Who Wants To Be An Expatriate?

The “Classic Column” of Cecil’s we were treated to earlier this week regarding denouncing American citizenship (I’d love to link you to it, but I’ll be damned if I know how) got me thinking. Part of his “how-to” suggested taking up residence in and/or applying for citizenship in a nation that you have no qualms (or, at least, fewer qualms) with. I dreamily recalled my much more Marxist, long-haired, and debauched days (read: impovershed undergraduate History major days) when I dreamt of repatriating myself in some eco-topia like New Zealand. The dream-squashing response I most often heard was: “No dice. They don’t want you.” In short, the seemingly simple idea of ditching the good ol’ U-S-of-A and becoming a citizen elsewhere is generally difficult. (Note: I have completely shed undergraduate political ideas, got a haircut, got a family, got a job, and now vote mostly Libertarian.)

I realize that under special circumstances (special skills, or whatever), it is possible to become a resident of most other countries (and, maybe, eventually a citizen). Or, if you’ve got the Really Big Bucks and tend to contribute more than you suck out of the economy then they don’t mind having you either. So, the question I pose requires the assumption that we’re talking about an average American that isn’t wealthy and doesn’t have super-unique skills. Although the assumption requires an American, I’m also interested in how a Canadian would fare. To wit:

What countries are the easiest to immigrate to? And which nations are the most difficult?

Not that I’m going anywhere. Unless the money’s good.

You can provide a link to a column by using the url= and /url codes in UBB (see the faq for more details),
How do I go about renouncing my U.S. citizenship? (27-Jun-1997)

or else just include the http: address. http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_229.html
My WAG: The Holy See (aka the Vatican) would be one of the hardest countries for obtaining citizenship. If I find anything to support my guess, I’ll post it.

There are many small countries that will sell you citizenship for less than $1000. It’s not like these countries are places where no one wants to live, either. Many are South Pacific paradises. Just don’t expect to be able to find a job.

Elmer J. Fudd,
I own a mansion and a yacht.

Easy for a millionare to say, Elmer!

Arnold: thanks for the link and the tip.

Those that don’t have good jobs.

Those that do have good jobs.

If you’re talking about legally immigrating, good luck. Any country that you would possibly want to live in is going to be very difficult to get to, unless you have a special job skill or a LOT of money. Or a parent born there (or grandparent, in the case of Ireland and Italy at least).

Illegally immigrating is another story. It isn’t difficult to get work teaching English in most non-anglophone countries (it’s somewhat more difficult in Western Europe). The amount of money you can make varies by country - and it isn’t always what you’d expect. Of course once you’re there you can always marry a citizen and immigrate that way … provided they don’t have a law barring illegals from obtaining permanent residence.

Very salient point. Just like the USA and Japan, many other countries prohibit visitors on tourist visas from changing the type of visa once in country regardless of the change in circumstances. I would think the reason is obvious. Immigrant visas require background and health checks; tourist visas usually don’t.

That’s not actually the reason; after all, in the US you can change to an immigrant visa from some temporary work visas despite the latter not requiring background and health checks. These are just done when the immigrant visa is applied for. The main reason IMPO is deterrence - the INS, and presumably Japan’s immigration agency as well, doesn’t want people coming for a visit and lucking out on a way to stay.

What I was actually talking about in the earlier post was that some countries (the US among them) may consider you ineligible for permanent residence if you have ever lived or worked there illegally. So if you’re really dying to settle in a particular country that may not be the best way to go about it.

Thanks, ruadh. Very good, and salient, point.

Consider this:

I moved from New Zealand, to Australia, because of lack of available work. And judging from ongoing correspondence with my friends back home, it was the right move! And frankly there isn’t a heck of a lot of work here in Oz either.

I only chose Australia because there is a special dispensation between the two countries regarding immigrants.


The Legend Of PigeonMan - By Popular Demand! Enjoy, enjoy!

It’s not that hard, boys and girls–I’ve been living and working (legally) as an expatriate in Asia for over five years now. I was able to go pretty much straight from a tourist visa to a “resident” visa, though I may have had to take a short trip out of the country for the sake of the paperwork. YMMV. I should be coming back soon, though. Which reminds me, just what is the statute of limitations for . . . ahh, never mind, I don’t want to wander too far OT. Don’t want to do anymore “hijacking”, if you get my drift.

Why must I feel like that
Why must I chase the cat?
Nothin’ but the dog in me.
–George Clinton

I always thought Jim Plunkett did a wonderful job as an ex-Patriot…

Doghouse - what country and what kind of work are you doing?

I think I’m about to hijack this thread . . . .

The point about Ireland above has interested me for awhile. On the old board we talked about that – apparently since my grandfather was Irish, born in Ireland, Ireland considers me a citizen and will give me an Irish passport. Monty sent me a link to two at the time, but I’ve never followed up on it, primarily because I have no clue how to obtain a copy of his birth certificate (I think he came from Cork, but I am not certain; he was dead before I was born.) Anybody have any clues on how to follow up on that?


Please note that there is a difference between an “ex-patriot” (someone very patriotic who renounced their citizenship) and an “expatriate” (someone transferred on a temporary basis – such as a five year work assignment – away from their home country.)

Major U.S. multinational companies deal with expatriates all the time, sending persons from one country to do a job in another country.

Melin, Ireland doesn’t consider you a citizen automatically because you have an Irish grandparent, but it will, upon presentation of this evidence, grant you citizenship. You need to get your grandfather’s birth certificate - there should be any number of Irish genealogy websites that can help you find that - and documentation of your descent from him.

With these documents, you can register in the Foreign Births Registry in any Irish Consulate. You’ll then be issued a certificate which you can submit along with an application for an Irish passport (and photos and probably a filing fee) to the Consulate. Voila.

Check with the nearest Consulate to verify all this, of course.

Melin: Always happy to help.

The Electronic Embassy site is http://www.embassy.org .

and Melin, it gets better - since Ireland is in the EU, once you get your Irish citizenship, you can live and work in any EU country. A friend of mine got her Irish citizenship that way so she could work for a year in England.

and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel to toe