Best Countries for American Expats to Live and Make Friends

Congratulations on your decision to move abroad. Like most American expats and career prospects, moving abroad will open many job opportunities, meet new friends, broaden your thinking and way of life. Whether you are looking for a permanent second home or a tourist visa, you are probably searching for the best nations for American expats.

What is the Best Country for American Expats?

Here we look at the six best countries for Americans looking to live abroad. 

Portugal

Portugal is the first on our list of the best countries for Americans looking to live abroad. Portugal is home to thousands of American expats looking for second citizenship. And for good reasons.

First, Portugal offers more affordable living compared to the US and most European countries. Besides the financial aspect, the Portuguese are warm, welcoming, and friendly. That means you are sure to get help as a new expat trying to learn the bureaucracy and a new way of life in Portugal.

Another thing that makes Portugal an ideal choice for Americans looking to live abroad is the quality of life. Safety and security are vital for your well-being; Portugal is among the safest countries globally, meaning crime rates are low.

Portugal’s mild climate is another thing that makes it an excellent destination for Americans, with the nation experiencing more than three hundred days of sunshine in a year. The medical care in Portugal is first-class; hence, you are sure to access the best medical care possible when you live there. The best thing is that medical care in Portugal is much more affordable than what you are used to in the US.

Where Do Most Americans Expats Live in Portugal?

You can find American expats in most urban areas in Portugal. These places have the best infrastructure, great work and education opportunities, and friendly locals.

The most popular towns in Portugal include:

  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Cascais

If you would like to live by the sea and enjoy the heart-breaking beach scenery, the Algarve region is the place to be. Besides the beautiful look, the Algarve offers a golf course, beach clubs, luxury hotels, and casinos.

Turkey

As with Portugal, Turkey has warm and hospitable people making it a great choice for American expats. Although Turkey is mainly Islamic, it is open to other religions, cultures, and other ways of life.

For example, Antalya city is overrun by tourists from European countries and is open to various cultures and beliefs. The case is the same with other Turkish cities as they accept people from diverse backgrounds and religions.

Medical care in Turkey is affordable and is nothing compared to what you could pay in the US. Regardless, the doctors are well-trained (mainly in the US and Europe), and the hospitals have state-of-the-art equipment.

Where Can You Meet Other Expats in Turkey?

There’s nothing as pleasant as meeting people from your nation in a foreign land. Among other things, meeting American compatriots is an excellent way to catch up with the happenings in your home country and also explore the sights and landmarks in your new home.

The Turkish American Association, founded in 2007, offers an excellent platform for expats in Turkey to meet and share their experiences. You can visit historical sites together, movie nights, attend English lessons, cooking classes, and other exciting activities.

Istanbul will make an excellent place if you love diversity and want to interact with expats from all over the world. Associations like AWI (American women), IWI (Intl Women of Istanbul), Latino group, Italian group, etc., make this place worthwhile.

How Does the Cost of Living in Turkey Compare to the US?

Depending on where you decide to live in Turkey and your lifestyle, Turkey’s living costs are lower than in the US.

As an expat in Turkey, you can decide to live in compounds or Turkish neighborhoods. Living in a compound is ideal as it has all facilities, including shops, swimming pools, and tennis. Besides, it offers an ideal environment for making friends.

If you have the means, you can get a beautiful villa starting from US$ 3,000 per month in Istanbul.

On the other hand, if you want more affordable housing in Turkey, you may want to live in Turkish neighborhoods.

Malta

Malta is one of the most incredible destinations for travelers and expats worldwide. Located along the central Mediterranean, Malta is among the warmest places in Europe during winter. It is made up of two main islands, Malta and Gozo, with each having unique features.

Malta island is big and has wonderful attractions, while Gozo offers a more natural and relaxed feeling.

How Does the Cost of Living in Malta Compare to the US?

Housing forms a significant part of an expat’s expenses. If you are from San Francisco or New York City, you may cut housing costs by fifty or even seventy percent when living in Malta.

What’s more, if you are coming from a smaller Midwestern city like Indiana, you may end up paying the same amount on rent in Malta. 

As with any other European nation, you will have to pay more for gas in Malta than in the US if you drive.

What Makes Malta a Great Place for Expats?

Costs of living aside, here are other things that make many Americans choose Malta when moving abroad:

Great Health care

Malta has a world-class healthcare system. The World Health Organization ranks it as one of the countries with the best healthcare systems.

More to See and Do

Despite its small size, Malta has beautiful attractions and activities for all ages, including hiking, diving, ancient history, boating, etc.

English-Speaking and Welcoming Locals

Locals in Malta speak fluent English and have a warm and welcoming attitude. Besides, Malta has a great climate, with most places enjoying sunshine around the year, making it one of the excellent locations for those who want to avoid winter snow.

Low Crime Rate

According to the US Department of State, Malta is a Level 1 country in crime rate. There are twice more police officers in Malta than in the US, meaning the violent crime rate is minimal.

Dominica

Dominica is a small island found in the lesser part of the Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It has a population of about 70,000 and has many beautiful waterfalls, with most of its territory covered by luxurious rainforest.

Locals in Dominica speak fluent English. The country’s economy revolves around tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing.

How Do Living Costs in Dominica Compare to the US?

Depending on your lifestyle and where you choose to live, living is lower in Dominica than in the US. You can get beautiful apartments to live in Roseau at an affordable price. Renting houses is much lower outside the city center.

Besides that, the island is rich in local fruits and vegetables, meaning you won’t spend more on groceries in a month for your well-being.

Dominica offers many benefits for American expats, including:

  • Low cost of living
  • Acceptance
  • Health insurance schemes
  • A high-quality and tranquil lifestyle
  • Incredible natural sites like waterfalls
  • Proximity to the US

The best way to get second citizenship in Dominica as a US citizen is through Dominica Citizenship Investment Program. Through this program, you will need to invest at least $100,000 either through a Dominica real estate purchase or through Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) for you and your family to get a second citizenship.

With a Dominica passport, you have access to over 130 visa-free countries.

Greece

Many things will make American expats choose to move to Greece. From affordable accommodation to great weather and a thriving local culture. Great places to live in Greece include Athens and Santorini.

How Does the Cost of Living in Greece Compare to the US?

Living costs are about 17 percent lower in Greece than in the US. The rental costs are also much lower in Athens, the country’s capital than in NYC.

Moreover, you will save your bank account if you decide to live in a small town in Greece.

Healthcare

Greece has a world-class healthcare system that is relatively affordable than in the US. In fact, Greece’s health care system is one of the best in the world. To get a residence in Greece as a US citizen, you will be required to have medical insurance. However, you can opt for a local provider once you become a Greece resident.

Greece offers universal healthcare for its citizens. Once you become a Greece citizen, you qualify for this service; otherwise, you will need to get private insurance.

Safety and Security

Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe. Both foreigners and locals can walk freely in Athens, day and night, without fear. Of course, you need to take care of your belongings, but the level of insecurity is relatively lower.

How to Obtain Residency in Greece as an American Expat?

As a US citizen, you can visit Greece for up to 90 days without needing a visa or permit. The fastest way to obtain residence in Greece is through the Golden Visa investment program. To qualify for this program, you will be required to invest at least $280,000 in real estate. It will take about three months to obtain legal residency status in Greece.

Antigua and Barbuda

Our list of the best countries for American expats would not be complete without Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua is known for its vast sandy beaches, crystal clear waters for sailing and snorkeling, and palm trees; almost everything you would expect from a Caribbean island.

Other things that make Antigua and Barbuda one of the great choices for American expats looking to live abroad include:

Great Weather

Antigua has mild winters and enjoys sunshine in most parts of the year.

Relative Lower Living

Renting a house in Antigua is much lower than in North America and Europe. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda have so much to offer. If you are a person of means, it can make a great place to explore.

Plenty of Things to See and Do

Antigua is the most beautiful destination in the Caribbean. Besides the beautiful beaches, the islands offer great sites like Fort Barrington, Shirley Heights, and Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, all with so much to see and do; boat tours, island safaris, snorkeling, scuba dives, to name just a few.

What Countries Welcome American Expats?

No matter what country you choose to stay in, it is vital to learn how to feel at home in a foreign land. Living in a new nation can be challenging at first, especially if you don’t know where to meet other expats or don’t know the language or cultures of the locals.

This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Here are tips to help you enjoy your life as an expat.

Things You Should Do Before You Move Abroad

  • Visit the country you are considering before you make the move
  • Be clear about your reasons for moving abroad
  • Bring a good supply of your medications
  • Bring enough money and clothes

Finally, When in Your Second Home:

  • Make efforts to learn their language; taking private classes would help
  • Make an effort to make friends; if possible, engage in activities that will increase social interactions
  • Avoid constantly comparing your new home to your home country; locals won’t love it
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Learn the local culture and business/job customs
  • Eat local and drink like locals

What is the Best Country to Live as an Expat?

Being an expat in a foreign country is an opportunity to reinvent yourself and see life differently. No matter which country you want to relocate to, seeking legal help and advice is paramount. Our experienced advisors at Bluemina will help you obtain citizenship of the country that you are considering. Contact us today for a free consultation about your immigration process.

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