In an ever-changing globalized world, individuals are emigrating from countries and immigrating to new ones regularly. Whether it’s to seek a more lucrative job market, a better quality of life or to have international experience, people are making their relocation possible. However, no one says that relocating is easy, especially for Americans. Meeting the requirements for visas and residency permits is incredibly difficult to obtain. And acquiring citizenship is its own arduous process.
While Americans are allowed to visit 184 countries without a travel visa, we don’t have much of a streamlined process in terms of moving to much of these. With these countries having challenging requirements and immigration policies to meet, it makes many Americans question whether moving to another country is possible. This is why I want to share with you the easiest countries for Americans to move to. And by easy, I mean that these countries are less restrictive to relocate.
Where are Americans Moving to?
Americans are moving to countries that have a better cost of living, affordable healthcare, where they can start over, access cheaper tuition, retire or get more bang for their buck. Mainly countries in Latin America, Asia and Western Europe are where we see an influx of Americans moving to.
If I Want to Move to a Country Where do I start?
Whether you’re moving to a new country alone or with family you’re going to make a list of criteria. This will help in narrowing your search in finding the easiest country to move to. For example: What are your interests? Do the country’s values align with you and your goals? What is your income and budget? Will you be working remotely with a company in the US? Find a job once you arrive and settle down? If you’re interested in finding a job abroad, check out this article because you will need a work visa.
Do Your Due Diligence
Make sure to do proper research and consider if the country you hold an interest in is a fit. If you won’t be arriving in a country with a transfer from an American company, have a profitable business, married to a local of the country, you may need to find another way to get your foot through the door. The truth of the matter is that for some countries it’s easier to obtain residential status and permits than in others.
But don’t be discouraged, because there are legitimate ways that Americans can immigrate overseas. Check out the types of visas you can apply to. Not on this, but reach out to your network, join Facebook groups and attend expat events to get information from people who have direct experience. Make a list of your top five countries and their visa regulations to help you narrow down a decision on which place to live. If you’re interested in what the cheapest country to live in is by the cost of living index, then check out these rankings by World Population Review.
Many Americans choose Mexico as their country of choice. In fact, it hosts the highest number of Americans outside the United States. A wonderful climate, diverse landscape, delicious food and affordable living. What isn’t there to love? The US dollar stretches quite far here: rent is very cheap but of course, this depends on the area and neighborhood since Mexico is quite expansive. Also, being within close proximity to the US you can always plan a quick trip to visit family and friends. Flights are readily available and not too expensive. You also don’t need to be fluent in Spanish but this will help in better assimilating.
With Mexico having various expat communities, you may have more support and guidance in moving and better transitioning. Mexico is also rated as one of the best places to retire. One of the main reasons being that you are able to collect your social security while in Mexico.
Now you’re probably wondering what is the process of getting to Mexico? On a tourist visa, you’re allowed to stay for a total of 180 days. This can give you some time to explore the country and maybe even apply for jobs and go on interviews. If you would like to stay longer than 180 days and for a period of up to four years, then you should apply for a Temporary Resident Visa.
If you wish to stay longer than four years then you must apply for a Permanent Residency. To start the process of any one of these visas, contact your Mexican consulate or embassy to get more information. This way you can set up your appointments, gather the required documentation and have scheduled interviews. Also, getting in touch with an immigration lawyer is always recommended. Altogether, Mexico is one of the top easiest countries for Americans to move to.
With a laidback lifestyle, low cost of living and warm weather it’s easy to see why Americans move to this beautiful country. You can apply for the Friendly Nations Visa which allows foreigners from a set of 47 countries that have ‘professional and economic ties’ with Panama to qualify for permanent residency. You either need to deposit $5,000 at a Panamanian bank, have a job you’re arriving with, form your own business or move your existing business to Panama. Also, after 5 years of residency, you are able to apply for citizenship. Some food for thought here but a Panamanian passport allows visa-free travel to 130+ countries. However, you may have to renounce your American passport simultaneously, since Panama does not allow dual citizenship.
There are so many pros to living in Panama: The slower pace of life is ideal for living a stress-free life. Real estate is significantly cheaper here than in western countries. It’s centrally located so you can travel to North, South and Central America and its neighboring countries quite easily. Panama is also home to a surplus of American expats and retirees. If you’re on the fence about Panama I would recommend visiting for a long-ish stay to see if you like it. Americans are allowed to stay for a total of 180 days. Panama is one of the easiest countries for Americans to move to and settle down.
Many Americans choose Thailand because the cost of living is inexpensive. Alongside wonderful weather and beautiful beaches, Thailand is paradise-like. You have cheap traveling options to nearby countries like Myanmar. Check out the Thailand Elite Visa which is a long-term visa. While the wages are nowhere near what we get in the US, neither is the cost of living. You can enjoy a cheaper and more quality lifestyle in Thailand.
However, keep in mind that some salaries are on the low end. This is the reason many expats recommend getting a position as a remote worker for a US company. Or alternatively, pitch to your current company to go remote. If you own your own business back home then you can try working remotely for it in Thailand. By far, the easiest way to move to Thailand is by teaching English. And lastly, the last option and probably the most challenging of them all is to try and get a local job.
As they say in Costa Rica, ‘Pura Vida” which translates to pure life, is a way of life in this welcoming country. Perhaps all your holidays spent in the lush rainforests and pristine beaches have you thinking about moving here? As an American, you can spend 90 days here to test things out and search for housing. To obtain a temporary residence read the requirements for retirees, students, teachers, executives and more here.
Costa Rica is one of the easiest countries for Americans to move to but it’s one of the more expensive on this list. Although the cost of living is lower than in the US, the factors depend on your lifestyle. Also, items such as electronics and familiar brands can be more expensive since they are imported from Canada and America. Renting depends a lot on the area you have interest in but expect anywhere from $1500 USD or less.
So, what is the best country to relocate to? All of these countries are excellent choices, but again, it all depends on your criteria. With this list in tow, what’s stopping you from making the move abroad? My advice will always be to visit the country first and spend time getting a feel for it. Figure out what’s important to you based on your income, lifestyle, weather preference and etc. And if you find out you don’t like the country, move on to another one of the easiest countries for Americans to move to on this list.