What is the best passport to get for a digital nomad?

I’m an American citizen living abroad. I don’t want to stay in one place for a very long time (so easy path to getting passport is a factor), and I don’t want to be stuck paying American taxes forever, especially in my 20th+ year of living outside the country. Options? 

I love these idiotic questions. No, really, I love them… Although the digital nomad feels a bit either pretentious or forced (or both), the question in itself is interesting. It is also a bit naïve, in the sense that it implies that getting another passport is easy, for most people. Indeed a very American assumption. My first reaction was But you are American! What else do you need, cretin? Considering how many people on Quora ask about getting an American passport/green card, I think that would be a legitimate question. With a US passport, you have access to plenty of countries visa-free, and, icing on the cake, you are entitled to a ten-year tourist visa for China. Which is very convenient.

Now, your problem is US taxes. To get rid of this problem, getting a new citizenship won’t help you unless you abandon your US citizenship. Even if you become, say, a French citizen (and why would you do that?!?), the IRS would still expect you to file a tax return as long as you’re also a US citizen. Which means abandoning your US citizenship.

However, if you are a legal resident of country X, the initial (I think) 80,000 US$ of your revenues in that country are tax exempt. So your solution would be to keep your worldwide earnings within the limits set by the IRS for exemption, and you could stay a US citizen and not pay taxes. As a nomad, analog or digital, this shouldn’t be too hard…

Now, about getting another passport. Josephine Stefani’s answer sums it up nicely.

Barring jus sanguinis claims, getting a second passport for most humans, including Americans, requires a lot of effort, time and money (though you can probably cross out the first two if you have way too much of the third).

And nomads are usually not the kind of people who have a million USD in the bank. So, unless you are a very special kind of nomad, buying a Maltese passport is out. Which leaves you with jus sanguinis claims and long-term residence.

You have a coveted passport, make the best use of it.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s