Depending on where you currently live, the idea of living in a different country can be fascinating. Especially if you live in a country with worsening political and economic climates or just want a change of scenery. Moving to a different country also offers new and appealing challenges that can result in major personal growth and offer new and important life lessons.
However, migrating to another country is not so easy. The governments of most countries demand you pay for a fee for the privilege and most countries have very strict policies regarding admittance. Besides, there are other costs involved including costs of travel, transporting your belongings and getting a new home in which to live.
This should not deter you from your dreams though. Some countries make the immigration process much easier than the average. Following are ten such places. If you’re unable to achieve citizenship, several of these countries will let you stay there indefinitely. They are:
Immigration demand into Paraguay is quite low. This is good news for everyone as it means getting accepted is easy. The low demand is due, in part, to the South American country being very obscure. It has had a pretty bloody history but there are many reasons you should come here to stay. Its cost of living is low, has open scenic vistas and its people are very friendly. It is an independent country and has Brazil and Argentina as its neighbours to the east and south respectively.
Getting in is easy but you are required to deposit about USD 4,500 – USD 5,500 into a Paraguayan bank. (That amount is 35x the minimum wage here). Once this is fulfilled you are permitted to live in the country but not permitted to apply for citizenship. This can only be done after three years of living in Paraguay. You should be prepared to spend some time waiting for approval as it may take quite some time.
For Americans looking for a place that’s not too different from where they’re coming from, Panama is a great choice. This also applies to anyone who loves American landscapes. This is because it has a landscape just like Florida, many English speakers and the US dollar is its official currency. Panama is a well developed independent Central American nation with a reputation for being safe.
One of the most popular ways to migrate to Panama is to get a retiree visa. Anyone attempting this route must have a minimum monthly income of $1,000. Younger people planning on living here permanently will need to deposit $5,000 in a Panamanian bank. For immigrants from one of the 50 friendly nations, getting a job is all that’s left to make your residency permanent. Check out the full list of these friendly nations to see if you qualify for a Friendly Nation Visa but some of the countries that qualify include Austria, New Zealand, Canada, UK and US.
Nicaragua is a country situated between two coastlines and is a truly attractive country despite its being known as a country that was troubled by civil wars, right-wing contras and leftist groups in the 1980s. Citizens of the country are currently protesting in great numbers as they have lost faith in their government and some have died in the process. This is one of the worst political crises in its history and the government blames the youths for the chaos but the situation described above is all there is to it.
So if you can handle living in the US, you might also want to have Nicaragua on your list. It has a retirement program just like that of Ecuador and only requires you to be able to prove you make a minimum of $600 monthly. In theory, you must also be 45 years or older. The reality, however, is that once you can prove your income, the age requirement can be waived. Plus you don’t even really need to be retired. The government’s definition of work is a bit loose. Owners of small hotels and restaurants and anyone who freelances for a non-Nicaraguan company is not considered a worker.
While it is true that there are parts of Mexico overrun by deadly drug trade and cartels, there are a lot of other safe places in which to relish the gorgeous and clean beaches, amazing scenery, upscale cities, mountain vistas and historic colonial towns. And yes, there is a wide variety of mouth-watering cuisines.
An FMM visa is an incredible way to start life in Mexico. These can be gotten at any border location or airport and cost only $21. The visa is valid for only six months but you can renew it continuously without end but there’s a catch: you cannot work on an FMM visa. Anyway, you have many temporary visa choices to upgrade to without having put down large sums of money. You may, however, have to leave the country temporarily to apply but you should be able to get a visa that works for you irrespective of your niche.
Ecuador is the country for you if you are a lover of scenery. Its landscape includes beautiful beaches, mountain peaks, volcanoes and islands. You will also find some old Mayan ruins and old pastel-coloured colonial towns, all of which brings its history to life. And you get to enjoy all this for a low cost of living. Its official currency is the US dollar so if you’re American, this is another thing you’ll love.
An important requirement for permanent residency in Ecuador is proving you will have a minimum monthly income of $800. This income must be something you will earn in perpetuity and includes any reliable non-work income such as compensation payouts and any royalties. The visa to get here is known as the pensioner’s visa but does not have any age restrictions to it. Ecuador is one of the countries you should be looking to live in, especially because of its low cost of living and low monthly income requirement.
6. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a favourite for many people and has long been extracting ex-pats. It has a very friendly population, world-class healthcare, attractive beaches and many more. It is a very peaceful country to live in and does not even have an army. As a couple, to live comfortably, you only require about $2,500 – the cost of living is reasonable.
To qualify for Costa Rica’s retiree program you only need a proven monthly income of $1,000. If you don’t go the retiree route, you will have to work to qualify for permanent residency and, ultimately, citizenship. It is not the easiest country to migrate to but it is a great destination to spend your life and if your skills are among those the country needs, navigating the process should be easy.
Canada’s reputation for being one of the friendliest countries in the world precedes it. Its immigration policies even reflect it. In a time when the United States is shutting down its borders, Canada is opening its borders to refugees from war-torn nations. It’s not only people running for their lives that can enter the country. If you have a professional qualification or skills Canada needs you will be more than welcomed through the country’s express entry program. This program gets you an approval in no time. You only need to fill out an online form which awards you points for things like the industries you have worked in, your education levels, and if French is one of the languages you speak. Other things that can help include having studied in Canada or having a family there.
Belize is one of those English-speaking countries with incredible sceneries. It boasts crystal clear waters, soft sand beaches and great palm tree views. If any of these sounds like what you love, you should immediately begin making plans to visit at least. It’s a small country with a population less than Bakersfield, California and about the size of Wales. It is sandwiched between Guatemala and Mexico. Most importantly, its cost of living is incredibly low.
As a foreigner, you can apply for permanent residency after just one year of living there. You can get in on a visitor’s visa that lets you stay 30 days and keep renewing it monthly for a minimum of 50 weeks. Once done you only need a $1,000 fee and some bureaucratic red tape to get your permanent residency.
It is important, however, that you pay close attention to your visitor’s visa conditions. Not doing so can hinder your dreams of living here. You should also engage the services of a lawyer in Belize to help you through the process as some districts stipulate that after every 6 months, visitors spend 2 weeks outside the country. This automatically resets the timer on your period of stay and hurts your 50-weeks stay requirement. If you have any intentions of working in Belize you will need a work permit until you have gotten your permanent residency. Citizenship can be applied for only after 5 years of permanent residency.
Belgium is one of the best choices for lovers of arts and music, architecture, and natural beauty. It is one of Northern Europe’s smallest countries but its towns are full of the breathtaking scenery and beauty you cannot resist. And yes, Belgium also has some of the best chocolates and best-tasting beer you will find.
Getting permanent residency in Belgium requires you get a job and it’s quite tricky since most countries will prefer to hire citizens/residents over foreigners. Belgium is not strict in this regard anyways and that’s a good thing. You can apply for and get a Belgian job from your home country and holding it for two weeks will be offered a residency permit. And while this doesn’t grant you automatic access to permanent residency, you can keep working towards that goal so long you keep your job.
Austria’s cost of living is quite high, putting it on the high side of the financial scale but if you can afford it, it is a great place to be. The country boasts of beautiful scenery from the snow-capped Alps to sparkling blue ice caves to wild valleys and more. It people live a perpetual resort lifestyle and have a reputation for being very content. No wonder it is a gateway for most of Europe’s capital cities.
There are 10 different types of resident permits offered by Austria. There should be at least one you can qualify for but there’s a catch – as an immigrant, you don’t apply from temporary gigs in Austria. You must apply from your home country except for residents of the European Union and the United States who qualify for a D-visa. This visa permits the holder 6 months to stay in Austria before applying for a resident permit. This makes both job and spouse hunting tricky for those outside of these countries or who are not eligible for the D-visa.
Relocating to a new country is not easy but if you intend to make the change you should go for it – it’s not that hard either. A good thing with each of the countries listed here is that they all allow you to visit for and spend some time here. This will give you the chance to have a firsthand experience of what the people, its culture and landscape are and help you see if you want to be there or not. So if any of these countries piqued your interests, start making plans.