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Citizenship reversal

Sadiescout12

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Friend is Issei and studied and worked in USA under student visa and green card. about 10 years ago, got US citizenship. All family still in Japan and he is getting older and would like to return but has american wife and baby. Can he renounce American citizenship and get green card and get new Japanese citizenship?
 

Majestic

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He doesn't hold Japanese citizenship anymore? My guess is that even if he went through some "renouncement" process in the US, the Japanese authorities would not have any quarrel with him coming back and then re-acquiring his Japanese citizenship. As long as he can go to the city hall where he was born, and get a copy of his koseki and all that, he should be able to get another Japanese passport. Actually, if he still has a copy of his old Japanese passport, he can probably just go to the nearest Japanese embassy and apply for a new one. I would be very curious if he actually, formally, legally renounced his Japanese citizenship to Japanese authorities, and how those authorities confirmed that he was no longer considered a citizen of Japan.
One other related matter, he doesn't need to renounce his US citizenship. He can be a dual citizen of both countries now. In fact, if he did in fact once renounce his Japanese citizenship, and NOW wishes to renounce his US citizenship, it all starts to look a bit fishy doesn't it. Also, there are serious tax consequences for people who wish to renounce their US citizenship. The law changed several years ago because of people leaving the US for tax convenience, so now the IRS wants to see what kind of assets you hold in the US and what kind of capital gains you may theoretically make if you leave the country.
 

Mike Cash

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Unless your friend has forgotten Japanese to the point he has to have his American friend ask other non-Japanese people to look up stuff in Japanese and translate it to English for him, he can do a google search on 簡易帰化 元日本人 and find tons of information on it in about two seconds.
 

Majestic

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One other related matter, he doesn't need to renounce his US citizenship. He can be a dual citizen of both countries now.
I should say, the US doesn't care about dual citizenship anymore. Japan still only allows one citizenship. However, the Japanese government cannot strip a US citizen of his/her US citizenship. As above, there are entire websites devoted to these issues.
 

bluepeace

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I should say, the US doesn't care about dual citizenship anymore. Japan still only allows one citizenship. However, the Japanese government cannot strip a US citizen of his/her US citizenship. As above, there are entire websites devoted to these issues.
I don't mean to hijack this thread but a good Japanese friend of mine who's a senior and now widowed has been living in the U.S. for over 15 years as a green card holder and would like to live freely between the two countries without visa restrictions mainly due to family being in both countries.
Although she's aware that Japan doesn't officially recognize dual citizenship, she heard about people who have successfully obtained U.S. citizenship after being a green card holder and effectively being a dual citizen of the U.S. and Japan. I'm new to the forum and trying to find others who have gone this route and whether there are major pitfalls to maintaining the status. Do you know of any forums, external websites, or perhaps people that could point me in the right direction? Thank you.
 

Majestic

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There are shagloads of items on the internet about naturalizing or changing from a green-card holder to a citizen. Just google any of those keywords or phrases and you will get literally hundreds of millions of hits. Here is a starter

Her Japanese citizenship isn't an issue as far as her obtaining US citizenship goes. The US no longer cares (much) if you are a dual citizen. So she can apply for naturalization regardless of her Japanese passport. There are no pitfalls, other than some financial complications that arise from dual nationality (tax issues, social security benefits) but rest assured your friend is not the only one who has faced these issues.

The only potential problem with nationality is on the Japanese side. Japanese citizens are not supposed to have dual citizenship, as you know, and if you obtain another citizenship you are supposed to make a declaration to the Japanese authorities telling them which one you intend to abandon. If you go to the Japanese authorities with the intention of abandoning Japanese citizenship, they may take you through the process right then and there and ask you to forfeit your Japanese passport. (It may actually be more complicated than that, I don't really know). If you go to the Japanese embassy with the intention of forfeiting your foreign citizenship, they may ask you to sign an affidavit saying that you abandon your other citizenship, and that you are henceforth only a citizen of Japan. (Note, Japan cannot cancel your foreign citizenship, they can only compel or coerce you to abandon it).

BUT all of this is what you are supposed to do. In reality, many people simply keep their 2nd citizenship quiet, and the Japanese authorities never query them about it. Japan is on a demographic downward slope, so Japan doesn't want a further exodus of potential citizens. Japan also needs to compete with the rest of the world in retaining talent, and aggressive persecution of dual citizens would harm Japan's image as a work/life destination. There seems to be a tacit acceptance of dual citizenship, even thought the law books still say that only one citizenship is recognized. (I bet Japan will even reverse course in the future, and will eventually allow dual citizenship).
 

bluepeace

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There are shagloads of items on the internet about naturalizing or changing from a green-card holder to a citizen. Just google any of those keywords or phrases and you will get literally hundreds of millions of hits. Here is a starter
Thank you for the info. That's comforting to hear that there are others who may be using this info to be naturalized but then maybe keep both passports.
Would you happen to know of any resources regarding implications on taxes and inheritance as dual citizen?
She owns a house which she's currently renting out earning income (which is essentially her livelihood) and will eventually pass onto her children if not forced to sell. She will have an address in the U.S. to call her residence with one of her children.
For example, if she lives in Japan for 8 months one year then 8 months in the U.S. the following year.
I'm sure she'll eventually need to talk to a specialized tax accountant or lawyer for her specific case but we were hoping to get an idea of how a situation like this might be handled by the Japanese gov and U.S. gov.
Anything you know or any resources would be greatly helpful. Thank you once again.
 

Majestic

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There is a pretty good resource that the kids are using nowadays called "the internet".
Seriously, the best thing to do, next to sitting down with a qualified tax adviser, is to spend some quality time with a search engine looking up issues of taxation.
If her residence is in America, and she is earning dollars in America, she shouldn't be liable for any Japanese taxes. Once she decides to set up (or re-establish) her residence in Japan, even for a short while, it gets murky. If she visits Japan as a tourist, she should be OK. But if she sets up a rotating 8-month residency, and that residency period covers January 1st of any year, it gets super complicated.
 

bluepeace

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But if she sets up a rotating 8-month residency, and that residency period covers January 1st of any year, it gets super complicated.
Why does being in Japan on January 1st specifically make things complicated and how so?
I'm not that savvy but found this site while searching on google so I figured I might try. I hope that I'm not being too much of a burden to you.
 

Majestic

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Hello Bluepeace,
No, don't worry, you are not being a burden. If you live in Japan on January 1st, you could be considered a resident for tax purposes for that tax year. This is one of those hard dates that the tax agency uses to determine residency (and therefore tax liability). So if you have a residence in Japan, and you are there on January 1st, you will be liable for Residence Tax (something like our State Income Tax in the US).
 

mdchachi

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As far as the passport thing goes, if she renews her Japanese passport just before she gets U.S. citizenship then she won't have to worry about it for a while. It seems sometimes people get caught up when trying to renew their Japanese passport.
 

bluepeace

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Hello Bluepeace,
No, don't worry, you are not being a burden. If you live in Japan on January 1st, you could be considered a resident for tax purposes for that tax year. This is one of those hard dates that the tax agency uses to determine residency (and therefore tax liability). So if you have a residence in Japan, and you are there on January 1st, you will be liable for Residence Tax (something like our State Income Tax in the US).
Thank you and I'll let my friend know about this.
 

bluepeace

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As far as the passport thing goes, if she renews her Japanese passport just before she gets U.S. citizenship then she won't have to worry about it for a while. It seems sometimes people get caught up when trying to renew their Japanese passport.
That's a great idea! Thank you.
 
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