Are you a citizen of the United States of America? Thinking of moving abroad from USA? According to the State Department, millions of Americans are actually doing it. These days, it is easier than ever with the increased freedom of remote working. Moving abroad from USA can appeal to just about anyone, whether you’re an individual expat, a digital nomad, a family relocating for a new job, or a future retiree aiming to make the most of those golden years.
While there are many places to consider for your new home, we’ve narrowed down this list of the best countries for Americans to move to looking into cost of living, tax, safety, friendliness, quality of life, healthcare and job opportunities. These aspects are major to consider when you move from USA. These are 13 of the best countries for American expats.
The best countries for Americans to move to from USA
It makes sense that due to geography, the vast majority of North American expatriates choose to base themselves within the Americas – that is South America, Central America or Canada. However, Europe and Asia are also popular with US expats.
The best countries for Americans to move to from USA
There are somewhere around 9 million Americans currently living abroad, which for scale is one New Jersey’s worth of us out there roaming the world. Whether a country has a lot of English speakers or a favorable cost of living or an immigration process that’s easier, some are navigable for Americans to move to than others. Luckily, in Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, and beyond, these countries make a pretty compelling case to leave everything behind. Living abroad is a great way to gain a new perspective not just on a new country, but your home country as well.
Although the United States offers a world class healthcare system, educational, business and work opportunities, there’s been a rise in Americans looking to move abroad, and politically stable destinations with accessible and affordable healthcare are popular choices. Moreover, moving abroad also gives you an opportunity to diversify your passport portfolio. This list covers some of the best destinations for Americans and their families to move to in 2022. It’s based on the latest available data on things like potential expat earnings, quality of life, healthcare and more. However, please remember to always do your own research into local COVID-19 restrictions.
Cost of living
Cost of living for expats is definitely something to consider when you move abroad. It includes the price of accommodation and utility bills, transportation, tax. Choosing a smaller city rather than a capital could help saving.
Remote working and work-life balance
Working remotely is not going away. However, you may be putting in longer hours to stay in touch with colleagues and clients in different time zones. This can lead to isolation and mental health challenges. Look into co-working spaces, community events, clubs, gyms, and access to serotonin-inducing activities—like running groups, cooking classes, and language courses—all of which can help you keep the balance and mingle with locals and fellow expats.
Time and time again, Mexico has proven itself to be the best country for Americans to move to from USA. Mexico is a popular choice with Americans due to its close proximity to the US and its climate. In fact, Mexico is home to more American expats than any other country in the world, with 1.5 million choosing it as their permanent home.
When relocating to Mexico from the US, there are three types of visa depending on how long you want to stay:
- a 6-month holiday permit
- a temporary working permit
- a permanent visa
As Mexico is such a big country, expats recommend staying for 6 months on a temporary visa first. You can then try out different locations – both cities and coastal towns – before committing to somewhere to live.
The pros of being an American expat in Mexico include:
A lower cost of living
– Investopedia estimates that a single person or retiree can live in Mexico City for less than US$1,000/month. This will be higher for families. Bear in mind that wages are lower in Mexico than in the US.
Good work opportunities in the tech industries
– there is an emerging tech scene in Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. It’s home to small and medium companies bursting with innovation, creativity and engineering talent. Big names such as Oracle, Intel, IBM and HP are based there.
– the Mexican people are said to be very friendly and welcoming. Even so, it’s a good idea to learn as much Spanish as you can before your move.
The cons of moving to Mexico from USA as an American expat include:
– this is always a consideration in Mexico, although places like Querétaro and Sayulita tend to be safer options.
– if you’re a US citizen, you will continue to pay tax in the US.
– you will need health insurance when you move to Mexico. Make sure you check that it covers you for being flown back to the US if that’s something you would like included. Not all companies include this as standard
Around 9,000 Americans live permanently in this South American country that’s famous for being on the Equator. Ecuador is consistently voted one of the cheapest places to retire and with an average expat salary of around US$48,000, it’s a very affordable place to live and to move to from USA. Property prices are rising steadily, particularly in the popular city of Cuenca, but the cost of living in the capital Quito is still cheaper than many expats imagine. As with Mexico, you’ll get more from your move if you commit to learning Spanish.
Some of the top reasons Ecuador is one of the best countries for Americans to move to include:
Inexpensive, efficient healthcare
of a high quality. This is a draw for many Americans, as the Ecuadorian healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the US. Dental care is also very reasonably priced.
– Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and full of rich sights and experiences.
– famous for its ‘buen vivir’, levels of wellbeing in Ecuador are comparatively higher than in countries of a similar size with a similar GDP.
When making your decision about a permanent move from America to Ecuador, it’s worth considering:
Ease of finding employment
– Ecuador is best suited to people with specialist skills and/or who work for a big international company. Otherwise, jobs are not overly plentiful and often tend to go to locals first.
– the bigger cities, including the capital Quito, still have some issues around personal security including street robbery and assault.
Canada is another consistently popular choice for American expats to move to from USA. It ranks very highly for quality of life, safety, health and environment – and it has a stable political landscape. Over 10,000 American expats moved to Canada in 2019, and the number of US families moving permanently to Canada more doubled in 2020.
Some of the key advantages when moving from USA to Canada include:
Good expat salaries
– the average expat salary in Canada is an impressive $111,000 USD.
– the healthcare system in Canada is world-famous and a definite draw for American expats.
When weighing up both the pros and cons of moving your family to Canada from the USA, it’s worth noting that:
cost of living is high in the major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.
- h4There are restrictions over private healthcare
– certain Canadian provinces have banned private healthcare, although there is some debate as to whether this is constitutional.
After the Americas, Europe is the next most popular destination for US expats. The jewel in Europe’s crown is sunny Portugal where the cost of living is among the lowest in Western Europe. With the average expat salary being around $102,669 USD, there is bound to be money left over for enjoying the good life, so it’s proven itself as one of the best countries for American expats to move to.
Other big draws for moving to Portugal from USA as an expat include:
– in Portugal, healthcare is high quality and a fraction of the cost in the US. And if you become a permanent resident, public health care is free.
– In 2017, Portugal was ranked the third safest country in the world, 156 places ahead of the US. Overall crime is low and politics are stable.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that:
The moving process can be laborious
. There tends to be a lot of paperwork involved for Americans moving to Portugal. There are a variety of visa options and it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a relocation expert.
Home burglaries are common
. Although overall crime is low, burglaries are common, particularly among tourists and expats.
You’ll be in good company as an expat in Singapore, where almost a third of the population are foreigners. With tens of thousands of these expats from the US, it’s no surprise that Singapore has made the list as one of the best countries for American expats. Although salaries tend to be lower in than they are in North America, as an expat you may be eligible for a relocation package. And while taxes are low in Singapore, do check whether – as an American citizen – you will need to continue to pay into the US tax system.
Some clear benefits for American expats in Singapore include:
. If you’re moving from USA to Singapore with your family, education will be an important consideration.
– Singapore’s healthcare is among the best in the world. Residents are expected to contribute towards their treatment. Many expats in Singapore choose to have private healthcare insurance for emergencies and more complex issues.
– this is a huge draw for Americans looking to relocate to Singapore. Violent crime is very low, and it’s also one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Other factors to take into considering include:
High cost of living
, including groceries and property prices. This is because Singapore is a small island where goods have to be imported and space is at a premium.
Becoming a citizen
is possible after living in Singapore for two years.
Read our full guide on moving and living in Singapore as an expat.
Peace of mind when you move
In this article, we took you through the best countries to move to from the USA – in terms of the standard of living, cost of living, language barrier, economic opportunities, lifestyle and more. At William Russell, we have nearly 30 years of helping expatriates settle into their new lives overseas by providing world-class international health insurance. We also have lots of expert resources to help you and your family choose a country to move to and adapt to life abroad. As always, make sure you do your research before you relocate or retire abroad. It’s a good idea to read and watch as much as you can about your intended destination before you commit, especially on international job opportunities.
We hope this list of best countries to move to from USA has been helpful to you as an American expat. No matter where you move to from USA, you can take one thing off your mind. William Russell offers international health insurance that covers you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays. We can even offer medical evacuation to patients who require treatment in other countries.