Europe presents an appealing destination for Americans contemplating a change of scenery due to its rich cultural diversity, high standards of living, and robust healthcare systems. With its tapestry of languages, traditions, and histories, Europe offers a unique opportunity for personal growth and broadened perspectives. The continent’s strong emphasis on work-life balance, coupled with generous vacation allowances, allows for a lifestyle that values both productivity and leisure.

Top Reasons for Americans Moving to Europe

Spain City Landscape new home cost of living old world new country last year best country best time one year invest time local culture living abroad next year There are various reasons why Americans leave the US and set out to create a new life for themselves and their families. Moving to the European Union has become a real possibility for many due to various relocation opportunities. Moreover, the advent of remote work and affordable real estate makes international life and intercontinental opportunities much more feasible.

Additionally, the comprehensive public transportation networks make exploring various countries both affordable and convenient. Education also stands out in Europe, with many countries offering high-quality schooling options, often at lower costs compared to the U.S. Healthcare, another critical consideration, is notably accessible and efficient across most of Europe, providing peace of mind through universal coverage systems.

However, moving to Europe requires careful consideration of the legal and logistical challenges, including visa requirements, job opportunities, and adapting to new cultural norms. Nevertheless, for those seeking a blend of adventure, stability, and a high quality of life, Europe can be an excellent choice.

1. Housing and cost of living

The cost of housing can be a motivating factor for Americans considering a move to Europe, though the situation varies greatly depending on the specific European country and city, as well as the comparison point in the United States.

In some European cities, housing can indeed be more affordable than in major US metropolitan areas, where high demand and limited supply have driven up prices significantly. This affordability can extend to both purchasing property and renting, with many Europeans benefiting from stronger tenant protection laws and more stable rental markets.

However, it’s important to note that Europe encompasses a wide range of housing markets, with some cities like London, Paris, and Stockholm known for high living costs comparable to or even exceeding those in expensive US cities. Meanwhile, other areas, particularly in Eastern Europe or less central regions of Western European countries, can offer significantly more affordable housing options without sacrificing quality of life.

For Americans, the appeal of cheaper housing in Europe must be balanced with other cost-of-living factors, such as taxes, food, transportation, and healthcare, as well as income levels, which can be lower in Europe than in the US for certain professions. Additionally, the historic charm, diverse architecture, and cultural richness of European living spaces can add value beyond mere cost considerations, making them attractive for reasons that transcend financial savings alone.

2. Healthcare

healthcare is a significant factor for many Americans considering a move to Europe. European countries often offer universal healthcare systems, which means that healthcare services are accessible to all residents, often at a lower cost than in the United States.

This system can particularly appeal to Americans who face high healthcare costs, including expensive insurance premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses for medical procedures and prescription drugs.

The quality of healthcare in Europe is also a draw. Many countries in Europe are known for their high standards of medical care, modern facilities, and well-trained healthcare professionals. This high level of care, combined with the reduced financial burden, makes Europe an attractive destination for those prioritizing health and wellness in their living environment.

Moreover, the European approach to healthcare, which often emphasizes preventive care and the social determinants of health, can lead to a more holistic and patient-centered experience. For Americans dealing with the complexities and uncertainties of the U.S. healthcare system, the more straightforward and inclusive European models can offer both peace of mind and a higher quality of life.

3. Safety

Gun violence is a constant topic in US news and a factor that many Americans want to escape from. Europe is often perceived as having lower crime rates compared to certain areas in the United States, especially in terms of violent crime.

Many European countries prioritize community policing, social services, and preventative measures, which can contribute to a general sense of safety and security. Additionally, stringent gun control laws in most European countries lead to lower instances of gun-related incidents, which is a critical consideration for individuals or families seeking a safer environment.

However, the perception and reality of safety can vary widely depending on both the specific locations in the U.S. and Europe being compared and on individual perspectives on what constitutes safety. Factors such as political stability, healthcare accessibility, emergency services, and social welfare systems also play crucial roles in creating a safe living environment and may influence Americans’ decisions to move.

While safety might be a motivating factor, it’s usually one of many considerations, including quality of life, cultural experiences, and education opportunities, that Americans evaluate when deciding to relocate to Europe. A complex mix of personal, professional, and societal factors typically influences each person’s or family’s decision to move.

Benefits of Moving to Europe as an American

resident americans rose up to one year residency permit citizens moving americans living escape violence resident americans opt out attractive option more americans best way relocation process latest estimate living abroad new culture future country popular destinations political strife There are several other reasons why Americans might consider moving to Europe, reflecting the continent’s diverse cultures, lifestyles, and opportunities. Here are some of the key factors that might make Europe an attractive prospect for Americans:

Quality of Life: Many European countries rank highly in global quality of life indexes, with strong performances in healthcare, education, and overall living standards. The emphasis on work-life balance, with more generous vacation allowances and a less hectic pace of life, can be particularly appealing.

Education: Higher education in Europe can be more affordable than in the U.S., with some countries offering free or low-cost tuition to international students. Additionally, many European institutions rank highly on the global stage, providing quality education and diverse study opportunities.

Cultural Experience: Living in Europe offers Americans the chance to immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and histories. The continent’s relatively small size compared to the U.S. makes it easy to travel and explore a wide range of environments and traditions.

Employment Opportunities: For those in certain industries, Europe can offer unique career opportunities not available in the U.S. This includes roles in international organizations, diverse sectors such as renewable energy, tech, and fashion, and opportunities to work in a multilingual environment. It is feasible for Americans to work in Europe, but the process can differ by country. Some European nations have particular visa categories for skilled workers and students, while others may demand a job offer from a local employer to obtain a visa to work or a residence permit.

Environmental Sustainability: Europe is often at the forefront of sustainability and environmental policies, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy, conservation, and green living. This can appeal to those who prioritize environmental concerns.

Cultural Diversity: Europe’s cultural diversity means that one can experience a variety of languages, cuisines, traditions, and social norms within a relatively small geographical area. This diversity enriches daily life and offers continuous learning and exploration opportunities.

Historical Richness: For history enthusiasts, Europe’s long and complex history, reflected in its architecture, museums, and cities, offers endless opportunities for exploration and learning.

Social Systems and Benefits: European countries often have robust social support systems, including extensive public transport networks, public housing initiatives, and social welfare programs, which can contribute to a high standard of living.

How to Move to Europe as an American

There are various ways for Americans to get an EU residence permit and to relocate permanently to Europe. Initially, non-EU residents have to obey visa requirements to live in Europe on a temporary basis, before applying for permanent residency. Whether it is a Digital Nomad Visa, a visa to study, or one of its Golden Visas, choosing the right way for you is essential to make your move to Europe a success.

Visa Options to move to Europe

Depending on your intentions for moving, you have several different visa options to consider:

  • Tourist visa: This visa entitles you to spend up to 90 days within 180 days in the European Union (EU). However, it doesn’t include the right to work or study.
  • Work visa: Should you receive a job offer in Europe, your employer can sponsor your visa. The expense associated with a work visa is country-specific and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Student visa: If you want to study in Europe, securing a visa is essential. Student visa costs vary depending on the country, typically within a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Entrepreneur visa: For those aspiring to launch a business in Europe, several EU countries offer the opportunity through a specific visa.
  • Digital nomad visa: Certain countries like Portugal and Estonia offer digital nomad visas to foreign nationals working remotely with a foreign employer or independently. These visas are usually valid for one year; some countries even offer extensions.
  • Investment visa: Several countries in Europe offer investment programs enabling foreigners to contribute to their economy, often through real estate, government bonds, and investing in local businesses. In exchange for their investment, they are granted residency.

cost of living middle east golden visas cost of living residence permits more americans new country last year cost of living A Golden Visa can be a lucrative option for Americans wanting to move to Europe, particularly for those who have the financial means to invest in a foreign country. Golden Visas are residency-by-investment programs offered by several European countries, allowing individuals to gain residency rights through investment, such as purchasing real estate, making a significant financial investment in the local economy, or creating jobs.

The popularity of the Golden Visa has increased over the past few years. Whether buying real estate, investing in businesses and enterprises, or paying into an investment fund, many Golden Visa options offer a safe and remunerative way to live abroad.

Regarded as one of the best places to live and work in Europe, Portugal’s Golden Visa has long been a favorite for US expats to set up a new life. With relatively low living costs, a great housing market, warm and sunny weather, and stunning cities and towns, Europe’s most western country is a hit with expats worldwide.

How Global Citizen Solutions Can Help

If you’re ready to take the next steps and learn more about whether living in Europe could be for you, you can find further information in our article Best Places for Americans to Live Abroad. If Portugal, in particular, has piqued your interest, you can read more about relocating to Portugal in our article: Americans Moving to Portugal.

Once you’re ready to explore all your options, why not schedule a non-binding and informative call with Global Citizen Solutions to plan the best choice and secure the next steps? We’re experts in global migration with a particular focus on investment, residence permits, and work visas, such as the Digital Nomad Visa.

As a professional agency, we work solely for and with you to ensure that you make the best decision depending on your specific situation. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving to Europe as an American

Can US citizens move to Europe?

Yes, Americans can move to Europe. There are a variety of options available, including with Golden Visas, residency schemes, and citizenship by investment.

What is the easiest country in Europe for an American to move to?

Each country has its own stipulations regarding visas and immigration. Portugal has a straightforward Golden Visa investment program, making it one of the most popular countries for citizens of America to move to.

What is the best European country for an American to move to?

Depending on your preferences, some of the best countries in Europe to move to are Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Malta. With warmer climates, friendly people, and a more relaxed way of life, these places are favorites for America’s citizens to relocate to.

Is living in Europe better than living in the US?

With every country, there are advantages and disadvantages. Most Americans choose to move to Europe to experience a more relaxed way of life and enjoy better health care, a higher standard of living, cheaper real estate, and more security.