Tina Turner went through quite a few life changes this year. Past 70, she became engaged for the second time in her life to her German boyfriend (Erwin Bach) of 27 years, she acquired Switzerland citizenship, and as part of the process, she relinquished her U.S. citizenship in January by virtue of her voluntary acquisition of Swiss citizenship with the intent of losing her U.S. citizenship.
Tina Turner has won eight Grammys and sold over 200 million records, has the Guinness Book of World Records for most concert tickets by any solo performer, and has been called one of the 100 greatest [Rock n Roll] artists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine and has been called the “Queen of Rock and Roll”.
Tina Turner is no Swiss Citizen of convenience. She speaks fluent German (one of the requirements for Swiss naturalization), and has lived in Switzerland since 1995 (almost twenty years) — although she also has residences in London, England; Cologne, Germany, and a villa on the French Riviera as well as property in Los Angeles. She received no preferential treatment during her naturalization process — she took and passed the same civics tests and interviews that ordinary foreign residents must take to receive the white cross on red emblem bearing Swiss passport.
Some of the British tabloid media speculated that taxes may have something to do with her change of citizenship. Obviously, the convenience of no longer having to file (and perhaps pay, depending on your situation) to two countries (as is the case for overseas Americans) is convenient to anybody, but nobody ever changes from American citizenship to western European citizenship for the purpose of reducing their tax bill.
It has been hinted that one of the reasons she prefers to reside in Switzerland is due to their strong privacy laws. American celebrities sometimes relocate to remote areas in the United States or other countries where it is difficult to be stalked by paparazzi. The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, unlike many constitutions of the world, actually guarantees the right to privacy (Article 13).
Unlike Japan’s naturalization laws and other countries, Switzerland does not require one to give up their other nationalities to become a naturalized Swiss citizen. However, by “voluntarily acquiring a new citizenship with the intent of losing U.S. citizenship”, Tina Turner qualifies to loss her U.S. citizenship via “relinquishment” as opposed to “renunciation”.
Although officially retired, she is very popular in her new adopted country. Her hometown in Tennessee, was not surprised given her long history with Switzerland, but expressed hope that she would “not forget her roots.”
She passed the communal hurdle in January. To pass subsequent Cantonal and Federal (Switzerland requires citizenship at communal, cantonal and federal levels to get the coveted little res book) hurdles in just 3 months is unheard of (in many cases, it can take 1 year). Looks like there was very special preferential treatment here given her celebrity status!
You might want to rewrite your first paragraph to read :
“Tina Turner went through quite a few life changes this year. Past 70, she became engaged for the second time in her life to her German boyfriend (Erwin Bach) of 27 years, she acquired Switzerland citizenship, and as part of the process, she relinquished her U.S. citizenship in January by virtue of her voluntary acquisition of Swiss citizenship with the intent of losing her U.S. citizenship.”
Relinquishing US citizenship by virtue of her voluntary acquisition of US citizenship with the intent of losing her US citizenship, just doesn’t make sense.
Her fluency in German is still a matter of debate. An article in De Blick in January said she was diligently learning and if you watch some interviews being done in German it looks as if she’s listening to a translator via an ear-piece, pausing before answering the questions. More on this English Forum thread:
Regarding the sentence “relinquished her U.S. citizenship in January by virtue of her voluntary acquisition of Swiss citizenship with the intent of losing her U.S. citizenship” sounds strange, and there’s probably too many prepositions in there, but that’s exactly the case to qualify for for “relinquishment” of U.S. citizenship, as opposed to “renunciation”:
#1. You have to voluntarily (ex. naturalize) as opposed to involuntarily (ex. marriage to a national of that country) get another citizenship.
#2. You had to do that action (naturalize) knowing that and wanting it to cause you to lose your U.S. citizenship if you reported it
#3. You (not anybody else) have to formally report #1 and #2 to a U.S. consul.
Welcome to the wonders of the 14th amendment.
Yes, I know that. Please read the two versions I posted. Yours has her relinquishing her US citizenship by acquiring US citizenship with the intent of losing her US citizenship. My rewrite has her correctly acquiring Swiss citizenship with the intent to lose her US one.
Having done so, she can now relinquish her US citizenship provided she doesn’t continue to use her US passport, vote in US elections, etc. If she does these things before she’s relinquished and received her CLN confirming this, the US government may conclude she didn’t really want to relinquish at all and could still consider her to be a US citizen.
Petros, any chance of getting things like the ability to bold items to emphasize points we are making?
Ah, I see the typo now. Thanks for your patience. Fixed.
BTW, the order that she’s done things is very interesting. Did she relinquish before she got fully naturalized?
Japan normally requires you to lose your other nationalities before you get your Japanese citizenship (it’s the very last step, and they guarantee that you will successfully naturalize when they ask you to do the final step of losing your other nationalities).
They make an exception for some counties… including the United States, because Americans need the “act of naturalizing to another country” and the proof (Japanese passport or family register) in order to qualify for relinquishment (as opposed to renunciation).
PS. You can bold items etc by using HTML tags.
She couldn’t relinquish before getting Swiss citizenship, she could only renounce. She’s not been spotted going into any embassy as far as I know, but if she’s going to relinquish then she needed the Swiss citizenship first. Also if she renounced her US citizenship first she would effectively have been stateless. Not the best position to be in, even if you’re pretty certain to get citizenship in the country you’re living in.
I’d use the HTML tages if I had anything on my computer that would let me type them in. I’ve got a Swiss keyboard set for UK key use and I can’t find any way to type in the arrows. Nor can I click on them to use them. AAARGH!
“Looks like there was very special preferential treatment here given her celebrity status!”
The first hurdle, naturalization at the community level, appears to be the greatest. Canton Zurich and the Swiss Federal government seem to approve naturalization applications fairly quickly, after the community has given its approval. The below post on Englishforum.ch indicates that Canton Zurich’s approval took one month and the Swiss Federal approval two more months for the poster’s application:
“Well, today’s post brought a letter stating
“Das Gemeindeamt des Kantons Zürich hat Ihnen das Schweizer Bürgerrecht erteilt” and a form for my naturalisation to be registered, after which I can apply for my ID card and passport.
That makes my timeline as follows:
Application submitted: end June 2012
Gemeinde interview: 22 October 2012
Notification of gemeinde approval early November 2012
Kanton approval: end November 2012
Federal approval: end January 2013 (which I only collected from the post office on 11 Feb after my holiday)
Definitive naturalisation: 14 Feb 2013
So my entire process for regular naturalisation (which included some comings and going about documents in July 2012) took less than 8 months start to finish. Is that a record?!”
http://www.englishforum.ch/permits-visas-government/67812-commune-naturalisation-interview-done-5.html (Comment 89)
Having said that, the NZZ thought that Ms Turner had a “nice Swissmaker” in her community and questioned whether she would have passed the standardized language and country knowledge tests in neighboring Canton Aargau:
Also, another newspaper article, which I cannot locate, indicated that her community, Küsnacht, had turned down her application in 2011 due to insufficient German language skills.
For those interested, here’s a Swissinfo.ch article on why many eligible permanent residents of Switzerland choose not to become Swiss citizens:
Also, here’s a rather surprising article in the German Süddeutsche newspaper on how Switzerland has become Europe’s favorite whipping boy in spite of the fact that Switzerland offers work to their jobless citizens (in German). What is surprising is that this appeared in one of the mainstream German newspaper:
A Hr. Reithaar approved Ms Turner’s Swiss naturalization at the community level, which is the first and most important step in the process. Hr Reithaar is also responsible for civil defense for the community. In this newspaper picture, taken in April, Ms Turner christens the community’s new emergency boat, “Tina”, while Hr Reithaar looks on. Did she also help to organize its financing. 🙂
Tina Turner got married this weekend. Everything according to plan
So awesome, I glad she was able to marry the person she wanted without the baggage of U.S. citizen.
I don’t believe it’s been made public whether she has renounced or not.
What? This was part of the opening post:
Certainly if the UK papers know about it the Swiss ones will. And I seem to recall the mayor of her hometown in the US being “shocked” that she had renounced. Oh yes, it’s public all right, very much so.
Hmm, that article is from 25 January 2013.
You’ve said yourself on 2 May 2013 above: “She couldn’t relinquish before getting Swiss citizenship, she could only renounce. She’s not been spotted going into any embassy as far as I know, but if she’s going to relinquish then she needed the Swiss citizenship first. Also if she renounced her US citizenship first she would effectively have been stateless. Not the best position to be in, even if you’re pretty certain to get citizenship in the country you’re living in.”
I know she’s officially received Swiss citizenship, but I’ve not seen any public statements that she has actually renounced US citizenship, although that was/is clearly the intention. Perhaps she has, perhaps not. It certainly would have made sense before getting married. Anyway, not that it really matters in the great scheme of things. 😉
I can’t see anything confirming it. Is there still a consulate in Zurich that she could have gone to? Or maybe the Consul went to her?
There is no longer an American Consulate General in Zurich; most of its functions (including diplomatic representation to Liechtenstein) have been transferred to Bern. There remains a Consular Agency in Zurich. The status of that agency (as of 2009) is discussed here: http://oig.state.gov/documents/organization/128987.pdf (Report of Inspection) and here: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1034.html (Country travel information)
Anyway congrats to Tina Turner, I’m sure she paid a heft expatriation tax, can you imagine what the continued royalties are worth that she had to pay a tax on.
It seems to be the Destiny for us, unless we are to live in non-compliance, or worse yet, to live in compliance
Pingback: The Isaac Brock Society
This is how terrible her German-language skills were, *after* she had already been granted Swiss citizenship: