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US Citizenship: pros and cons?

US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Old Jul 24th 2016, 11:35 pm
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Default US Citizenship: pros and cons?

(I assume this conversation has been done many times before, but the search function didn't turn up anything obvious.)


As I understand it I'm about 4 months out from being able to begin the process to establish my US citizenship.

I can see myself being happily employed for another year or so at which point my boss (who is amazing) will retire and then it could be a good time to explore new pastures. I quite fancy getting the US passport locked down, leaving me free to potentially bugger off to which ever country I want for my next career adventure, and then come back to the US in the future at some point. That said, I worked too bloody hard to get the green card to give it all up on a whim.

I only have a British passport currently. Not currently married to a USC (although there is pressure on that to change!)

I'm not too bothered about the hassle of having to continue to file a US tax return - my tax situation is relatively straightforward. My career is going well so I would expect any foreign position to tip above the apparent thresholds for US taxation although I'm not clear on the rules there at the time of writing.

Has anyone on the site decided not to claim their US citizenship, and if not, why not?
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Old Jul 24th 2016, 11:44 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
(I assume this conversation has been done many times before, but the search function didn't turn up anything obvious.)


As I understand it I'm about 4 months out from being able to begin the process to establish my US citizenship.

I can see myself being happily employed for another year or so at which point my boss (who is amazing) will retire and then it could be a good time to explore new pastures. I quite fancy getting the US passport locked down, leaving me free to potentially bugger off to which ever country I want for my next career adventure, and then come back to the US in the future at some point. That said, I worked too bloody hard to get the green card to give it all up on a whim.

I only have a British passport currently. Not currently married to a USC (although there is pressure on that to change!)

I'm not too bothered about the hassle of having to continue to file a US tax return - my tax situation is relatively straightforward. My career is going well so I would expect any foreign position to tip above the apparent thresholds for US taxation although I'm not clear on the rules there at the time of writing.

Has anyone on the site decided not to claim their US citizenship, and if not, why not?
I have a friend in that position and he in the end decided not to get citizenship, figuring that in the long run the US will make things increasingly difficult for citizens who seek to move or have assets out of the country. He also felt that if he decided to not live in the states permanently, easier to renounce or let expire residency that give up citizenship. Maybe he was paranoid.
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 3:27 am
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

I have a friend who has lived in the US for almost 20 years and chose not to take citizenship, but I'm not entirely sure why. To my mind, the freedom to know that you could live for years elsewhere without giving up the right to live in the US is worth the minor inconveniences of jury duty and tax returns. Not to mention that I'm not a fan of taxation without representation
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 9:41 am
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

It took me nearly 30 years to "join the club" I arrived in the US in '86, and I became a citizen in 2014. I should have done it sooner.
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 4:42 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by Wintersong View Post
I have a friend who has lived in the US for almost 20 years and chose not to take citizenship, but I'm not entirely sure why. To my mind, the freedom to know that you could live for years elsewhere without giving up the right to live in the US is worth the minor inconveniences of jury duty and tax returns. Not to mention that I'm not a fan of taxation without representation
That's where my head is at too. Just trying to figure out if I'm missing something since I have met a few foreigners over the years who have chosen not to become citizens despite living here for decades. Not all of them British mind you, so their circumstances may be different with regards to dual nationality etc.
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by DebzinUS View Post
It took me nearly 30 years to "join the club" I arrived in the US in '86, and I became a citizen in 2014. I should have done it sooner.
Is there a particular reason you left it so long?
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
That's where my head is at too. Just trying to figure out if I'm missing something since I have met a few foreigners over the years who have chosen not to become citizens despite living here for decades. Not all of them British mind you, so their circumstances may be different with regards to dual nationality etc.
My husband is Indian and they don't allow dual nationality but he still chose to become a US citizen. He lost the right to vote, hold constitutional office, and own a plantation in India... so that's our retirement plans all up the creek then
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
Just trying to figure out if I'm missing something...
There are several ways to lose your PR status... so remaining a PR is never guaranteed. However, if you naturalize - there's only two reasons why you'd ever lose US citizenship: 1) if you weren't eligible in the first place; and 2) if you commit treason against the US.

Becoming a USC has a couple of advantages: 1) you get to vote, and so can participate in the process rather than remain a bystander; and 2) you can serve on a jury - which, sadly, most people (including many who frequent these forums) see as a burden instead of a privilege... considering there are many countries in the world where people don't have the opportunity to participate in the judicial process.

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Old Jul 25th 2016, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
Just trying to figure out if I'm missing something since I have met a few foreigners over the years who have chosen not to become citizens despite living here for decades.
I naturalized as soon as I could. Apart from everything else that has been mentioned, if I were ever to come to the attention of law enforcement in the US for any reason, I'd rather do it as a citizen than as an LPR.
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
Is there a particular reason you left it so long?
I know this may sound a bit daft now, but I came to the US on a B2 visa, and got married. I stayed and adjusted status to Perm Res. i thought this would be an issue somehow, 30 years on. It wasn't. In fact, when I went for my naturalization interview the officer said to me "what took you so long?" Good question I wish I had done it sooner. I also had this weird thing about not being British anymore, even though dual citizenship was and is, an option for Brits.
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Old Jul 25th 2016, 8:34 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by zerlesen View Post
I naturalized as soon as I could. Apart from everything else that has been mentioned, if I were ever to come to the attention of law enforcement in the US for any reason, I'd rather do it as a citizen than as an LPR.
Similar here. About the time I became eligible Arizona was doing its whole SB1070 thing, there was always the question in the back of my mind how bad could the State make it for immigrants? Sure I'm not brown but with a kid on the way I didn't want to risk it.

One could put forward similar arguments for a potential Trump presidency. What if he starts rounding up foreigners? Extreme but who knows.
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Old Jul 26th 2016, 3:17 am
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

I'm not seeing any significant reasons not to do it so far. Good!
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Old Jul 26th 2016, 11:29 am
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
I'm not seeing any significant reasons not to do it so far. Good!
I forgot to mention one other advantage of which I'm sure you're aware: as a USC, you have the right to enter the US. No one else has that right - including those with PR status.

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Old Jul 26th 2016, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
Is there a particular reason you left it so long?
I also waited over 25 years before naturalizing. I had permanent residency that didn't need to be renewed every ten years, and citizenship just wasn't on my radar. Then -- the more things change, the more they stay the same! -- there was a period with a lot of xenophobia in the air, and realizing that my life was well and truly here, I decided it was time to just get on with it. To show you how concerned I was (not!), in those pre-Internet days, my paperwork disappeared into the system and going on a year later I figured I'd better start checking what was going on.
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Old Jul 26th 2016, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: US Citizenship: pros and cons?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
I'm not seeing any significant reasons not to do it so far. Good!
Having been a citizen since 2009, I don't think there really are any significant reasons not to.

You have to file a US tax return but personally I was paying tax in the UK, and by becoming a citizen that tax was then paid in the US. If I have to pay tax I prefer to pay it where I live, not where I don't get any benefit. Ian mentioned jury duty - got called twice while a LPR and had to decline their kind invitation. Finally been called as a citizen for duty in two weeks time. Doing an annual tax return and jury duty once or twice every ten years is not a reason to not be a citizen.

Biggest reason to do it, is the peace of mind of knowing a citizen can come and go as they please.
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