Do you fantasize about leaving your home country and making a life on the beach somewhere? Maybe you crave mountain adventures, or simply a friendlier community.
But when you wake up from these daydreams, you are likely reminded of how costly and labor intensive it is to immigrate, not to mention that giving up the citizenship of your birth is kind of a big deal.
All that’s true, but there are several countries that are totally open to having you come, live, and work for an extended period of time without necessarily becoming a full citizen.
It is possible to live the life of your dreams now, and decide about making it permanent later.
- Which country is best to immigrate?
- Which country gives permanent residency easily?
- What country is the easiest to immigrate to?
- What is the easiest European country to immigrate to?
- What is the best country to start a new life?
- Where is it easy to immigrate?
Sweden is a great choice if you are looking for a high quality of life and progressive political culture. It has been called one of the best countries to be a woman and has the most progressive views regarding gender equality. It also offers generous immigration policies, with a refugee and immigrant population of about 15%.
Sweden is not the easiest country on our list to simply drop into for a long term stay, because you will need a job offer in order to get a work visa.
However, the immigration process is well automated online, and most people can spend a few months in the country visa-free in order to network.
Though steeped in a bloody history, Cambodia is now one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. It is a good choice for people who crave a change from their first-world ideals, as the customs will be very new to most.
For example, people in Cambodia don’t celebrate their birthdays, and lots of adults don’t even know how old they are. Fast food is not very popular, and the preferred method of travel is the moped.
To live in Cambodia, you can get a long-term business visa without needing to be sponsored by a local company. This visa can be renewed indefinitely, but doesn’t grant the right to work for a Cambodian company. You will need to apply for a work permit in order to get a job there, but you may find that employers are lax about enforcing that requirement.
Forget what you’ve heard on the news. Nicaragua is a beautiful tropical locale with people who will welcome you. Even though there is some rough stuff in its history, Nicaragua currently has the lowest crime rate of any Central American country. Throw in not one, but two, pristine coastlines, and Nicaragua may be hard to beat.
The bar for Nicaragua’s retirement program is surprisingly low, requiring only $600 per month in income. You don’t even technically need to be retired, as Nicaragua issues these visas to people of any age who are self-employed or own a small hotel or restaurant in the country.
But moving again into a place that’s not just inviting, but warm and inviting, the Seychelles is a group of 115 gorgeous islands in the western Indian Ocean. Almost half of the available landmass in the country is protected in the form of national parks and reserves, but that still leaves plenty of room for expats craving the beach life and lots of cultural diversity.
All you will need upon arrival in the Seychelles is a passport. There are no visa requirements for moving there. If after five years of residence you want to make it official, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship – as long as you haven’t gotten into any legal trouble during that time. Cashed up expats can cut their wait time for citizenship to one year if they invest at least $1 million USD.
If it’s not comfort you’re after but an extreme adventure, Svalbard may be the place. A territory of Norway, Svalbard is an archipelago located between the mainland and the North Pole. As such, it gets so brutally cold that homelessness is both deadly and illegal.
Polar bears are also known to roam around, so you will be required to carry a gun for protection. In the summer, the sun doesn’t set there for four straight months, but in the winter, it’s dark all the time.
There are very few rules for gaining entry to Svalbard. No one from any country needs a visa, but the governor does reserve the right to deny entrance to people who are not prepared to hack the conditions. You must have a place to live, and usually homes are provided by employers to employees. So if you can snag a job, you’re in.
Roatán isn’t a country unto itself, but for those seeking remote island living, it may be just what the doctor ordered. Located 35 miles off the coast of Honduras, Roatán boasts sugar-sand beaches, peaceful bays, and a stunning mountainous interior perfect for hiking. The infrastructure is also strong, so you won’t need to sacrifice the creature comforts you’re used to.
If you only want to stay for 3-4 months at a time, a visitor visa will suffice. To retire on Roatán (or anywhere in Honduras), you’ll need to show an income of $1,500 per month.
If you are not of retirement age, the income requirement goes up to $2,500/month, but you can still get a permanent residence visa that does not require renouncing your citizenship elsewhere, even if you ultimately choose to become a citizen.
There’s not much to worry about in Belize, a place where you can both dive a barrier reef and explore ancient Mayan ruins in one day. On the other hand, why not simply kick back in a beach side hammock? With a very low cost of living, Belize is truly your oyster.
You need only live in Belize for a year before becoming eligible for permanent residence. All you need to do is enter the country on a visitor visa and renew it every month until you hit 50 consecutive weeks in Belize.
If you are over 45 years old, you can speed up the process with a Qualified Retired Persons visa, which requires a monthly income of $2,000. You won’t be able to work for a company within Belize on a QRP, but you can freelance remotely for an overseas company.
Costa Rica has been popular with expats for over 30 years due to its easy-going lifestyle and gorgeous ocean-side landscapes. Actually, water lovers of all kinds will thrive in Costa Rica, as it boasts the second largest number of rivers and water bodies anywhere in the world. As you can imagine, a wide range of native fauna comes along with that, including over 300 species of hummingbird!
Costa Rica is a wonderful place for retirees, offering a visa program that welcomes older folks with at least $1,000/month in income. For the working set, you will need a job to settle there. Luckily, Costa Rica has a lot of job opportunities, especially around tourism and teaching English.
Panama is a welcoming country that wants its guests to feel like part of the family. It’s got all the nature you could ever want in the form of clean, soft beaches, rich farmland, thick rainforests, and green mountains. It also has cozy small towns plus the modern and exciting capital of Panama City. The U.S dollar is Panama’s official currency.
There are several flexible options for people who want to stay in Panama long term. If you are from one of 50 “Friendly Nations” you can come and work with no problem. If you would like to retire in Panama, you simply need to show a monthly pension of at least $1,000 to receive a Pensionado Visa. This route also offers a bunch of discounts for things like healthcare and restaurant meals.
The lifestyle in Mexico is more relaxed than other first-world countries, but it’s got all the amenities you are used to, including high-speed internet, current movies and television shows, and convenient shopping for food and necessities. Don’t forget the beach and the delicious local cuisine!
In Mexico you can immediately apply for a permanent resident visa, which has no expiration date and grants you the ability to work. To qualify, you need to show a monthly net income of around $1,826 as an individual – it’s understandably more for the whole family. There are also several temporary residence visas available, which are good for four years and require a monthly income of $1,096.
As you can see, there are many countries in the world that keep their doors open for expats with minimal requirements for long term stays. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, or the icy tundra that calls your name, a new life can be within reach.
And with the rise of telecommuting options, if your new country has a reliable internet connection, you may not even need to find a new job to support yourself. What are you waiting for? Stop dreaming and start doing!