moment. I had to pay the U. S. Government to be released from its control, or as I am guessing the U. S. Government might phrase it, from its responsibility.

If you ask me, that sounds just too similar to a ransom for my taste. Of course, the U. S. Government calls it an "execution fee." I wonder if there is a double meaning embedded there someplace.

But, I digress...

Paying The "Execution Fee"
Almost an hour after I should have had everything all wrapped up, I was met at the cashier's window by an Arab,...a belligerent Arab. It turned out that he was not even the on who was late. That was someone else who had to get something out of a safe. This was never clear to me, and remember, he and I were both speaking in our native tongue, English. The only think I understood were the apologies.

Quite frankly, I am thinking about send the Consulate, or the State Department in Washington a bill for my time, time lost from work, not to mention time lost from work as a result of the "required," yet not by law, second visit.

As I was paying in New Israeli Sheqqels (), I was informed that the sheqqel to dollar rate was 3.6, as listed on the Consulate's website. I responded that I knew that, but that I was told that the rate was periodically updated on the website, and that today the rate was not 3.6, rather it was 3.47.

"This is the rate we give you," the Arab told me.

"Your supervisor, please," I returned in true, "do NOT mess with me," Southern Californian form. Why should I give the U. S. Government anymore than I should have to?

The difference in our rate dispute worked out to 58.50, approximately $16.86, for those of you who think in dollars.

I know more than a few people, Israelis and Americans alike, myself included, who would be very happy to receive 58.50/$16.86 in hand, and could find 1,000 possible uses for it, especially in today's economic climate.

The official who had taken care of my paperwork returned to the scene. He explained that was the rate that the Consulate gives.

I anticipated this response. So, I let it go. I just wanted to get out of there already.
I left the Consulate with copies of my submitted documents, and a "temporary" receipt. No seal, no stamp, just the Arab cashier's scribble on a flimsy receipt (below).

"Temporary Receipt"

This "temporary" receipt apparently had something to do with the other official who was late in arriving, and, by the way, who never bothered to apologize to me in person, even though I was the only person there waiting for him. Too important for a mere citizen, I suppose. I was told to expect an official one in the mail.

However, at this second and hopefully last "interview," I was told that once I paid my money, I was no longer a U. S. citizen.

Nevertheless, I await my official Certificate of Renunciation with baited breath.

Stay tuned!

15 comments:

akapla1 said...

You don't legally lose your citizenship until DOS in Washington approves the paperwork. Then the effective date is backdated to the date you signed the oath, assuming they approve it. It took about 6 weeks to receive my CLN.

Esser Agaroth said...

Interesting...

I was told that it should take only 2 wks. max, as everything is done electronically. The Consulate will receive my certificate electronically, print it out and stamp the seal on it there.

The official insisted that the approval was more or less a formality. A criminal background check is done. That's all I know.

Devash said...

Mazal tov! And very well written. Akapla's right about the term (CLN). It's not a certificate of renunciation. Ever the hypocrite, the pig with his split hoofs on display prefers to call it a "certificate of loss of nationality," no doubt to imply it's your loss not theirs.

Devash said...

Hey, AK! When did you do it? How much did it cost then?

Devash said...

One more thing, Esser. When you've received it, you need to take the certificate to your bank so they can make a copy (they have to see the original) and that releases them from the obligation of reporting on your account to the US.

Esser Agaroth said...

Devash,

Thanks, and thanks for the helpful information!

Devash said...

Ok, this really is the last thing. You might find it amusing. When I went, back in 1999, the consulate was still in "East" Jerusalem, like the really Arab part. I didn't know how to get there by bus and didn't want to be wandering around that unfamiliar area, so I hired a taxi and gave him the address I had - Rehov Shechem. We went round and round while he tried to find Rehov Shechem. Then he discovered it wasn't on Rehov Shechem at all, it was on Nablus Rd!

Ariel ben Yochanan said...

B"H - So, does it feel any different?

akapla1 said...

@Devash..I did it last May (2013). Same price.

Esser Agaroth said...

Devash,

Not surprising. I had to go to the British Council, which is next to the old consulate building. The same thing almost happened to me.

Ariel,

Yes. All Shabbath, I thought about how I was free from the U. S. gov't. Even though the truth is that I always was. We can only be controlled by another entity, when we allow it to, and when we forget that The Almighty is only one who is really in charge. :-)

Still, I felt even more disconnected from galuth, and the land of my galuth.

Geula Girl said...

Did you ever receive your certificate in the mail?

Esser Agaroth said...

Yes. Pretty quickly, too.

I am working on a final write-up about it.

Geulim5432 said...

Do you know of anyone's experience renouncing their citizenship in the Tel Aviv embassy?

Geulim5432 said...

I live in the Sharon and have to go through the Tel Aviv consulate. Do you know of other people's experience doing the renunciation in Tel Aviv?

Esser Agaroth said...

Excellent question.

I'm afraid not, but I'll put the word out.

When I renewed my passport in 2007, I dealt with a native Hebrew speaker. It was quick (after the wait in line), and no questions even about my residing in the Shomron.

When I renounced in Jerusalem, I chose to have everything mailed by registered mail, and brought the filled out form and registered mail sticker with me on the envelop, and looked up the postage.

I chose not to have it delivered to my home or work by their "courier."

You Might Also Like...