These days, you just might be reconsidering your citizenship preferences. When the American expatriates of the 20th century hung out in the cafés of Paris, expatriation was easy. All you had to do was move to another country and take up residence. Renouncing your citizenship was apparently not a requirement of this process. You could expatriate for proud religious or political beliefs. Or, you could expatriate for the purpose of evading taxes in your home country. Unfortunately, this is pretty much what expatriation has become – a tax dodge.
When people expatriated for honest reasons, mostly in the early part of the 20th century, the list of expatriates became a roster of some of the most notable artists and authors in history. Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, T.S. Elliot, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and even Jim Morrison were all noteworthy expatriates. Those were the days…
How Do I Become An Expatriate?
In modern times, the process of expatriation has become remarkably complicated. It is amazingly difficult to quit being an American. First of all, the Internal Revenue Service has a say in the process now. They publish a list every quarter in the Federal Register that contains the names of current American expatriates. The IRS calls these people renunciants (as in renouncing your citizenship). The sole purpose for the IRS tracking these individual is for the recovery of tax revenue from the renunciants. The State Department is reluctant to let American citizens go stateless. Proper citizenship or legal asylum in another country is now required; however, this is a time consuming and very expensive process in most cases. And, you must declare or prove that you will not return to the United States. One other thing – you have to go somewhere outside of the United States to start your renunciation. It is not possible to renounce your American citizenship inside of its own borders.
Where Can I Go To Expatriate?
Once the decision to expatriate has been made, a location for your expatriation must be chosen. Below are several options to be considered when undergoing the expatriation process. After your critical decision to expatriate, the first most important decision to be made is the location of your safe harbor from your perceived oppression or ideology.
Canada And Mexico
First thoughts might be of staying closer to home in a place like Canada or Mexico. Since the Vietnam war, Canada has always been a favorite place of refuge for the expatriate. However, over the years, the Canadian attitude toward American expatriates has cooled considerably. Canada is no longer a haven for the renunciator and either is Mexico, although retirees have special considerations in Mexico. It can take up to two to five years to receive approved Canadian citizenship and in Mexico the hopeful expatriate must remain an American citizen for five years after taking up residence in Mexico. By the time you receive the requisite citizenship from your chosen sanctuary, the reason for your expatriation may have since gone away.
The early part of the 20th century saw Paris, and France in general become a desirable oasis for the intellectual expatriate. In a typical French manner, a potential expatriate must prove that he or she is more French than American and show a mastering of the French language and the French way of life. Each case is considered by French government on an individual basis in what must be a very interesting application and interview process.
So, you’re more American than French and that eliminates France from your short list. Where to now? Undeveloped nations or an enemy country of the United States might be a choice; but, this is obviously very dangerous territory and who wants to live in Iran or Uzbekistan anyway? Again, long waiting periods in these types of countries are meant to discourage the impetuous expatriate but most cases are considered on an individual basis.
The Caribbean And Indian Reservations
Things get a little easier for the disgruntled citizen in the Caribbean. There, citizenships can be purchased outright in some countries although you will need to take a large wallet on your journey. For example, the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis will sell you a citizenship for about $125,000 which is inclusive of a $25,000 application fee but does not include the mandatory purchase of their government bonds in the amount of $100,000. It only takes about three months to complete this brief process; however, be aware that the U.S. State Department has been successful in shutting down several Caribbean citizenship vendors since 2001, so potential host nations are dwindling in numbers.
American Indian reservations are another possibility for the potential expatriate. Native American tribes are considered sovereign nations by the United States government. But you must remember that the residents of American Indian reservations hold dual citizenship, vote in U.S. elections and abide by the results of the election. And, authentic proof on Native American lineage must be proven to the appropriate authorities. This option really doesn’t provide the level of expatriation you’re looking to obtain.
Creative Solutions For Expatriation
A very creative solution would be to stay afloat on the oceans of world as an expatriate. In other words, if you had the money, you could simply take a cruise for the rest of natural life. Since money would be a problem with that haven from oppression or opposing ideologies, you could buy a boat and register it under a foreign flag. For your new found freedom to be effective, you would have to keep your boat in international waters and outside the 230 mile zone that the United States has declared under its control.
And, finally, after exhausting all other possibilities, you could settle into an imaginary nation either created by yourself or somebody else. These types of nations can be found on the internet and citizenships to these places are readily available. But, think about it, if the previous places mentioned aren’t suitable or possible for you, then it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to place your hope on an imaginary nation. Good luck!