Americans are known for keeping to their own part of the world and not exploring other countries as of 2019 only 42% actually own a passport.
If you are looking to take advantage of living in different country and all the lifestyle advantages that comes with it then now is the time. It is becoming easier and easier to live abroad these days. With online info, articles, maps, reviews, and courses it really has never been easier. More countries than ever are making it easier to get citizenship. Work and job opportunities are increasingly moving online and becoming virtual workplaces. Starting a business online has never been easier and with it comes the freedom to live wherever you want. Here are some of the best places we have found to live abroad.
Panama is a long-time favourite for US retirees and expats alike. This Caribbean paradise is home to a warm tropical climate, stunningly beautiful beaches, and a laid-back yet active way of life.
Moving to Panama is extremely easy and rewarding for Americans. It is very close, both geographically and culturally. The standard currency is the US dollar, English is widely spoken, and there is an established community of fellow expats. Furthermore, Panama is one of the easiest countries to obtain long-term visas and permanent residency status, with literally dozens of different visa programs to suit each person’s situation. The most popular is the Visa Pensionado, specifically aimed at retirees, but open to people of all ages.
Panama also has its various financial advantages. First of all, it is significantly more affordable to live here than in the US. Depending on where you decide to move to, it is very possible for a couple to live on as little as $1,000 - $2,000 a month in Panama. Panama is also a tax haven and thriving offshore financial centre. Becoming a Panama resident can enable you to substantially reduce your tax bill.
Panama offers a diverse range of living situations, from modern city-life in Panama City, to quiet mountain villages in places like Boquete and El Valle. You will definitely be able to find something to suit your tastes, and will not be left deprived of fun things to do.
Panama makes it easy to get a move and establish residency through a number of their visas programs.
The sunny Central American nation of Costa Rica is consistently a top competitor in International Living’s list of top retirement destinations. After coming third in 2020, this year it takes the top spot!
There are so many reasons why more and more American expats are choosing to live in Costa Rica. It is known for its natural beauty and diverse range of amazing climates, with about 25% of its land being made up of protected national parks. It is also extremely liveable, with top-quality affordable healthcare and education, warm and friendly locals, and many of the amenities you would expect from a first-world nation at a reduced cost.
Costa Rica is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America” due to its neutrality, political stability, and peaceful society. They even went so far as to completely abolish their army in 1948, instead putting all the money into education and healthcare. Costa Rica is probably the safest country in Latin America, and is up there with the safest in the world.
Thankfully, Costa Rica is one of the easier countries to obtain residency, and is quite affordable by US standards. A couple could live very well in Costa Rica for around $2000 - $3000 a month.
Prospective US expats looking for great places to move to in 2021 need look no further than their own back yard. Mexico has been a thriving home to US and Canadian expats for more than 50 years. In fact, there are now more than 1 million Americans and half a million Canadians living in Mexico. This makes it one of the most popular expat destinations in the world, and certainly the most popular for North Americans.
In Mexico, American expats will find everything they had back home and more. Its proximity makes the transition smooth and easy. You will be welcomed by the immense expat community along with the laid-back and friendly locals. All the amenities you could need are available in Mexico. One of its biggest draws is its high-quality, yet extremely affordable, healthcare services.
Mexico is a place of fun and excitement. The culture is full of festivals, celebrations, and activities to keep almost anyone entertained. It also offers one of the tastiest cuisines on earth! Compared to the US, the Mexican climate is far more pleasant, the lifestyle is more relaxed, and the cost of living is much, much lower!
Moving away from the Americas, the next country on our list is the European gem of Portugal. A long-time favourite among expats from all around the world. Portugal topped International Living’s Global Retirement Index in 2020, which of course applies to both expats and retirees alike!
Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe. US expats will find their living expenses drastically reduced. A couple can live comfortably in Portugal on anything from $1,500 to $2,500 per month, depending on where they choose to reside.
Portugal’s benefits extend far beyond mere financial advantages. It offers a warm and sunny climate with beautiful Mediterranean coastlines. Its inhabitants are just as warm as its weather, and are welcoming to foreign expats. There is a diverse range of climates and lifestyles that one can choose from in Portugal, from rural coastal villages to thriving metropolitan cities.
As expected, Portugal offers quality services and amenities, with well-functioning health and education systems. It is a safe and peaceful country to live in, which is why more expats are choosing to move here during these tumultuous times.
Portugal is one of the easiest places in Europe to obtain long-term residencies and visas through their Golden Visa program, making the move over easier than most other countries in the same league.
Looking right next door at Portugal’s Mediterranean neighbour, Spain also has a lot to offer! It is similar to Portugal as an expat destination in many respects. Climate, food, and culture are some of the main draws of Spain. It is bigger than its neighbour, with a wider range of climates and landscapes to choose from.
It is also extremely affordable compared to the rest of Europe. It is possible to get by in its capital city, Madrid, for as little as $2,000 a month. Outside of the main cities, things become even cheaper. Don’t let the low costs fool you, as Spain has one of the highest standards of living of all the countries on this list. You will have all the amenities that you are accustomed to in the US, at a much more affordable price.
Spain is another country which offers Golden Visa residency options and fast-track citizenship through investment, which will facilitate a permanent relocation if that is what you are looking for.
No list of expat-friendly countries would be complete without mentioning the peaceful and beautiful land of New Zealand. New Zealand offers expats a laid-back and friendly lifestyle in a highly developed, stable country. It is world-renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor adventure opportunities.
Whilst New Zealand offers some pretty wild outdoor experiences, the society is an extremely calm, kind, and friendly one. It is consistently recognised as one of the safest countries in the world to live in. It has excellent state-sponsored healthcare and public services. Low population density means there is plenty room for newcomers to find a beautiful space of their own in the country, or enjoy a relaxed version of city-life in Auckland, the capital.
The living costs in New Zealand are not cheap, but are comparatively more affordable than Australia, its Oceanic big brother. Wage rates are generally good and there are plenty of employment opportunities, especially for young, skilled migrants. It is therefore not difficult to enjoy a high quality of life on Kiwi Soil as an expat. New Zealand now has the added draw that it has been one of the least-affected by Covid-19, due to their excellent management and national cooperation.
New Zealand has an established expat community, and offers various visa and residency opportunities to make it easier for foreign nationals to immigrate. One popular choice for younger expats is to start with a one-year work holiday visa to get a taste of living and working in New Zealand for a longer time period.
New Zealand also makes the list of one of the best places to incorporate an online business.
Malaysia is one of many wonderful South-East Asian expat destinations. There are some important reasons why we have chosen to include it over other great options like Thailand and Vietnam:
Malaysia offers all of the amazing features that other South-East Asian countries have become popular for, such as a great climate, beautiful outdoors, and idyllic beaches, along with absurdly low living costs. However, what really sets Malaysia apart and makes it so attractive for US expats is that it is extremely Western-friendly and well-developed compared to other Asian nations.
English is widely spoken, infrastructure and services are at first-world standards in many parts of Malaysia, and its cities offer modern and luxurious living standards. Malaysia’s benefits don’t end there. The healthcare system is excellent and affordable, the country is extremely safe and stable, and the locals are friendly and welcoming.
To top it all off, Malaysia is one of the easier places on earth to obtain permanent residency. This, along with their tax-friendly legislation for foreign nationals, make it an ideal place for digital nomads and offshore business owners to set up shop.
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