Every four years there is a US presidential election, and every four years, some are looking to escape the US. Here are some options for Americans who may want to leave the United States.
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Many countries now offer extended-stay visas, especially due to COVID-19. This may be to the advantage of many disenfranchised (or dissatisfied) American citizens. Barbados, for example, offers a new 12-month extended-stay visa for remote workers. Here are some extended-stay options for those looking to take a break from the US for now, but not forever:
- Barbados (12 months) – $2,000/person ($3,000/family up to four)
- Portugal (12 months renewable) – Means to support yourself and dependents, at minimum €635/month
- Estonia (12 months) – Means to support yourself and dependents (€3504/month) and €100 fee
- Thailand (270 days) – $100,000 insurance coverage, extensive requirements, 90-day visa can be extended up to three times.
- Bermuda (12 months) – $283 and an online application makes Bermuda one of the best options available
Where You Can Buy a Passport or Buy Citizenship
Some countries let people purchase passports –– usually it’s a second passport. Countries like Malta charge an awful lot – more than €1 million – though they do allow you to. There are also other ways to go about purchasing citizenship or purchasing a passport.
For example, on the Caribbean island of Dominica, a small investment in real estate ($200,000) and direct payment to the government ($100,000) will get you a passport for five years and a path toward citizenship.
Here is a list of just some countries that allow investors to buy citizenship or passports through investment in businesses, real estate, or an outright purchase:
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Antigua and Barbuda
- United States of America
- St. Lucia
- Cayman Islands
- United Kingdom
Some European countries offer those with national heritage but living elsewhere to claim citizenship. If children of German citizens wish to gain citizenship in Germany, they can apply to do so. Ireland, Italy, Spain, and other EU countries have similar laws. It might be a good time to look into your family tree and see if you qualify for heritage citizenship.
Permanent Moves Are Hard
For those that wish to leave the United States over the election results (regardless of who wins) will find a tough road ahead. The United States does not hold reciprocal relationships with other countries as former British Commonwealth nations do such as Canada, Australia, and even Belize for example. US immigration law is difficult for other nations and they reply in kind by making it difficult for Americans to move permanently around the world.
It’s not impossible. There are paths to immigration elsewhere but Canada is not one such country. Mexico, in turn, has options for those who visit regularly over a long period of time and make a small financial commitment (less than $15,000.)
However, the US is one of only three nations in the world (Eritrea and Myanmar are the two) that require expatriates to pay taxes abroad. While your motive to move may not be to avoid taxes, if one were to move to Portugal, for example, and maintain their US citizenship they would owe full taxes in both the US and Portugal. Very few people relinquish their US citizenship and almost all of them are for tax purposes – in 2019 the number was less than 5,000 turning in their US passports for life.
Want to Try?
We don’t know who will win the US election (as of writing) but regardless, some will likely want to try their odds elsewhere. There are options, many of which are better than in the past due to a push in favor of remote working.
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