September 12, 2013

Citizenship Hacking

As the US regulatory stranglehold on individuals increases, some of us are choosing to opt out.

I am currently working on getting citizenship in Hungary and Brazil, so I can then renounce my US citizenship.  The US not only taxes foreign-sourced income but requires reporting of assets held abroad. Though you can protect and structure your corporations/bank accounts so that they won't be easily seen by the US, the US government still requires reporting above certain minimum dollar amounts.  I prefer a lower level of surveillance which explains my intention to choose another less intrusive country to 'pledge my allegiance' to.

So, you're sold on dropping your current nationality!  The only question left is, which country is best for switching nationalities?  The answer is... it depends.  If you want to live in Asia, Singapore.  If you want to live in South America, Brazil.  If you want to live in the EU, many member countries are practically giving out passports if you can show family lineage back to that country.  An EU passport will let you move about and work freely all around the EU. A Mercosur passport will do the same for much of South America.

You may have to devote a couple of years living in a country to gain citizenship, but aside from having an adventure, you'll get a shiny new passport to add to your collection.

If your goal is travel freedom, a European passport is a great asset. One of the easiest methods for acquiring a European passport without spending big money is to prove lineage by birth/death certificates. The following is a list of requirements.

England - Father's parents must be British
Hungary - Descent from Austro-Hungarian empire (any number of generations)
Ireland - Grandparent must be Irish
Israel - Be Jewish, 1 year of residence
Italy - Grandparent must be Italian
Greece - Grandparent must be Greek
Lithuania - Grandparent must be Lithuanian
Luxembourg - Parent must be from Luxembourg
Poland - Grandparent must be Polish
Spain - Born in South America, 2 years of residence

This is just a sampling, you can get citizenship by descent all around the world.  If there's a will, there's a way.

There are legal 'pay for citizenship' schemes through the government, but I don't have much interest in those.  My preference is to get citizenship without having to bribe governments directly, some options are:

- Buy real estate in the country
- Start a business and hire local employees
- Live in the country for a certain number of years
- Have a baby in the country. This gives the baby citizenship, and then the parents can receive citizenship faster than they would be able to otherwise (ie: Brazil)
- Adopt a child from that country
- Join the military
- Start with a retirement visa showing a minimum amount of monthly income (ie: Nicaragua requires $600 + $150 for each dependent). In many countries, the 'spirit of the law' is most important so a 30 year old can get a retirement visa (residency) leading to citizenship.

The key is to determine what your goals are, where you want to live, and to start the process sooner rather than later. Laws change and while a government may be looking for new citizens one year, the next year, opportunities can quickly disappear.

Acquiring a second passport is an insurance policy to protect yourself and your kids from increasing government encroachment on freedom. Can you afford to wait?

No comments:

Post a Comment