Roger Ver Denied US Visa to Attend Miami Bitcoin Conference

By January 7, 2015Bitcoin Politics
Click here to view original web page at www.coindesk.com

Bitcoin entrepreneur Roger Ver has been effectively locked out of his native USA after this week being denied a non-immigrant visa for the third time.

Ver, who publicly gave up his US citizenship in 2014, was planning to speak at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami from 16-18th January.

He tweeted the following message to his 18,800 followers:

While forcing me to pay taxes @USEmbassyBbdos tyrants won't allow me to attend #CES2015, #TNABC or anything in the US pic.twitter.com/8dl6qpPjUM

— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) January 6, 2015

Ver told CoinDesk that despite rejecting his application three times at $160 per application, officials have refused to examine documentation and evidence he provided to support his case.

While it is not possible to appeal against the decision, Ver is permitted to apply again from scratch.

Illegal immigrant concern

The official reason for rejection, as stated by the US embassy in Barbados, was that Ver could not demonstrate sufficiently that his ties to his 'home country' (now the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts) were strong enough for him to leave the US.

The rejected stated:

"One of the most common elements within the various nonimmigrant visa requirements is for the applicant to demonstrate that they have a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning ... You have not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States."

Effectively, the Immigration Service is concerned that he may try to overstay his visa and become an illegal immigrant in his home country.

Ver's parents, siblings and extended family all live in the US, including one uncle he says "has stage-four cancer and the odds are very bad".

Former US citizen

Famous for his libertarian/anarchist political views, Ver became a citizen of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, a small Caribbean nation, in February 2014 and handed in his US passport a month later.

A frequent attendee and guest speaker at bitcoin conferences worldwide, he makes a point of wearing a 'borders are imaginary lines' T-shirt when going through immigration at airports.

Roger Ver t-shirt
Ver posted this picture after his embassy appointment in Barbados

Asked whether his decision to renounce his US citizenship might have been a mistake in hindsight, he said:

"I checked with lawyers very carefully before I renounced, and they clearly assured me that I will quality for a visa to visit the USA. I would be fine with them denying my visa if it was for a valid reason, but they are either lying, ignorant, or stupid when they claim that I plan to secretly overstay my visa and live as an illegal immigrant in the USA."

Ver initially left the US almost nine years ago, after serving a 10-month prison sentence and three years' probation for selling agricultural firecrackers online. Since then he has resided mainly in Japan, and has not visited the US for nearly a year.

Despite his record, Ver said he has not had difficulty gaining access to any other country, including the notoriously strict Japan.

Image courtesy Roger Ver

Ver, who publicly gave up his US citizenship in 2014, was planning to speak at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami  from 16-18th January.

He tweeted the following message to his 18,800 followers: While forcing me to pay taxes @USEmbassyBbdos tyrants won’t allow me to attend #CES2015 , #TNABC or […]

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