- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
"I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978," she said. "I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known."
The statement seems slightly misleading. According to the original Politico story, which included confirmation from Bachmann’s office, she became Swiss not in 1978 but in March after her husband applied for citizenship. Marcus Bachmann had been eligible for citizenship since birth because of his parents’ nationality, but hadn’t claimed it until this year.
During a 10-minute renunciation ceremony in a booth with bullet-proof glass windows, embassy staff ask exiting Americans whether they are acting voluntarily and understand the implications of giving up their passports. They pay a fee of $450 to renounce and may incur an “exit tax” on unrealized capital gains if their assets exceed $2 million or their average annual U.S. tax bill is more than $151,000 during the past five years. They receive a certificate within three months, telling them they are no longer American citizens and entitled to the services and protection of the U.S. government.
It should be noted that for immigrants to Switzerland, and even children of immigrants born in Switzerland, getting Swiss citizenship is not nearly as easy as it apparently was for the Bachmanns.