–Roger Ver gave up US passport in favor of St. Kitts last year.
(ARS TECHNICA).-A well-known entrepreneur, often dubbed “Bitcoin Jesus”—who famously renounced his American citizenship last year—was denied a visa on Tuesday to re-enter the United States to attend an upcoming Bitcoin conference in Miami.
According to Roger Ver’s tweets, it was his third attempt to re-enter in eight days. Ver, who on occasion wears a T-shirt that reads “borders are imaginary lines,” lambasted consular officials at the US Embassy in Barbados, where he made his application.
Ver has been a citizen of the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis since February 2014. For the last 30 years, St. Kitts has offered citizenship through its “Citizenship by Investment” program.
That program, according to the government’s official website, requires either:
an investment in designated real estate with a value of at least US$ 400,000 plus payment of various registration and other fees (the Real-Estate Option), or a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (a public charity) to the amount of between US$ 250,000 and US$ 450,000, depending on the number of dependants included in the application (the SIDF Contribution Option)
Some wealthy American citizens renounce their passports as a way to avoid paying federal income taxes. The United States is fairly unique in that it requires all citizens, regardless of where they live or where else they hold citizenship, to pay federal income taxes.
On Wednesday, one immigration lawyer, Ashwin Sharma, wrote on his blog:
Interestingly, Mr. Ver was denied under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which states, “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status…” In short, this section of the INA presumes every applicant for a visa to America intends to eventually reside in America. It is the burden of each applicant to demonstrate that this is not the case…
It is strange then, to say the least, that Mr. Ver was denied by the U.S. Consular General, Barbados, under a regulation that requires he prove his intent to depart the U.S. when he appears to have already done so.
After successfully gaining his own St. Kitts passports, Ver started PassportsForBitcoin.com, which was shut down by the local authorities within months. The domain, which Ver owns, now redirects to a law firm that helps with “residence and citizenship planning.”
In 2002, Ver was sentenced to 10 months in prison after being convicted of federal charges of selling explosives on eBay. After he completed his probation in 2006, Ver moved to Japan. From 1999 until 2012, he was the CEO of MemoryDealers.com.
In July 2014, Ver donated $150,000 to the legal defense fund of Ross Ulbricht, a fellow libertarian who is accused of founding and operating the Silk Road. Ulbricht’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2015 in New York.