In the (hopefully unlikely) event that you need to flee the country and find somewhere safe to lay low, where would you run to?
This is maybe not a question that you have considered, or perhaps it is EXACTLY what’s on your mind, depending on what you’ve been up to lately! Actually, this kind of situation is not so outlandish if one really looks at it…
There could be several reasons why one would need to escape the US to find safer, and ideally greener, pastures. For example, what if the government changed the laws so that your previously above-board business suddenly became criminal, or if an ex-spouse was trying to get their hands on your millions?
What about angry creditors who might be after your money, or a plaintiff after you lost an unexpected lawsuit? All these are very plausible scenarios. So, it might be worth considering where you could safely disappear to.
When planning out your perfect escape, one of the first things you should check is which countries you could run to where you would not be at risk of being extradited back to the U.S. The United States has bilateral extradition agreements with over 107 countries.
This means that if you make the mistake of landing up in one of these places, you run a high risk of being sent packing straight back to The Land of the (not so) Free. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a country which does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
An extradition treaty simply means that there is an official and organised mutual agreement between two nations to extradite fugitives back to the soil of the country in which their crimes were committed, to face the legal consequences. However, it is important to mention here that extradition is a murky business in practice.
There are many instances where countries which do have extradition treaties have not followed them, and also examples where countries which do not have extradition treaties have extradited fugitives anyway.
That being said, you do stand a much better chance if you choose to hideout in one of these countries which do NOT have an official extradition treaty with the United States. We will not repeat this entire list here.
Instead, we will look at a few options which would be of interest to potential expats and which offer opportunities for good lifestyles, investment opportunities, and have other favourable factors.
There is a misconception that one has to always go to some unknown hellhole at the ends of the earth to escape extradition, but this is not necessarily the case.
There are many great places to choose from where you would be unlikely to run the risk of extradition. Here are a few of the best options:
Russia and China are at the top of our list of top non-extradition countries. These are two big nations that are not easily pushed around. Neither of them has extradition treaties with the US. Furthermore, both have a history of rather ‘cold’ relations, so are unlikely to want to play nice.
One famous case of non-extradition in Russia is that of Edward Snowden who was able to find asylum there.
Both Russia and China can be ideal places to reside for both short-term and long-term. They are affordable, and their vast size and diversity mean that you can live any kind of lifestyle that suits your preferences and budget.
Another good non-extradition country to mention is Mongolia, which is sandwiched between China and Russia. Mongolia is an affordable place to lie low for a while and has a rapidly growing economy.
This means you could even come across some good business and investment opportunities while you are there.
Brunei is one of the richest countries on the list of nations with no extradition treaty. The Sultan of Brunei does not take orders from anyone and doesn’t take kindly to outside interference.
Brunei is not what you would call a constitutional democracy, with the Sultan personally owning every square inch of the Island and all the wealth on it. However, if you are able to overlook these drawbacks and abide by the social rules, you may find it to be a decent place to stay for a while.
The Gulf States are another set of wealthy countries with no extradition treaties. These include Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. However, some of these states have made it explicitly clear that they don’t want to be safe havens for fugitives, so it is best to tread with caution.
You might not interested in living according to the type of local culture of these Middle Eastern countries, but places like Dubai are home to large international communities and offer luxurious and comfortable lifestyles. Jordan and Lebanon are two other Middle Eastern nations with no extradition treaties.
The small Balkan country of Montenegro is possibly the most beautiful and unique country on this list. It offers nomads, travellers (and fugitives) a great lifestyle and good investment opportunities.
Unlike its neighbours, Serbia and Croatia, Montenegro does not have an extradition treaty with the US. It is also not a part of the EU which means it offers a certain degree of privacy.
These two fast-growing Eastern European nations might not have been first on your list. However, both offer good investment opportunities in their up-and-coming economies.
Ukraine is also a good jurisdiction for offshore banking. Most importantly, neither of them have extradition treaties with the US.
The South-East Asian countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are great expat hangouts without extradition treaties. Vietnam and Cambodia are especially popular tourist and business destinations.
Here, you can enjoy a high quality and affordable lifestyle, be made to feel very welcome, and take advantage of the many business opportunities available.
If your preference is to seek safety on a beautiful island, then look no further than Maldives, Vanuatu, or Indonesia. All three offer excellent lifestyle and business opportunities, and are ideal safe havens, as they do not have extradition treaties.
Vanuatu is a tax-free jurisdiction with an interesting citizenship by investment program, so you could even become a fully-fledged Vanuatuan citizen while you are there. Maldives offers beautiful beaches and crystal waters, along with good investment opportunities in the real estate space.
Indonesia, home to the popular Bali, is a favourite among expats and has a very fast-growing economy.
If you are feeling more adventurous and would like to venture over to Africa instead, then Ethiopia, Botswana, and Tunisia are three good prospects which do not have many extradition treaties. Ethiopia and Botswana are two of the strongest economies on the African continent. T
hose wishing to enter developing markets can use their escape as an opportunity to explore these promising places.
The North African nation of Tunisia is home to another up and coming African economy, and is also a beautiful beach destination for those who prefer the Mediterranean climate.
As we mentioned previously, there is a difference between being in a place which has no extradition treaty and not being extradited. There are examples of countries which do have extradition treaties but have still refused extradition in the past, such as Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Iceland, and Switzerland.
There are also instances where countries have extradited fugitives even without extradition treaties, such as in the case of Spain and Yemen. There are no guarantees.
There are certain countries which do not extradite their citizens under any circumstances, such as Brazil, Venezuela, and Cuba. In fact, Brazil is one of the easiest places to become a citizen through naturalisation, so perhaps that is also something to consider.
Many of the countries listed above also do not have extradition treaties with the UK. Other good options for UK citizens include Armenia, Belarus, South Korea, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. For citizens of other countries, it is best to first check which countries do not have formal extradition treaties with your home nation.
Once you have a comprehensive list, you can select your ideal location from there based on your personal preferences and situational requirements.
Although there is no such thing as guaranteed safety, you have a much better chance if the country you choose to run to does not have an extradition treaty with your home country, nor a history of ad hoc extraditions taking place. Good luck!