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And the ‘dumbest person of the week award’ goes to…

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Gather At Republican Leadership Conference

May 11, 2012
Undisclosed location

Former US Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann receives the Sovereign Man dumbest person of the week award for obtaining… then almost immediately renouncing… Swiss citizenship. I’ll explain:

Bachmann’s husband is a Swiss national; they’ve been married since 1978, and as a result, Bachmann eventually became qualified for Swiss citizenship as well.

She recently received confirmation of her citizenship from the Swiss authorities, a fact that was reported in some mainstream media outlets. Bachmann was subsequently criticized by her political opponents for engaging in such ‘un-American’ activities.

[This is a bizarre assertion, by the way, as the country was built on dual nationals...]

And so, just two days after the story broke, Bachmann renounced her Swiss citizenship yesterday, announcing that she is a “proud American citizen.”

This is, by far, one of the dumbest things that somebody could do. It’s possible to both be a proud citizen AND have a backup plan. Patriotism doesn’t mean blindly going all in.

Having a second passport provides a great deal of opportunities, from new banking and financial relationships to a having a fallback option for another place to live.

It’s like an insurance policy… something that you many never ‘need’, but you’ll be incredibly thankful you have in case you ever do.

And as citizenship is often conferred generationally, your progeny will also be able to enjoy the benefits. In this way, it’s like having an insurance policy for all of your future descendants. Not a bad deal.

A Swiss passport is definitely one of the best. You can travel almost anywhere visa-free. It’s a great place to have the option to live some day. The economy is actually functional. Oh, and there are no men in caves plotting to kill the Swiss.

Obtaining Swiss nationality, though, requires a great deal of time and patience; it takes well over a decade to qualify, apply, and receive citizenship, and slightly less time if you’re married to a Swiss national.

Only a handful of people are lucky enough to become naturalized Swiss citizens, and giving it up is like throwing away a winning lottery ticket…

Ironically, after her political tenure is over and Congress has managed to finally finish off the US economy, Bachmann may, having renounced Swiss citizenship, find herself one day trapped in the environment of financial repression, capital controls, and steep inflation that was created by the government she once served.

The rest of us don’t have to end up this way.

For millennia, governments on the slide have resorted to plundering their citizens in order to maintain the status quo and keep the party going a little while longer.

History is full of examples, from the Roman Empire (which resorted to direct confiscation of people’s agricultural stock) to the Greek government of today (which is now simply nationalizing people’s bank accounts in its sole discretion).

The folks who stick around waving the flag and bombastically proclaiming their patriotism just end up getting abused. Thinking, creative people have a plan B.

Today this means taking steps to diversify internationally, including obtaining a second passport.

Now, I put boots on the ground all over the world. Just in the last two months, for example, I’ve been to 14+ countries from Venezuela to Thailand to Canada to Peru.

In each of these places, I’m constantly looking for the best opportunities– lifestyle, investment, business, employment, banking, medical, personal, etc.

Residency and citizenship is high on my list… and what I can say is that it’s definitely getting harder by the day. Governments are starting to realize that a passport is one of the scarcest resources in the world, and as things continue to get a bit crazy, demand is growing.

Scarce supply, rising demand; we all know what this means. Bottom line, it’s getting harder:

- St. Kitts, generally considered a foolproof economic citizenship program, recently raised their already high price for obtaining nationality.

- In Uruguay, the standards are now very strict, and the government wants you to really prove your value to Uruguayan society. They’ve even hired a special team to go around the country to check on your physical residency.

- In Singapore, the flood of EmployeePass applications has made the government reconsider this residency program after having already discontinued the high net worth Financial Investor Scheme.

- For residency and citizenship in Paraguay, the government keeps modifying the procedures for application, and it’s taking much, much longer than it used to.

There are a lot more examples, but its true: obtaining foreign residency and getting naturalized is really getting harder.

Nobody else is going to tell you this. In fact, the plethora of idiots running around ‘selling’ passport services who have no earthly idea what they’re talking about is only spreading misinformation and making matters worse.

In reality, there are still some high quality options available, several of which I will review at the end of this month on our SMC members-only teleconference.

To give you an example, Brazil and Chile are both excellent, off the radar choices. But you really need to have the right support, someone who actually knows what s/he is doing.

The biggest lesson is– do not procrastinate. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be grandfathered in under the old rules. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood that an option won’t be available any longer.

Something to think about.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gene

    And the smartest person of the week?!?!  Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Facebook. He’s renouncing US citizenship for Brazil! He’s using the investment route to gain Brazil citizenship. The only thing that worries me about all this is that eventually the US WILL (somehow) start preventing Americans from escaping…yes that would be “illegal”, yes they really can’t prevent it. But they will try. –Gene

    • n0p

       He was born in Brazil so was a citizen from birth. His Singaporean residency might have been through the investment route.

      • Gene

         Yup you’re right. the initial Bloomberg article didn’t fully explain his situation.

    • Mark George

       Saverin was born in Brazil. When he became a US citizen did he lose his Brazilian citizenship? If not, he doesn’t need to use the investment route.

      • Gene

         Yes. More info hit about this over the weekend. Born in Brazil. Kept that citizenship. According to the articles, he will drop US citizenship, keep Brazilian citizenship, while living in Singapore.

  • Chuck B.

    Haha, some people are dumb. Here’s an article on Bloomberg today talking about someone doing the right thing with their citizenship options.

  • Tom

    I enjoy your Sovereign Man posts and in general support your ideas. I have to disagree with your pouncing on Michelle Bachmann for renouncing Swiss citizenship. She is in the middle of a re-election campaign and happens to be a voice in the wilderness that the people of Minnesota need.
    Furthermore, she would certainly be able to accompany her husband, in the future, if they were to decide to avail themselves of his dual citizenship. It makes little sense for her to be quiet on this issue at this time. She isn’t going to hurt your business one bit!
    I happened to have lived in Geneva many years ago and Switzerland is a beautiful country. Don’t believe it’s as good as it used to be, especially with the thumb of the USA on Swiss banks. Further, just a thought, there is a reason to steer clear of socialist states, like Switzerland and Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, etc. No matter the beauty of same.
    Yeah, yeah, what about the USA? True enough, but I plan to fight to the bitter end to reverse this passing love affair with socialism in our country. The minority socialists have been driving this bus long enough and I sense an awakening, thanks to BHO!
    God bless America! By the way, I believe tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s speech regarding Duty, Honor, Country at West Point upon receiving the Sylvanus Thayer Award, May 12th, 1962! Quite a speech….I was at USNA then!

  • steve ward

    (‘un-American’ activities)<———HUH? If i was her I would of laughed at them and asked them to explain there self. 
    political, I'm not even sure you can call what is going on today as 
    political. It sounds good but it more similar to the world war 2 
    political, but without the reason?

  • Swiss Kris

    Mrs Bachmann has just given the ultimate example to what extend some politicians would go to protect and pursue their political interest.
    A textbook example of an individual willingly swinging from one end of the political spectrum to its opposite if it means keeping or gaining votes. 
    Auf Wiederluege Frau Bachmann.

  • Jim Allmon

    I wish, with all my heart, I could make this happen.


    She is washed up, and showed her true colors running for POTUS.  I would be surprised is she were re elected..

  • Sarah

    Simon, would not holding a second citizenship of any kind disqualify her for the presidency?  She’s young enough that she may well think that there is a chance in the future to be able to fight for freedom in the US by winning the presidency.  In that case, it could be a smart move (since she is committed to the fight), albeit with very long odds — especially since she may well be able to take advantage of many of the benefits nevertheless, since her husband is a Swiss citizen.


    Simon, I have Swiss citizenship through my dad (I’m a born American). I recently became aware that I am eligible for Israeli citizenship and am looking into Brazilian citizenship as well. In your opinion is my Swiss passport enough or should I pursue the other citizenship’s. Thanks in advance.

    • Gene

       LOL. Israeli passport is not what you want.

  • Theskier

    Did not the Founding Fathers go “all in” during the Revolutionary War?  Loyalist Tories no doubt thought of them as “the dumbest persons of the week”. 

  • wrkdiver

    A couple of things:
    First, a LOT of people are just not rich enough to enjoy your high-flying lifestyle, buy into your high-priced community, or even “Get out of Dodge”. What are their options? Stay and fight in whatever manner is necessary.
    Second, “Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
    Maybe she’s just a true patriot.
    I do like having the options myself, but I feel the U.S. IS unique in all the world, and well worth saving.

  • GoodOleBoy

    Let me just say I agree she is dumb, but I do not agree that she should be able to be a dual citizen and hold office. You pointed out this country was founded by dual citizens, but once we declared our independence they stopped being UK citizens. Leaders in our country must be American and American only, as to ensure their loyalty to the US and its taxpayers who pay their salary. If she wants to be a dual citizen that is fine, but don’t legislate us here and then go home to Switzerland for the summer, if you want impose laws on us then you stay here and live by them.

    • Ray

      Looks like the current American bunch of politicians hold allegiance to the world bankers, in spite of the fact that they’re 100% American.
      So even though American citizenship does not guarantee loyalty, I understand your point and I agree.

  • Flanagle

    A CAT scan of Bachmann’s brain would very likely resemble Swiss cheese.

  • Guest

    Will you guys write about the Facebook co-founder who just renounced his US Citizenship and moved to Singapore?

  • Alex Z

    This morning I chatted with an old friend from High School that has lived in Spain for years having married a Spaniard. Since I was aware of their economic hardships and probable default and vacating of the Euro zone, I was appalled to realized that our “real” economic measures are very similar to the next European country to default.

    Real unemployment: 22.3%
    Youth unemployment: 50+/-%
    Real Inflation: 10+%
    Real (inflation adjusted) GDP: -8%

    I’m working as hard and fast as I can to make an exit.

  • skptk

    Ms. Bachmann was no doubt thinking of a future presidential run, so her decision makes perfect sense, where for someone with less lofty ambitions, your position is more sensible.

  • Omega Man


  • D White

    Even now it’s incredible that the co-called land of the free is the only one that taxes its citizens for life, wherever they live in the world. 
    The US will just make it harder and harder for its citizens to get away or even change their citizenship. It is a lot more like the old USSR – contrary to popular belief, the old USSR never banned its citizens from leaving. Everyone was free to apply to leave if they wanted to. But they just made sure that the process was so complicated and the criteria impossible to fulfil, that everyone knew it was pointless trying. Plus the consequences of being labelled unpatriotic… sound familiar?  

  • Freddie

    What a stupid article this is. How can the author possibly find it dumb for an American politician to renounce a foreign citizenship, especially a Swiss citizenship ?

    I’m currently a US/Swiss dual citizen and have chosen to renounce my Swiss citizenship later this year. The US is such a vast gorgeous country filled with endless opportunity and that has so much to offer. Switzerland’s extreme limitations and it’s very awkward culture are among the many reasons why I’ve chosen not to be Swiss anymore.

    To me it’s inappropriate and unacceptable that Michelle Bachmann is being called dumb for renouncing her Swiss citizenship. To me Switzerland was a hopeless, corrupt little place where you eat, drink, see, hear and do the same things day after day due to the country’s radically limited possibilities.

    I gave up on Switzerland because I hated every single thing about that country. Michelle Bachmann is a US politician who is renouncing her Swiss citizenship out of her devotedness to the US and I praise her decision. If you can’t find a way to agree with her, you’re either underaged, immature, a spy, a terrorist or you’ve never been to school nor to Switzerland.

    I deeply hate how so many Americans insult their own country and it’s proud politicians. Those who do are low class people who were brought up on the wrong side of the town and should be permanently shut up by someone.

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