Question for long-term/permanent US expats with non-US partners — The Bump
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Question for long-term/permanent US expats with non-US partners

I am looking for some feedback from long-term (with no foreseeable plans of returning) or permanent US expats with non-US partners who have or are expecting a child or children. Will you or did you declare/obtain US citizenship for your LO? Why or why not?

 

I have been an expat for over 15 years, and will not be returning to the US to live. My partner's citizenship, which LO will acquire at birth, is very desirable and gives access to many countries - including the US so he will be able to visit family - plus security in case of emergencies overseas. With the current situation of FACTA/FBAR laws and the increasingly burdensome laws of disclosure and taxation on non-resident US citizens, I am seriously considering not automatically declaring our LO as a US citizen and letting him decide when he is old enough. I love my country and it makes me sad that he may not be American (at least officially), but as Americans are becoming more blacklisted from certain services (banking, investing, even being hired as it could expose the company to IRS scrutiny, depending on the position), I am struggling to see the advantages that a US passport could have for my LO as he will not be living there.

 

Has anyone been or is anyone in this situation? If your LO is not American, have you had any trouble travelling alone to the US with him/her?

Re: Question for long-term/permanent US expats with non-US partners

  • I am American and my husband is not, and our son has duel US and EU citizenship - so will our upcoming baby. We were able to obtain "non-naturalized" citizen status by reporting his "birth abroad" to the US Embassy here in Ireland - we joke about how it's great that he will be able to run for president someday, but the real reason is that I wanted him to have a SSN so I could open an American bank account for him. My parents are not big gift-givers, and prefer to deposit cash into an account on birthdays and holidays. Also, this sounds silly, but the non-EU line at passport control in the airports of most European cities is so much shorter! When we travel we usually use his American passport for this reason.
    Momona1hippiestinkmom
  • Thanks for responding, @Mamacat316. Out of curiosity, do you declare your husband and child on your American taxes (filing jointly or separately/as a dependent)? Have you had any trouble at banks or other financial institutions in Ireland because of your Amercian citizenship?
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  • Since I'm expecting my first and my child can only obtain both nationalities at birth, that's the route I'm going for. We live in the States at the moment but there's no knowing where we'll be in the future. Since I can only have one citizenship, I need to decide whether to become a citizen or to keep a greencard.
    @zazouille But i've read quite a bit about what you've written - Americans in the EU are giving up their American citizenship due to the IRS trying to tax assets abroad.
  • I'm an American living in France. I've had zero problems with French banks because of my citizenship. The only annoying thing I'm dealing with right now with the IRS is that my non-US husband needs an ITIN so I can list him on my tax return...the only way to get that is to send in a certified copy of his passport, and France no longer issues certified copies...technically they are supposed to if it is for a foreign administration, but they still refused, ugh. I actually have more problems with France trying to tax my US assets than the other way around (even though I am not a French citizen). Anyway to answer your question, our future kids will have dual French-American citizenship.
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  • thanks for the feedback! 

    @kimey1 In your position, if I had to choose at birth to give him US citizenship or he would never be able to obtain it, I would definitely give it to him, as it is easier for a young adult (18) to renounce US citizenship than an older adult who has already worked and paid taxes. 

    @linnea625 I'm also an American living in France, but I work in Switzerland at a UN organization... try to find an accountant who is simultaneouly competent in French, US, and UN tax law! My banks in France and Switzerland allow me to have bank accounts... and that's about it. No money placements, investments, etc., and of course they made me sign paperwork permitting them to give all of my details and my account details over to the IRS, and if I refused, my accounts would be closed.  
    I would be hesitant about giving your non-US husband's info to the IRS, as you will have to declare his income too - depending on how much the both of you make this could be a disadvantage. I was married for 10 years and always ticked the box "married, filing separately", and never gave my ex-husband's info to the IRS, because it was none of their business. 
    My problem is the opposite, I have no assets in the US, all in France, and the US wants a part of my 100% European pie that it had no part in baking.
    kimey1linnea625
  • @linnea625 Your situation is so frustrating and becoming common in Europe! Glad to hear you're another UN mom but man, those bank restrictions are ridiculous. No investments!
    We have definitely decided baby will be a dual :) With all that's going on lately I feel like staying in the US or Asia, where my family is.
    zazouille
  • Whether you declare it or not to the embassy, your baby is entitled to US citizenship at birth.
    And that COULD cause issues when you travel to the US. Technically because they're entitled, they need to have that passport to enter or you could be fined.
    I made it official for both my kids, because I think they'd like to have the option to live there when they're grown up. All of my family is still in the states and it's a great passport to have, ridiculous tax laws or not.
    I also got my kids UK citizenship. I love the options that gives them.
    (they were born in Australia)
    I think you should just get it and not worry about it til later. They don't have to file taxes for many many years anyway.
    kimey1hippiestinkmom
  • As far as I know, US citizenship is not a choice for your baby - it's automatic. Whether or not you get him a passport is up to you, but baby will technically be considered an American citizen regardless. Baby can renounce citizenship at age 18 to avoid American taxation, but otherwise...good old Uncle Sam keeps us all on the hook!
  • @AmericanInOz @=caenis= 
    So apparently the law (INA: ACT 301) states: "The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth...."
    What does "shall" mean? (Is anyone here a lawyer?...) Can it be interpreted as "have the right to"/"are entitled to" or "are obligated to"/"must"? One could interpret it to mean the former, and I would bet that those who drafted this law with this wording certainly regarded US citizenship as a privilege that people seek instead of a burden to be avoided. I haven't found anything on the web as to what the penalties (fines, etc.) would be if one does not declare him/herself a US citizen. 
    I did find out that if I do declare my baby's birth and he becomes a documented US citizen, he will be subjected to all the taxes and hassle yet he will not be able to transmit his citizenship to his children (presuming the mom is not a US citizen, which is likely) unless he has lived for a certain period of time in the US...
    This article sums up my frustration with the situation but doesn't touch on all of the problems (such as capital gains and the aforementioned transmission of citizenship):  http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/09/12/dear-son-why-you-should-leave-america-now/2/#2aaa027747d4
    I'm sure you all know that the renunciation fee has been increased recently by 422%, from $450 to $2,350, although I've read that it is free between the ages of 18 and 18 1/2.
  • So glad to have found this thread! 
    I am an American living in Germany with my German husband. This will be our first child so we are trying to figure out all of the legalities. 
    Is there anyone who is an American citizen who traveled to the US with a child who only has foreign citizenship? 

    We want our child to have both but are planning to travel to the US shortly after the birth and I'm worried we won't have enough time to get all of the German and American documents beforehand!

    @linnea625 I avoid the IRS taxing our joint savings by filing separately and keeping the majority of the savings in a separate account (not the one my income is paid into). So far no problems.

    DS#1 born 05 October 2016
    DS#2  due 25 April 2019
  • kimey1kimey1
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
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    edited February 2016

    So glad to have found this thread! 
    I am an American living in Germany with my German husband. This will be our first child so we are trying to figure out all of the legalities. 
    Is there anyone who is an American citizen who traveled to the US with a child who only has foreign citizenship? 

    We want our child to have both but are planning to travel to the US shortly after the birth and I'm worried we won't have enough time to get all of the German and American documents beforehand!

    @linnea625 I avoid the IRS taxing our joint savings by filing separately and keeping the majority of the savings in a separate account (not the one my income is paid into). So far no problems.

    If you're not registering your baby at the US consulate it'd depend on the german paperwork (birth registration and baby's passport).

    If you were to register him/her as a US citizen, I've read and been told it takes 1 month to get the baby's US passport. When traveling to the US, the baby must enter the States with the US passport. 

  • kimey1 said:
    If you're not registering your baby at the US consulate it'd depend on the german paperwork (birth registration and baby's passport).

    If you were to register him/her as a US citizen, I've read and been told it takes 1 month to get the baby's US passport. When traveling to the US, the baby must enter the States with the US passport. 

    Thank you, that's an excellent point! I will ask at our city hall about what data is included in the German paperwork.
    DS#1 born 05 October 2016
    DS#2  due 25 April 2019
  • kimey1 said:
    If you're not registering your baby at the US consulate it'd depend on the german paperwork (birth registration and baby's passport).

    If you were to register him/her as a US citizen, I've read and been told it takes 1 month to get the baby's US passport. When traveling to the US, the baby must enter the States with the US passport. 

    Thank you, that's an excellent point! I will ask at our city hall about what data is included in the German paperwork.
    No worries. If you do decide to register your baby as an American you'll apply for the CRBA & passport. But just a heads up; there are LOTS of documents involved it'll remind of US tax season! I prepped most of it but DH and I decided to give birth in the States so I'm a bit relieved.
  • edited April 26

    The Congress recently delivered the Tax Fairness For Americans Abroad Act of 2018, aimed at alleviating the burden of American expats having to file US taxes on their foreign incomes as well as taxes in their country of residence. It’s an issue affecting both temporary and permanent expats, accidental Americans borne of an American parent abroad and eve those born to foreign parents in America.

    The Act seeks to allow American expats who can prove that they pay foreign taxes to opt out of US expat tax returns on their foreign earned income. The bill also provides for qualifying expatriates to chosoe not to pay US capital gains tax on disposal of their foreign assets or any other gain or passive income made while they were foreign residents.


    jackie_dunny
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