Although the US is still the top destination for immigrants from all over the world, there are more people than ever looking to leave the US behind. The land of the free has certainly lost its luster with many locals. Some are looking to leave so they can live more simply while others just want to experience other cultures.
No matter the reason for leaving, there is a big world out there to explore and you can certainly find your perfect little corner. The problem is that it isn’t easy to pick up and move to another country. For many it isn’t even a possibility. Even though an American passport will get you visa free travel to many countries all over the world, this doesn’t mean that you can live there.
Then there are issues with daily life even if you are legally allowed to live there. You may have visions of what a place is like only to realize the reality is much different.
To make sure that you end up in the right place, we’ve compiled this list of the best destinations for expats that you are sure to love.
1 – Spain
Living in Spain is a dream for many people as they envision the laid back lifestyle, tapas bar hopping and the beautiful beaches. Now, living there is not like being on holiday, but Spain will still tick a lot of boxes for people looking to find the perfect landing spot abroad.
One of the biggest reasons is that Spain has a self employment visa that will allow some Americans to set up an online business and get residency that allows them to live there. Once somebody has lived there for five years then they qualify for permanent residency.
The low cost of living in Spain is sure to attract a lot of people who are looking to get out of the rat race. Property is very cheap to buy and everyday items cost far less in Spain than in many parts of the US.
2 – Portugal
An up and coming popular destination for expats is Portugal. Its low cost of living and government’s ambition to attract foreign investment has led to it becoming the destination of choice for many Americans.
One of the reasons is how easy it is to live there as a foreigner. The Portuguese government issues a Autorizacao de Residencia for foreigners to live there for 12 months. Then it gets renewed for two years at a time until you can get permanent residency. This is far less than what you would need to do to move to someplace like Germany, for instance.
The culture is a major draw for expats as it is laid back and easy going. Like Spain, the cost of living is very low so buying a property there is a fraction of what it costs in the US and UK.
3 – Thailand
There is a growing digital nomad community as people work remotely more and more. And the top destination is surely Thailand. It is almost a rite of passage for these nomads to start their new life on the road with a sojourn in Thailand.
For those that don’t want to bounce around but want to set up for a permanent transfer, there are still a lot of benefits to choosing Thailand. The visa situation can be tricky as there is no permanent residency visa for expats. But, if you are over 50 there is a retirement visa that you renew yearly. As long as you can show an income of around $1,900 per month then you qualify.
The biggest benefit is the extreme low cost of living. You can eat out for every meal and spend far less than you would on groceries in the US. and the food is a foodie’s dream as the variety and flavors are second to none.
4 – Montenegro
A real hidden gem of the Adriatic is surely Montenegro. The former Yugoslav republic is often overshadowed by its Croaitan neighbor, but it has a lot of things going for it that Croatia doesn’t. The low taxes, for instance make it very enticing for the expat looking to save some money.
Then, the stunning scenery and beaches of the Adriatic with the backdrop of the namesake mountains behind are a big draw. The food and friendly locals also make it a logical place for expats looking to break out of the rat race.
5 – Mexico
Our neighbor to the South has long been a retirement destination for those that want a little more than sitting on the beach in Florida for their retirement. However, it is a great destination for any expat and not just ones looking to retire.
There are a wide variety of visas available tailored exactly to your status. Even ones that you can apply for if you want to work there even without a formal offer.
Once you set yourself up then you can start a business there, work online or even take a job locally if you speak decent enough Spanish. The low cost of living is one of the greatest benefits, but it is also a great place to not be so far away from family and friends while enjoying a foreign culture.