Unfortunately, it is not that easy to do. Not only do most countries have fairly strict guidelines for admission, but they also require a lot of money for this privilege. The financial impact of immigration is certainly not limited to government costs either – there are the costs of travel, moving your belongings and settling into a new home.
But before losing hope, there are some countries that make the immigration process easier than average. Read on to discover ten possibilities that you may be able to exploit. Even if you don’t get citizenship, many of these places are happy that you live there indefinitely.
Do any of these 10 intriguing options make you pack your bags? The great thing about each of them is that it is very easy to visit them for a long period of time, so you have ample opportunity to discover the culture and see if you will be fond of it. Immigration is not really easy, but it may not be as difficult as you think with good preparation and a spirit of adventure. Go, go, go!
At the top of the financial ladder, Austria is a choice with a high cost of living. But it offers 10 different types of residence permits. If you can afford it, you will probably be entitled to at least one.
Austria offers landscapes of incredible beauty in the form of snow-covered Alps, wild valleys and sparkling blue ice caves. Residents would be very satisfied, and why not, with a “perpetual resort” lifestyle? Austria is a pretty little country that serves as a gateway to many European capitals.
The immigration trap in Austria is that you must apply from your country of origin, not from temporary searches in Austria. This makes hunting work (or the spouse) a little more difficult. There is an exception for residents of the United States and the European Union, who are entitled to a D visa that allows them to stay in Austria for six months before applying for a residence permit.
9. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has long attracted expatriates because of its beautiful beaches, world-class health care and friendly population. The way of life in Costa Rica is peaceful and easy to live with – they don’t even have an army. The cost of living is fair, with a family needing about 2,500 dollars per month to live conveniently.
Costa Rica has a program for retirees that requires an income of $1,000 per month to qualify. Otherwise, you will need a job in order to obtain permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship. For this reason, it is not the easiest country on our list for migration, but also not impossible. If you have the skills Costa Rica needs, you should be able to navigate the process.
Some regions of Mexico are involved in deadly drug trafficking, but not all! There are safe places to enjoy beautiful landscapes, including clean beaches, historic colonial cities, mountain panoramas and high-end cities. And don’t forget the incredible varieties of Aboriginal cuisine.
A great way to start your life in Mexico is with an FMM visa. You can buy them at any airport or at any border location. The visa will be valid for six months, after which you can renew it again and again, without end. The problem is that you will not be able to work with an FMM visa. However, there are many choices for temporary resident visas that you can upgrade to without a huge financial investment. Whatever your professional niche, you should be able to find one that works. You may be forced to temporarily leave the country to apply.
The pretty little Belgium is one of the smallest countries in Northern Europe. There are many picturesque cities with breathtaking architecture, breathtaking natural beauty and some of the most delicious beers and chocolates in the region. Add to that a flourishing artistic and musical scene and diversified community facilities, and Belgium is a very attractive choice.
To obtain permanent residence in Belgium, you will need a job. Of course, this can be tricky, as most countries far prefer to hire local people rather than foreigners. Belgium is a little more lax in this respect. You can apply in your home country and, once you have obtained a contract, you will be offered a residence permit after only two weeks of detention. Although this is not initially an invitation to permanent residence, as long as you keep your job, you will progress towards this goal.
If landscape is your thing, think of Ecuador. It includes mountain peaks, volcanoes, beaches and islands. The story comes alive through old colonial cities in pastel colours and even ancient Mayan ruins. All this can be appreciated for a very low cost of living, and if you are American, you will understand that the American dollar is the official currency.
To fulfill your dream of being an ex-legger in Ecuador, all you have to do is prove that you will earn at least $800 a month in perpetuity. This is called a retirement visa, but there is no age requirement to obtain one. Thus, if you have guaranteed royalties, indemnities or other non-professional income, a move to Ecuador is quite possible.
When was the last time you thought $800 a month was enough to support you? For this reason alone, Ecuador is worth a visit.
Canada has a reputation as one of the friendliest countries in the world, as evidenced by its immigration policy. Unlike the United States, Canada has recently opened its borders with compassion for refugees from war-torn countries. But if you are not afraid for your life, Canada takes a very close look at your professional qualifications before inviting you.
If you have a professional skill set or training that meets Canada’s current needs, you may be able to take advantage of an express registration program that can get you approved in no time. All you have to do is fill out an online form that allows you to earn points for things like education, the industries in which you have worked and whether you can speak French. Other things like having family in Canada or having studied in Canada can also help.
We know that Nicaragua was disrupted by left-wing coups d’état, civil wars and right-wing contrasts in the 1980s. And yes, it is said that it is currently experiencing the worst political crisis in its history, but let us put things in perspective. At this moment, the Nicaraguan people have lost confidence in their government and are protesting in large numbers – some have died in the battle. The government blames the country’s youth for the chaos. So, if you think you have the stomach to live in the United States, Nicaragua can also very reasonably be on your list.
And on the other hand, Nicaragua is an absolutely magnificent country located between two pristine coasts. Nicaragua offers a retirement program similar to that of Ecuador. In this case, you only have to prove an income of $600 per month; theoretically, you must be at least 45 years old, but this requirement can be waived based on your provable income.
You also do not need to be fully retired to be eligible. The Nicaraguan government defines work in a rather vague way. Owners of a restaurant or small hotel are not considered to be workers. If you work as a freelancer for a non-Nicaraguan company, it is not considered work either.
Panama is an excellent choice if you are American (or if you like the American landscape) and you want a change that is not too radical. Although Panama is officially an independent country in Central America, its landscape is reminiscent of Florida, with many English speakers and the US dollar as its currency. The country also has a reputation for being safe and well developed.
Once again, a retirement visa is one of the most popular ways to live in Panama. You need a monthly income of $1,000. For the youngest, a $5,000 deposit in a Panamanian bank opens the door to permanent residence. If you come from one of the 50 “friendly” countries, you just have to find a job. Some of the eligible countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Austria – check the complete list to see if you can get a visa for friendly countries.
Residing in Paraguay is easy to obtain, largely because the landlocked country of South America is so obscure. Bordered by Argentina to the south and Brazil to the east, Paraguay’s history is bloody to say the least. But today, however, the country’s total independence can be enjoyed for its friendly people, open panoramic views and low cost of living.
As the immigration application is quite low, it is easy to be accepted. You must deposit a sum of money in a Paraguayan bank equivalent to about 35 times the monthly minimum wage. Before panicking, it’s only US$4,500 to $5,500. After that, you will be allowed to move and live in Paraguay, but you will not be able to apply for citizenship until you have lived there for three years. The bureaucratic machine in Paraguay is also very slow, so be prepared to wait for final approval.
What do you think of the noise of palm trees, fine sandy beaches and crystal clear water? What if it was also an English-speaking country with an incredibly low cost of living? Guess what, this place really exists. Belize is sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, and is a small country the size of Wales with a smaller population than Bakersfield, California.
Belize allows foreigners to apply for permanent residence after only one year of life. Get a 30-day visitor visa and renew it every month until you have been there for 50 weeks. All that remains is to pay a $1,000 fee and administrative hassles before getting the green light to stay forever.
However, be careful with the conditions of your visitor visa. Some districts require you to leave the country for two weeks every six months, which resets the clock for your 50-week period. If this is your plan of attack, it may be preferable to immediately hire a lawyer in Belize to help you follow the process. Note that if you intend to work in Belize, you will also need a work permit, at least until you obtain permanent residence. After five years of permanent residence, you can apply for citizenship.