Country Guides November 15, 2021

How to Move to Another Country – A Step-by-Step Guide

Kaitlyn Bradley

Born in the US, Kaitlyn Bradley is an expert in all things packing and moving. She loves spending time with her family and writing engaging content.

How to move to another country and start over? Packing your suitcases and booking a flight won’t be enough when you plan to relocate abroad. There are many more details to organize to ensure the whole experience is stress-free. Here is how to move to another country without a fuss – don’t forget about any vital details.

Step #1: Learn What the Easiest Country to Move to Is

Before figuring out how to move to another country permanently, you first need to decide where you want to go. Thanks to the fact that the American passport is one of the top ten most powerful passports in the world, traveling to other countries is considerably easier for US citizens.

However, when it comes to international moving and acquiring a permanent residence, things can be quite different. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of five countries where meeting the permanent residence requirements is the easiest for US citizens.

Mexico Offers a Visa-Free Program for US Citizens for the First Three Months

Mexico has been the top destination for moving abroad for US citizens in recent years. As estimated, there are almost 1 million US citizens who live in Mexico. Aside from vicinity, affordability, and free healthcare, the easy way of getting a permanent residence in Mexico is another reason why so many people choose it for a new home.

For the first 180 days, you won’t need to worry about visas since Mexico has a visa-free program for US citizens. After this period passes, you’ll be able to apply for temporary residence, which is usually valid for the next four years. And if you live in Mexico continuously for five years, you’ll be able to acquire permanent residence.

Schmidt International Relocations
Tequila, mariachi, Spanish-style mansions, affordable costs of living, and a gorgeous coastline - this is what makes Mexico so alluring

Canada Is Another Popular Choice

Canada is definitely the most common choice of Americans since it is considered one of the best places to live abroad with family. No language barrier, the vicinity of US borders, and free healthcare are enough reasons for thousands of Americans to move to Canada each year.

Moreover, their Express Entry Immigration Program is created for highly skilled workers, so your chances to get a visa and permanent residency are quite high. After three years under the permanent residency program, you’ll be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Would You Rather Go South? Then Ecuador Is a Perfect Solution for Your New Home

Ecuador is one of the best places to live abroad, according to around 10,000 Americans. They use the American dollar as their national currency, and the low costs of living and a great climate are only a few of the additional benefits.

The easiest way to acquire a permanent residence is to live there for at least 21 months under a temporary visa, after which you should invest in real estate, put money in a bank, or prove you’re a retiree.

Schmidt International Relocations
Ecuador is considered the orchid capital of the world

An Investment of the Average Home Value in the USA Will Be Enough to Get Permanent Residency in Portugal

Portugal is known for its gorgeous Mediterranean climate and pretty easy procedures to acquire permanent residence. With the Golden Visa program that implies an investment of $325,000, you’ll get permanent citizenship after five years. And once you get it, along with your Portuguese passport, you’ll be able to travel the whole of Europe without any special travel requirements.

If you want to learn more about this type of visa, make sure to take a look at the video below and find answers to all your questions!

If You’ve Always Dreamed of Living in the Mediterranean, Malta Will Be the Right Choice to Start a New Life

Malta is another best European country to live in for US expats, not only because of the perfect climate and beaches but also because of easy access to permanent residency cards. Similar to Portugal, Malta also has a citizenship-through-investment program. An investment in property of $815,000 and constant living in Malta for five years should be enough to get permanent residence.

Schmidt International Relocations
Rich history, gorgeous architecture, magnificent natural landscapes, and great business opportunities make Malta so desirable

Step #2: Check the Visa Requirements and Make Sure to Meet them All

The first thing you should do once you ask yourself: Can I permanently move to another country?  is to check what the visa requirements are, as well as what are the documents needed to travel abroad. As we have seen, there are many countries that offer a very easy system for acquiring permanent residence.

However, there are many more that allow expats to relocate only if they have some specific skill set. That’s why you should check with their embassy what your obligations are, how long the whole process takes, whether you need to learn the language and pass an exam, and how your reasons to move resonate with their immigration program. For instance, if you’re trying to move to another country for love, a marriage should be enough to guarantee your legal stay. But remember that all countries have their own rules, so don’t hesitate to check all the details before you start preparing for moving overseas.

Schmidt International Relocations
Acquiring a legal stay should be your top priority when relocating overseas

Step #3: Learn Everything About Specific Rules and Customs

Diverse traditions, cultures, and customs are what makes this world so beautiful. However, some societies are pretty strict when it comes to respecting their traditions; that’s why you should learn everything about them.

Are you thinking about moving to another country? GET A QUOTE

Local Customs Could Shock You – Remember to Explore Them in Detail

Qatar, for instance, offers great job opportunities where your career can grow to unimaginable levels. However, the fact you’ll need a license to buy alcohol, or that you won’t be allowed to live with your partner unless you’re married, could be a problem for a person who comes from a more liberal society like the US. For many people, this can be a true culture shock. That’s why you should be aware of all specific local rules before deciding to move abroad.

Schmidt International Relocations
All people who choose to relocate to a more exotic place need to check the specific laws that define acceptable behavior

#4: Explore the Job Market and Find Employment Before Moving Internationally

In many cases, a job could be your way to attain a legal stay. That’s why it is highly recommended to find one before the relocation. Another reason is your finances. Once you have moved across the world, being able to cover all the costs and not being forced to spend your savings should be high on your priority list, especially if you’re relocating abroad alone and don’t have anyone to lean on.

The good news is –  job hunting can start from your home! Make sure to find out what the best websites for posting job offers are and apply online by sending them your CV. Many employers will be ready to organize an online interview, which will be a perfect chance to ask the employer all relocation questions.

In case you don’t have luck finding work before relocation, don’t despair! Remember that the majority of countries offer travel visas that usually last from 90-180 days. So there is another opportunity to try your luck on the spot.

Schmidt International Relocations
LinkedIn and online portals increase chances to find new job offers

Step #5: Check the Housing Options, Costs of Living, and Overall Quality of Life Level

Other essential details to check when moving to another country are related to the quality of life and include housing options, prices, living costs, and safety.

Some general recommendations would be to start with official government websites and reports. Those will give you some idea of the average house and rental prices, as well as costs of living and safety. Once you have this information, it will be much easier to make important decisions like what city or neighborhood to choose, whether to buy or rent the property, and many more.

Schmidt International Relocations
Decide what the best option to set up a new home will be

Step #6: Find Out if Healthcare Is Free and What Your Rights to Use Its Services Are

Undeniably, free healthcare is one of the biggest motives for many people to move out of the US. Since many countries offer free, public healthcare systems, even for an expat, make sure to check all regulations and how you can use them. Services like emergencies, checkups, or maternity care are usually included in this free program. However, things like meds, dentist checkups, or some more complicated procedures can be charged extra.

Schmidt International Relocations
Free healthcare services are a huge advantage

Step #7: Master the Language of the Place You’re Relocating To

Being able to order food, do grocery shopping at the local market, and communicate with locals is essential if you want to adjust to the society and new environment more easily. That’s why learning the language should be high on your list of priorities. Also, breaking the language barrier once you relocate will be more straightforward if you know the basics, so don’t hesitate to initiate this learning project as soon as possible.

Schmidt International Relocations
To learn the language is to have one more window from which to look at the world - Chinese proverb

Step #8: How Do You Move to Another Country if You Have a Pet?

If you’re planning to move with a cat, or maybe you want to move with a dog, in the first place, you should check what breeds are allowed to be imported. Once you’re sure that the breed you own is accepted, the next step is to explore what vaccinations your pet needs and schedule a check-up at the vet. The final preparatory move is to find the best pet-friendly aircraft carrier that will safely transport your pet.

Schmidt International Relocations
Learn all the details on time to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the airport

Step #9: How Much Does It Cost to Move to Another Country – Create a Budget and Stick to It

Finances are always one of the most important parts of every relocation since no one has unlimited funds. One of the most common questions of all people who relocate is how much money you should have before moving to another country.

To find an answer, ensure to include all expenses you could possibly incur, from visa fees, housing prices, and travel expenses to the cost of overseas vehicle shipping. Unfortunately, estimating all the expenses is not possible, so always increase the sum you come up with by at least 10% and always set some money aside for just-in-case situations.

Schmidt International Relocations
Be sure to know your budget limits

Step #10: Schedule the Relocation Day and Prepare for the Move

Now that you’re finally sure you meet all the requirements and can get papers for a legal stay, it is the right time to finally start organizing the move to another country. Hiring a reliable international moving company is a must if you want to save yourself from relocation stress, so browse for companies, check all the testimonials you can find on the internet, and look up their USDOT number.

You need to be sure you’re dealing with a fully licensed and professional company able to provide all the moving services you need. Once you find a company that is legitimate, the very next step is to schedule the relocation day, and the packing can start (unless, of course, you decide to book professional packing services, too)!

Schmidt International Relocations
Book the date with the relocation company at least two months in advance

Is It Hard to Move to a Different Country?

The answer to this question depends on many factors. The decisive one is related to the process that regulates a legal stay. Everything else is quite easy to organize if you follow these steps and do it on time. So be patient, prepare emotionally and mentally for the move across the world, follow your heart, and nothing will be too difficult.

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