Expat Life

Would you ever relinquish your citizenship?

According to the New York Times article  More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship, 743 Americans traded in their citizenship for permanent lives abroad in 2009.  And although that’s a minuscule amount compared to the 5.2 million Americans estimated to be living outside the US, it’s a lot compared to the number in 2008 (235) and it’s the highest it’s been in five years.

One of the reasons behind the trend is double taxation.  The US is the only industrialized nation that taxes citizens for money earned overseas.  And because Americans are often taxed by their country of residence as well, they’re being taxed twice.  Add to that the rotten world economy and you have enough motivation for some people anyway, to bid Uncle Sam farewell, forever.

What about you?  Are there any circumstances that would lead you to give up your citizenship?

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4 thoughts on “Would you ever relinquish your citizenship?

  1. Giving up the US citizenship is one of the most common empty “threats” by US expats abroad. Thousands of them threatened to do it when George W. Bush was re-elected but hardly any of them did it. When I read your previous post about the British guy “threatening” to denounce his British citizenship over a soccer game I laughed. And what, become a Guatemalan citizen? Yeah, right.

    The fact is, no matter what your opinion of the US government, US citizenship guarantees rights very few other countries can come close to providing. That’s why the US has hundreds of thousands of people fighting to leave their native countries and become a US citizen. I work with a lot of internationals in the US, and they have all gone through a large amount of suffering to get US citizenship. BTW, most of the people I’m referring to are Canadian. Go figure.

    I also want to comment on your previous post about how the international community views Americans.

    I’ve lived in London, and seen British and European behavior first hand. When it comes to being a “bad global citizen”, Americans don’t come close to Europeans (or Australians for that matter). I’ve stepped over enough vomit on my way to work in London on a weekday to back up this observation. Have you ever talked to locals in SE Asia about British tourists? 😀

  2. There are a lot of countries I could see myself happily spending the rest of my life (besides the US). And if America were to suddenly cease to exist (like if it were to get sucked into a black hole or something) I’d just move back to Germany and be cool with it.

    But unless a giant civil war breaks out and it becomes too dangerous to live there, I could never imagine a circumstance where I’d give up my citizenship. My family lives there for one, and for better or for worse, it’s home. Although there are a few more places I’d like to experience living in (like France) I like the idea that the US will always be waiting there for me when I’m eventually ready to go back.

  3. Funny, seeing the headline I didn’t think of the economical motivation at all. To me relinquishing your citizenship is a political act, like if I were a German in 1930’s and 40’s I surly would make a statement like this. But just for saving money – no. That’s patriotism for me (to answer your previous post)

  4. Personally, I have recently asked myself questions about what motivations would lead a person to even examine such an alternative. Clearly it appears as though taxation is the primary motivator. Take for instance a non-criminal citizen who experiences gang stalking. Google the term “gang stalking,” and I think you will be somewhat surprised of what conduct makes up such a public display (no actual association with the connotation of urban gang involvement per se). Fellow typical average American citizens who target and publicly hunt an American citizen truly inflect a certain degree of terror. Having such and experience, and understanding the complexities associated with essentially a mass mobbing, could certainly lead to a person wishing nothing more than fleeing this country indefinitely. Loss of trust in the systems of law enforcement and government protection have lasting effects on a persons sense of wellbeing. I challenge everyone to take a moment and research lightly the term “gang stalking.” Understand that such a hate display involves fellow members of our society (strangers), from every walk of life, and often involves having the clearly defined agenda of breaking down a persons sense of security and aims to destroy a persons mind through time with persistent public invasion of privacy by stalking. I for one can attest to this kind of harsh public display being without question grounds for exiting this country permanently.

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