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Old 02.12.2013, 19:13
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It's embarrassing to be an American!

On Saturday a colleague asked whether he and his neighbor could meet for coffee to discuss something. This was the subject:

The neighbor’s mom was born in 1928 in the US to his grandparents who had emigrated there. In about 1932 the family returned to Switzerland where the family has lived since then. Last week he and his mom, who would be 85, went to their bank and were asked whether she was a US citizen (no) and whether she was born in the US (yes), which caused some excitement including a call to the bank’s „US office“. They were then told that she was considered a US Person, she needed to sign a US tax form in English and the bank would report her accounts to the US tax authorities.

He asked how could it be that she was an American (because she was born there, which he didn't understand) and what I thought they should do. This discussion went on for some time and I suggested that he contact an attorney. I was glad when this informal meeting was over and was deeply embarrassed that the US government seemed intent on looting the life savings of old ladies!

I am thinking to suggest that the son and mom tell her story to the Blick and 20 Minutes.
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:28
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

First I would file for US Old age Pension "-)
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:30
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

And second, empty all of her bank accounts!

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:34
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

The bank is wrong. They are being very conservative with regards to US customers.

The requirement is to report those customers who have an obligation to file taxes in the US. In short, this basically means US passport or Green Card holders.

So they need to insist that they have no tax reporting obligations to the US or move bank. I guess it'll be the latter and I would get the papers involved as they love having a knock at FATCA in the press.....
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:41
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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The requirement is to report those customers who have an obligation to file taxes in the US. In short, this basically means US passport citizens or Green Card holders.
FTFY.

She was born there, has not given up her US citizenship, therefore she is required to file US taxes.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:47
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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FTFY.

She was born there, has not given up her US citizenship, therefore she is required to file US taxes.

Tom
Tom:

"whether she was a US citizen (no) and whether she was born in the US (yes)"

I'm not saying you're wrong or right but it's clear that this needs to be 100% clear. What were people arriving after the great depression given? It seems they did not give up their Swiss citizenship and thus I wonder if they were ever given US citizenship. I am fairly certain that's what 19th century settlers had to do but what about those between the wars?
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:50
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

It's quite clear:

Since the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution on July 9, 1868, the citizenship of persons born in the United States has been controlled by its Citizenship Clause, which states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthri..._United_States
Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 19:57
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

How doe`s one file with out a social security number ?


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Last edited by cannut; 02.12.2013 at 20:15.
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:01
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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It's quite clear:

Since the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution on July 9, 1868, the citizenship of persons born in the United States has been controlled by its Citizenship Clause, which states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthri..._United_States
Tom
let this be a lesson to anyone over 30 weeks or so of pregnancy to avoid the US!!
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:11
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

It's this "...and subject to the jurisdiction of" clause that I don't fully understand

Is somebody, say from England, who goes into premature labour while on holiday actually "subject to the jurisdiction of".

I know, this is likely a stupid question, but law is always so wooly worded as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:16
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

The term is anchor baby.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:22
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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... this basically means US passport or Green Card holders...
There is a huge difference between a >>"passport holder" and holding a citizenship<<.

The lady in question is a US-citizen/holds US nationality. If she wants this or not, or if she holds a passport or not, does not change a thing.

She should be aware that all her kids and grandchildren are, equally, US citizens!
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:25
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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She should be aware that all her kids and grandchildren are, equally, US citizens!
No, they aren't, unless she lived in the US for at least five years, several of which as an adult, and then only for her kids.

The same conditions would apply to her kids in order to her grandchildren to be US citizens.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:27
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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She should be aware that all her kids and grandchildren are, equally, US citizens!
Not so.

Children born to one US citizen parent outside of the US have the right to US citizenship, but it is not automatic. The parents need to apply for it, and the US citizen parent has to fulfill some conditions, among them having lived in the US a certain number of years. The other parent has to consent to the child holding US citizenship.
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:29
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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The other parent has to consent to the child holding US citizenship.
No, that is NOT true.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:31
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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No, that is NOT true.

Tom
Really? I might be wrong, but I (the non-US citizen) had to sign papers for my kid's US citizenship, at the embassy. Similarly, I had to sign my consent for her US passport.
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:34
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

85 year old swiss/American shows up at the American embassy.
Marine guard "may I help you " Women:"Ja". Marine guard :"Step over here please." Women : "Wiso" .Marine:"I have to strip search You". Women: "Wiso":"We have to look for explosives " Women : "Nueth haet explodiert sit nuenzaeh foefesaechts ich woth nume minni pension"

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Old 02.12.2013, 20:42
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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Really? I might be wrong, but I (the non-US citizen) had to sign papers for my kid's US citizenship, at the embassy. Similarly, I had to sign my consent for her US passport.
Things may have changed, but certainly in the '90s this was not the case, even for obtaining a passport.

Tom
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:50
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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There is a huge difference between a >>"passport holder" and holding a citizenship<<.

The lady in question is a US-citizen/holds US nationality. If she wants this or not, or if she holds a passport or not, does not change a thing.

She should be aware that all her kids and grandchildren are, equally, US citizens!
No, not necessarily Chris. Yes, she probably has passed her US citizenship on to her children accidently, BUT there is also an argument that her children would need to claim their US birthright. Over at IBS there has been a lot of talk about this as one of the posters has a mentally challenged son who is American only through his mother. He doesn't have the mental capacity to understand the concept of citizenship so he cannot renounce, nor are his parents allowed to on his behalf. But you can also argue that as he doesn't understand the concept of citizenship neither can he claim it. Therefore, having been born in Canada, he is Canadian only because he is mentally unable to claim US citizenship, even if he wanted to. Here's the IBS link:

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/06/...ecision-as-an/

And here is an article with a couple of examples of how US citizenship is gained or lost:

http://www.accidentaluscitizen.com/a...cuting-or-not/

Her grandchildren are almost certainly not American as no effort has been made by their parents to claim US citizenship.

Your neighbour's mother should quietly renounce and then forget about even being American. She's not in their tax system so don't even think of filing any tax returns. Just get rid of the US citizenship and be what she always has been - Swiss!
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Old 02.12.2013, 20:57
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Re: It's embarrassing to be an American!

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Yes, she probably has passed her US citizenship on to her children accidently,
No, she did not, as she was only there for four years as a small child.

She would need to have lived there for at least two years as an adult to do so.

Tom
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