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Life Abroad: The 14 Best Countries In The World for Ex-Pats

The United States, with its overpriced healthcare, political strife, high cost of living, and deep partisan conflict has seen a huge rise in expatriation and emigration as many citizens have become disgusted with their homeland and are looking to start life anew somewhere else. Due to the foreign policy of the US, this can be a complex prospect as many places are leery of having Americans come to their shores to ruin their country with rude behavior, aggression, firearms, and misconduct. The notion of the “Ugly American” has closed many borders to expatriates, so if you’re hoping to live somewhere else, you might find many avenues shut.

Thankfully, many places recognize that not all Americans live up to the reputation for being coarse, obese, narcissistic, foolish, violent, destructive, and stupid. That many are spectacular people who merely want to live somewhere outside of their nation. These places make it easy to transfer over, easy to survive on their shores, and you can even get by without knowing too much about the local color or language. Should escaping the majesty of the purple mountains be on your to-do list, here’s 14 countries that are perfect for ex-pats.



Indonesia tops the list because they offer a social visa to anyone who wants to come and enjoy the spoils of their nation. It can be renewed for about half a year, which gives potential residents a time to get established. Almost any Balinese travel agent will give you the letter of recommendation required to get the visa, and then you can renew it in a weekend in Singapore. There’s an online community of expats in the region that have lots of resources online. Living is cheap, but working in country is extremely difficult.

New Zealand


Anyone between 18 and 30 can visit New Zealand easily with a holiday working visa program that encourages short-timers to come in, get set up, then help build the future of New Zealand. By doing this, the nation is establishing itself as a place for the young and upwardly mobile. The trouble is, they’re nearly as sticky as Australia when it comes to immigrating if you are over 30, making it the Logan’s Run of ex-pat spots.



The kindly neighbor with the good healthcare, Canadian life is extremely similar to American, if perhaps a little slower, a little gentler, and a little more cosmopolitan. Recent political strife has inspired the government to ease restrictions to allow Americans to move in. The only major issue is that felons are automatically rejected, and anyone with any kind of criminal history is screened to the utmost degree. Others, they practically hold the door open.



A real rough and tumble place, Svalbard is a quaint little town at the edge of the world. There’s no violent crime, everyone knows everyone else, and most of the local industry is scientific or related to mining. There’s some tourism, and linguists are welcome as this place is a melting pot of people, but finding work is a laughable notion. Also, you will need to know how to use a firearm, since polar bear attacks outside of the city aren’t uncommon.



You can make more money, live on less, and experience safer neighborhoods than you would living in most places in the United States. Children are provided with a more comprehensive education than in the US, there’s fewer incidents of crime, and far fewer shootings in Singapore than on America’s shores. They also take more holidays.



The beautiful land of tequila and passion has long been a respite for those seeking a change of pace, or a way to stretch their retirement funds further. Ever happy to bring in Americans who are willing to assimilate to this rich culture, you can use a string of work visas, or get a residency, so long as you show self-sufficiency in income. Either way, it’s a party with beaches on both sides.



Business is war in Japan. To fight that war, they know they need resources and information. One piece of that puzzle is learning the language of business, which is English as much as it is Japanese. Thus, they allow any native English-speaker an easy path to enter the land of the Rising Sun and teach. Many spend years there, teaching at various schools, then bounce to surrounding countries with similar programs. The problem with living in Japan is that they do not know what “downtime” or “relaxation” are. You’ll easily work yourself to death here.



Naturally, being America’s parent country, England has always had a soft spot for the colonies. The issue here will be income, as living here shall cost you a king’s ransom.



Ireland has places that will pay people to come live there. The Emerald Isle isn’t hospitable to many, and so few sojourn here to make a permanent home. There’s a deal between Ireland and the US which allows students of either nation to visit the other and perhaps establish permanence. Outside of that system, it’s tougher, but the moment you get your foot in the door, the process is nearly painless.



Europe’s coastal 3rd gear mentality is a great one for those hoping to escape the rat race. By downshifting in Portugal, you’ll find a rich work/life balance coupled with a far cheaper cost of living. Employment isn’t ideal, but anyone who makes a living remotely, or has a set pension can really sit high on the Portugese hog.



Amazing healthcare that puts most of the world to shame at a price that’s completely reasonable. Affordable living when compared with nearly anywhere in the west. A place where women rate the quality of life as exceptionally high; and you have paradise. Health, wealth, and love.



Clean air, clean water, clean living – except for the exceptional beer – and a robust public transit system that makes life without traffic a reality, Austria knows how to please. Swoop in, as much of Europe is starting to recognize a bargain when they see it.



The entire region of northern Europe are enjoyable places to live, with Norway and Denmark topping the list. You’ll encounter a little xenophobia from the residents who tend to look on outsiders with gentle, but healthy, suspicion at first. Prove you’re as well-read, well-spoken, and polite as they are, and they suddenly open up to become the warmest people in the world. Cost varies, but high level of happiness are reported throughout the icy north.



Anyone who is Jewish has already been pre-approved to return to the homeland under the Law of Return. Though you’ll need to do an in-person interview and there are a few caveats, the process is relatively simple. Anyone who isn’t of Semitic descent will have a much harder time. Knowing Hebrew isn’t needed, but helpful.