United States Immigration: making it increasingly difficult and expensive to leave

Under a new law that is expected to take effect in January of next year, the State Department is going to now be able to block Americans with delinquent tax debt from obtaining any new passports. They will also be allowed to rescind existing passports of people who fall into this category. A list is expected to be compiled of those who owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at least $50,000 in unpaid federal taxes, which includes any penalties and interest, and it would also be adjusted for inflation.


The rule has already been passed in similar versions by the House of Representatives and the Senate. This plan happens to be tucked-away within a highway-funding bill, H.R. 22, that is now scheduled before a conference committee and they are expected to pass it in just a few weeks. It is alleged that the new rule is not going to apply to a taxpayer who is already in the process of resolving any tax debt with the IRS. This includes anyone who already has a payment installment plan established, as well as those individuals who choose to challenge and are engaged in contesting their debts in court. 

The State Department has said that it could issue a passport for “humanitarian reasons” when it comes to emergency circumstances. The new law is expected to take effect early next year, and it was estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation that it could raise over $300 million dollars over the next 10 years.


The US has also been steadily increasing the cost to a citizen who chooses to abandon and revoke their citizenship. The renunciation fee has increased over 422% and it is now going to cost you at least $2,350 to say goodbye. Renouncing your citizenship can also prove to be problematic when you want to travel back home to visit old friends and family. On top of the basic $2, 350 fee that needs to be paid, citizens can also be expected to be slapped with an “exit tax” when they renounce. For many however, they find the trade-off to be well worth it. An increasing number have been making the decision to trade-in their passports and opt for something better.  


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