Giving up your American passport

     I know an American living here in Switzerland who is renouncing his United States citizenship and he discovered that the US embassy in Bern has a waiting list of over one year for people who want to give up being American. I guess there is no drive-thru service for that.
     Why would so many Americans stop wanting to be American? It’s not for the obvious reason: USA’s humiliating defeat to Panama in soccer’s Gold Cup last week. No, it is about taxation. America is just about the only country in the world that has double taxation, meaning if you work in Switzerland you pay Swiss taxes as well as American taxes as if you were living and working in America. My friend has a family here and few ties to USA these days, so he is making the move.

     Yes, I hitchhike with an American flag on my backpack. It is funny to hitchhike in Europe where I have to tell my story all the time to drivers. A European will hear my traveling life and a typical reply is, 'How interesting!' where in America it sometimes feels like my countrymen will give an odd look like they are wondering if Homeland Security is on their speed dial and I should be reported.

     I am house-sitting for the next four days for a friend who is out of town. This is a great luxury for me. Very rarely in my life have I had a place of my own even for four days. I am a professional guest and a good one, I like to think, but it is nice to not have to be “on” all the time. I can do my own thing which is apparently eating cereal three times a day and thinking of how I am going to clean up my website. Maybe tomorrow will be different.
     It is summer, but Europe is cold! I need to be in a place where I need neither shoes nor more than one pair of pants. Or where a banana is less than a dollar.

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Giving up your American passport — 7 Comments

  1. i don’t wear shoes in long beach. and bananas are free at the dining hall. just sayin’.

  2. I have double citizenship and have considered giving up my US passport as I have never lived in the US and must still fill in a tax form every year. The only thing which prevents me (apart from the hassle I’ve heard its almost impossible to do) is the Peace Corps. Its the only thing which makes me proud to be be carrying that passport around.

  3. Just a small correction. The humiliating USA soccer defeat was against Mexico !

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