Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn decades of precedent, ending access to reproductive health care in much of the country and jeopardizing health privacy, the legality of sexual non-heteronormative and gay and interracial marriage in the coming year, there is a growing desire to seek alternatives to life in the United States. This desire, for many, is not new.
There are many other reasons one might wish to go abroad beyond politics. There are preferences for climates, cultural affinities, job opportunities, or a combination of these. When you find out you are moving to another country, a common reaction is disbelief or jealousy. Questions like how can you afford to do this? or statements like oh, wow! I wish I could do the mundane.
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Janelle “Jash” Cooper, Founder of Joyriding with Jashhas lived abroad since graduating from Tuskegee University in 2019. She did not decide to move lightly but decided to pursue a better quality of life.
“For many of us, this is the best thing we can do. Time and time again, the United States has shown people of color, especially African Americans, that we are not welcome” , she said. LGBTQ Nation. “In a country we’ve built, we have to work twice as hard to get half as far, which is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. I saw the grass was greener elsewhere, especially as a black woman.
Admittedly, moving to a new country is not accessible to everyone in all circumstances. However, there is almost always a path if you are willing to compromise and accept risk, almost regardless of your wealth. Although, realistically, that could be a hindrance.
Tammy Shaklee, an LGBTQ matchmaker at He’s For Me who moved from Texas to Panama, doesn’t think becoming an expat is just for the wealthy.
“More [every other expat] that I met was fiscally responsible and budget conscious,” she said. “Some talk about the world and those who seek to see it and know more.”
In Tammy’s experience, expats are often minimalists looking for education, growth and development by exploring a new culture with its foods and traditions.
Shaklee believes that those who control their costs best “are those who move with very few belongings. Getting rid of, selling, and disposing of things that aren’t conducive to your new climate and lifestyle is liberating. You can also earn money that you can then use to offset moving costs and reduce shipping costs for your belongings. Some basic items you might buy for your new home might be more affordable in the new country, especially with other people who might be moving to their next country.
By taking this leap, you need to track your expenses and cut unnecessary expenses. Instead, focus on the fact that what you spend brings value – experiential or practical – gives you enormous freedom. Downsizing, or downsizing, is the way to make a big move possible.
TheWorldorBust.com’s Jeremy Albelda moved from Miami to Mexico City seven years ago – a move that became permanent following Trump’s tumultuous administration and other events that left him disappointed with life in the US. United States. Jeremy recommends doing a ton of research before jumping on the plane.
Expat groups for the city you’re interested in on Reddit or other sites offer “a wealth of information from people who have done exactly what you’re looking to do,” Albeda said. LGBTQ Nation. “You can search the threads and find the answers to most of your questions. If you can’t find an answer, you can post [your question]. These groups are fantastic resources for finding apartments, good quality second-hand furniture, getting visas, making new friends, and more.
Tom Kelly, CTO of Life Part 2, notes, “I decided to leave my home country because I wanted to take advantage of job opportunities. Moving to a new country was quite complicated. I needed a visa and a work permit, and I had to find accommodation. I also need to learn the language of the new country.
Kelly continues, “Moving to a new country can be expensive. I saved enough money to cover my moving and living expenses. Still, there are several things I would do differently if I moved to a new country again. I would join a social group for expats and take language classes. I would also research and learn as much as possible about the new country before moving.
This research should include learning all you can about the paths available to you based on your unique situation and needs. There are a few ways to move to a country besides digital nomad visas.
Depending on your qualifications, you may be able to find a job in a country that needs more people in your field of work. Alternatively, you can choose to learn new skills and get your foot in the door, so to speak, by attending a university in the country of your choice.
Getting a job while needing a sponsor is complex, and only the lucky ones will succeed this way, but it’s not just for the rich. For example, the UK lists catering, retail and construction managers on the list of eligible occupations alongside IT technicians, musicians and personal trainers. France is actively seeking tech workers, so if you are qualified to work or invest in this industry, the French Tech Visa might be just the thing for you. However, for those who are able to find a company willing to go through the process on their behalf, you may also be eligible for assistance with relocation costs.
You may also be able to obtain citizenship by descent in some countries. This would allow you to completely bypass the visa process. The first step is to find out where your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents moved from and see if that country offers citizenship to their foreign-born descendants.
For example, Italy has a well-known (and therefore reasonably easy to navigate) process for applying for citizenship when the following conditions, according to the Italian government, are met:
- The applicant’s parent must be an Italian citizen or must have the right to Italian citizenship by descent
- The applicant must have been born before August 16, 1992 and their parent must not have been naturalized in another nationality before the applicant was born
- The claimant’s mother was Italian and the child was born after 1 January 1948
- Ancestors naturalized before June 14, 1912 cannot transmit their nationality even to children born before their naturalization.
If you qualify, you are responsible for gathering the required documents and submitting them along with an application form to your local Italian Embassy or Consulate.
There are similar processes in many other countries, so it makes sense to explore your lineage when considering moving abroad.
There is also a treaty for Americans wishing to settle in the Netherlands. This makes the process very easy for someone who has (or wants to start) their own business or freelancers. The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty (DAFT) allows US citizens to move to the Netherlands to start a business for an “investment” of €4,500 which must remain intact in a business bank account for the duration of your Visa. This is also an easy entry into the Netherlands for your spouse – a partner visa application is possible to give them working privileges.
The DAFT visa process is relatively straightforward:
- Arrive in the Netherlands, find accommodation and submit your application by post.
- You will receive a letter confirming that the IND (immigration) has received your application and ordering you to pay your fees (€1,446 for the DAFT visa and €207 for the partner visa if you have a spouse or long-term partner ).
- Go to the IND to give biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) and have a sticker affixed to your passport giving you the right to exercise a self-employed activity.
- Register with the municipality where you live and get a BSN.
- Register with the chamber of commerce (KVK) and open a bank account (deposit €4,500 which you will not receive at all).
- Submit a balance sheet of a Dutch account to the IND.
- Within three months of your request, receive your residence permit.
The initial visa is valid for two years. Renewals are valid for five years each, although you can apply for Dutch nationality at the end of the first five years of continuous legal residence. You will need to meet certain requirements, such as learning the language, but the process is not strenuous. The wrong side? The Netherlands does not allow dual nationality, so for most people you will have to give up your old nationality.
For US citizens, if you are considering renouncing your citizenship, remember that Uncle Sam will carefully review your tax records for the previous five years, question you, and collect a fee. Currently, the cost to renounce US citizenship is $2,350.
Yes, it’s easier if you bring jobs (as an entrepreneur) or investments with you. Yet these are not the only ways to build a permanent residence in another country.
There are plenty of other options, especially for those who are lucky enough to be wealthy. You might want to start your research on Reddit (check out the IWantOut and AmerExit subreddits), where you can find helpful tips and even how-to guides for other expat options.
“Leaving the United States was not my escape, but rather my race towards the lifestyle I always dreamed of. He was looking for things that seemed unattainable for people who looked like me,” Jash concluded. “Pursuing a better quality of life than most people in the United States can only imagine. My experience has been extremely positive and rewarding. This unconventional lifestyle has its ups and downs, but the positives the outweigh the negatives.”
Whatever you decide, you are not alone. There have been many before opening the way for you. Learn from their experiences and build the life you dream of, wherever you are.