Exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones
Go Global with
NSA members are taking advantage of profit- able opportunities to speak internationally. But booking an event or estab- lishing a speaking business
abroad can be challenging.
The first obstacle—aside from booking
gigs and learning the nuances of culture
and language—is entering destination
countries legally. Foreign immigration laws
must be obeyed.
Some speakers perform their due diligence to obtain a proper work visa. This
process involves red tape, cost and potential delay, even if the destination country’s
immigration laws provide a work visa category for professional speaking.
Other speakers enter foreign countries as “stealth visitors.” At the airport,
they claim to be tourists, but their suitcases
contain brochures or products for distribution or sale at their speaking events—and
they may even be paid after their presentations. These practices are illegal in many
Speakers can legally simplify
foreign travel with “birthright citizenship,” or BC. This largely unknown
concept—citizenship by acquisition—has gained some recent exposure.
(Currently, there is a proposal to amend
the 14th Amendment to prevent the offspring of illegal immigrants in the United
States from becoming American citizens.)
Many U.S. citizens, whose ancestors
originated in other countries, may qualify
for BC. While each country’s laws differ,
many nations, especially in Europe, recognize BC in certain situations. Italy is
How did we qualify for BC? My paternal grandfather (my Nonno) emigrated to
the United States in the early 1900s, and
my father was born before Nonno became
a naturalized U.S. citizen. If my father had
been born after Nonno obtained American
citizenship, my children and I could not
qualify for BC under Italian law.
Case in Point
My children and I obtained European
Union (EU) passports, issued by the Italian
government, while retaining our American
citizenship. BC allows me to speak, live
and retire in any one of the 27 EU countries without a visa or residence permit,
and my children are eligible for a free or
low-cost university education in Europe.
Angelo A. Paparelli is a partner in the immigration practice at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Southern California and New York. A Certified Immigration Law
Specialist, Paparelli provides creative solutions
to complex immigration law problems. Visit
www.seyfarth.com, or read his blog at www.
Are You Eligible?
•;Learn if the immigration law of your
ancestor’s country allows for BC.
Contact the country’s consulate in
the United States, check its website or
hire an immigration lawyer licensed in
•;Determine if BC has any drawbacks;
for example, you wouldn’t want to
subject your children to a foreign military draft. Consult with an American
immigration lawyer if you’re concerned about losing U.S. citizenship.
Usually, obtaining foreign BC by itself
will not cause loss of American nationality without formal steps taken in
front of an American consular officer
•;Determine your relatives’“biodata”
(dates of birth and arrival, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death for
each of them and their descendants in
your line of kinship).
•;Gather the required documents to
establish BC eligibility from the city,
county, state or federal government
offices in the United States, and the
foreign country that maintains the