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As a U.S. citizen born abroad, I’m used to being an expat. Growing up in Canada, my family also spent extensive periods of time in Asia. By the time I moved to the States in my 30s, I didn’t feel like I fit in here. That’s why I’ve continued searching for the easiest countries to move to from the USA. Maybe you are, too. 

Don’t get me wrong — there’s a lot I love about the States. It just doesn’t feel like the right place for me. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that we should live each day to the fullest. While we might head to Canada, we’re also looking at two places we love very much — Japan and South Korea

While we don’t know many people who are considering Asia, we’re aware of many looking to relocate to Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and even Central America. If you’re among the weary souls who are trying to find a new home, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve pulled together some articles and compiled a list of the best countries for American expats to live abroad. 

Easiest Countries to Move to From the USA

Before we get into our list, let’s look at some articles on the subject. Many major outlets have written extensively on the easiest countries to move to from the USA. These articles seem to be even more popular during election years. Here are some brief summaries and links so you can check them out!

Escape From America: 5 Cheapest Places To Move If You Want To Leave The U.S. (Forbes)

The author explains that the U.S. International Living website, which shows how you can live, retire, and invest overseas, saw a 945% increase in traffic from May to early August on its “How to Move Out of the US” page. Meanwhile, more than 250,000 Americans have looked up how to emigrate to New Zealand, representing a 160% spike in traffic. 

Here are the countries mentioned in this article:

  • Costa Rica
  • Belize
  • Portugal
  • Uruguay
  • Mexico

The 13 Best Countries for Americans Who Want to Live Abroad (Thrillist)

Referencing the collective anxiety many have felt in 2020, this article shares that 9 million Americans currently live abroad. That’s basically the entire population of New Jersey! This article looked at whether “a country has a lot of English-speakers or a favorable cost of living or an immigration process that’s (relatively) navigable.” 

Here are the countries mentioned in this article:

  • Vietnam
  • Spain
  • Ghana
  • Argentina
  • Germany
  • South Korea
  • Uruguay
  • New Zealand
  • Thailand
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Mexico 
  • Australia

15 Easiest Countries To Immigrate To From US (Insider Monkey)

This article really gets down to the nitty gritty. There are clear warnings that, although moving abroad might be your dream, it can be a complicated process. The life of expats is not always easy, and there are many recommendations for how to prepare ahead of time. 

Here are the countries mentioned in this article:

  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Denmark
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Argentina
  • Uruguay
  • Japan
  • Belize
  • Peru
  • Panama

These Countries Just Made It Easier for Americans to Move and Work Abroad (Afar)

As Annie Daly reported for AFAR, “In an increasingly connected world, more and more individuals — especially those in the creative and tech sectors, like freelance writers, web developers, and digital marketers — are taking advantage of the opportunities for remote work.”

Here are countries that welcome digital nomads:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Jamaica

10 Best Places to Live Abroad for Americans (Go Abroad)

According to this article, “The majority of U.S. citizens living abroad can be found in our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico. That being said, hundreds of thousands of Americans have successfully ventured to faraway countries such as the Philippines, Italy, and South Korea.”

Here are the countries mentioned in this article:

  • Czech Republic
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • Germany
  • Thailand
  • Costa Rica
  • Canada
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Peru

The Best Countries to Move to in 2021 (MoveHub)

While this site, which specializes in overseas shipping, admits that the current restrictions make it difficult to move right now, they did compile a great list of the easiest countries to move to from the USA. They even pointed to an HSBC study showing that 74% of expats increase their income in their new country! 

Here are the countries mentioned in this article:

  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Singapore
  • Finland
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Vietnam

Best Countries to Move For Americans

We’re so grateful for the wealth of information out there, because finding a new home can be exhausting. There’s so much fine print, and the last thing you want is to invest a lot of time and money into something that won’t work out. 

We’ve got our own list of the easiest countries to move for Americans, but we’re biased. We tend to gravitate towards places that embrace collectivism and place a high emphasis on mutual respect. We also value sustainable living and a strong sense of community. Those qualities are reflected in most of our choices for the best places for American expats. 

Canada

My home and native land! Of course, I had to mention Canada first on this list. The country is very welcoming to immigrants, and there’s a lot of wide open space to stretch out. The food is great, hockey is amazing, and there are plenty of job opportunities. I’ve traveled extensively, and I have to say that Canada has the most beautiful landscape in the world. 

Vancouver BMW eBike Stanley Park Fairmont Pacific Rim

Pros: It’s close to the United States, so it’s easy to visit friends and family. The cost of living is quite similar, and no matter what anyone says, the Canadian healthcare system provides peace of mind for citizens. Diversity is celebrated (although, some areas — ahem, Alberta — need some work), education is fantastic, and poutine will change your life. Most speak English, and some speak French, but you’ll hear many different languages spoken on the streets of Canada. 

Cons: You’ll be surprised by how everyday things like Walmart, Amazon, and Netflix can be so different across the border. You won’t have as much variety on certain items (even at the grocery store!) and shipping costs are often outrageous. Also, the winters are long and harsh in every province except British Columbia and housing in the major cities can be stupid expensive. 

South Korea

I’m a huge fan of the Olympics, and I remember being a little girl watching the games in Seoul. Then, just a few years ago, the Summer Games were in Pyeongchang. Both times, I was just mesmerized by their innovation, gorgeous landscapes, and incredible culture. It’s hard not to be amazed by South Korea’s technology, arts, and history.  Plus, you can’t deny the popularity of K-dramas, Korean horror movies, K-beauty, and K-pop (we love BTS in this house!). 

Pros: Their high-tech lives make a lot of things easier. It’s easy to get a job teaching English, and the country is friendly for English speakers! The weather is beautiful, as the country enjoys all four seasons. The food is out of this world (but spicy!), and the people are warm. There’s a lot to do, as festivals and events are common in South Korea. It’s also very safe and the overall cost of living is relatively low. 

Cons: Air pollution is a problem, y’all. It’s not completely South Korea’s fault. They inherit a lot of pollutants and contaminants from China, but wearing a mask on high pollution days is pretty common. Housing is smaller and sometimes more expensive than what we’re used to in North America. Also, while relations with North Korea have been *okay* for decades, they are still technically at war. So, you gotta keep an eye on that! 

Japan

Growing up, my family spent a lot of time in Japan. In fact, my mother married a Japanese widower right when I was finishing high school. To me, Japan is as much my home as anywhere else. In fact, I feel more at ease on the streets of Osaka than I do in the States. The food, culture, traditions, and deep level of respect for all forms of life will make you fall in love with this beautiful country and its people. 

Dotonbori Osaka

Pros: Like South Korea, the cost of living is lower in Japan than in Canada or the United States. In fact, you could eat well from the convenience stores and not spend more than $5 a meal. The aging population is retiring without enough locals to fill jobs, so the country is looking for skilled workers in many different fields. Japan is innovative and resilient (just look at how they’ve bounced back from major disasters), creating an optimistic environment.

Cons: You’ll have to learn the Japanese language and cultural norms (and to drive on the other side of the road!). Personally, I love their way of life, but I’m sure some of it might be tough for Americans. While Japan is technologically advanced, you might be surprised by the low quality websites and the fact that many things still need to be done manually. The COVID-19 pandemic and the technologically-savvy way South Korea handled things, however, has made Japan rethink some of its more anachronistic approaches to everyday life. 

Australia

Being from Canada, I’ve always felt a sort of kinship with Australia. My sister even lived there for a year. Australia is a huge country with everything from modern cities to the wild outback. Of course, you can’t beat that coastline of pristine beaches! Some of my favorite friends live in Australia, so I’m biased in saying the people are friendly and welcoming. 

Easiest Countries to Move to From the USA

Pros: It’s an English-speaking country with a cost of living that’s slightly higher (but similar) compared to the United States. If you love warm, dry climates, you’ll enjoy the weather in Australia. The largest part is desert or semi-arid, and in most places, the winters are mild. With great job opportunities and housing options, this could easily be your paradise (especially if you love an active, outdoors lifestyle!). 

Cons: Winter is summer and summer is winter, which could bother some people. Personally, I’d be fine, but I know some folks who would hate celebrating Christmas in the summer. Just like Japan and Korea, Australia is pretty far from the U.S. You’d have to be okay with being in a long-distance relationship with friends and family (this is a perk for some of us, haha!). Of course, there are also the spiders, snakes, and other abundant Australian wildlife. 🙂

Costa Rica

Complete disclaimer — we’ve never been to Costa Rica, but we do have family and friends who have lived there and love it! Similar in size to West Virginia, there are many mountain towns and seaside villages to consider, as well as major cities such as the capital, San Jose. The idea of living in Costa Rica speaks to me, even though I’ve never been. It’s constantly on lists of the easiest countries to move to from the United States, so others must feel the same way, too! 

Easiest Countries to Move to From the USA

Pros: The laid-back lifestyle (and breathtaking beaches!) appeal to many, as does the political stability. Many of the locals learned English in school, so you won’t have a hard time communicating in your new home. There are established expat communities in Costa Rica which will make your transition even easier. With good visa options and an extremely low cost of living, I’m wondering why we haven’t moved there already!

Cons: There are a lot of critters and animals to get used to. Scorpions and snakes are commonly found in homes and aggressive monkeys might fight you for your phone. It’s also a popular tourist destination, so you’ll have to deal with those crowds on an ongoing basis. The roads aren’t in the best shape, and the rain can be oppressive (and watch out for hurricane season). 

Resources for Americans Who Want to Live Abroad

Ready to find your new home? You’ll need to do extensive research to make sure you’re making the right decision. Here are some websites to help you get started.

InterNations Go!

We really can’t say enough about the InterNations Go! website. As the site explains, “InterNations GO! is an international relocation service company founded by InterNations, the largest social network dedicated to expats.” You can search any region in the world and find relocation resources. There is a wealth of real-life information on this site. Don’t skip it!

Numbeo

We are obsessed with Numbeo. It’s the largest cost of living and quality of life database. Compare your current and prospective cities in terms of housing, groceries, crime rates, quality of healthcare, and so much more. 

MoveHub

If you’re planning to bring personal belongings with you, you’ll want to check out MoveHub. The company works with industry leaders in packing, shipping, and moving to international destinations. The site also features a series of guides for your destination city or country to help you prepare for your new life abroad. 

Immigrate to Canada

This site tells you everything you need to know about emigrating to Canada. There’s also information for how to protect yourself from fraud and what to expect after you arrive in Canada.

Hi Korea

This official website is described as “Government for Foreigners” and contains information on the different types of immigrant visas and applications you’ll need to move to South Korea. 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

This page details the work and long-term stay options in Japan. You’ll find information about the highly-skilled professional visa, working visa, general visa, and more. 

Department of Home Affairs (Australia)

Explore the variety of visa options for those who wish to relocate to Australia. You can also learn more about becoming an Australian citizen.

Costa Rica Visas for Foreigners

The situation in Costa Rica might be a little trickier than the other destinations mentioned on this list. Use this site to learn more about how to enter Costa Rica legally and how to apply for visas. 

Easiest Countries for Americans Relocate

We hope this list of the best countries for Americans who want to live abroad was helpful. For us, going to Canada would probably be the easiest. Since I was born there and hold citizenship, I could help facilitate the move. We’re looking at South Korea and Japan just as closely, though, despite the challenges. 

The bottom line is that you can’t put a price on happiness, and I believe that where we live makes such a difference. It’s hard to feel like you don’t fit in. Life is short. Go find your new home. Enjoy the journey and explore an entirely new existence. Even if it doesn’t work out forever, you’ll expand and grow!