As the holder of a U.S. passport, you may have had the privilege of visiting several countries around the world. After all, your passport is the 7th most powerful in the world- according to the Henley report. Maybe, during your travels, you may have enjoyed staying in one country more than the others and perhaps you began to entertain the idea of moving to another country.

Even if you’ve never visited another country, you want something new and exciting, and you’re thinking about changing your current address. Unfortunately, moving to a new country is not as easy as some may think. For one, you have to know whether you need a visa to enter a certain country, and you will most likely be required to have a specific amount of money in your bank account to get the visa.

Nevertheless, to make your journey simpler and more enjoyable, you can read about some of the easiest countries you can move to from the United States.

Here are the 9 easiest countries that you can move to from the United States:

  • Svalbard
  • Mexico
  • Portugal
  • Ecuador
  • Malta 
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • Canada

Svalbard

Transferring to Svalbard from the US is relatively easy because you don’t need a visa to enter, work, or live on the archipelago. However, you still need to prove that you can financially support yourself, live in Svalbard on your own, and you must have work and housing secure before you move there.

Keep in mind that Svalbard is located between Norway and the North Pole, and while it’s one of the most inhabited areas in the north it has difficult terrain, cold weather, and people are outnumbered by polar bears. So, while moving there might be easy, living is more difficult- you may want to think twice before making a decision when it comes to Svalbard.

Mexico

Mexico seems to be the top destination for U.S citizens to start their new life. In 2019, the US State Department surmised that approximately 1 million Americans are living in Mexico. There are several reasons why Mexico is so popular with expats, but generally, it comes down to four important factors: the low cost of living, favorable weather conditions, affordable healthcare system for expats, and a better work-life balance. 

When it comes to an affordable cost of living, usually individual monthly expenses in Mexico go around $780-900 which is significantly lower when compared to the average expenses in America, around $2,000-2,500 (the average expenses vary depending on where you live). This, combined with amazing weather and fewer working hours, makes Mexico ideal to live a more relaxed lifestyle.

To move there, you can first visit Mexico visa-free for 180 days. Then, you can apply for a temporary residence permit- which is usually valid for 4 years. Afterward, if you want to make Mexico your final home, you can apply for permanent residency in Mexico. If you’ve lived 5 years continuously in Mexico you may be eligible for citizenship.

Portugal

Portugal seems to be another popular destination for US citizens, mainly due to the pleasant climate, but also because of the Golden visa scheme. With a Golden visa, you can get Portuguese citizenship after 5 years since your visa was issued, provided that you spent at least 35 days total in the country.

To get a Golden visa for Portugal, there are several different ways, but the most common way is via real estate. Usually, you have to purchase a property priced at $500,000. However, this purchase is not available in metropolitan areas such as Lisbon, Porto, or the coastal Algarve.

Additionally, Portugal has a great retirement scheme for those who want to spend their golden days on the beach, relaxing and enjoying Portuguese culture. Keep in mind that to get a retirement visa, you have to have a steady income from your pensions, or savings.

Ecuador

Moving to Ecuador has many benefits for US citizens, including the low cost of living, the proximity to the US, and the wide use of the English language and dollar. Another attractive prospect to move to Ecuador without a doubt is the amazing weather. For US citizens, there are two simple ways to move to Ecuador.

Firstly, you can enter Ecuador visa-free for 90 days only with a valid passport. Afterward, if you want to move permanently to Ecuador you must have been living there for 21 months under a temporary visa.

The two most common temporary visas for expats are the investor visa and the retirement visa. For the investor visa, you can usually qualify by purchasing real estate or investing your money in a bank CD, while for the retirement visa you must prove that you have a fixed monthly income either from your pension or personal savings.

Malta 

This is another popular country for US citizens, mainly because of the climate, and because similarly to Portugal, it has a Golden visa scheme. For Malta’s Golden scheme you may either invest your money in government bonds, invest in a non-refundable government contribution, or purchase property for €320,000 or $375,637.

With a Golden visa, you will gain permanent residency and you can live and work in Malta as you wish, and after five years you can apply for citizenship and get a Maltese passport. Since Malta is in the EU and a part of the Schengen Area, you can visit the Schengen countries and the EU countries visa-free.

Spain

Spain is one of the easiest European countries to move to as a US citizen. Since you are from an English-speaking country you can easily get a temporary visa via the North American Language and Cultural Assistant program. You get to teach English in schools and work around 12 to 16 hours a week, and you receive a monthly stipend. You can continue to stay in the country with this visa or find work and apply for another long-term visa.

However, if you have enough money you can easily get a two-year residence permit via Spain’s Golden visa program. Afterward, you can renew your permit every two years, and then if you live for 5 years continuously in Spain you can apply for permanent residency.

South Korea

Similar to Spain, you can move to South Korea by teaching English. Usually, the main requirement is that you have at least a bachelor’s degree, but depending on where you work other requirements may be established.

Living in South Korea might be an unforgettable experience. You will get to experience an entirely new culture, visit some of the most famous historical places, try some amazing Korean food, and make new friends.

Keep in mind that you can stay up to one year with this visa, and if you want to stay longer you will need to apply for another long-term visa.

Australia

You can move to Australia easily temporarily via the working holiday visa program. Since you are American you have to apply for the working holiday visa 462, since the other visa is an agreement between Australia and other countries.

This visa will allow you to stay for one year in Australia and work there in some specific fields. If you want to go back, you can still apply for a second-year working holiday visa and a third-year visa. However, you cannot move permanently to Australia with a working holiday visa, you must have either a work visa or a family visa.

Canada

To visit Canada with a valid US passport you won’t need a visa or an eTA, and you can stay up to six months visa-free, but you cannot work. However, to move permanently in Canada the easiest way is through the Express Entry system. This is an immigration program targeting highly skilled workers that can benefit three major economic fields in Canada. To get a visa via the express entry program, you must score the required number of points, and the more points you gain the more likely you are to get the visa.

Afterward, you are eligible for Canadian citizenship after you’ve been a permanent resident for at least three years or more accurately for 1095 days for at least 5 years before you apply for Citizenship. Here you can read about how to move from USA to Canada.

Few Important Things to Know Before You Move

The idea of moving to a new country from the US seems exciting and glamorous, but the reality is not always as pictured. There are some important things you need to know before you change your life.

Health insurance

When you apply for a visa you will most likely be required to provide travel health insurance. However, travel insurance is not the same as the health insurance you need when you live in a new country.

Some countries may have a public health scheme and if you are employed, depending on your visa type, you can have the benefits of public health services, but for most countries, you will need private insurance.

Financial Means

You must have savings or a good income before you plan to move to a new country. Moreover, in expat forums, people advise to always have a work plan ready when you move or have a job waiting for you in your new country.

This is particularly important if you are applying for a retirement visa. You need to have enough money to receive a specific monthly amount so you can live in your new country.

Language Barrier

Contrary to popular belief, English is not widely used in some countries. You may find that in official offices, such as a consulate, embassy, or governmental buildings, English is used, but with locals not so much, especially with older generations.

This will also depend on the country; most European countries use English as a second language, but other places do not as much. 

As a result, you may have some problems interacting daily with the local community, so it’s always advisable to try and pick up some common words and phrases to make the transition process easier for you. 

Culture Shock

A new country means new customs and traditions. Sometimes, the usual things you are used to might be seen as rude or inappropriate in your new country or vice-versa. Before you move, please make sure to do some research to see what the culture and daily life are in your new country.