Singapore Expats Forum

BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

Sponsored by:
Image
The Club Residences

ricedoll
Regular
Regular
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue, 27 Oct 2015

BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby ricedoll » Tue, 27 Oct 2015 4:37 pm

Hi there, I am a Singaporean married to an American husband. We both live in Hong Kong.

What will be the best scenario / freedom of choosing citizenships for our kid when we plan to give birth? My husband is a pilot so very high chance my baby is a Girl. But anyways, having a son going through NS is not an issue.

(1) Give birth in Singapore, baby will be automatically Singaporean. And then baby can claim US citizenship in US embassy of SG/HK.

(2) Give birth in Hong Kong, baby will be automatically HK citizen. Apply for Singaporean citizenship by descent and apply for US citizenship by descent.

I understand that in both scenarios, the child can hold his/her dual citizenship till 21 years of age; and till they are mature enough to decide for themselves where they want to live / work or where their future holds. It will be more fair for them instead of restricting them just one citizenship and limiting their freedom and possibility.

bgd
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1392
Joined: Wed, 25 Jul 2007

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby bgd » Wed, 28 Oct 2015 11:01 am

ricedoll wrote: My husband is a pilot so very high chance my baby is a Girl. .


Why do you say that?

Based on my (very small) sample of pilots, I would say it's mixed.

Sorry, others will have to help on your question.

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby BBCWatcher » Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:25 pm

ricedoll wrote:Give birth in Hong Kong, baby will be automatically HK citizen.

Are you sure about that?

First of all, there's no real concept of "Hong Kong citizenship." However, there are individuals with a right of abode in the Hong Kong SAR. A baby born in Hong Kong is not necessarily entitled to a right of abode in Hong Kong. The baby's right depends on the status of his/her parents.

The United States tolerates a U.S. citizen's possession of another citizenship and/or of a right of abode in the Hong Kong SAR. There is no U.S. requirement to do anything at any age of majority to preserve one's U.S. citizenship. Of course all U.S. citizens are subject to U.S. legal obligations including as notable examples registration with U.S. Selective Service at age 18 (if male), the requirement to enter the United States only with a U.S. passport and not a foreign passport, and U.S. tax and financial reporting requirements (typically annual IRS Form 1040 and FinCEN Form 114 filings).

In contrast, Singapore does not tolerate a Singaporean adult's possession of another citizenship. Singapore's government can and often does terminate its citizenship if/when they discover one of their adult citizens in voluntary, ongoing possession of any foreign citizenship(s).

FaeLLe
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 485
Joined: Wed, 28 Feb 2007
Location: London

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby FaeLLe » Tue, 05 Jan 2016 8:34 pm

Since you are looking at pros and cons of country of giving birth why not consider being born in USA?
That way they will be born American and not American by descent which can allow your child to stand for office of the President of the United States....

Seriously just plan your future out and think where you will stay and apply for that nationality.
You can even get Singapore and USA nationality for your child till they come of age and let them decide.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35178
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 05 Jan 2016 10:41 pm

And get taxed on their world wide income for life. Not counting the headache of trying to get a bank account while overseas. Nah, not a good idea. :-/

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 06 Jan 2016 1:05 am

FaeLLe wrote:That way they will be born American and not American by descent which can allow your child to stand for office of the President of the United States....

I'm not sure what you mean. There's no requirement that a U.S. president must have been born within U.S. territory. The constitutional requirement is that he/she must be a "natural born" U.S. citizen. In this very election cycle (2016), Republican Senator Ted Cruz is running for his party's presidential nomination. He was born in Canada. He acquired U.S. citizenship at birth from one of his parents per U.S. citizenship law. That's all perfectly fine -- he qualifies.

SMS, I think those particular bridges are already crossed in this case, if I understand correctly. Birth in the United States is not a requirement for being born a U.S. citizen. Many U.S. citizens are born overseas. And I haven't met any babies that pop out of the womb into the 28% U.S. personal income tax bracket with a FinCEN Form 114 filing obligation. ;) When they're adults (or at least very nearly so) and have adult responsibilities, circumstances might change, but $2350 and a couple visits to a U.S. embassy at age 18 is one available option then.

Have you had any problems opening a bank account?

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35178
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 06 Jan 2016 11:59 am

I haven't, but others on here have. I've not opened a new bank account in a quarter of a century so I don't know if I'd have problems or not.

Obviously we aren't talking about 28% tax brackets when born, but the law is the law and will be there when they are of 'age'. That whole structure needs to be abolished and the US needs to revamp the IRS and the US Treasury. Stop to consider that only two countries in the world do that, and most don't even know about the other country so it really doesn't make much difference to them (Eritrea - and it's called a diaspora tax I believe).

I've been filing two tax returns for 33 years, for what? I get nothing from the US, and now that I'm of an age to collect Social Security, they've now made THAT taxable as well even though it was NEVER to be taxable when it was created. I've not started drawing SS yet even though I'm eligible. What do I get in return for my tax dollars? A big target on my back/head for every terrorist in the world. Why am I still a citizen? During the last 7 years I've come to wonder the same thing. I fought for my country and got ignored when I returned until many years later, but it was still my country. Today, I'm not so sure and it's too late to change nationalities now as I'm 68 and not a multi-millionaire investor with the funds to buy citizenship in a 'safe' country (if there is such a thing today).

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35178
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 06 Jan 2016 12:13 pm

SMS, I think those particular bridges are already crossed in this case, if I understand correctly. Birth in the United States is not a requirement for being born a U.S. citizen. Many U.S. citizens are born overseas.


That has changed somewhat in the past couple of years as well (the details of which I'm not too sure of). Something about US Citizens born overseas is dependent on the US citizen parents having lived for minimum of 5~10 years within the US. Therefore, someone who gained US citizenship by virtue of being a child of a citizen born in the US, but has never lived in the US, may have a child but it that child might not be able to claim US citizenship by acquisition. As noted, I've not gone into depth on this but I do know there are changes to the US citizen born abroad category.
Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship

BBCWatcher
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1035
Joined: Sun, 13 Sep 2015

Re: BEST COUNTRY TO GIVE BIRTH? HK/SG

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 06 Jan 2016 3:54 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I haven't, but others on here have.

To the extent anybody is still having problems, the OECD is now making sure that everybody from developed economies has the same problems. Countries are now starting to adopt the OECD bank reporting standards which in some ways are even more rigorous than the FATCA standards.

Obviously we aren't talking about 28% tax brackets when born, but the law is the law and will be there when they are of 'age'.

Well OK, but the legal status isn't actually a choice. U.S. citizenship either is or is not a legal, endowed fact at birth. This isn't a choice babies and their parents have.

They only have two choices:

1. Parents can leave their U.S. citizen babies undocumented or document them. Failure to document their citizenship(s) seems like a dumb idea to me in many respects. For example, the U.S. citizen parent cannot get full U.S. tax credits (i.e. free money from the IRS) without documenting his/her child, worth as much as $17,000 in free money over a U.S. citizen child's childhood. Leaving a child's citizenship undocumented also makes it that much more bureaucratically difficult for the child to choose the #2 option below if desired.

2. When the child reaches his/her 18th birthday, he/she can renounce his/her U.S. citizenship if he/she chooses. The current fee is $2350 plus two visits to a U.S. consulate or embassy. The U.S. Expatriation Tax does not apply even to high net worth 18 years olds -- do you know any? -- who renounce in their other country of citizenship, assuming they've lived there for a few years.

But documented or not, a U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen, and all the legal obligations associated with that citizenship still apply, including tax and financial reporting obligations (if any, when they apply).

Stop to consider that only two countries in the world do that, and most don't even know about the other country so it really doesn't make much difference to them (Eritrea - and it's called a diaspora tax I believe).

No, it's at least three. Hungary is another one, and Hungary doesn't even have a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. There are also some countries, like Japan, that are "tax sticky," meaning that in certain circumstances it can be very difficult for its citizens to escape tax liabilities. In the case of Japan, gift and inheritance tax requirements remain in place for a full five years since the last departure from Japan.

Approximately 6% of U.S. citizens living overseas owe some amount of U.S. tax on non-U.S. source income. Among the rest of the 94%, some are eligible for free money from the IRS even while living overseas via certain refundable tax credits (notably the Additional Child Tax Credit), and many of those who are eligible receive their free money. That is, the U.S. has a negative tax rate that applies to some of its citizens. This stuff can and does cut both ways.

Moreover, for perspective, there are over 35 countries with compulsory military service including Singapore, and Singapore's even applies to non-citizen permanent residents. Lithuania recently began its military draft. Many people would argue that forced labor at below market wages (or zero wages) with a nontrivial risk of death and injury is a more serious, more severe governmental obligation. The U.S. has not had any compulsory military service since 1973.

I've been filing two tax returns for 33 years, for what? I get nothing from the US, and now that I'm of an age to collect Social Security....

You seriously wrote that in the same sentence and didn't see the contradiction? You get nothing from the United States...except a nice monthly check for the rest of your life, and the life of your surviving spouse (who is also eligible for a spousal benefit even while you're alive when she/he reaches retirement age)? A spouse who may never have even stepped foot in the United States?

But OK, if you don't like that arrangement, no problem! Drop by the U.S. Embassy on Napier Road, pay $2350, and give up your U.S. passport and citizenship. You say it's not worth it, and filing your tax returns costs something at least in terms of your time, so why not exit that particular package deal?

Yes, OK, $2350 is a nontrivial fee. True enough. It happens to be the State Department's actual average total cost of processing a renunciation or relinquishment of U.S. citizenship. So they charge you their costs.

...they've now made THAT taxable as well even though it was NEVER to be taxable when it was created.

First of all, a minimum of 15% of your Social Security benefits are never U.S. taxed. Second, if you're concerned about the remaining taxability of Social Security benefits, you and your spouse should consider Married Filing Jointly. Assuming she is a non-resident alien spouse, she would make what's called a Section 6013(g) election and start filing joint tax returns with you. MFJ is a choice, and it's a dramatically better one in terms of Social Security taxability compared to Married Filing Separately. But whether the net effect for your household is better or not will depend on her income.

I've not started drawing SS yet even though I'm eligible.

Why not? If you're entitled to it, you should. (Unless you're waiting until you reach or get closer to age 70 in order to boost your monthly benefit because you're in good health, expect to stay that way and beat the actuarial tables, and don't need the money yet. Then that's a very good idea to wait. But you should never wait longer than age 70 since the benefit doesn't increase beyond that.)

What do I get in return for my tax dollars?

OK, that's bad question just on principle. Do you think Bill Gates and Warren Buffet "get back" all their U.S. tax dollars? No, of course not. Do you think most U.S. orphans with severe learning and physical disabilities will ever be able to pay taxes equal to the government services such orphans will require for their entire lives? No, of course not.

This is not a fee for service deal here. This is not like shopping at the Apple store, paying $1000 for an iPhone, and enjoying an iPhone. It's not like buying a burger at McDonalds. Taxes are never transactional arrangements in any civil society, including Singapore's. They are the means to fund civil society, a society we all enjoy but to varying degrees and contribute to in varying degrees, according to our abilities, and with variations throughout our lives. (Most babies aren't working at DBS or Singapore Airlines, and they aren't paying much in taxes either.)

I assume that the United States federal, state, and local governments educated you in public schools, provided roads and bridges you and your parents used, made sure your drinking water and food supply was safe, provided police and fire protection, etc., etc. Did you pay for any of those public services in tax years 1957, 1958, and 1959 (as examples) when you were probably in elementary or middle school? (What was your tax bracket back then?) Well, you're paying now, a bit, because you can. And thank you for your service.

It's quite reasonable to respect lifecycle effects in public financing. They are quite real, and the U.S. happens not to ignore them completely in its tax system....

Why am I still a citizen?

....OK, good question! Fortunately you can change that if you don't like the particular package citizenship deal of rights, privileges, and obligations that you got/have. (Unlike Iranian citizenship, to pick an example, which is extremely difficult or impossible to shake off.) Nobody is forcing you to retain U.S. citizenship if you possess any other citizenship. (The U.S. won't let you become stateless if they can help it, rightly so.) Your choice, your call. Officers are standing by at 27 Napier Road, and they accept all major credit cards.

Today, I'm not so sure and it's too late to change nationalities now as I'm 68....

Oh? Why is that?


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Relocating, Moving to Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests