Whatever push-or-pull factors had you consider starting your life anew in a new land, be mindful of the fact that deciding upon a destination abroad warrants a great amount of research and rational deliberation, but to spare you the trouble we have compiled this comprehensive list of easiest countries to immigrate to from the United States to your benefit with the latest information.
Unlike visiting as a tourist, settling out of one’s own country for a fresh start, be it politically, socially, financially, environmentally or religiously-driven, constitutes a whole new experience and calls for appropriate knowledge of the statutes and regulations of individual countries letting migrants into.
While immigration laws of certain countries have been so designed that with many strings attached, they make it impossible to gain permanent residency let alone citizenship, a number of others have simplified things and literally dust off the welcome mat for settlers making it more convenient to obtain citizenship and ultimately enjoy access to all the stipulated benefits and rights.
No matter what country you are attracted to, your smooth integration into local community for naturalization and citizenship is based on a number of elements, such as your ability to effectively communicate in native language, understanding and knowledge of the culture, traditions and history as well as your adherence to the local constitution and laws.
Before you make the move, it is advisable, for plain folks in general and entrepreneurs or businessmen in particular, to keep track of the major metrics of Standard of Living and Economic Indicators online in order to reach an intelligent decision.
Because of the fact that many governments are finding it hard to absorb the rising inflation and in turn they pass the burden onto masses in the form of heavy taxes, you ought to opt for a country with a stable economy and favorable conditions, as immigrants usually get slightly low salary until they get permanent or acquire citizenship.
Not only are the countries on our list the easiest to move to, they are also the best economy-wise: they are peaceful, vibrant culturally, are with less or no crime and racial discrimination, have all the nature in them, offer impressive standards of living, and above all are immigrant-friendly. Although some of them have levied high taxes, their ability to pay better makes up for it, as they very well know that finance is the bottom line of every household.
For compiling our list of 15 easiest countries to immigrate to from US, we researched the topic on reputable websites and online video-sharing platforms. We based our rankings on the benchmarks of readiness to receive immigrants, ease of obtaining citizenship and the number of times our countries appeared on other lists published and uploaded recently. To substantiate the information gathered, we double-checked the facts on the respective countries’ websites offering information on their visa requirements, immigration policies and programs. For adding value, details on standard of living, benefits and perks as immigrants and citizens, natural scenic attractions as well as dual citizenship laws of each country have also been incorporated.
You may also like read our lists of the 13 Easiest and Fastest Immigration Countries in the World , 15 Easiest Countries to Get Permanent Residency in the World , Easiest Countries to Immigrate to in 2018 or 10 Easiest Countries to Immigrate to.
So, without further ado, here goes our list of 15 easiest countries to immigrate to from US.
15. PANAMA: This tropical paradise, offering the most diverse geological and biological landscapes with a developed infrastructure, makes a great abode for immigrants. Many expats see it as the ideal retirement destination for its affordable cost of living. While Spanish has been designated as the official language, English is widely spoken in Panama as well. The US dollar is used here for internal transactions. Your valid American passport allows you to visit Panama without a visa for 180 days, but staying longer requires permission from the immigration authorities. To acquire permanent residency, you need to secure a job or deposit USD 5,000 in a Panamanian bank and open a company. You become eligible for citizenship after five years as a permanent resident. Besides, Panama offers a retiree visa for those having a minimum pension of USD 1000 a month. This visa also gives discounts to movie theatres, restaurants, hotels, on healthcare and medications. Panama does not permit dual citizenship, so you will be needed to give up your home country nationality.
14. PERU: With its simplest citizenship requirements, this South American state stands out among the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US. Among advantages of living here are the low cost of living, cheap grocery, low tax burden, affordable accommodations nearly 80% cheaper than in countries like the US and UK. It is also the most bio-diverse offering 90 different micro-climates. For tourism, US citizens can enter Peru without a visa for up to 90 days, but to live there, a residency visa is required. After having a legal residency for two consecutive years by marriage or work or by parentage, you become eligible for naturalization. You will have to take a test on subjects like culture, history and Spanish language, but those entering wedlock with a Peruvian native are actually exonerated from this requirement. Peru does allow dual citizenship.
Machu Picchu, Peru
13. BELIZE: Belize ranks 13th in our list of the easiest countries to immigrate to and is a great choice if you are considering a country with an easy immigration policy. This Central American country holds a key place globally for its diversity of culture and ecosystems, archeological sites, tropical forests, fabulous beaches and scuba diving sites like the Great Blue Hole. Belize is sparsely populated, and the cost of living is quite low as well as real estate when compared to other Caribbean countries. The official native language is English, putting you at more ease. US citizens can enter the country without a visa for one month, but to stay longer a visa extension has to be requested every month. Having lived 50 consecutive weeks in Belize will entitle you to apply for permanent residence, while having held a permanent residency status for a minimum of five years will make you eligible for citizenship. Citizenship applications are usually decided upon within six months. With Belizean nationality, you are not required to renounce your US citizenship.
12. JAPAN: To be honest, Japan did not use to be an easy place to immigrate to, but if you desire to be in a first-world Asian location, it is probably your best bet. Finding job isn’t difficult, since the country, prompted by its ageing society, is filling in labor gaps by opening its doors to foreign skilled workers and professionals, such as engineers, specialists in humanities and international services. This East Asian island-country located in the northwest Pacific Ocean is one of the safest and peaceful countries in the world, and its inhabitants the friendliest and the most cooperative. Compared to the US, Japan has a low cost of living and a tremendous amount of other benefits, among them an excellent healthcare. Even though Japan is the most technologically advanced country, it is still holding onto its centuries-old values, customs and traditions. Japan permits visa-free stay of up to 90 days for US visitors – a good way to try luck in absence of an employment offer. Citizenship is granted by parentage or through a naturalization process that necessitates you holding a continued residence for more than five years, abiding by the constitution and agreeing to give up your previous nationality. Nonetheless, choosing Japanese nationality will have no affect on your American citizenship.
11. URUGUAY: Uruguay, a sparsely populated tiny South American country, is one of the great places to settle in, thanks to its easy immigration policy, inviting beauty, cultural dynamism, world heritage sites and enthralling folklore. An egalitarian society, Uruguay with its high per capita income and the lowest levels of poverty is the richest of all its regional neighbors. The healthcare facilities are top-class but the cost of living is a bit high. Private US nationals get up to 90-day entry for tourism and business without a visa. Gaining citizenship in Uruguay is relatively easy. You will be required to make an investment or render significant service to science, art or industry of Uruguay or complete five years after residency is obtained if you are single and three years if you are with spouse. You will also need to declare to the government in writing your intent to immigrate. Dual citizenship is recognized in Uruguayan law.
10. ARGENTINA: If you fancy seeing spectacular natural wonders like Iguazu Falls, are a fan of football legend Lionel Messi, like to Tango, want to savor delectable cuisine like Merienda and get adventurous as Gauchos do, you should make the move to Argentina. This sparsely populated South American country, a cultural haven, has one the easiest and simplest immigration laws. The cost of living is low, the quality of life is very good and citizens get universal healthcare. For private US nationals, entry is visa-free for 90 days for tourism and business purposes. A temporary residency visa will be required if you plan to work or stay longer. Once you are in, you have to reside there for two years to become eligible for permanent residency showing a stable monthly income of about USD 850. You stay there another three years, you become an Argentinean citizen subject to substantiation of proof of your income, employment and continuous residence as well as criminal record. Lastly, dual nationality is permitted in Argentina.
9. ECUADOR: ranks 9th in our list of the easiest countries to immigrate to. This amazing South American country, home to the incredible Galapagos Islands, sky-touching mountains, pristine coastal beaches, extinct and active volcanoes, a surprising amount of microclimates and a diversity of flora and fauna, has been named so because it literally straddles the equator. Ecuador has one of the fastest processes of naturalization by residency worldwide and is significantly more affordable to buy your way in. This place has also clinched high ratings in terms of healthcare, taxation and safety. For a visit beyond visa-free 90-day entry, US citizens, including entrepreneurs and retirees, are obligated to apply for a temporary residence visa. Some 21 months after obtaining the temporary residence permit, you may file application for a permanent residence. Nevertheless, the bar of previous visa requirements is lifted if you marry an Ecuadorian citizen or enter into a legal de-facto union. Once you have completed three years of legal temporary/permanent residence, you may apply for a naturalization letter. Upon attaining Ecuadorian citizenship, you will not be asked to give up your previous nationality as set out in the Ecuadorian laws.
8. BRAZIL: This largest South American country has got all the spectacular natural delights you could ever wish for in the form of the unmatched Amazon, blindingly white sand dunes, deep-blue lagoons and golden sandy beaches. If you are a nature lover, life in this country could be easy-breezy and fun, because Brazilians are known for their cultural vibrancy, lively festivals and their kind and hospitable treatment of foreigners and immigrants. The cost of living is no more expensive than in the US. This fast-growing economy does promise free public healthcare. US citizens do not need a visa to visit Brazil for tourism, business and sport events. However, to establish residence there, a permanent visa has to be applied for and certain criteria met. The process will be easy if you are an investor, a professional, professor, researcher or a skilled worker. For acquiring citizenship, you must live there for 15 uninterrupted years, but this can actually be shortened to four years if you have a well-paying job and can conveniently communicate in Portuguese. Another quickest ways of obtaining residency and citizenship is marrying a Brazilian citizen, or investing USD 126,000 in any local company. Retirees may apply for a permanent visa under the Retirement Residence Transfer program. Dual citizenship is allowed in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. DENMARK: The Danes are undoubtedly the most happiest and satisfied people on earth that makes Denmark one of the most desirable places to live in. The European state is a progressive egalitarian social structure and a family-friendly country providing free education and healthcare among many other benefits. Although the cost of living is high, attractive salary packages make up for it. Like other EU states, US citizens get visa-free entry for Denmark for no more than three months. Gaining citizenship by naturalization in this Nordic state takes nine long years, but worth the effort. To settle here, you will have to apply as a student, a worker or as the spouse/de facto partner of a Danish citizen. Securing a permanent residence permit requires you to be a regular full-time employee or be self-employed for three-and-a-half years in four years, while citizenship requirements call for eight to nine years of continuous residence in Denmark. Under Denmark’s Golden Investor Visa, a minimum investment of €100,000 can get you Danish citizenship after having lived nine consecutive years as a permanent resident. Denmark allows dual nationality.
6. MEXICO: “Mexico el país más hermoso.” So they say, and rightly so, because this North American country has got amazing natural delights from incredible Revillagigedo Islands, tropical rainforests, sunny beaches to stunning mountainous highlands, exerting a hard pull for tourists and expats alike. A growing economy having the liveliest culture, Mexico maintains a low cost of living and a good quality of life with excellent healthcare facilities. It is home to the best tacos and tequilas. Mexico allows US citizens a visa-free entry for up to 180 days for tourism purposes, but if you want to embrace a new life here, you will have to go by the naturalization process. Firstly, you will need to apply for a temporary resident visa with permission to work, eventually leading you to a permanent residency. To apply for citizenship, you must have lived there for a minimum of five uninterrupted years as a permanent resident or must have family ties. In certain cases, applicants with a termporary resident status who have completed five-year stay may also acquire citizenship. You will be required to take a test on Mexican history and culture or will be interviewed if you are over 60. If you marry a Mexican, the condition of legal residency will drop down to two years. Mexican law does not restrict dual citizenship.
5. MALTA: ranks 5th in our list of the easiest countries to immigrate to. This beautiful archipelago is a marvelous place to call home. Scores of tourists and expats forming a beeline for this southern European state every year just get smitten by its Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches, architectural gems, rich culture and sheer joie de vivre. In terms of cost of living, Malta is relatively cheaper than other European states, and provides top-class healthcare. Being a party to the Schengen Agreement, Malta gives US citizens visa-free entry for up to 90 days for business and tourism purposes, but to obtain citizenship a residency requirement has to be met first by applying for one program from a bunch of different residence schemes being offered. For getting citizenship, one must be a permanent resident for six years, of which four consecutive years should be spent in Malta. You can also apply for Maltese citizenship by birth and descent, by adoption or by marriage. Another route culminating into citizenship starts by obtaining a work permit followed by a residence permit and lastly filing of application. Malta also offers the fast-tracked Individual Investor Program under which an applicant making one-time investment of €800,000 can get citizenship in just 12 months. Malta does not restrict holding dual nationality.
4. NEW ZEALAND: Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand with its 9300 miles of coastline, unparalleled subtropical surf beaches, rolling green hills, snow-capped mountains, magnificent fjords and captivating waterfalls has been one of the top three most beautiful countries of the world. The Kiwi Land has almost all facilities for you ranging from a high quality of life, low cost of living, top-class healthcare, to an impressive education system. If you fantasize about leaving the US and start life anew, you should like to know that NZ has doled out lots of rights for expats, and has been embracing many more immigrants every year. US citizens may reside and work in this country for an indefinite period and that too as a permanent resident on a skilled migrant visa. Certain other work visas allow you to live and work here for a set period and may lead to a residence. You may also choose from investment visas whereby you have to invest at least NZD 3 million. New Zealand permits both dual and multiple citizenship.
3. IRELAND: In Ireland you will begin to feel at home within no time. So just pack your bag and touch down in this Emerald Island of irresistible beauty. It has a lot to offer, from an outstanding quality of life, a robust healthcare, solid education system to a tremendous outdoor appeal involving world heritage sites, serene lakes, amazing pastures and bustling cities embracing an incredible culture and mythological traditions. Acquiring Irish citizenship is a tightrope walk however, but worth the effort. Pathways include citizenship by descent, by marriage or by naturalization process. You can become a naturalized citizen by living in Ireland for one year. To obtain citizenship, you must live there for at least four cumulative years over the next eight years. You may enter visa-free, but to stay beyond the 90-day visa validity, you will need to seek permission by selecting one from a set of visa schemes that suits your situation and needs best. This extension in duration of stay will, in return, solidify your chances of getting citizenship. Ireland does not require you to relinquish your US citizenship.
2. SWEDEN: Regarded as a Scandinavian paradise offering a pristine standard of living, including free education and top-notch healthcare, an economically stable Sweden makes a remarkable second home. Inspired by its progressive egalitarian values, the Nordic country has set out the most generous immigration policy which is evident from an influx in the number of immigrants it embraces each year. With a valid passport, US citizens are allowed to stay in Sweden for up to 90 days, but if they plan on working, studying or starting a business, a residence permit has to be requested. To be able to apply for citizenship, one must have lived in Sweden for five uninterrupted years with a permanent resident status sans any criminal conviction. Just keep in mind once you have crossed into Sweden, you will have to deal with a high cost of living and high tax rate. Owing to its corporate culture, Sweden’s Golden Investor Visa is quite popular with investors and entrepreneurs which helps secure Swedish citizenship with a minimum investment of €100,000 after having lived five continuous years holding a permanent resident status. Another plus, Sweden permits dual citizenship.
1. CANADA: Blessed with incomparable natural beauty in the form of mesmerizing waterfalls, snow-laden mountains, crystalline glaciers, deep blue lakes and evergreen forests, the Land of Maple Leaf has for long been the top choice of expats planning a smooth transition abroad. Canada is politically, economically and socially the most stable, not to mention peaceful, country on the planet. The cost of living here is a bit high than the US, but it does provide a universal healthcare system. Canada, a massive country spanning across six time zones, has designed more than 60 immigration programs to choose from, with one Express Entry program, meant to fill skill shortages, being the most popular worldwide. Other pathways include having a job offer in Canada, having a sponsor letter from a family member, or making an investment of CAD 125,000 by starting or purchasing a business. Unless you become a permanent resident and live there for three years in a five years period, you will never be eligible for Canadian citizenship. Furthermore, you will be required to meet your tax filing obligation, prove language proficiency skills and take a test demonstrating your knowledge on your rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen. Good for you dual citizenship is legal in Canada.
Toronto, Canada Disclosure: This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.