Leaving America

June 1, 2010

by Aurelia Masterson, Esq.

(Editor’s Note: Expatriation is growing fast in America. If you are considering the idea, Aurelia is a terrific resource, and Panama is a top tier destination you should consider.)

Introduction – We talk to many people who have given up on America and are leaving for good. We will discuss some issues that are related to this.

Border Crossing – The country has become a police state superb since 9/11. There is an international no-fly list. It was originally meant for people coming into the USA from abroad. Now it includes those leaving the USA going abroad. It also includes those entering or leaving by ship. As of late it includes those traveling from one state to another. Now a passport is needed to leave and of course return from the USA. To get on a plane one needs acceptable ID. Apparently not all state driver licenses are acceptable any longer. So they have effectually readied the country for a closing of the borders in and out at a moments notice. We are also told that smuggling people out of the US is a bigger business than smuggling people into the USA.

I suppose there are many who have had their passports pulled who are leaving. Could also be people wanted by authorities. Perhaps a few deep thinkers want to leave the USA and not let the authorities know they have left. The point here is you might not be able to leave much longer. A few short years ago you could just walk out of the USA without showing any ID to the USA. No longer the case. If they start to require exit visas you may find yourself ineligible. You might be in lawsuits and the opposing party files a request to keep you in the country during the case. This usually requires a bond and is not unheard of in other countries. If you owe state or federal taxes, have open judgments, owe child support, have pending court cases, etc., you may not be allowed to leave the country. When the government decides to tighten the screws they will make it very difficult to leave. You are their property, as they see it.

Banking – Banks can at any time refuse to send a wire transfer. They can ask for reasons and comply or refuse. You have no recourse. They could also report a wire as a suspicious transaction causing your account to be frozen, seized, confiscated or whatever. You have zero rights in practice anymore. It is a simple matter to stop all international wire transfers if you are not a publicly traded corporation. They could also require an invoice to send an international wire, which must be approved, by the sending bank. There could be non-compliance penalties for the bank. There could be a bank holiday imposed where the banks are closed for a period to prevent runs on the bank. The point is you might have your money stuck in the USA. This is especially likely as hyperinflation sets in due to the declining value of the dollar.

Martial Law – The USA put martial law provisions in place for ominous reasons. They can invoke martial law anytime they want. This closes the borders, highways, roads, banks, etc. Getting trapped in Rome while it is burning can be a very unpleasant experience.

Why Obama Does not Fear a Declining Dollar – He would prefer the world to stay stupid and keep taking the worthless dollar but he is a realist and knows those days are drawing to a close. A global currency the USA and UK get into will just be another piece of worthless paper. They can only live with a money system where they can control the money supply freely without any basis in assets. This way the elitists can have all the money their businesses require and the regular people can suffer when they reduce the money supply causing recessions, bankruptcies and loss of their homes, cars and goods which go to the rich through the banks who do the repossessions.

So Obama knows there is going to be change. His way out is to go communist. The USD becomes worthless script money. There will be currency controls preventing regular people from having any foreign currency. Gold and silver ownership will also be curtailed as in the past. Then comes price freezes. So wages stay the same. Prices stay the same except imports will be very costly so most things will be grown and manufactured in the USA. The dollar will be so low in value that goods will be cheap and competitive for exporting. Foreigners will come to USA to open businesses.

The labor is skilled and since they are paying in USD the labor will be cheap. Homes will be cheap, restaurants, maids, gardeners etc. USA will be third world except there will be a lot of skilled labor available to work cheap. The model will work but will require a form of communism. The country will need to be locked down to prevent a “Brain Drain”. This is where the highly educated and skilled people like doctors, engineers, etc., start leaving the USA for greener pastures. This they are not going to let happen. They are also not going to let people leave with their assets, if they have any. The dollar will be so cheap most will never be able to afford to leave.

Things Will Get Better – This is what people tell themselves as a way of doing nothing and playing the “I hope” game. The dollar will keep sinking. Hyperinflation will set in. This will cause civil unrest. Civil unrest wrecks neighborhoods; it does not take the government out of power. For this the military probably has to be involved. Unemployment will continue to grow. The police state will increase. The prison population will grow and will rapidly be converted to a cheap labor source. Notice how they are cutting out the rehabilitation programs and education in prison. They are even cutting food rations. The back end to this is if you work you get better food and more and better recreation when not working. Basically you get to go to a work camp versus a detention center. This is a cheap source of labor.

Obama is not going to let go of his grip. He has big problems regarding his eligibility for the Presidency. He is going to look to grab onto any crisis he can to take more control. He may want a few years of martial law. He may even make a crisis. If you think he is going to be moved by peaceful demonstrations, forget it. He has his own agenda, which is not yours. He is breaking his campaign promises in wholesale quantities. The people will probably do nothing. Patrick Henry is long gone. The safest bet is to watch the show from the sidelines outside the country. Get out without delay. Those who leave first, leave with the most. There are millions of people thinking of leaving but they do not make any firm plans and execute them. We know only too well how this can end. Police states always leave the door open for the dissidents to leave. They do not want them there since they will cause trouble later. They want those who are going to resist to leave. So go.

Moving Out – Generally a container is filled and shipped out. Now you can do this. Down the road I doubt it so it will be leaving with the clothes on your back. Taking a car is generally ill advised. The warranty will not carry over. The parts will be different. The new country will tax steeply the car on entry. This can be 15% to 100%, depending on where you go. If you want to go quietly there is a way. Take a few trips and bring a lot of suitcases, like five or six per person each time. You would be surprised what can fit into 12 suitcases. Pay the extra charges. Furniture is usually cheap where you will be going. Furniture could be shipped but this is going to require a container. Get your money out first, not after.

Moving Precious Metals – This is a big problem. If you have several million dollars worth call brinks, declare them and arrange transport after making arrangements in the new destination for storage. See, gold has issues when trying to move it. You will probably have to declare the gold on leaving and they may wish to tax you on the gain based on acquisition cost. Not sure. Consider selling and reacquiring it.

Firearms – There are countries where you can have guns and even carry them concealed. In some countries full auto (house or business use only no CCW of full auto), sawed off shotguns, etc., are possible. You sometimes need to be a citizen, sometimes a permanent resident but never possible as a tourist or temporary resident. Generally you can only import guns with great difficulty on both ends. We can discuss it with you but best to sell and reacquire. USA now requires permission to export guns and failure to do so could mean loss of guns, fines or prison, not sure how they would play it. Then you need import licenses and have to be a resident or citizen first to get those.

In general bringing your guns is not worth it. We talk to people who have 40 or more guns and we are sorry. There is no country where this can be done easily. A new citizen or new resident importing forty guns is going to scare them anyway and the import license never will happen. As a rule semi-auto high capacity pistols like a Beretta or Glock are usually easily purchased. A 12-gauge pump shotgun also easy. Many countries tightly control center fire sniper rifles and if you can get them they are usually assault rifles in reality with a thick barrel. If you are interested in 1000+ meter sniper shots, forget it they control that stuff tightly. In an urban environment a 12 gauge pump and a 9mm Beretta are certainly more than sufficient. The idea is to stop thinking like a gun collector. These countries will allow you to buy firearms to defend yourself. You may be restricted to one or a few firearms. The firearms will be twice as expensive or even more costly due to taxes. Some countries are more lenient than others but no country is going to let a new citizen or resident import a gun collection.

Clothes – Bring them in quantity. If you are a person wearing large size anything Latin America can be a problem getting clothes in your size. Clothes can be bought mail order. You can also have custom clothes made cheaply. All leather cowboy boots say $100. Fine Italian wool men’s suit for $250 made from scratch after you pick out fabric.

Computers – Bring them all.

DVDs – Bring them.

Books – Bring them. English bookstores have limited assortment.

Buy or Rent – Start by renting always. Gives you a chance to see if you like the neighborhood.

Mortgages – Usually 25% to 30% down and 25 year mortgages fully amortized. Need to be a permanent resident or citizen.

Pharmacies – Generally most drugs available without a prescription. Costs will be roughly half of USA prices. You should bring a starter supply of drugs you need for a couple of months so you do not have to deal with this right away. There will be equivalents or generics with Spanish names.

Dentists – They are usually pretty good, do get a referral. Their rates are about one third to one half of the USA prices. No need to have your work done before you leave.

Questions – Ask away.

Aurelia Masterson [email at: aurelia-at-panamalaw-dot-org] is an associate of Panama Legal law firm. She has years of experience in the field and now shares her observations of current events, politics, and law with the Internet community.