10 People Who Lost Their Citizenship

10 People Who Lost Their Citizenship


You might not always like your home country,
but at least it is yours. Citizenship to new countries is something
that may be hard to acquire, but at least no one can ever take away the one you already
have … right? Wrong. People can and absolutely do lose and renounce
their citizenships all the time, for all sorts of strange reasons. Here are some of the most famous cases. 10. Mehran Nasseri No one is sure just how Mehran Karimi Nasseri
got stuck in the Charles De Gaulle airport — possibly, not even the man himself. This is because most of the information comes
from the man himself, who is notorious for changing his account with each telling. We know that he’s originally from Iran,
and possibly had a British mother. He speaks English, Farsi and French, and carries
himself like a man with higher education. After that, where facts and legend start to
intertwine. Sometimes, Nasseri says that he was rejected
by his Iranian family. Other times, he states that he was mistreated
by the shah’s secret police. He has also claimed that his mother was a
Scottish aristocrat, and likes to go by the name “Sir Alfred.” Regardless of the specifics of his story,
in 1988 a series of complicated reasons that possibly involved a suitcase theft and definitely
involved a plan to enter Britain with or without his papers left Nasseri stranded on the Terminal
One of Charles de Gaulle International Airport. He could not leave or enter France without
official documentation, and after much head-scratching, the airport officials told him to wait in
the only place he was legally allowed to stay: the airport lounge. This wait took 18 years. The man without citizenship soon attracted
the attention of media, and managed to survive quite comfortably with modest interview fees,
kindness of strangers and airport employees, and eventually, a hefty sum of $250,000 from
Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks for the rights of his story. The ensuing movie, The Terminal, made “Sir
Alfred” famous, and he seemed content to remain at the airport — even turning down
several offers of citizenship, because they didn’t use his preferred name and were from
countries he didn’t like. However, fate would not let Nasseri stay in
his terminal haven forever. In 2006, he was hospitalized, and eventually
moved to a shelter in Paris. 9. Gerard Depardieu Famous actor Gerard Depardieu may seem as
French as they come, but in reality, the man is Russian these days. In 2012, Depardieu grew tired of France’s
tax policies and government, and wrote a fiery open letter where he announced that he would
leave the country and renounce his citizenship. The fact that the government had previously
accused him of evading taxes by moving abroad was … not entirely coincidental. Depardieu first moved to Belgium, where taxation
is rather more forgiving to the rich. However, Vladimir Putin soon sensed a PR opportunity,
and offered the famous actor a chance to become a Russian citizen. Depardieu took up the offer in 2013, and by
2014, he was performing on the stages of Paris as a visiting Russian actor. It appears that Depardieu is not planning
to rest in his citizenship laurels, either. In a 2018 trip to North Korea, he reportedly
announced that he’s planning to apply for Turkish citizenship next. 8. Terry Gilliam Terry Gilliam is famous for directing dystopic
visions such as Brazil and 12 Monkeys, and even more famous for being the only American
member of the legendary comedy troupe, Monty Python. The latter part of his legacy is at least
partially unfounded, though. Although Gilliam was born in Minnesota, he
emigrated to Britain in the 1960s, married an English woman and held dual citizenship
for three decades. For all practical intents and purposes, this
makes him as English as Earl Grey tea with a slice of lemon. In 2012, Gilliam shed his last remaining connections
to the United States when he renounced his U.S. citizenship. He says that the reason for his decision was
the increasingly nasty political climate of his birth country: He joked that he’s thinking
of suing George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for making a less funny version of the nightmarish
Brazil without his approval, and that if he’d stayed in the U.S., he’d be “throwing
bombs.” 7. John Huston It’s anyone’s guess why John Huston, famous
director and father of equally famous actress Anjelica Huston, decided to drop his United
States citizenship in favor of an Irish one in 1964. Huston and his family had been living in the
country for some time, but it has been suggested that the citizenship change had less to do
with personal preference — and a lot to do with the 80-90% income tax rate he was
allegedly paying at the time. Huston himself insisted that the move had
absolutely nothing to do with taxation, and he merely felt that a person should be the
citizen of the country he’s living in. Whatever the real reason behind Huston’s
newfound Irishness was, it’s worth pointing out that in 1969, the country’s Minister
of Finance, Charles Haughey, made all artists residing in Ireland exempt from income tax. Incidentally, Haughey was also the very same
man who gave Huston his citizenship papers five years earlier. 6. Tina Turner Tina Turner may be an iconic American singer,
but this doesn’t mean that she finds America particularly iconic. Over the decades, the artist has become more
and more European: She has dated a German music producer called Erwin Bach since 1985,
and they finally married in 2013. Turner has also lived in Switzerland for over
two decades. She’s now fluent in German, and says that
she has absolutely no connections to the United States save for some family. She also has no intention of ever moving back
to her country of birth. The only remaining step for completely ditching
her roots was to take up Swiss citizenship and throw away her American one, which Turner
officially did in 2013. However, she didn’t dramatically renounce
her citizenship, like many other people on this list. Instead, the process she chose is called ‘relinquishment’,
which is rather more like an amiable divorce: Turner took Swiss citizenship with the intent
of losing her U.S. citizenship, allowing it to drift away over time instead of cutting
the ties right away. Although it’s a slower process, it comes
with the added bonus of avoiding the tax and other penalties that can be associated with
a straight renouncement. 5. Ted Arison Billionaire Ted Arison may not be as well-known
as some of the other people on this list, but his citizenship case is certainly one
of the more tumultuous ones because of the sheer amounts of money involved. In 1990, the cruise industry tycoon who founded
Carnival Cruise unexpectedly moved from Miami to Israel and dropped his American citizenship,
keeping the Israeli part of his dual citizenship as he did so. The move has been described by some as a plot
to avoid estate and inheritance taxes, though this plan ultimately failed. Still, others point out that Arison was an
extremely active philanthropist during his time in Israel, so a genuine desire to return
in the country for good may have played at least a part of his decision to become a 100%
Israelite. 4. Gong Li and Jet Li Gong Li is one of China’s biggest film stars
ever and the vast country sees her as a figurehead of their national identity. In 2008, she caused quite a stir when she
unexpectedly swore in as a citizen of Singapore instead. This wasn’t completely unexpected, seeing
as she had been married to a Singaporean businessman since 1996, and had already been scheduled
to become a citizen earlier in the year but failed to attend the ceremony. However, her former country saw this as an
ultimate betrayal: After all, how could she be the symbol of China’s movie industry
if she wasn’t Chinese anymore? Of course, Gong Li is hardly the first China-born
star to lose her citizen roots. The country’s travel restrictions make it
very difficult to maintain the hectic international travel schedule of famous actors. Meanwhile, keeping a Chinese citizenship while
picking up another for traveling purposes is impossible because China doesn’t recognize
dual citizenships. As a result, citizenship-hopping has become
fairly commonplace. One of the most notorious examples is none
other than martial arts superstar Jet Li, who ditched his Chinese citizenship to become
a U.S. citizen. Then, in 2009, he renounced his U.S. citizenship
to become a Singaporean, allegedly for his children’s education. 3. Yul Brynner You might know Yul Brynner from The Magnificent
Seven, or as the original menacing android in the 1973 version of Westworld. The bald-headed star was actually born in
Russia, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen during his extensive acting work in the 1940s
and 1950s. Thanks to his Swiss family roots, he also
obtained a dual citizenship of Switzerland, where he mainly resided. However, Brynner had been a little too hard-working
during his time in the American film industry. In 1965, he was informed that he had been
working too long in the U.S. As a result, he had lost his tax exemption
as an American citizen living abroad, and it soon became apparent that the massive tax
and penalty debts would have bankrupted him. Brynner did the only thing that he could to
avoid unexpected poverty: In July 1965, he turned in his American passport at the U.S.
embassy in Zurich. 2. T.S. Eliot T.S. Eliot was one of the most famous poets of
the 20th century, and a juggernaut of literature. He’s also a rare cultural figure in the
sense that two different countries can lay comparatively equal claim to him. Eliot was originally from St. Louis and educated
at Harvard, and wrote his first significant works as an American citizen. On the other hand, his body of work was almost
entirely completed on English soil: He settled in the country soon after his studies, and
became a naturalized British citizen in 1927. In the process, he dropped his U.S. citizenship
and joined the Anglican church. Eliot’s writings make it seem that his naturalisation
process wasn’t quite as simple as could perhaps have been expected considering his
celebrity status. In a letter to his brother, he specifically
mentions that he “had to pull a few strings with the Home Secretary” to make it happen. Then again, since he was in a position where
he had that kind of access to high-ranking officials, we’re guessing that he didn’t
have too much trouble with his application. 1. Bobby Fischer In 1992, American chess superstar Bobby Fischer
was offered a cool $3.3 million to play an exhibition match in Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, he soon found out that this
violated the U.S. sanctions against the country, and his government now wanted to ask some
pretty serious questions from him. Fischer reacted to the situation by dropping
off the grid. Over the next few years, he was reportedly
sighted in Budapest, the Philippines, and Switzerland, only emerging for the occasional
interview in various countries’ radio stations to give increasingly unhinged rants about
his home country. He gained quite a bit of infamy by supporting
the 9/11 attacks and claiming that a Jewish conspiracy was after him, despite the fact
that his own mother was Jewish. This strange situation lasted until 2004,
when Fischer was detained in Japan for trying to board a plane without a valid passport. The chessmaster was promptly thrown in prison,
as the various governments involved in his antics tried to figure out just what to do
with him. At this point, a surprise participant entered
the scene: The government of Iceland offered Fischer a citizenship. The chess champion was something of a legend
in the tiny country because he won his star-making match against the Russian grandmaster Boris
Spassky in Reykjavik. They saw his greatness to be on par with Mozart,
so they were willing to put up with his unsavory comments in exchange of saving him from the
American judicial system. And, just like that, Bobby Fischer stopped
being American and became an Icelander until his death in 2008.

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    Daniel Parker

    How bad is IRAN that , a man was willing to live in an airport lounge and terminal for 18 years ? Crazy

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    stenbak88

    Those idiots who said they would move to Canada if President Trump won and then didn't should loose their citizenship

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    Gewgulkan Suhckitt

    9:50 Bobby Fisher looks remarkably feminine . . .and Asian in this part of the video.
    Regarding those rich people that leave their countries for ideological reasons, I actually improve. I hate it when some multimillionaire actor/musician complains the U.S. isn't like their favorite country somewhere else but insists on staying in the U.S. anyhow. They could easily afford to move. Just move already.

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    Julie Gogola

    As for Tina Turner, I don't blame her for NOT wanting to come back to the USA, She's got another life In Switzerland, and at least until TRUMP is out of the White House, I myself would rather NOT be a US citizen. I do love the US as far as I love MY PLACE here in the US, BUT, IF Trump is re-elected it will be very depressing being an American yet again. I don't want to get TOO political on this post, BUT, Mr. Trump is NO leader, MY OPINION of him is that he is NO leader, he doesn't even take the time to listen to OUR country's military leaders instead he believes what Vladamir Putin tells him about if N. Korea has 'weapons of war" at the ready to obliterate the US. He doesn't listen to OUR country's lead officers in the military about ANYTHING. He has been said to NOT BE ABLE to sit down and be "briefed" about military intelligence. Basically Trump has ADHD, a hyperactivity condition where he can't concentrate on things very well. TRump seems to be suffering from a condition that is affecting his mind. He has said that the "Wind farms" it is where there are windmills, the BIG windmills that make energy from the windmills turning, Trump has said that Windmills cause cancer. he had said that "Hillary, it was HER thought to have these windmills to create fossil free energy" and he then said that these Windmills must cause cancer, his reasoning was that "all that noise it must cause cancer" BUT, these HUGE windmills that are creating energy from the wind making these giant turbines turn, they DON'T MAKE NOISE. IF they did and it caused cancer Holland would be a GIGANTIC ghost town.

    Anyway, I sure as hell hope that there is a great person beyond reproach running against the "orange devil" in 2020, I think that many people didn't trust Hillary, so, that is how that Orange p**sy grabbin ego- centric horrible excuse for a person got elected here in the first place.

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    ZeeZee Zputnik

    How does someone not know how to pronounce 'Huston' correctly?

    😑 Could not listen to the rest of the video because the guy thinks he sounds smart but clearly hasn't got a brain behind the voice.

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    Toby Abbott

    Why didnt you you just name this video, "American citizens who chose to leave their homeland"? lol In 2017 alone, about 750,000 people became American citizens. I really like you Simon but you can get a bit cheeky in your videos and smear the US which is weird because I meet many Europeans living in America who do not at all want to return to their homelands and give up their citizenships to become American. There are more than 327.2 million Americans and rapidly growing. Which needs to stop. In the UK there are less than 67 million people. You guys wouldn't understand. Be thankful

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    Mike J.

    Need to do a little research on pronunciation. The "Hu" in John Huston is pronounced "hugh" as in Hugh Grant. Like the "hou" in Houston, as long as you're talking about Texas…in New York City, Houston Street is pronounced HOW-ston.

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    Sarah Webster

    New title…

    “List of mainly Americans who upon leaving their country soon began to hate it after seeing others and promptly cut it off like a gangrenous limb!”

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    Gail Davis

    I hope Tina Turner opt to be buried abroad when she dies. Let her be buried on holy ground where she lives now. Tennessee is off limits to her to.

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    Arkethia Terrell

    THEIR IS A DIFFERENCE OF LOSING THEIR CITIZENSHIP AND GIVING IT UP. Tina Turner gave it up for two reasons, one of them was for her husband.

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    Hank Bridges

    I saw Tina in concert in our town! She did 'Private Dancer' and 'What's Love Got To Do With It'! She was a sellout! That was HUGE for our area!

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    Sandra Winkler

    Wonder what the sound-bite would sound like if he did a segment on Hugh Grant visiting Houston Texas? Bet that would be really huge!

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    Wanda Roderick

    Why is Colin Kaepernick back in the United States He denounce this US citizenship is the law when you denounce citizenship it is revoked and you are kicked out of the country Colin Kaepernick out he went to Gandhi

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    Diane Greene

    Lee Oswald renounced his American citizenship in Moscow in 1959. By November 22, 1963 he was back in the US and we know what he did then.

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    David Cantwell

    If you find yourself down here in the comments section I can save you some time. As of right now this is pretty much 842 people overstating the obvious reppedly. The mispronunciation of Houston, No they didn't lose their citizenship they denounced their citizenship, They do it mostly for tax purposes. And I have yet on any of these videos seen a reply from Simon so don't bother axing for one.
    Your welcome ………… =^>

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    Wolfsmate73

    Click bait thumbnail of Tina Turner who isn't on your list, misspelling/mispronouncing famous names easily looked up, and not knowing the meaning of "gave up" vs "lost". Your content is repugnant and ignorant. Lose your YouTube citizenship! PLEASE! Before you dumb the world down any further.

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    Mark Thompson

    Did anybody else notice the black rings around the bases of the Chinese girl's teeth? WTH??

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    BlueRidgeMtns100

    "Losing" one's citizenship and renouncing or voluntarily giving it up are very different things.

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    Richard Larson

    If you give something away, you didn't lose it. Also, I'm pretty sure these rich bastards wouldn't go bankrupt by having to pay their taxes.

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    Whisper McGaughy

    I love Gong Li!
    I can understand why Tina left America.. Black women get no respect here and certainly aren't taken seriously or recognized as they should be..

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    Jackson Mahr

    This isn't the first video where names have been mispronounced. It a really important problem, and very easy to remedy. .

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    Ian Lastname

    Uh, it's only outside of China that Gong Li might be viewed as a symbol of Chinese cinema; in China, she's viewed as some actress that foreigners inexplicably like. Also, China couldn't care less about dual citizenship.

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