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Why US Selective Military Service Is Leading Some Expats To Renounce Their US Citizenship.

In our renunciation blogs and webinars, we outline why American expats decide to renounce their US citizenship. The top reasons include the following:

  1. The cost of paying US taxes annually.
  2. The cost of double taxation (paying US tax AND tax in your home country).
  3. The US Estate Tax (the death tax) and succession planning.
  4. The constant stress combined with expensive accounting and legal fees to stay US tax compliant.

There is a myriad of reasons why US expats renounce their US citizenship that is mostly financial in nature. But there is one important factor that most people don’t consider – the US Selective Service System.

In a nutshell, The United States Selective Service System is a federal agency that maintains a database of men between the ages of 18 and 25 for military conscription, or the draft, in the event it is needed. This currently only applies to males, but one day could include females. While there is currently no military draft in place (there hasn’t been one since 1973 during the height of the Vietnam War), this requirement could have significant ramifications for US expats and their families.

Firstly, US citizens who are eligible for US Selective Service but fail to register could be subject to a $US 250,000 fine and/or five years in prison. Moreover, a person who “knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the registration requirement is subject to the same penalties.”

Secondly, there is concern about signing up for military service and the personal and moral implications of that decision. While the odds of a large-scale conscription effort are low, this still can be a potentially life-changing choice for many parents of Accidental Americans (children who received US citizenship because of parentage). Also, if those children want to enroll in a US college or university, they may need to show proof of registration with the US Selective Service. Failure to register could also result in the loss of student loans and federal job training programs.

Thirdly, if you are a US expat and/or business owner looking to apply for a federal contract, you need to show proof of enrollment in the US Selective Service System. According to the US government website:

“A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and the US Postal Service. Proof of registration is required only for men born after December 31, 1959.”


We understand that there is much to consider when deciding whether to renounce your US citizenship or not. The US Selective Service System is yet another factor to consider for you and your family.

The implications should be carefully discussed before any decision is made. Our firm fully understands the importance of renouncing our client’s US citizenship properly.

The key word in that phrase is “properly.” If US citizenship or green card is not terminated correctly, one can be subject to tens of thousands of dollars in failure-to-file penalties, as well as an exit tax and covered expatriate status. The US has many pitfalls and landmines (exit tax, inheritance tax, disbarment from the US for life, loss of benefits, etc.) that one must successfully navigate. Our firm can work with you and make sure that these pitfalls are avoided.

Our team of US lawyers represents between 600 and 900 US citizens and green card holders who decide to renounce their US status correctly every year on six continents – more than any other firm in the world. We’ve helped thousands of US expats and green card holders successfully terminate their citizenship status – but, again, it MUST be done the right way.

If you or a family member is a US citizen or green card holder considering renunciation, we invite you to visit our dedicated webpage for more information. This page contains links to register for our upcoming renunciation webinars. You can find one tailored to your geographic location in our events listings.

These webinars thoroughly review everything you need to know about the US citizenship renunciation process, and available options should you decide to take the next steps.


Click here to view our upcoming Renunciation Webinars and register


If you would like to get the process started on addressing your US issues immediately (with legal fees in mind), please schedule a one-hour call or video conference consultation with me by:

Upcoming Webinar...

Is Now the Right Time to Renounce Your US Citizenship?

Complimentary webinar for US citizens living in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Webinar: Saturday, December 16, 2023

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Upcoming Webinar...

Is Now the Right Time to Renounce Your US Citizenship?

Complimentary webinar for US citizens living in Australia, New Zealand & Asia

Webinar: Saturday, January 13, 2024

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