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The Tough Work When You Fall In Love With A Foreign Country

Falling in love with a foreign culture can force you to contemplate a new lifestyle. Perhaps, home sweet home isn’t enough anymore and you want to spread your wings into the wide wild world. Regardless of your reasons, life as an expat is no walk in the park. It can be a tough journey through administrative processes and emotional heartaches. 

The best places for US expats

Unless you are backpacking, if you’re going to find your new home away from home, you need to make sure you are familiar with the place. It would be too risky to book your flight ticket for a distant country without making sure you like the place first. Don’t be shy about visiting your dream country and planning a discovery holiday. American expats often pick European countries as their new homes. So it’s worth experiencing some of the preferred relocation spots and their advantages before making your decision. This way, you have the opportunity to get familiar with the living costs, local healthcare and regulations. Portugal and Spain are both on top of the list for their low cost of living, warm weather, and the Residency-by-Investment program, or golden visa. Malta also has a citizenship by investment program. You may need some assistance in translation which you will find valuable. For a more comprehensive look at global investment options and detailed insights into various golden visa and citizenship programs, visit the Global Residence Index.

The cost and admin of moving abroad

Ultimately, if you are going to move abroad permanently, you need to think about what it means in terms of administrative duties. For instance, as Cepee Tabibian, an American traveler who relocated in Spain, explains, living abroad as an American doesn’t mean you are exempt from paying US taxes. American citizens need to pay taxes on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live. If you have chosen to stay abroad permanently, you may wonder about maintaining your US citizenship. 

Additionally, you have a choice of either applying for a visa the normal way or investing at least €500,000 in real estate for a residency visa, which is something you can discuss first through an immigration lawyer free consultation to understand what it means and whether you’d qualify. Short stays may not require a visa, such as for staying in Spain under 3 months. However, if like Cepee, you wish to make Spain your home and can’t afford the golden visa program, you will need to apply for a visa at the Spanish Embassy before you enter the country. After which, you will have three months to apply for your permit. With EU countries, a residence and work permit in one member of the EU will grant access to the rest of the trading bloc. 

Bracing yourself for the heartache

Let’s be honest: when you move abroad, you leave behind your friends and your home. Of course, this won’t stop you from making new friends and creating a new home abroad. However, it is a process that can be emotionally draining at first. You need to be prepared for the emotional journey as much as the physical one. Don’t expect to hit the ground running as soon as you set foot abroad. 

Moving abroad is both exhilarating and terrifying. While there are quick paths to obtain a residency visa in some countries, these are not affordable to all. Therefore, it’s helpful to do your research before you pick your dream country. Be prepared to prevent stress! If you are considering the move, you want to explore all your options before relocating permanently. 

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