Friday, April 13, 2012
Four Steps to Take Now for a Future Quick Get Away from the United States
By Michael Reps
There is quite a bit of discussion on the net about a topic that 5 years ago would have been relegated to a handful of short tempered movie stars and manufacturers of smart phone components. That topic, Leaving America, has now taken on a much different tone. It’s no longer a passing threat; it’s slowly becoming a solution for many Americans who feel that as difficult as emigrating from the US must be, it may be a better option than sticking around.
I have an interesting perspective on this topic because I help Americans leave the US for New Zealand.
From my experience, a quick guide that can put you ahead of the line can be invaluable. To give you an example, between New Zealand and Australia; the two countries only take about 160,000 new entrants per year or 0.005% of the US Population. When Fukashima hit there was a 7 day waiting list just to get through and talk to the Immigration Office here due to the flood of interest from Japan.
So with these factors in mind, the easiest solution would be to follow this checklist of 4 things you can do right now that prepares you and your family for a possible quick departure should you then decide to leave America. By no means are these 4 things inclusive of everything required. They are a starting point that you can build on over time. In the event you decide to pull the plug or pull the trigger, however you want to phrase it. You will thank yourself for having done these 4 things.
#1 Get everyone in your family an up to date passport. It takes between a few weeks to a couple of months to get one currently, there are rush services out there that can shorten this time-line, but one thing is for certain; if there is an increase in people heading for the exits, it is unlikely that Uncle Sam will accommodate this expatriation of wealth and resources by staffing the exit window in order to meet this demand. It may take closer to 3 to 6 months with various strings attached which could be a game changer. Imagine how you would respond if told that the earliest your application for your passport to be approved was 6 months out. Remember that we are talking about a country that is going through enough of a material change to warrant a large exodus. Don’t underestimate the possibilities for obstacles to be placed in front of you. Check this link for your closest passport office Passports.
#2 Obtain original copies of all important documents an immigration officer may require such as birth certificates, marriage certificates , adoption certificates, school transcripts, advanced degrees, skills qualifications, proof of work experiences, child vaccinations, doctors notes should you have a particular ailment.
This information, coupled with your passport will allow you possible extended stays or possible residency in many countries. Once you’ve entered the country, you can then lodge your application while a visitor. Your main focus should turn on obtaining a work visa which simply gives you the right to work in that country. If you are self sufficient then consider a tourist or business visa as a way to stay there. Lets hope we never have to ponder obtaining a refugee status visa.
If you need some help on where to turn while in this new country, just look for other Americans who may have moved there, or go to a sports bar on Superbowl Sunday.
#3 Open a bank account outside of the US in a jurisdiction where you feel counter-party risk will not bury your bank via some massive credit event. We’ve been doing this for years for our clients and it’s the one tool that proves to be the most useful for those undecided about emigrating. I’d stay away from the large multinationals that have branches everywhere simply because they may prove no more beneficial at hedging risk than your existing US Bank account. Here is a list of the top 20 safest banks in the world
The major benefits to having a bank account outside of the US Banking system is not for bank secrecy or tax avoidance, it is so that if a credit event originates in the US you are outside of it for the time being. The other benefit is that a modern day bank run does not involve a physical presence outside of the teller window. It’s an online function and most overseas banks will allow you to roll into another currency very quickly should you decide. You can also use the account to buy yourself airline tickets or supplies should there be an interruption in the US banking system.
#4 And most importantly, prepare yourself mentally to live in another universe. Understand that you could pull the plug at anytime. You may own a home you are not prepared to sell, have a pet you are not prepared to abandon, or an ailing parent you can not leave alone for too long. Do you have a close friend or family that can fill some of these gaps, does your pet need certain vaccinations and quarantine; will the welcoming country welcome your parent(s)? This mental preparation is here to provide you with more questions than answers. However, it is the last and most important part of How to Leave America. It will get you focused on which country to enter, when to possibly enter that country and how you would go about the entry process.
Hopefully this information will offer some order to the chaotic thought of having to leave ones country. From these 4 steps you should be well ahead of the pack.
Michael Reps is director of New Zeland based Yield Qwest NZ Ltd. You can visit his web site here.