General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Would you ever emigrate from the US?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9102 points ) June 28th, 2011

Would you ever renounce your US citizenship? Civil wars don’t count. All the other reasons do.

What would it take? Do you think that this is a very taboo subject? Is US citizenship a privilege that noone should ever even consider giving up?

Personally, I feel like it is a great honor that I was born here, and now. The fact is, however, that the US is simply a country. There I said it. It is perhaps the most important country that ever was, or will be on the pre-second-coming Earth. But that is taking a lot for granted especially the institutional practices we picked up from the Greeks, Romans and others.

Is America just a country?

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39 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

No. This is where my wife is. This is where my children are. This is where my grandchildren are. This is where my father is buried. This is the Country for which I came very, very close to giving my life many times, and which I served for 34 years as a soldier. I would rather just die than leave.

sliceswiththings's avatar

I think about it a lot, because I love other countries. I fantasize about living elsewhere, but then I think about how much I’d miss being close to my family, familiar foods, holidays, etc., and schools/activities for kids that I grew up with that I want my children to grow up with. I believe that the US is really f***ed up right now, and I don’t proudly admit my citizenship overseas, but, like it or not, I’m American.
But if my entire extended family came along I’d be game!

TexasDude's avatar

I would visit other countries (in fact, I plan to) but I would never renounce my US citizenship or permanently move to another country unless I absolutely had to. I love it here.

zenvelo's avatar

I would certainly entertain the thought of emigrating to another country, especially for retirement, but I could never renounce my citizenship.

My citizenship is precious; the thought of not being able to return to the United States is frightening.

roundsquare's avatar

Yeah, I might. It really depends on where and why. For now, US citizenship is great but I don’t consider it an “honor” simply because it is pure chance who gets it and who doesn’t.

As for family and friends… well, that would suck, but I’ve spent extended times abroad (I’m doing so now in fact) and I’ve learned to deal with it.

Ltryptophan's avatar

But there wasn’t always an America. What if someday there is a new place with new revolutionary ideas on freedom. Have we closed the book on such a place? Did the founders already think of that, and make the constitution living for just that purpose?

As Americans are we sure that noone can ever do “country” well enough that it would deserve getting on a boat and facing the challenges that our ancestors once faced coming here!?

Personally, I will not forget the sacrifices my ancestors made to get me here. For me that means I must remember opportunity. I must remember to make my childrens lives better even if it means changing countries.

I don’t think that anywhere will ever provide that possibility better than my homeland, and for that I thank God. That is the source of my awe at where I am from. There is no better place that I can imagine being from. Even if there was it would take a liar to say that the tools are not available here in America to emulate such a place. So barring unimaginable conventions in some untold place, America remains the land of opportunity my forefathers knew.

rooeytoo's avatar

I was born in the USA and lived there 54 years and loved it then and still. Then I fell in love with an aussie so I moved to Australia, now I have dual citizenship and I love it here. I can’t foresee ever moving back to USA permanently but I would never renounce my citizenship. It is a wonderful place to be and being an American is a much coveted existence by many from other countries. Based on my travels, there is not perfect place to be, but USA comes damned close and Australia is not far behind (except everything is so expensive here!!!)

JLeslie's avatar

Something really drastic would have to happen for me to give up my citizenship here. If Hitler II wound up in power in America, something like that could definitely get me thinking about flight, as in fight or flight.

I would be fine living in another country for a while, maybe over time I would feel so much a part of that country, I would want to be a citizen there?

Really, I feel very lucky to be an American, I love my country, and I love the ideals America is supposed to be. The founders were truly inspired, and I do feel it is a special place.

I love we are such a large country with so many options, climates, terrain, people. Even in a new place in the country, I still feel at home in many ways.

Megan64's avatar

I totally would and I will. This country does have its positives, but since I really subscribe to a more socialist life philosphy, I might fit in better elsewhere. Also, I’m highly opposed to retired people paying for healthcare. They’ve worked for 50+ years and given their lives to their work, contributed to society, and we can’t provide them with healthcare? How f*cked up is that?

JLeslie's avatar

@Megan64 People over 65 get medicare.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

No, no! My great, great grandparents worked extremely hard and suffered a lot of discrimination and blood, sweat, and tears to make it here in the 1800s, so it would be a cop-out for me to renounce my citizenship just like that. I think the only thing that would make me do it is if some horrendous disaster bestruck the United States, and we were forced to emigrate to another country. But even then, I’d still try to hold onto my American citizenship as best I can. I’m extremely proud to have been born here and to be an American citizen.

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES You live in America? All this time I thought you lived in a different country.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@JLeslie Yep. Lol——where did you think I lived?

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I had no specific country in mind, I just for some reason thought you were not here in the USA. Not sure why.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@JLeslie Must be because I’m ethnically Asian (Japanese/Chinese). When people see that I’m Asian, they usually think I’m from Japan or Hong Kong. Lol.

Megan64's avatar

@JLeslie Untrue. Medicare doesn’t cover it. My family (who are rather healthy) pay a hefty supplemental.

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES It is not an assumption I would usually make, basing how someone looks on whether they are American or not. I think it has more to do with your answers, maybe it is the combination. Your English was very good for a foreigner. LOL, just kidding.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@JLeslie Well, quite often I would meet a stranger, and even after conversing with him/her in perfect English and displaying my American mannerisms, the person will still ask “So are you from Japan? You look Japanese.” Um, they’re partly right——I am half Japanese, but I’m an American first. Lol!

anartist's avatar

If the place is beautiful and temperate, the price is right; the living comfortable and cheap; the digital infrastructure robust; and the healthcare comparable to US and affordable.
And if I could speak the language.

Thailand coast [fishing villages] is intemperate but has many of the qualifications.
So does Panama.

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES If your English is perfect American English I would assume you are American. But, I might ask what you are, or where your family is from, if I could not peg what part of Asia just by looking at you. Just out of curiosity.

A few months ago I was talking to this guy at my gym who obviously looked Filipino, but he was wearing an “Arizona” shirt. During our conversation I asked if he was from Arizona, and he laughed and said, “no, I am from the philippines.” I grew up outside of DC, the whole world lives in DC, so I don’t think of American as blue eyes and blond hair usually.

Same gym, this Asian guy who was in my zumba class all the time, we used to smile and nod hello, never spoke. Anyway, one day I am speaking Spanish to a girlfriend there and he walks up and starts speaking Spanish to us. When I asked where he was from, I thought he was going to name a country in Latin America, and he responded, “Hong Kong.” LOL.

The world is small.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m currently residing in another country, but I don’t intend to stay here forever. That said, I can imagine living very long-term in Europe with American citizenship.

The fact of the matter is: where you were born shouldn’t make a difference. But it does. So, since my US citizenship gives me a leg-up on equally qualified migrants from poorer countries, I’d be foolish not to maintain it. I know Americans who’ve lived in Europe for decades with their US citizenship, and vice-versa.

It’s unfortunate that by fluke of birth some people will always be more welcome in countries than other, but as long as that’s the system, I have to play along.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@JLeslie It’s kind of annoying sometimes, but forgivable, when people ask where I’m from. I can understand, being a visible minority, and they’re just curious. I don’t blame them. But even when I speak perfect English and show American mannerisms, they still ask if I am from Japan or Hong Kong, even though I’m a 4th generation American. A lot of young Asian people immigrated here from overseas within the last 30 years, so even though they’re very Americanized now, there birthplace was still somewhere else, making it more obscure for the innocent bystander who wonders.

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Do you live in a city that is very diverse? Most of my friends growing up were born here, but their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents immigrated here (like me). So, usually I assume, if I am going to assume, that someone is second or third generation, unless they have a significant accent. Sometimes it is like a game/test see if I can guess right by an accent or how someone looks. Even within the US. Like when I fly I usually can tell which female flight attendants are based in Detroit or Memphis by hairstyle.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Id leave this country in a heart beat if I was in the financial situation to do so.

nikipedia's avatar

I would not have a problem living in another country for 1–5 years, and plan to do so.

Permanently, I think it might be difficult to make that commitment. But under the right circumstances (mostly, having a good job in place and a partner who didn’t object) I would do so.

HarmlessTrouble's avatar

I’ve lived away from the US for over 6 years and, although I’m enjoying my life out here far more than I ever did back home, living in a country you can cross in a few hours, with a just few million people has made me appreciate the geographical and cultural vastness of the united states. Which is great for tourism, but rampant irrationality makes living there unappealing at times. I’m still keeping my citizenship for the convenience of it or if I should ever need to return.

cazzie's avatar

I agree with @HarmlessTrouble. I have lived away for over 20 years, but keep my US passport. I am proud to have been born in the US and it is my ‘culture of origin’. I think it would be a hassle to visit family if I had a passport from Norway. Organising my current trip and getting a ‘Visa Waiver’ for my 6 year old (who travels on a Norwegian Passport) and the website wasn’t working right caused a bit of sweat and stress. They want this information from a 6 year old:
_______________________

B) Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance; or have been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence to confinement was five years or more; or have been a controlled substance trafficker; or are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities? *
Yes No
C) Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies? *
Yes No
D) Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United States or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or misrepresentation? *
Yes No
E) Have you ever detained, retained or withheld custody of a child from a U.S. citizen granted custody of the child? *
Yes No
F) Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa or entry into the U.S. or had a U.S. visa canceled? *
Yes No
If yes: when
where
G) Have you ever asserted immunity from prosecution? *
Yes No
With regard to immunity from prosecution, answer ”Yes” to this question if all of the following apply:

(a) you have committed a serious criminal offense in the United States as defined in 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101(h), including any felony, at any time for which immunity from criminal jurisdiction was exercised; and

(b) as a consequence of the offense and exercise of immunity identified in (a), you have departed from the United States; and

(c) you have not subsequently submitted fully to the jurisdiction of the court in the United States having jurisdiction with respect to that offense.
___________________________________________

No… My child has never been a Nazi… It is an eye roller. I’ll be keeping my US passport and perhaps even applying for one for my son.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Definitely get it for your son if possible. My nephew is US and Italian (he probably can be Mexican also?) and so now that he is going to college, he could do a semester in Europe, and I would assume not have to do any or very minimal paperwork for immigration services, being a citizen. The reverse could be true for your son, if he were interested, study in the US, or take a job for a few years in the US, and avoid all that messy paperwork for school or work visas.

srtlhill's avatar

One reason some people choose to do this is for financial gain. They take all their millions and renounce their citizenship so the us government can’t tax them. Then they still can buy and travel and visit the best places in the US with the benefit Of not having to pay our taxs. This is a loophole that I read about I do not claim to be an expert. I am a patriot and would not leave my country for financial gain.

cazzie's avatar

@srtlhill Where ever you live in the world, you have to pay taxes there. No loophole for moving away. I was married to a tax specialist. In FACT, paying US taxes is preferable to paying UK taxes, so the UK entertainers that move to the US and become residents there get a better deal, as long as they structure it correctly. I pay far more taxes on anything we earn in Norway. That is silly, sorry.

Mamradpivo's avatar

@cazzie How do you know your son wasn’t involved with Nazi Germany in the 1940’s? If we don’t ask these questions, nobody will ever answer them…

cazzie's avatar

@Mamradpivo do hope you are kidding.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie There are some sorts of tax havens in certain European countries for businesses. Some American companies put their HQ’s in those countries to escape significant taxation. I saw a show on it, I will try to find the episode. Anyway, when they investigated the HQ’s had a staff of 5, no CEO to be found on the premises, it is just really in name only I guess? I don’t know the whole scenerio.

cazzie's avatar

Yes, @JLeslie corporations…. but personal tax is another matter. If anyone is looking for a corporate tax haven, btw, the Cayman Islands works well. Jersey works too, off the coast of England, but you have to be a resident. Many of the online gaming\gambling websites are registered in the Cayman Islands.

Personally, I didn’t leave to avoid tax. I left for love.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

1. Would you ever renounce your US citizenship? – Yes, though ‘renounce’ sounds a bit loaded, as if I’d reject it in disgust or something. Just give it up, yes.

2. What would it take? Do you think that this is a very taboo subject? Is US citizenship a privilege that noone should ever even consider giving up? – It would take seeing something in another country that is a life more in line with our values. Switzerland, to us, always seems in some ways much better. No, this is not a taboo subject. And no, it’s not a privilege, it’s just a citizenship.

3. Is America just a country? – of course it’s just a country! there is no honor in being born here or anywhere…honor doesn’t happen because you were born since you did nothing exactly other than be born here.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@JLeslie I live in a fairly large city in the Northwestern part of the United States. Not too diverse, somewhat of a white bread Bible belt area, so to speak. Lol.

JLeslie's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES With your location and lack of diversity what you have said makes sense.

srtlhill's avatar

@ cazzie you thought my statement was silly, ok here we go:

Capital: Avoiding U.S. taxes by renouncing citizenship by Brigid McMenamin Excerpted: Forbes, Feb 28, 1994

One in five Americans has considered leaving America. Three million would do so right this minute if they only knew how. What will the US Government do to stop capital displacement? What about fears of a brain drain effect as Americans leave America in record numbers? The Americans leaving are not a hopeless huddled mass; they constitute America’s best and brightest… this article simply exposes the tip of the iceberg, the silent exodus is alive and well, and it’s proportions are massive.” – Roger Gallo Author of Escape From America Flight

You are upset with the latest tax increased that you are seriously thinking about quitting the country. Does this make any sense at all? ENGLEWOOD, COLO, attorney Ronald Rudman recently got a call from one of his more prominent clients, a well-known entrepreneur. The businessman wasn’t asking for help on a new public offering or a leveraged real estate deal. “He wants to move his entire estate outside the U.S.,” says Rudman.

A lot of people are thinking about this most drastic of tax avoidance techniques: becoming an expatriate. And a lot of them lose interest when they find out that to accomplish much of a tax saving they have to renounce U.S. citizenship. That’s pretty extreme stuff, but it has been done before.

Famed fund operator John Templeton, a Tennessee native, moved to Nassau in 1969 and gave up his U.S. citizenship. He is a British subject; living in the Bahamas, he pays no income or estate tax. “Expatriation is the ultimate estate plan,” says Donald Baker, senior partner of the giant Chicago-based law firm Baker & MacKenzie.

Baker represents a seventyish couple who are beginning to move their assets out of the country to avoid federal estate tax of 55%. “They don’t want to leave half their assets to the government,” explains Baker. But he says they’re also afraid income taxes will shoot up as much as 10% if Clinton gets his health care scheme past Congress. “The people who are in power want to confiscate other people’s property,” says Baker.

Why do you have to change citizenship? Because the U.S., unlike almost every other country, levies income and estate taxes on its citizens living abroad. Unless you plan to cheat on your taxes, just moving abroad won’t accomplish anything. Former citizens, moreover, can be nailed for income tax on U.S. income, including capital gains from real estate situated here and from stocks in U.S. corporations. This exit tax may apply for ten years after you leave, unless the Internal Revenue Service decides that tax avoidance was not one of the “principal purposes” of your departure. Good luck trying to prove that.

Some people who are not yet ready to renounce citizenship have taken the less radical measure of moving assets abroad. This group includes a former congressman, entrepreneurs who started whole new industries, physicians and wealthy investors. Again, unless you want to lie on your 1040, merely moving your money into a Swiss bank won’t save you U.S. income taxes while you remain a U.S. citizen. Rather, some of these partial exiles are fearful of future restrictions on capital movements.

A Florida entrepreneur who already has about 25% of his wealth overseas, primarily in foreign currencies, is worried the government may someday draw the line on asset transfers. So before that happens he’s moving another big chunk—perhaps as much as 80% of liquid assets—overseas. “Taking it out [of the country] might be a very difficult thing someday,” the entrepreneur says.

People are worried about more than taxes. One of Rudman’s clients is a man who was a pioneer in the managed health care industry. Faced with President Clinton’s threat to take over the entire industry and impose new regulations and even criminal sanctions, he began to sell off his business last year and asked Rudman to help move his assets abroad. “They feel they have been targeted,” explains Rudman, “and they wonder what’s next.

It’s fear: fear of government, fear of a period of prolonged economic decline.” If you are ready to quit your citizenship, first find another country that will have you, warns Marshall Langer, a London-based American lawyer who specializes in international taxes and often helps people expatriate. He recommends such countries as Ireland or Israel, where you may within a few months be entitled to citizenship based on ancestry.

Next best is a place like Canada, which welcomes entrepreneurs, investors and retirees after three years of residency. And because these countries don’t tax nonresident citizens, once you get a new citizenship, you may then easily move to Bermuda, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands.

cazzie's avatar

@srthill a 1994 article is too old to reference. Not only that, but US citizens can currently use off shore companies and have them registered in Bermuda, Bahamas or Cayman Islands. Perhaps the Jews move to Israel for tax reasons? Like Marshall Langer mentions?.... but I don´t know what the taxes are like in Israel. But he also mentions, ´First, find a country that would have you.´ Good luck.

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