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AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Relocating, travelling or planning to make Singapore home? Discuss the criterias, passes or visa that is required.
ricedoll
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AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Sun, 21 Feb 2016 10:08 pm

We both live overseas now, and I am a housewife. Applied for PR last month. I have heard of many cases and talked to women who got married and became housewives overseas, successfully applying PR for their foreign husbands who have never worked in Singapore before. One got approved last year! What are my chances? I attached a letter explaining that we plan to have kids within the next 2 years (and give birth back in Singapore) and if circumstances approve, we would like to raise our kids here as Singaporeans and move my husband's job and our financial assets to Singapore.

Being young, planning to have babies, job in key-focus industry, high salary. What are the chances? Thanks!
Last edited by ricedoll on Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:48 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Chances for PR? Airline Pilot!!

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:04 am

Probably ok as long as he doesn't plan to take over the Union VP job.
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Re: Chances for PR? Airline Pilot!!

Postby ricedoll » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:23 am

But I read that to maintain a valid PR, you need a REP? Can someone please educate me on this?
Last edited by ricedoll on Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chances for PR? Airline Pilot!!

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:27 am

PR is meant really for residents.... not for people hedging their bets while living overseas.
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Re: Chances for PR? Airline Pilot!!

Postby x9200 » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:32 am

Are you also aware that if your husband is granted the SG citizenship he has to renounce his US citizenship?

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:37 am

How does one really maintain his/her PR status?
Last edited by ricedoll on Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:39 am

We are not sure if America is a better place to raise a family.
Last edited by ricedoll on Sat, 27 Feb 2016 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby BBCWatcher » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 6:50 pm

There are no "FATCA taxes," and U.S. citizens are not required to reside (with or without their families) in the United States.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 7:02 pm

BBC, by Fatca taxes I meant the liability of an American passport holder to file and pay taxes to the US from anywhere you work in the world. Of course this applies only if you work outside of the States.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby BBCWatcher » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:19 pm

ricedoll wrote:BBC, by Fatca taxes I meant the liability of an American passport holder to file and pay taxes to the US from anywhere you work in the world.

A characteristic Singaporean citizens and PRs now share (cf. MediShield Life premiums). ;)

....But no, not quite. U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents are obliged to file U.S. tax returns only if they meet the filing threshold. Moreover, the penalty for failure to file a U.S. tax return for someone who genuinely owes zero U.S. tax is zero. Approximately 94% of U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents living outside the United States genuinely owe zero U.S. tax. Some percentage of them qualify for refunds, i.e. free money, if they file tax returns -- particularly those with U.S. citizen children who live in comparatively high tax jurisdictions. That is to say the U.S. tax code has some negative tax brackets in particular circumstances. (Young college attending adults also fairly commonly qualify for about US$1000 in free money (American Opportunity Tax Credit), to pick another example -- negative US$1000 in tax owed. Obviously in such cases it's wise to file a tax return to claim that free money even if you're not required to do so.)

It's quite possible your spouse is a member of the Six Percent Club (my nickname for it). I am, as it happens. But you have to have quite a bit of non-U.S. source income that is comparatively lightly foreign taxed in order to be a member of that club.

All U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents, regardless of residence, also have a legal requirement to file annual foreign financial account disclosure forms if they meet those filing thresholds. Those disclosure forms are FinCEN Form 114, IRS Form 3520, and/or IRS Form 3520-A, as applicable. (FinCEN Form 114 is the most common of the three. The other two are fairly easy to avoid if you simply avoid foreign trusts.) There is never any tax directly associated with those financial disclosure forms -- they are just disclosures. FinCEN Form 114 (and its predecessors) started with the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act and were at least in large part in order to combat money laundering, especially as practiced by organized crime, and less significantly tax evasion. Nowadays those disclosures are also to combat terrorism financing and other financial crimes that are well beyond tax evasion.

Since January, 1973, the U.S. has not had compulsory military service. Young male U.S. citizens and all U.S. residents, legal or illegal, are required to register with U.S. Selective Service when they reach 18 years of age, but there is no draft.

U.S. citizens are required to enter the United States presenting only a valid U.S. passport and exit the United States bearing a U.S. passport.

....And that's about it for the obligations and responsibilities U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents have. We should also keep in mind there's much more to life besides taxes.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:36 pm

In short, my husband makes more than US$90,000 annually so apart from paying taxes to the country he is working in now, he is also paying the additional 10% of his income tax to America. US citizenship is a burden. You should read up how Fatca is making lives difficult for American overseas to the extend of maintaining mortgages or opening bank accounts.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 2:09 am

ricedoll wrote:In short, my husband makes more than US$90,000 annually so apart from paying taxes to the country he is working in now, he is also paying the additional 10% of his income tax to America.

It'd have to be more than that. In tax year 2016 he can exclude US$101,300 in foreign earned income, or even more if he has significant foreign rental housing expenses (as is common in Singapore). He also has a standard deduction of $6,300 and a personal exemption of $4,050, so that's $111,650 total. Within that figure he should be in the 0% U.S. tax bracket, and then he'd be in the 33% U.S. tax bracket (assuming Married Filing Separately). If he's paying 10%, as you say, that assumes his foreign marginal income tax rate is 23% -- but that's 10% only on his income above about $111,650 in something of a worst case assumption. So, for example, if he has $150,000 in foreign earned income and little or no other income, and if his top foreign marginal income tax rate is 23%, then he's paying about $3,835 in U.S. income tax -- about 2.56% of his total income, in fact.

I appreciate that you're trying to understand how it works, but I'm helping you understand how it really works. It's not quite as bad as you and he may think.

Mathematically he can't get up to a 10% U.S. tax rate if he's got a total worldwide income of $150,000, heavily foreign earned. If he lives and works in Dubai, for example (0% income tax) then the maximum U.S. tax rate he could get up to is 8.4% in this scenario with these rather "worst case" assumptions. At least his first $111,650+ is totally U.S. tax free if he's living and working overseas for an employer, so that nicely drives down his total effective U.S. tax rate, even in zero income tax countries.

If he is self-employed (unlikely in his profession) and working in a non-treaty country (such as Singapore) then he'd be required to pay the U.S. Self-Employment Tax. But that also means he would either qualify for or boost his U.S. Social Security benefits and, for that matter, the benefits you are eligible to receive as his legal spouse. (U.S. Social Security pays spousal benefits, and Singaporean spouses are eligible, even if they have never stepped foot in the United States.) This is the U.S. analog to CPF, although the U.S. has a defined benefit social insurance program rather than a defined contribution program (CPF).

US citizenship is a burden.

True, but "so what?" Every citizenship (and most permanent residence) comes with obligations and responsibilities, including Singapore citizenship. For example, all Singapore citizens and permanent residents have the burden of MediShield Life premiums, no matter where they live. Every citizenship also has rights and privileges. Singapore citizens cannot live and work in Montana, Manhattan, or San Francisco for as long as they want, as examples. U.S. citizens cannot live and work as long as they want in the little Red Dot, as another example. Both U.S. and Singapore citizenships are valued, highly prized citizenships that are much in demand. U.S. citizenship is in much more demand globally than Singapore citizenship is, but they're both valuable citizenships.

You should read up how Fatca is making lives difficult for American overseas to the extend of maintaining mortgages or opening bank accounts.

I am a U.S. citizen, I am quite familiar with FATCA, and no, it really isn't making lives difficult assuming you're U.S. tax compliant. Moreover, many countries are adopting broadly similar, OECD-spearheaded banking requirements. U.S. citizens are not unique here; they were just first to this new party, that's all. Italians, French, Germans, and many others are either already subject to the OECD regime or soon will be, and Singapore's banks are cooperating in that set of reporting, too.

There's an awful lot of b.s. out on the Internet, quite frankly, about how this stuff works.

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 2:27 am

Thanks BBC for your explanation. I don't deal with the US taxes directly so I might be able to explain myself properly. But just to point out, last year we paid our CPA US$1000 just to file his taxes!! This money could have been used to learn something new, a memorable holiday, invest in stocks... but it went to a CPA. How complicated? Read this:

http://fox17online.com/2014/07/02/ameri ... x-returns/

Here’s the catch — the U.S. government says money made working in or over international waters doesn’t count as foreign income.

Take the example of an American expat pilot who flies a 13-hour direct route from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. Money made during the three flying hours over Asia qualifies as foreign income, but payment earned during the remaining 10 hours over the Pacific Ocean does not. This means the pilot is liable for U.S. tax on about 77% of earnings during that flight.


Could you please share with me how your US citizenship benefited you as an expat working outside of the States?

ricedoll
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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby ricedoll » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 2:32 am

And may I direct you to these two groups and you could see why so many overseas Americans are angry about FATCA. Welcome to join:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AARO.Open.Forum/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmericanExpatriates/

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Re: AIRLINE PILOT!!! Chances for PR?

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 23 Feb 2016 4:05 am

The United States is the country where the most pilots get trained, and it's the largest and most affordable place to fly, including recreationally. Citizenship has privileges that are helpful, notably the fact you can stay in the United States as long as you want and fly wherever you want, for employment or pleasure, and pick up whatever additional licensing you want (such as a new type rating) more affordably than anywhere else. It's a wonderful citizenship for aviators. A few years ago I met some Germans who took an airline flight to the U.S. a couple times a year in order to pilot their recreational aircraft they bought and kept in the U.S. Even with the airline flight and hotels, it was still cheaper for them to enjoy their hobby in the U.S. -- much, much cheaper. I'm highly confident they would retire in the U.S. if they could and continue flying their pleasure airplanes if they had that option, when the time comes. (See below.) But they can't. There is no retirement visa into the United States.

Paying a CPA is a choice, not a requirement. Most Americans use circa $20 tax preparation software to get their annual ritual done, and some even use free software. (H&R Block has a free online edition this tax year.)

Could you please share with me how your US citizenship benefited you as an expat working outside of the States?

OK, here are some examples:

1. Tax advantages in certain countries. For example, Japan and the U.S. have a social security treaty, so if you're on a work assignment in Japan then quite often/typically you would remain in the U.S. Social Security system. The U.S. Social Security system is much better than Japan's demographically challenged social security system -- lower contribution rates, higher benefits. A comparably situated Singapore citizen would be required to contribute to the Japanese system since there is no social security treaty between those countries. Indeed, Singapore has no social security treaties at all as far as I know. The U.S. has social security treaties with most developed countries -- and even a few developing countries. The treaties also mean that, even if you do end up contributing into a treaty country's system, you can qualify for future retirement benefits from that system. I really hope Singapore signs at least a few social security treaties in the near future, but sadly that hasn't happened yet.

2. The U.S. allows excess foreign tax credits, and this works quite well in a higher tax jurisdiction like Japan, France, Belgium, Denmark, etc. When you work in Japan (or in any other comparatively high income tax country) you pay Japanese income tax at fairly high rates. The U.S. tax rate is lower, so you end up accumulating some or all of the difference as excess (unspent) foreign tax credits. The higher the income you have in that country, the more excess credits you accumulate. Then if, for example, you go work in the U.S. you can "spend down" those accumulated excess credits. In effect the U.S. pays down the higher income tax you had to pay to Japan. You have up to 10 years to spend down a previously accumulated excess credit, so this really is quite generous. Singapore doesn't do that -- you get no excess credit when you return to Singapore after a stint working overseas in a higher tax country. Actually I don't know of any other country that does this; it seems to be unique to the U.S.

3. On occasion there are some visa benefits associated with U.S. citizenship. To pick a couple examples, U.S. citizens can enter Kuwait free of charge but almost nobody else can. U.S. citizens can also frequently get 5 year visas to Saudi Arabia, with 90 days allowed per visit, whereas practically everybody else gets 180 day (maximum) visas with 30 days allowed per visit. Canada gives U.S. citizens the greatest preference among all non-Canadians, so much so that many professionals can relocate to Canada very quickly with minimum red tape. Moreover, U.S. citizenship is compatible with possession of other citizenships, unlike Singapore citizenship. U.S. citizens who are also citizens of another country can "visa shop" across their citizenships. That also means they can apply for a visa in one passport while traveling on another, which is very convenient for frequent business travelers.

4. In my experience certain customers in certain countries give some advantage to U.S. citizen business visitors. That tends to be in "Western" defense and national security related industries, although not exclusively. But that citizenship does have certain advantages with certain customers. Maybe it has something to do with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Yes, I know, there is a certain cohort of U.S. citizens that complains about the FCPA, but many customers view the FCPA as a helpful, distinguishing characteristic of doing business with U.S. citizens.

5. The United States is the world's largest economy, and unfettered access to that country can be quite useful when conducting international business affairs. You can do things like speak at a conference in New York, and even accept a speaking fee, without any visa restrictions. Certain industries like entertainment, Internet, and finance are quite heavily dominated or influenced by U.S. based entities, conferences, etc.

6. The United States has by far the lowest cost, most efficient financial services. For example, low cost U.S. credit cards and ATM/debit cards are extremely cost-effective for globe hoppers, and I make heavy use of them wherever I go. It's actually much cheaper for me to spend money or withdraw cash using U.S. cards in every country except Singapore -- and occasionally even in Singapore (e.g. Uber right now) -- even when the income I'm spending from is received in Singapore in Singapore dollars. Singapore-issued cards are terrible in comparison to U.S. cards. Such U.S. financial instruments are at least quite difficult to obtain (and maintain) unless you're a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident, especially the best U.S. cards.

7. U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents are eligible for enrollment in U.S. Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI. These programs provide extremely rapid clearance through U.S. immigration, but they also provide reciprocal privileges in certain other countries, e.g. South Korea. I've found Global Entry to be sometimes useful, in making a tight flight or ground connection in the United States for example. But even if you're not enrolled in one of those programs you still get to use the shorter "citizen" lines. And, as I mentioned, U.S. citizenship is compatible with possession of other citizenships, so some U.S. citizens are eligible to use shorter immigration lines and trusted traveler programs based in their other home countries. U.S. citizens are also now eligible for APEC Business Travel Card immigration line privileges (although not visa waiver privileges where applicable).

8. U.S. citizens have the option to retire in the United States. Most of us don't plan to work until we're dead, at least not in the same job or at the same pace. The U.S. is among the most attractive countries for retirement.

9. U.S. citizens enjoy access to perhaps the world's largest network of consulates and embassies, and occasionally I've taken advantage of consular services abroad. The U.S. consular network also provides a great deal of support to American businesses and citizens, even in some very odd places. Singapore just doesn't offer such a large consular network.

To net it out, the rights and privileges associated with U.S. citizenship have value, contingent and/or realized. How much value is situational, of course, but "fairly substantial" is my answer in my situation, even as a non-U.S. resident.


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