Back to the U.S.A!
Nestmann Group, Ltd.
by P. T. Freeman: The
Tax Hazards of a U.S. Passport
returned to the United States for a family visit. Clearing U.S.
Customs and Border Protection was easy, with just one question:
I see youre born in the United States. Wheres
your U.S. passport?
When I explained
that I no longer had a U.S. passport because I am no longer a U.S.
citizen, the inspector looked at my multiple entry U.S. visa and
admitted me. (If you have a passport from the Commonwealth of Dominica
as I do, you may be eligible for a five-year or 10-year multiple
entry U.S. visa).
The ease of
entering the United States in this manner is typical. Rarely, if
ever have I had a problem.
say the same for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration
(TSA). It seems like I always have a problem there
they always have a problem with me.
Because I suffer
from sleep apnea, I carry a small, portable Continuous Positive
Air Pressure (CPAP) machine that enables me to breathe at night
when I sleep. I never place this in my checked luggage to make certain
I have it with me in case my bags are lost or stolen.
In the seven
years I have used this device, I have travelled to dozens of different
countries with it. This includes Russia, China, India, Vietnam,
Singapore, Cuba, Colombia, Myanmar, Canada, the Caribbean, and several
European countries. Typically, when I present my carry-on bag at
the airport security station, the screener simply waves me through.
Some screeners may look a little closer at their X-ray screen, but
only once at Mexico Citys Airport, did a screener ask me what
I cant say the same for the United States. When I go through
a U.S. security checkpoint, TSA officials always require me to remove
the machine from its case and screen it separately, like a laptop
computer. After that, they usually swab it for bomb and chemical
residue. In my most recent visit, the screeners literally required
me to disassemble the machine. In virtually every transit through
U.S. airports, Im delayed at the screening checkpoint while
other travelers pass by.
truly idiotic is that the screeners all know what this machine is
and what it does. Thats a CPAP machine. We have to do
a bomb test. Its TSA policy. If you dont like it, fill
out a comment form. Only in the United States is this lifesaving
device treated differently, despite its routine use throughout the
with the CPAP device is just another illustration of the paranoia
of the U.S. government. Im glad I voted with my feet and expatriated.
Not only am I no longer subject to TSA busybodies, but the entire
bevy of U.S. government agencies, starting with the IRS.
Due to these
ongoing hassles with the TSA, I now make it a routine practice to
avoid transits through the United States. If you live outside the
United States, I recommend that you do the same. For instance, when
travelling from the Caribbean to Asia, I transit through Mexico,
South America, or Canada. When travelling to Europe, I transit through
Aruba, the Bahamas, or Cuba.
if theres a compelling reason to visit the United States for
business or to visit my family, I wont hesitate to do so.
Occasionally Ill also transit the United States to take advantage
of an exceptionally low fare or frequent flyer points. But otherwise,
I try and find a better route, to avoid TSA hassles. I recommend
that you do the same.
with permission from The
Nestmann Group, Ltd.
Freeman is a pseudonym for a former U.S. citizen and friend of Mark
© 2011 Mark