I just stumbled across a fascinating article in which a professor at the University of Chicago proposes that US citizenship could be sold for between 50,000-100,000 dollars. The article estimates that around a million people received permanent residency in the US and that that could have produced 55 billion dollars in revenue.
It is still possible to literally buy citizenship in Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis. The price tag ranges at about 75,000 for Dominica and about double that for St. Kitts and Nevis. No residency required. You don’t even have to ever visit or ever live in either country. Citizenship in this case is reduced to an econimic good with no emotional or political attachments. It merely serves as a travel document or as a right to work somewhere and nothing else in this sense.
This is, of course, controversial, but if governments really did govern in the peoples’ names, and that that entailed that we also literally owned our own citizenship? A US Embassy spokesperson in the recent posting from a French-language article from Switzerland recently claimed that “people from every corner of the globe” are dying to get into the US. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even bothered to sell my US citizenship. If there were less of a demand I would even be willing to pay someone to take US citizenship from me.
A more interesting trade though would be if we could simply swap citizenships with someone. I would love to have a Swiss passport since they do not list the place of birth, but rather place of origin in their passports, so I would no longer have to be ashamed or worried every time that somebody opens up my passport since any mention of the US wouldn’t be there. I’d also swap US citizenship for Canadian, New Zealand, Australian, Brazilian or others. For a bit of added fun to our hypothetical question, I’m going to add a poll with some country choices. Would you be willing to sell or exchange your citizenship, and, if so, which passport(s) would you want in return? What do you think that the value of US citizenship is if you were to sell it? The US currently places that value at 450 dollars..
Please note that this is entirely hypothetical and that I am not literally advocating a black market for the sale of citizenship – This is done in jest!
@ij- for an interesting perspective on the U.S. as global HERO, you should watch “Fog of War” where Robert S. McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense gives a rather frank evaluation of America’s ethical conduct during times of war. In it he honestly admits that if America had been on the losing side of WWII that it would have been the one that was prosecuted for war crimes because America did commit many.
People really don’t think that hard about the fact that America is the first and only nation to drop not one but two nuclear devices on large civilian populations. We tend to gloss over this fact because it is commonly held that it was done out of an imperative necessity when in fact it wasn’t. In the video the former Secretary also points out that even more Germans were killed in the American bombing of Germany and that this too would have been classified as a war crime had the shoe been on the other foot.
When I look and compare the Nazi teaching of a superior race with the American belief in its own “exceptionalism” I see very little difference between these beliefs. I understand that they do not share a genetic argument as their base but in the end any belief in a nation’s “exceptionalism” has the same outcome for those who are not a part of the exceptional community.
Agree, war is winner’s game. Then it is a matter of choice,
Which one to pick ?
Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, Soviet and US —among these, US was (is still) a country — government by consent — even there are some dirty things, but it still has self clean mechanism.
I would say that in terms of protecting its own territory Canada is far more self reliant than many other US allies(I know this isn’t conventional wisdom but I’ll explain). NORAD is one of the only US defense relationships that is at all close to an equal partnership. Additionally historically there have been very few US military servicepeople stationed in Canada unlike the UK, Germany, Japan, etc. Canada was very firm during World War Two when the Alaska Highway was being constructed that all US military personal would have to leave the country at the end of the war(This did not apply to Newfoundland which was not yet part of Canada at the time). For all of the US’ military strength they are actually quite limited in projecting power into the artic unlike Canada, Norway, and Russia. Hell they had a really hard time resupplying Nome Alaska a few weeks ago without Russian help. They still have a base at Thule Greenland but they now rely on Canada to provide them supplies there. One of the things I find fascinating about the Artic is its really an area the US isn’t a player in and its future will be decided by Canada, Norway, Greenland/Denmark, and Russia without all that much US involvement(Yes the Alaska is part of the US but they aren’t spending any military dollars there). One of things I find kind of interesting thinking about this is the main flight route between Toronto and Beijing over the North Pole is outside of US military “controlled” territory(You can’t sail an aircraft carrier up the Northwest passage).
I will also add during World War Two Canada entered the War a full two years almost before the US and basically did all it could with its more limited industrial base than the US to keep Britain alive. Canada also sent a troop regiment to help defend Hong Kong three months before Pearl Harbor.
ij@- I don’t think that there are very many people in the world who want to live under an imperialistic U.S.A. instead of a Nazi Germany,Communist Russia or Emperor worshiping Japan. If we are seeing anything today what we are witnessing is the transformation of the U.S. into the very nations that it once oppposed.
I am not a Libertarian by nature but I think that the Libertarians do have it right when the point out that individual freedoms are being trampled upon by the U.S. government. The Patriot Act, the Nationla Defense Authorization Act, Homeland Security etc. and now FBAR’s and FATCA are all pieces of legislation that deprieve U.S. citizens of their constitutional rights and now pose threats to the sovereignty of other nations.
The IRS is the new Stasi of East Germany
recalcitrant – Fog of War is a decent doc, but there’s another bigger-picture one that rips the freedom mask right off of the US bully – Why We Fight. Lots of horrifying historical clips, including the Eisenhower. Available on DVD. Nobody should swallow any of that koolaid ideology.
One little known advantage of Japanese passports: they’re like Swiss passports, in that they show a place of domicile instead of place of birth. (In the Swiss case, that’s “canton of origin”; in the Japanese case, it’s whatever district office holds your Japanese household registration records). But as geeez has mentioned a few times, some financial institutions seem to refuse Japanese customers based on citizenship regardless if they’re living overseas.
South Korean and Singaporean passports are generally a lot less attractive than Japanese passports due to military service. In South Korea, at least, conscription is a matter of national survival and once North Korea collapses it will probably come to an end. But in Singapore it’s nothing more than an unsubtle reminder that Lee Kuan Yew and his children own you, which is why I’d never want a Singaporean passport.
A Taiwan passport might become more attractive in the future if Taiwan is admitted to the US visa waiver program — Taiwan also has military service, but the duration requirement is being shortened significantly to just four months. HKSAR passport holders and some ethnic Chinese can register as full “Taiwan citizens” after living there for one year (see my blog).
Yes, I mentioned that point about place of origin and domicile in my first post on this site. I hadn’t heard of Japanese being refused accounts. What’s that about? Any links?
I assume that those who register as Taiwan citizens from Hong Kong don’t lose their HKSAR passports? What benefits are there to doing so, considering that the HKSAR and taiwanese passport holders besides the US visa waiver possibly being extended to Taiwan?
I personally would kill for a HKSAR passport since I have never seen so much freedom of access to the EU, Latin America, Canada, Asia and Russia found in one travel document.
I personally wouldn’t care about access to the US, but that’s just me (and possibly several others on the site for different reasons). That’s not due to the IRS or anything like that for me though – I had such an awful experience with the security staff and their “enhanced patdowns” in the US two years ago that I simply refuse to fly there for any reason.
@Don Pomodoro — surprisingly, access to mainland China is actually easier with a Taiwan passport than an HKSAR passport. Both Taiwan and HKSAR passport holders can apply for special 10-year-validity travel permits for mainland China. But only Taiwan passport holders can get “visa-on-arrival” — if their 10-year permit is expired, they can just show up at any of the major airports and apply for a one-time permit for RMB 150 (~US$25). Whereas HKSAR passport holders in the same situation have to go back to Hong Kong and apply for renewal of the permit.
This can be a problem if you’re a Hong Konger living overseas and you need to fly straight to Beijing or something — I think in that case they tell you to apply for a mainland China emergency travel document, but that’s at the discretion of the consulate and I’m guessing they don’t like handing them out to any random holidaymaker.
Oh, and Taiwan law says that a mainlander who gets a Taiwan passport has to give up his mainland passport, but the same treatment doesn’t apply to Hong Kong or Macau residents (it’s in the passport regulations). From the Hong Kong side, they don’t care if you have Taiwan travel documents.
This actually creates a rather amusing result. According to the Basic Law, top HK officials (department heads and non-quota legislators) have to give up their foreign permanent resident cards or citizenships before taking office. The government usually justifies this by stating that they don’t want corrupt officials running away to another country which refuses to extradite them. But legally speaking, Taiwan isn’t a “foreign country” to Hong Kong (see administration comments). So an HK official with a Taiwan passport could theoretically steal money or commit violations of national security and run away to Taiwan — which doesn’t have an extradition agreement with Hong Kong and anyway refuses to extradite anyone who it considers its own national.
One thing that I’ve never understood is whether international multiple citizenship is allowed in Macau and Hong Kong. Obviously most residents from either territory hold BNO or Portuguese passports as well, but what happens if a foreigner naturalises in either territory? I know that the PRC doesn’t allow multiple citizenship under any circumstances, but it seems like this does not apply to PRC citizens by way of HK or Macau? Do they allow HK passport holders who naturalise in, say, France or Canada to retain their passports if it only works one way?
@DonPomodoro: Chinese citizens in HK can acquire any foreign citizenships they want without losing their Chinese citizenship (due to the “Explanations” of the Chinese Nationality Law). But the “Explanations” only apply to people who are already Chinese citizens, not people who want to become Chinese citizens. So if you’re applying to naturalise, you still have to give up your existing citizenships.
And of course Chinese citizens from the mainland who aren’t Hong Kong residents are still strictly forbidden to have other nationalities. When they apply for passport renewal while overseas, they have to sign declarations that they don’t have any other citizenships, and the consular officials are very careful about scrutinising their expiring passports for signs that they naturalised (e.g. an unrenewed residence visa). This sometimes leads to awkward situations at overseas consulates with mainland Chinese officials who don’t know the special rules applying to Hongkongers and see them waving their other passports around without a second thought.
@eric and Don
Chinese do not give visa to Taiwanese or HKSAR, they call it “home coming permit” — to emphasis one China policy. Visa is for foreigners only.
China does not recognize dual citizenship, but it can only take away your Chinese citizenship once they find you have been naturalized to another citizenship. Here is an interesting story. A Chinese friend of mine who used to live in Canada and became Canadian citizen. He went back to China as Canadian citizen. After many years in China, he decided not going back to Canada, and wanted to naturalize to become Chinese citizen. To do that, he must renounce his Canadian citizenship first for the naturalization process. So he went to Canadian Embassy — but he was told that he would have to get a citizenship first –otherwise, he became stateless. So he got a letter from Canadian Embassy proof of his application. With that letter, he got back his Chinese citizenship. He did not go back to Canadian Embassy to finish his renounce process (certainly because there is no FBAR crap he needs to worry about to keep it). So now he is a dual citizenship But Chinese gov would only consider him a Chinese. Outside of China, he can be Canadian.
@Don, I have only seen one specific case where Japanese “citizens” were rejected. That was with Alpari UK (a forex broker) and this company eventually opened in Japan. Next time a case like this, I will make screen captures.
By far, the worst citizenship to have is the US. Most forex brokers on their websites say: Accept US Clients = No
When the CFTC and the NFA (National Futures Association) closed off the American market, they upped the fees associated with the [over] “regulation”. They also created laws that make the game even riskier for people. Margin requirements went up, so where before you could risk very small amounts of money, now you have to risk much. Since the NFA receives a fee off of every futures contract, the laws increased the money that they receive. This is a good example of the “high level” corruption that I’m always talking about. No matter how much they try to spin in, the US regulation of the forex market was bad for traders and good for the NFA – $$$.
Just a correction to your… “Yes the Alaska is part of the US but they aren’t spending any military dollars there/”
I lived in Alaska for 16 plus years, and there is a TON of military spending there. Nine military bases http://militarybases.com/alaska/
So, lots of military spending in Alaska. 🙂 Star wars missiles are based there.
@usxcanada The movie… “Why We Fight” Very good, and no DVD necessary. It is on Google Video…
@recalcitrantexpat “Fog of War”…. Excellent movie too… On Google Video
*I would sell my Canadian citizenship anytime. I hate Canada. I would love to live somewhere else, but Canada, unlike the European Union countries, doesn’t have any agreement with other countries. The income taxes and sale taxes are at obscene levels (50% + of salary) and I don’t receive quality services from the state (8 hours wait at the hospital). I don’t want to live in this hell anymore. I would sell the piece of shit that is the Canadian passport anytime. Any buyers?
@ Canada is Hell
The world is your oyster. You can go anywhere you want and here’s the best part … unlike the USA, Canada will not extract taxes from you when you get there. Bon Voyage! BTW, if it were possible my American husband would buy that Canadian citizenship from you in a heartbeat, rather than wait another year on his application to be processed. You wouldn’t happen to be Con-H would you? Trying to create a bit of mischief here perhaps?
Hey! I am italian!! Any one interested on exchange cityzenships with me? I’m interested in US!
Write me! firstname.lastname@example.org
@Eric wrote: “(In the Swiss case, that’s “canton of origin”; in the Japanese case, it’s whatever district office holds your Japanese household registration records).”
No, Swiss passports and ID cards show commune of origin, not just canton. The commune is where our family records are kept. A certificate of civil status (état civil) or perhaps family register will show place of birth but that is only needed for registering a new commune of residence elsewhere in Switzerland.
@Em wrote (in reply to @Canada Is Hell): “Canada will not extract taxes from you when you get there.”
Not exactly. Unless you agree to postpone CGT until actual sale of your assets, there is an exit tax (capital gains tax on deemed sale) when you definitively leave Canada.
i find it ironic how Americans claim to have freedom we all are just prisoners of out governments if we where freedom we should be allowed move to any country in the world as long as we abide by that jurisdiction’s laws but no we must be approved and pay fees not only to exit our own border but to enter a foreign border