As we begin to see the tail-end of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unique challenges it has brought us, we can now experience the silver lining of remote work. Never before have more people in the workplace enjoyed the freedom of not having to commute to their place of business. Remote working is fast becoming the norm, which allows so many the flexibility to travel and to even move to their country of choice.
According to the State Department, currently over nine million Americans are expats living outside the U.S. – and that number is growing rapidly. If you are thinking about taking the plunge to expat living, we’ve narrowed down these seven countries that welcome Americans with open arms. We’ll tell you why these are the easiest countries to move to from the USA, and what makes them a great place to call home (if even temporarily).
These countries are good if you are not necessarily looking to become a citizen, but rather to live the expat life for a year or two.
For those remote workers in the U.S. craving less hustle and bustle, New Zealand just may be your antidote to the stressful life. They look to this tiny country to fine-tune their mental well-being and work-life balance in a big way. This is one of the countries that faced the Covid pandemic head on and indeed beat it long before other countries could even get a handle on the situation and the tough roads that lie ahead, thanks to their masterful female Prime Minister.
The political stability of New Zealand is only accentuated by its sheep-strewn, mountainous landscape, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. When the working day is done, expats delight in the myriad of outdoor adventures, fresh seafood, and wine tastings. The hub of Auckland is where commerce meets culture, but future expats may also want to consider Wellington, with its charming Victorian architecture. Or Queenstown, which offers its own brand of excitement. The North and South islands are an easy ferry ride apart, leaving travelers free to explore the amazing number of glaciers, snow-capped mountains, lakes, hot springs, ski slopes, and beaches. Kiwis in the know call New Zealand home because this is where the good life happens.
Why it’s easy for an expat to move here: Anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 with about $3,000 USD in the bank can apply for a working holiday visa, where travelers can live as the Kiwis do for up to 12 months. For those over 30, you will likely need to find a job in New Zealand, by a “skilled worker,” or have more $$ to invest.
Imagine beautiful medieval villages, dramatic natural landscapes, lazy yacht afternoons, not to mention an adrenaline junkie hotspot, and you can imagine Montenegro. This multi-cultural haven is a paradise for the Instagrammer, with no shortage of stunning photogenic opportunities. This little country situated along the Adriatic Sea is a prime candidate for succession to the European Union.
Affordability is another big draw for the expat. For example, a single person could live on less than $500 per month in the century city of Podgorica. Or live the high-life in a nice one-bedroom in the center of town for a mere $300 more.
Why it’s easy to move here: The low taxes and favorable business start-up expenses, for starters. Since declaring independence in 2006, Montenegro’s economy thrives on the service industry and tourism, with an eye towards sustainability and renewable energy. Montenegro enjoys a stable economy, with a 4.1% annual growth rate. A simple visa process allows most anyone to move here on grounds of employment, education, medical treatment, or family reunion.
Literally and figuratively, there is no closer friend to the U.S. than Canada. It is one reason why our neighbors to the north remain a top contender for American expats. Other amazing reasons are the affordable education, healthcare, cultural diversity, economic stability, and countless unspoiled adventures brought to us by Mother Nature.
For those seeking work, the cosmopolitan city of Toronto has been likened by many to that of New York City, which offers a ton of business opportunity. Other great cities are Vancouver, which is surrounded by unparalleled scenery of mountains and ocean. Here, residents can easily take weekend trips to Vancouver Island, a haven for nature lovers. The seaside resort town of Tofino is popular, where surfers come to relish the waves on the edge of the North American continent.
The hip crowd flock to Calgary and its renaissance experience of cool eateries, hip neighborhoods, and closeness to the most iconic hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies (think the majestic Banff National Park). Then there is the French infusion of Quebec City and Montreal in the east, which boast a nice change of pace with their European look and feel.
Why it’s easy for expats to move here: Americans will find it straightforward to set up shop here; particularly if they have a relative that was born here, or have a Canadian job offer. Skilled workers are also welcome.
Being able to immerse oneself in another culture is a big reason why expats leave America. Thailand ticks all of the boxes here with respect to fantastic (and super cheap) street food, beach parties, and massages galore. Chiang Mai has long been known as the expat capital of the world and there is a thriving community of remote workers from around the globe – here you will be in fine company.
That said, this is still a developing country. As such, the cost of living is quite a bit less expensive than the U.S. For example, an amazing one-bedroom apartment in city center will set you back about THB40,500 (about $1,200 dollars).
Why it’s easy for expats to move here: Temporary expats can apply for a non-immigrant ‘B’ visa for one year. This only requires proof of employment along with some financial documents. WiFi Artists will be including Thailand as one of our 2022 monthly trips, so this is the perfect opportunity to join our community and see if Thailand is right for you.
Portugal has become a recent darling of expats; a trendy country, if you will, for those seeking a life that is a little more laid back, a little less hurried. Tucked along the seaside due west of Spain, it is drawing young entrepreneurs in droves, thanks to its welcoming business incentives for high-tech and other start-ups, and affordable cost of living. The second city of Porto comes alive with a modern, creative energy, where one big industry is in manufacturing and textiles. Indeed, a plethora of new designers have decided to call Porto home.
But what makes Portugal so inviting for remote workers are its cobblestone streets, its cafes, great architecture, and boutiques. Pair that with a healthy dose of historical significance, its art scene, and sunny beaches, and you have a recipe for expat heaven. When you want to get away from your laptop for a couple of hours, simply stroll the neighborhood streets for relaxation and inspiration. The top expat locations here are the Algarve region and Cascais.
Why it’s easy for expats to move here: it’s the least expensive country in Western Europe, and there are many options for American citizens. One of which is you can apply for a D7 Visa and Residence Permit. WiFi Artists will be including Portugal as one of our 2022 monthly trips, so this is the perfect opportunity to join our community and see if Portugal is right for you.
When remote workers relocate to well-trodden Costa Rica, they will find a country uniquely situated between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. This utopic Central American enclave boasts active volcanoes, enchanting cloudy forests, and exotic wildlife taking the form of capuchin monkey, sloths, and toucans. Here in Costa Rica, everyone lives a Pura Vida (i.e. Pure Life) philosophy of good living, and speaking the native Spanish comes easy when you immerse yourself in the friendly culture.
San Jose offers this culture in spades. But when you just want some serenity, head in either direction to enjoy long stretches of pristine beaches, sleepy seaside villages, and take up a yoga or surfing class or two. If you value a healthy sustainable lifestyle enhanced by natural beauty, then Costa Rica is for you.
Why it’s easy for expats to move here: Costa Rica offers expats a sweetly straightforward residence program with easy visa options, and easy flights to and from the U.S. What’s more, remote workers can enjoy affordable dental and health care, a stable democracy, and culture all over.
This compact little city-state is on many a would-be expat’s list for many reasons. There are few other places in the world that are more diverse with respect to its citizens and things to do and see. Couple that with a healthy bout of job security, a top-notch transportation system, high-quality schools – all of which combine to make Singapore an irresistible draw for American expats. It’s just downright an exciting place to live. Singapore is also squeaky clean; you won’t find trash lining the streets like you would in many other urban areas around the world.
Foodies will always find amazing meals here. A veritable melting pot of cultures offer culinary delights, from hawker centers to night markets to the finest Michelin-starred restaurants, you will be fed well here. Singapore is a true cosmopolitan destination that has taken things up a notch with sustainable skyscrapers, idyllic botanical garden walks, and amazing shopping. When you’re not working from your laptop, there are so many other things to do in this spectacular Southeast Asian city. You will get your first taste of the magical possibilities of Singapore the moment you step off the plane at Changi Airport when you are greeted by the “Rain Vortex,” the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and five-story garden bursting with lush greenery.
Why it’s easy for expats to move here: You may qualify for the country’s EntrePass entrepreneur visas, and is the second easiest place to do business (after New Zealand). Several cash grants are open to start-up companies, including those run by American expats. While the cost of living is more expensive than other countries on our list, many still choose Singapore because it is less expensive than most major U.S. cities.
WiFi Artists is a growing community of digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and remote workers who come together to travel the world. If you are an expat, or are considering this amazing life-change, check us out. Our groups travel to a different destination country each month to experience its culture, while working remotely.