Roger Ver, a multimillionaire investor who renounced his United States citizenship last year, tried to get a visa that would let him back into the country last week. Now the man known as the “Bitcoin Jesus” for his evangelical advocacy of the virtual, online currency is slamming U.S. authorities as “tyrants” because they refuse to grant his request to come back to the country where he grew up.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) January 6, 2015
Ver, who had lived for the previous nine years in Tokyo, Japan, voluntarily gave up his U.S. citizenship, and with it his U.S. passport, in 2004 to become a citizen of a tiny Caribbean island nation, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which allows wealthy immigrants citizneship in exchange for cash.
The country does not require its citizens to actually live there, only to invest $400,000 in the country or make a $250,000 donation. In exchange, rich investors can become citizens of a tropical paradise that charges them almost nothing in tax.
The 35-year millionaire later went into business selling St. Kitts citizenships to other members of the economic upper classes.
But when Ver last week applied for his visa to the United States, saying that he intended to speak at a bitcoin conference held in Miami starting January 16, U.S. immigration officials turned him away. The reason given by immigration officials was that Ver had not proven that he actually lived in St. Kitts.
Visa applicants are often required to show that they have sufficient “ties” to their home countries that would give them incentive to return there rather than stay in the U.S. as illegal immigrants.
Ver says he provided documents saying that he lives full-time in Japan and runs businesses there, giving him incentive to leave the U.S., but he claims officials would not even look at those documents.
One of those businesses is peddling t-shirts featuring Ver’s favorite motto, “borders are imaginary lines,” shirts he is known to make a point of wearing as he travels internationally through airports.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) January 8, 2015
However, at least with regards to the United States, Ver appears to have learned that borders are indeed quite real, as far as those who make a point of publicly renouncing their citizenship while condemning U.S. government officials as “tyrants” are concerned.
Roger Ver says he is opposed not only to the idea of citizenship in the United States, but to the idea of citizenship at all.