• 8 Signs That the US Government is Making It Harder for You to Become an Expat

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    One of the most common reasons for wanting to expatriate from the United States is the concern about government overreach. Many feel that the expansion of government in recent years has been chipping away at the freedom and liberty that the country was founded upon. What with more and more agencies, regulations, surveillance, and mandates, the right to privacy and self-determination is steadily shrinking right along with financial outlooks.

    So, are you among the increasing number of people who feel that the only real solution is to get out of the country? Well, using the exact same tactics that are driving you away, the government appears intent on preventing you from leaving. Changes that have recently been put in place as well as proposals for future changes in rules and regulations might be intended to discourage. But they might also drive your resolve to take your destiny into your own hands and do whatever it takes to make your move overseas.

    1. Escalating Cost of Passports

    From $35 a few years ago the fee for a US passport has ballooned to today's $135 for adults (16 and older) and $105 for minors. Renewals cost $110. If you need it in a hurry, there is another $60 expediting fee, and you have to provide a preaddressed prepaid express mail envelope, if you want it back in less than the 6-8 weeks required. The Passport Agency of the Department of State in 2010 issued 13,883,129 passports as well as 1,596,485 items of a new product called the u201Cpassport card,u201D which is good for reentry from anywhere within the Western Hemisphere. This product, which costs $55 for adults, $30 for previous adult passport holders, and $40 for all minors, was created at the behest of heavy lobbying by the cruise industry.

    2. Proposed Biographical Questionnaire

    In February 2011, the US Department of State proposed the use of a new biographical questionnaire u201Cto supplement the DS-11 only when the applicant submits citizenship or identity evidence that is insufficient to meet his/her burden of proving citizenship or identity.u201D The estimated burden to fill out proposed Form DS-5513 is 45 minutes, but such details as your mother's places of residence one year before, at the time of, and one year after your birth are only the beginning of a long list of obscure information that it would be impossible to ascertain in that amount of time or possibly any amount of time. Despite the State Department's reassurances that it is all about preventing terrorists and other treasonous individuals from gaining US passports, this is very problematic because an unapproved version of the form is already being used to deny passports to US citizens, and there are no set guidelines as to who will to be subjected to it.

    3. Air Travel Difficulties

    In their supposed pursuit of would-be terrorists and other criminals, the US authorities have overreached their jurisdiction. Recently they forced an international flight from Europe to Mexico to land in the US because one of the online gambling impresarios from Costa Rica was on board. But violation of international law and sovereignty has become an everyday occurrence.

    In another recent case, a flight from Mexico to Spain was denied access to American airspace and turned back ninety minutes after takeoff because a Mexican citizen who was once accused of involvement in a guerilla uprising in Bolivia was on board. She suspects that she is on the infamous passenger blacklist. But it is kept secret, so there is neither a way for travelers to find out if they are on the list nor any way to clear their names.

    4. Airport Security

    One of the most glaring cases of government overreach is of course that of the highly invasive u201Cenhanced screening procedures.u201D If having to remove shoes and belts to walk through metal detectors and being subjected to the Advanced Imaging Technology units were not degrading enough, u201Canomalies,u201D refusals to enter the unit, or metal detection alarms require further thorough pat downs that are justifiably upsetting.

    But think twice about complaining. Behavior Detection Officers are stationed at the security checkpoints to watch for u201Cbehavioral indicatorsu201D such as stress or fear. Other indicators that they look for are attitudes toward security, so anger and resentment about having to surrender the right to privacy becomes the evidence for why your right to privacy should be surrendered. The circular reasoning is dizzying.

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