I'm Doug Jones and I'm an Australian citizen; with the help of Worldwide Migration Partners I now have my Australian citizenship and a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.
I met my wife in the early 90s in the United States. She was from Australia and soon after arriving I found I had a real affinity for the country; I immediately loved everything about it... In about the year 2000 I made the commitment to become an Australian citizen.
I was told if you wanted to be an Australian citizen you've got to give up your US citizenship. So I made that decision and over the next number of years, I travelled around the world on my Australian passport and enjoyed just being an Australian citizen.
I ended up buying a real estate office in 2001; we ran the offices for a number of years, in fact, we had no problems until we decided to head to the United States for a cruise. My wife decided to get in early and fill out the ESTA visa waiver forms and one of the questions, in particular, said 'if you're an ex-pat from the United States travelling back into the United States, please include your renunciation paperwork with your application...'
My wife was pretty confident that I didn't have any paperwork and I was very confident that I didn't have any paperwork. Back in 2000 when I was making the commitment to become an Australian citizen the internet wasn't as prolific, and I was never advised that I had to go through any sort of a process with the United States government to renounce my citizenship.
For approximately 16 years I had lived in Australia, travelled with my Australian passport all over the world and always assumed that I was only an Australian citizen.
Google has come a long way now and my wife started looking up what the ramifications were to me not having my renunciation documentation filled out properly. A few different potential horror stories were evolving and one of them was that because we owned our own company and we had a family trust ... I was technically liable for double taxation for all the years that I'd owned my company (regardless of the income level that I had).
So I decided to engage one of the largest accounting firms in Australia who I knew had affiliates in the United States. I felt this might be easier for the negotiations to go back-and-forth if I truly had a liability of the scale that my wife had found on Google.
At a quick estimation, which I paid $5,000 for the pleasure of, they gave me a figure of somewhere between $170,000 and $200,000 in back fees and charges that I'd have to pay just to get my tax situation back up to where I was today.
So I was handed a business card for Melissa Vincenty and this large firm, one of the largest in the entire country, said she was the best at her job and that I should give her a ring to answer any immigration questions.
I think one of the best things that could have happened was being recommended Worldwide Migration Partners. Without that recommendation, I would have never met Melissa and I think that events would have turned out quite different.
On the way home from my meeting in Darling Harbour I left a message for Melissa, briefly explaining my situation. Before I even made it back to my hometown (a one hour drive), Melissa had called me and had said that I should call the large accounting firm and put them on hold because after hearing my synopsis of events she felt that there was a way that we could avoid paying the full $170,000 to $200,000.
She mentioned that there was a law passed in the late 1800s in the United States in immigration law, which basically said that if your intention as a United States citizen was to renounce your citizenship then the intention itself (subject to a few other bits and pieces) was enough to make your renunciation legal. I thought it might be a bit too good to be true, but I was willing to have a further conversation with her about it.
In the end, the quote that the large company gave me ended up being well in excess of a hundred thousand more than the final amount of money I had to pay to use Melissa's strategy, which was a unique one, to say the least.
The team that Melissa has built was absolutely outstanding. All of them had a very significant role to play with Melissa coordinating the entire strategy, dealing with a number of different professionals across the globe.
I think it was the personalised service from Melissa and her team that made all the difference.
We had to show evidence that I intended to lose my American citizenship back in the year 2000 even though it was the year 2016. The entire team was with me every step of the way, supporting me and making sure I felt comfortable trying to do something that not even a large accounting firm thought was possible.
Personally, I couldn't recommend Melissa Vincenty from Worldwide Migration Partners more highly, she took all my phone calls and when she wasn't able to she returned them promptly. Melissa and all the team at Worldwide Migration Partners were very accessible, knowledgeable and everyone I spoke to knew about my particular case and were happy to help in any way they could.
Worldwide Migration Partners saved me at least $100,000 from the original quote that was provided by the large accounting firm in Sydney.
Melissa and her team introduced me to a number of international partners that were instrumental in helping my particular situation and I am ecstatic with the outcome!
Now that the pressure has been relieved and I have my Australian citizenship and my Certificate of Loss of Nationality, my business has been running smoothly and my family's been able to travel around the world as well as the United States without any concerns.
I owe Melissa and her team a debt of gratitude.