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The 7 Easiest Countries for Americans to Move to

This article will focus on the 7 easiest countries for Americans to move to based on the flexibility of visa options and openness to foreigners. If you have ever dreamed of leaving America behind and moving abroad, this is where you start!

Not only will I provide a list of the best countries to move to from the USA, but I have also included summaries of the types of visas available and why you should choose one over the other.

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7 Easiest Countries to Move to from the USA

1. Canada

If you are a US citizen dreaming of living in picturesque Canada, there are a few ways you can make it happen. Americans don’t need a visa to enter Canada as tourists.

man standing in front of a lake and mountains in Canada
Photo from Unsplash

This could be the first step to visiting a country and seeing whether you can imagine yourself living there.

If you have already decided that Canada is a place to be, there are different types of work permits that will allow you to legally work in Canada, including:

  • NAFTA Work Permits (The North American Free Trade Agreement) – those allow American companies with offices in Canada to easily transfer American employees
  • Employer Specific Work Permit (a document proving that your employer tried to find a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to fill the role before they hired you)
  • Spousal Open Work Permit (that is if your spouse is a temporary foreign worker in Canada)

If you want to apply for permanent residence in Canada, one of the easiest ways to do it is through the Express Entry System (one of the fastest immigration systems in the world).

If you are a skilled worker with at least 1 year of experience, or if you have two years of experience in a skilled trade, then you can apply for this program.

Also, if you have worked in Canada on a valid work permit for at least one year, you may be eligible to apply for the Canadian Experience Class.

Many applications for permanent residency submitted through Express Entry are processed within 6 months.

It’s easy to see why Canada made my list of easy countries to move to as a US resident.

Not only is the immigration process more fluid, but all Canadian citizens and permanent residents also have access to a public health insurance program that covers necessary physical and hospital services.

The educational system in Canada is one of the best, and there are many great academic opportunities.

Note: If you want to apply for Canadian citizenship, you must have a permanent resident status for a minimum of 1095 days for 5 years before the date when you sign the application.

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2. Mexico

Mexico is a beautiful and culturally rich country. It has amazing weather, even better food, and it’s one of the easiest countries to move to from the United States.

Like all countries, there are certain safety precautions that must be observed while living there; nevertheless, Americans continue to choose Mexico as a place to live, retire, go on a vacation, or own a home.

Chichen Itza in Mexico
Photo from Unsplash

This flexibility for Americans is very generous and the reason why I’ve included Mexico on my list of easy countries to move to.

The visa application process in Mexico varies depending on the visa type. If you wish to stay for about 6 months, a temporary resident visa (FM3 visa) is a good option.

If you choose to stay longer, the permanent residency visa (FM2 visa) is what you need.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to legally work on a temporary visa, you must obtain a work permit.

For both temporary and permanent visas, there are certain financial requirements, but with a permanent visa, you can likely and legally work in Mexico.

You don’t need to have a temporary residency visa first if you want to apply for a permanent residency.

But you will need to meet at least one of the requirements:

  • have close family connections in the country
  • apply for retirement status
  • show proof of funds to support yourself
  • or have a Temporary Resident status for 4 years.

For both visas, you will generally need to apply at a Mexican consulate outside of the country.

To obtain Mexican citizenship, you need to be a permanent resident for 5 years.

Then, you need to pass a naturalization exam, testing your ability to speak Spanish and your knowledge of Mexican history and culture.

Claiming nationality is, of course, also possible through parents or marrying a Mexican citizen.

3. Panama

Panama is a popular travel destination and one of the most popular countries Americans choose to move to.

Panama City at night
Photo from Unsplash

Panama has made my list of easy countries to move to as there’s lots of flexibility for American passport holders and the quality of life is incredible.

Beautiful beaches, wildlife, vibrant nightlife in Panama City, and excellent retirement programs are just a few things people are attracted to.

The low cost of living and affordable healthcare is definitely a plus too.

Simply put, Panama wants people who will spend money and support the local economy.

They have the Friendly Nations Visa Program which grants nationals from 50 countries a visa if they create professional or economic ties in Panama.

You can make an investment, buy a home, put money in a Panamanian bank, or make any other economic connection.

You don’t have to live in Panama to keep your residency active.

A retirement visa is not just for the elderly. Actually, anyone over 18 with a lifetime pension or annuity paying them $1000 per month can become a pensioner in Panama.

If you are unable to invest or bring ‘bigger’ money into Panama, you can become a resident in Panama after working for 2 years on a Professional Employment Visa.

Two other types of visas are the Reforestation Investor Visa (min. Investment of $80,000 in a reforestation project certified by a government) and Panama Business Investor Visa (for those who come from other nations that are not part of the Friendly Nations Visa Program and would like to set up a business in Panama).

If you would like to apply for Panama citizenship you can do so after 5 years of residency.

Note that Panama doesn’t accept dual citizenship so you will have to choose one.

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4. Portugal 

Living in Europe is a dream that many have and Portugal is surely a great choice.

Not only does Portugal have an openness to foreign investment, but this beautiful country also has everything you can dream of.

Porto, Portugal view from a window
Photo from Unsplash

Beautiful landscapes, gorgeous coastline, great food and wine, rich culture.

English is quite widely spoken but many expats choose to learn Portuguese too. Portugal is one of my favorite countries in my list of easy countries to move to as an American.

Portugal is part of the Schengen area and US citizens can enter the country for up to 90 days for tourism or business (which doesn’t require a visa).

If you’d like to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days out of every 180 days, it’s time to think about getting a residency visa.

Portugal offers a D7 visa for those who are looking to obtain a residence permit in Portugal and it’s a great solution for entrepreneurs who want to live there without having to invest a lot of money.

The D7 visa allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit in Portugal for 1 year – which can be then renewed for 2 successive periods of 2 years – and can then be converted into a permanent residence permit after 5 years.

In order to apply for the Portuguese D7 visa, applicants must have:

  • at least €7,980 a year (this is the current Portuguese annual minimum wage) of passive income per year
  • be willing to reside in Portugal for 6 consecutive months
  • provide proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • have a clean criminal record
  • and be willing to become a tax resident

With such great options, there’s no doubt that many Americans choose to settle in Portugal. It is surely one of the easiest countries to move to from the United States.

5. Greece

Would you live in a sunny Santorini all year round? Yes, you can.

A white house with a blue door in Greece
Photo from Unsplash

Just like Portugal, Greece has it all. Unique in its own way, with many islands, beautiful coastline, and ancient history, Greece is a popular expat destination and easily makes it to my list of easy countries to move to.

Americans can enter Greece for 90 days in each 180-day period, but if you are charmed by the beauty of this amazing country and would like to stay longer, you will need a long-stay visa.

Greece has its own Golden Visa program established to support the country’s economy and to give a chance to foreigners who would like to invest there.

The Golden Visa program grants a renewable five-year residence in return for an investment. Foreigners can invest in real estate, local companies, funds, and other types of assets.

A few examples of requirements are:

  • Buy a property valued at a minimum €250,000
  • Obtain a lease agreement and retain it for at least 10 years
  • Capital investment of a minimum €400,000 in a Greek company
  • Deposit €400,000 in a Greek bank

Once you are verified, you will receive your visa within 3 months. The benefits of the Golden Visa for Americans are massive, the main one is being able to travel freely around Europe.

Applicant’s families also have the right to move to Greece, and American expats can fully enjoy access to Greek healthcare and lifestyle, not to mention the low cost of living.

If you want to apply for Greek citizenship you must reside in Greece for 7 consecutive years before applying.

Those married to a Greek citizen can apply after 3 years. Moreover, applicants must have a good knowledge of the Greek language and should be integrated into the social and economic life of the country.

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6. Thailand

If the tropical climate is what you are looking for, then Thailand is a great place for you. With so many expats living there, you will surely not feel alone.

A temple in Thailand
Photo from Unsplash

Here are just a few reasons to move to Thailand: stunning beaches, beautiful national parks, some of the best food in the world, low cost of living, vibrant city life in Bangkok, and so much more! 

It’s easy to see why Thailand made it on my list of easy countries to move to.

Let’s have a look at the different types of visas available to Americans if marrying a Thai citizen is not an option for you.

US citizens can enter Thailand without a visa for 30 days and can extend their stay for an additional 30 days.

A popular option is applying for a Tourist Visa which allows you to stay in Thailand for 60 days, and can also be extended for another 30 days, allowing for a stay of a total of 90 days.

If you are interested in legally working in Thailand, you must obtain a work permit.

To receive it, a company, government, or any other organization in Thailand must file an application for you.

Once obtained, a Thai work permit is valid for one year.

You probably heard of American retirees living in Pattaya more than once.

Yes, a retirement visa is quite a popular option for those who wish to retire watching beautiful Thai sunsets.

Retirement visas are available for foreigners aged 50 and over.

These visas are available only for 1 year and can be renewed provided that the applicant can provide proof of pension or regular income of 65,000 Baht (~$1900 USD) per year, or if the applicant can maintain a Thai bank account with a minimum amount of 800,000 Baht (~24,000 USD).

Thai Elite Visa is a long-term visa that was established to promote Thailand to affluent and high-earning foreigners. This multiple-entry visa gives you the right to live in the country for up to 20 years.

It’s a great solution for digital nomads or business individuals who travel to and from Thailand frequently.

There are different types of Elite Visa available, each having different requirements and benefits.

If you’d like to become a permanent resident in Thailand, there are a few requirements, some of which include:

  • having a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least 3 years before submission of your application
  • and belonging to one of the categories such as business, investment, or expert/academic

American expats who would like to become Thai citizens must hold Permanent Resident status for 10 years.

7. Seychelles

In recent years, more expats became interested in moving to Seychelles, and for good reasons.

Known for its warm, tropical weather, stunning scenery, and unique wildlife, Seychelles is one of the easy countries to move to from the United States. 

The expat work culture here is very friendly, life can be lived simpler and quieter, and it’s also relatively safe there, especially for female expats or single moms. 

tropical island of Seychelles, easy countries to move to from the United States
Photo from Canva

Seychelles is a visa-free country for American passport holders, who intend to stay for tourism purposes for up to 30 days.

Upon entering, you might be asked to show proof of onward travel, confirmed accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.

This is a great option for first-time travelers to Seychelles who would like to visit this beautiful place before making a decision to move there permanently. 

As in most countries, working on a tourist ‘visa’ in Seychelles is illegal.

Everyone who would like to work there is required to obtain a Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP), or simply a work permit. This can be for work as an employee or a self-employed person.

The fee for processing the application is SCR 1000 (around USD 76), and the fee for the whole duration of the permit is SCR 500 (ca. USD 38) per month.

Residence Permit is usually granted to those who have family or domestic connection with Seychelles, and those planning to make special contributions to the social, economic, or cultural life of Seychelles.

Please, note that for setting up a business you will need a GOP visa. 

What will give you the most benefits is the Permanent Residence Permit, allowing you to work without a GOP (work permit), be exempt from any other permit to legally live in Seychelles, and allowing you to buy land and residential property with Government sanction.

In order to apply for this type of permit, you need to live in Seychelles for no less than 5 years on a GOP or Dependent Permit. 

If you have money to invest, you might be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence by Investment program.

Some of the requirements include an investment of USD 1 million or more in a business in Seychelles, having resided in Seychelles for a period of no less than 5 years, and having at least 5 years of business association or affiliation as a result of direct investment. 

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Why You Should Seriously Consider Moving Abroad

Figuring out how to move abroad can be mentally and financially stressful, so I’ve put together a list of easy countries to move to from the United States.

However, once you commit to following your dreams of living abroad, anything is possible.

Moving abroad can significantly change your life for the better. You will be presented with new opportunities, new people, and a new lifestyle.

Your character will be enriched, you will develop new skills, and you will make memories that last a lifetime.

Check my list of the 7 easiest countries to move to from the United States below and get to planning!

If you are considering moving abroad as an American, feel free to have a look at some of my resources that will help you prepare for your move (visas, preparation, finding a job abroad): 

If you need additional information, why not join my ‘How to Move Abroad’ Master Class? It’s an intensive 5-week program that provides end-to-end country-specific support and information for Americans interested in living abroad.

If you have a different passport, don’t worry, I also have a globally relevant course!

I Hope You Enjoyed my List of the Easiest Countries for Americans to Move to!

The world is a huge and beautiful place, with space for everyone who wants to take advantage of its wonders.

Now that you’ve read my list of easy countries to move to from the United States, you can see that there are quite a lot of choices out there.

Remember, everything seems difficult at the beginning and no road is straight, but if you stay focused and motivated, you will find a place you belong to.

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