Thursday, 15 July 2010

What are the Civil Rights of Americans Living Abroad or Overseas?

More and more Americans are choosing to live abroad for either work, religion, marrying a person that is not a resident or economic reasons. They are called expats. What does expats mean? What are your civil rights in another country? Do you have to continue to pay US taxes? Read on and learn all the truths.

According to Findlaw.com, "Civil rights" are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or "discrimination") in a number of settings - including education, employment, housing, and more - and based on certain legally-protected characteristics."

Are Americans Discriminated Overseas?

In order to understand that simple statement, you would have to examine every single country in the world. What one could say about Cairo would not be true in Saudi Arabia. No matter how you look at the scenario Americans are hated in many countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and especially the many deaths in Palestine has corrupted the minds of many individuals and although the country itself is welcoming to foreigners, not all the people are.

As the American tries to fit into their new lifestyle, they are often discriminated against, such as being targets of bombings in some major hotels across the world. In Jordan the American Hotels were a target of many bombing attempts. It is known here as a resident of Jordan that when there is a crisis in the world, that we must be quiet and stay in cogneto at times.

As an American in Jordan I am treated fairly by the government and they welcome me freely here. I am not prejudiced in any way or form by the government, but some people are not so kind. The war has corrupted the minds of many, so at times it is best to keep a low profile.

Paying tax to the US

Each year Americans must pay taxes to America. They file as foreigners and must pay on taxes earned both abroad and in the US. There is an exemption if filed for concerning wages overseas up to $92,000. But if there are any wages earned in the US, they must pay tax on. Many Americans have jobs on the Internet or global wages.

America is the only country to charge its citizens a dual tax. Therefore many Americans feel their civil rights are infringed upon. It must be said that there has only been around 800 or so Americans actually become expats due to the tax laws, but each year there are more choosing to reside outside the US.

From the rights to grow herbs in their back yard to the desire to have freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is offered in America, but for Muslims they are discriminated against greatly. So for a Muslim, like me, it is better to live outside the US and be able to dress freely and not be subject to body searches in airports.

Americans choosing a dual citizenship do not have the same rights:

The passport clearly states that the US has the right not to give a dual citizen a new passport once it is expired. The American Embassy philosophy in some cases is that you are now the responsibility of the country you reside in. They do not show prejudice to you, but are not eager to help either.

The US tax codes state that if you are receiving social security in another country that the US has the right not to pay you social security. Although as long as you are a US citizen, you must pay taxes. Some Americans do decide to become expats and sign a form 8854 relinquishing their citizenship and the main reason is that they do not want to pay tax to a country they do not reside in.

Although the desire to eliminate the high tax rates in America is the main reason they state it is for a number of other reasons. Americans are prejudiced against once they become expats and are refused reentry to America except for short visits.

I hope for a better tomorrow and a world where everyone is treated the same. Where the civilian is treated not as an American, but as a person who loves both countries.