Best places for expats to live

Planning to move abroad? Seeking increased global mobility and alternative living options? This guide aims to present you with some of the best countries for expats to live abroad. Whether you elect Europe or the Caribbeans islands, we will walk you through several of the best places to live in the world.

In this guide, you will find out more about the best places to live as an expat.

Why do expats move abroad?

Many expats moving abroad seek a better quality of life. Low costs of living, attractive tax benefits, incredible landscapes, and a relaxed pace to everyday life are available in some of the best expat locations.  

The right to live, work, and study abroad The right to live, work, and study abroad
Increased global mobility Increased global mobility
More opportunities and freedoms More opportunities and freedoms

Where to expatriate overseas?

Drawn by a mild climate and places full of diversity and entertainment, Europe has some of the best countries to live in overseas. Portugal, Spain, Malta, and Cyprus offer great benefits for an expat family to live in Europe. Not only will you be taken away by the rich history and culture of Europe, but you will be able to enjoy delicious cuisines and incredible scenery from some of the best-to-live cities in Europe. 

If you are seeking pristine waters, gorgeous beaches, and lush rainforests, the Caribbean islands are another option for relocation. Enjoy a relaxed style of living while admiring the wonders of nature in some of the best places to live in the world.

Best places for expats to live in Europe

Benefits for an expat to live in Europe

Expats living abroad in Europe benefit from a high standard of living, visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area, access to world-class healthcare and education, affordable retirement plans, as well as the security of second residence in a politically and economically stable country.

Portugal

Why live in Portugal

Portugal is rated as one of the best countries to live for expats. It scores highly on quality of life surveys, personal safety reports, and friendliness of locals towards expats. Its mild climate, beautiful beaches, innovative tech sector, and relaxed pace of life make Portugal one of the best places to live overseas.

Advantages of living in Portugal as an expat

There are many advantages to living in Portugal as an expat. Its incredible weather and beaches are not the only reasons for expats to move to Portugal.

  • Cost of living in Portugal is low
  • Little to zero language barrier
  • Easy transportation
  • Tax-friendly schemes like the Non-Habitual Residency Regime
  • A great quality of life

Best places to live in Portugal as an expat

Whatever you are looking for, there are plenty of places to live in Portugal. These are among the most popular spots for expats:

  • The Algarve
  • Cascais and Estoril
  • Central Portugal
  • Lisbon
  • Porto

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program

Portugal’s Residency-by-Investment Program, also popularly referred to as the Golden Visa, is an attractive option for non-EU nationals. Investing in the country such as buying property worth at least €500,000 in Portugal can make you eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa. This government-sponsored program offers several benefits for expats in Portugal, including:

  • The right to family reunification
  • A waiver of the usual residence visa for Portugal
  • A visa exemption for Schengen Area travel
  • Permission to live and work in Portugal, as long as you spend at least one week in the country during the first year, and at least two weeks during each year after that
  • The right to apply for permanent residence and for Portuguese citizenship, as long as you fulfill the program  requirements

Spain

Why live in Spain

Famous for its food, culture, quality of life and celebrations, Spain is one of the best european countries for expats. You will not be disappointed by its diversity of sceneries and pockets of natural wonders to discover.

Advantages of living in Spain as an expat

One of the main advantages of living in Spain as an expat is the rich quality of life it offers. These advantages include: 

  • Fantastic beaches
  • Great healthcare system
  • Amazing food and cuisine
  • A rich and diverse culture
  • Welcoming locals

Best places to live in Spain as an expat

With Spain being the largest country in southern Europe, you will find plenty of options to settle down in. Some of the best places to live in Spain as an expat are:

    • Barcelona
    • Madrid
    • Valencia
    • Granada
    • Bilbao
    • Canary Islands

Spain’s Golden Visa Program

The Golden Visa scheme in Spain is a new type of residency-by-investment visa program, established by the Spanish government in 2013. The program is geared toward non-EU foreigners who would like to make either capital investments or a real estate investment of at least €500,000. Qualified applicants and immediate family members are issued with a residency visa, with possible pathways to permanent residency and Spanish citizenship.

Cyprus

Why live in Cyprus

Known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a beautiful island located between Greece and Turkey. With its breathtaking coastal atmosphere, exotic cuisine, and rich culture and history, it is no wonder why it’s becoming one of the best places to live overseas.

Advantages of living in Cyprus as an expat

Sunny weather and affordable living costs are some of the main advantages of living in Cyprus as an expat. Low crime rates, tax incentives, and widely spoken English are other considerable benefits. 

Best places to live in Cyprus as an expat

This beautiful island offers many wonders to discover, but here are some of the best places to live in Cyprus:

  • Paphos
  • Limassol
  • Nicosia
  • Larcana
  • Famagusta
  • Kyrenia

Cyprus’s Citizenship by Investment Program

Citizenship by investment programs allow individuals to obtain citizenship by making an investment in the country, usually in real estate or government bonds. In Cyprus, you can acquire citizenship by investment through a combination of real estate purchases and contributions to government funds.

Interested in Cyprus’s Citizenship by Investment Program? Get in touch with our specialists at Global Citizen Solutions for more information on how we can help you secure Cyprus citizenship in under a year. 

 

Malta

Why live in Malta

Steeped in history and culture, Malta is a beautiful Mediterranean island that has some of the best diving spots in the world. Do not be deterred by its small size as Malta offers many kinds of entertainment and natural wonders.

Advantages of living in Malta as an expat

Living in Malta as an expat has many benefits: the population speaks English, the health care system is excellent, the living costs are affordable, it’s politically stable, the economy is booming, and the weather is incredible. 

 Best places to live in Malta as an expat

Malta is a small island, however, it offers a great variety of places along the coast, in the countryside, or in the urban areas. Here are some of the best places to live in Malta:

  • City of Valletta
  • St. Paul’s bay
  • City of Victoria
  • City of Mdina and Rabat
  • City of Birgu

Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program

Officially known as the Malta Individual Investor Programme, the Malta Citizenship by Investment scheme was first introduced in 2014, aimed at attracting the investment of high net worth individuals of solid moral standing. Each year, over 1,000 investors are granted citizenship in Malta through the program. In return for making an investment in real estate, government bonds, stocks, or Malta’s Government Fund, you and your family are granted citizenship in a year, with EU passports.

 

Living in Europe as an expat

Before you begin your journey to Europe, it’s always best to work with reputable professionals, to ensure you’re making the right choices for your personal situation. Make sure you have a trusted advisor who can help guide you through the process – and save you time and money!

If you need advice on property investment or residency in Portugal, Spain, Malta, or Cyprus our specialists are here to help.

Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation with one of our team members.

Best places for expats in the Caribbean

Best Caribbean island to live in as an expat

More and more expats are moving to the Caribbean due to its tranquil lifestyle options, world-class beaches, stunning scenery, stability, and proximity to the US.

Caribbean countries are very popular for expats looking for a second passport, which offer visa-free travel to over 130 countries globally, including visa-free access to the EU Schengen Zone.

Thanks to the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs, many investors can now settle down in the Caribbean permanently. By far, Dominica is rated the best place to live as a US expat. Here’s why.

Safe and stable lifestlye Safe and stable lifestlye
Geographical proximity to the US Geographical proximity to the US
Visa-free travel to over 130 countries Visa-free travel to over 130 countries
Tax incentives Tax incentives

Dominica: Why live here

A tropical paradise in the Caribbean, Dominica has plenty to offer for expats. Its waterfalls, volcanoes, lush forests, and beautiful beaches provide for adventure and relaxation. With a very affordable cost of living, this unspoiled paradise will take your breath away.

Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

Citizenship by investment programs offer individuals the unique ability to obtain citizenship by investing in the country, usually in the form of real estate or government donation. With its breathtaking scenery, luxuriant national parks and gorgeous beaches, Dominica’s citizenship program is one of the most popular ways to obtain a second passport within 3-4 months. With contributions starting from $100,000, you can acquire a Dominica passport-by-investment by either investing in real estate or donating to the Government’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF).

Safest Caribbean island to live as an expat

Antigua and Barbuda

Why live in Antigua and Barbuda as an expat

Blessed with some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, crystal clear waters and warm climate, Antigua and Barbuda is one of the best and safest Caribbean Island to live as an expat.

Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program

Antigua and Barbuda established its own citizenship by investment initiative in 2012 as a means to promote economic growth sustainably, attract developments, and increase foreign direct investment in the nation. You can acquire an Antigua and Barbuda passport-by-investment by either making a charitable contribution, investing in real estate or establishing a business. In just five months, you and your family can acquire Antigua passports, starting from a $100,000 investment. 

Other Caribbean countries to live as an expat 

St. Kitts and Nevis

Famously known and appreciated for its stunning scenery, white sandy beaches, and tropical climate, St. Kitts and Nevis is a popular destination to settle down in and live a relaxed lifestyle. The St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Program gives qualifying investors the opportunity to obtain dual citizenship and tax-free worldwide income in the beautiful twin-island nation.

Grenada

Known as ‘The Spice of the Caribbean’, Grenada is a beautiful island popular for its white-sandy beaches, coral reefs, and unspoiled landscapes. Enjoy a simple lifestyle and warm and welcoming locals. Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program offers you the unique ability to obtain citizenship by investing in the country, usually in real estate or government donation.

Other Caribbean countries to live as an expat 

Saint Lucia

Made of sandy white beaches, lush rainforests and volcanoes, Saint Lucia is an incredible island in the Caribbean. You will be welcomed by its hospitable people and will enjoy this piece of paradise. Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Program offers you the unique opportunity to obtain citizenship by investing in the country, usually in real estate, the National Economic Fund, government bonds, or enterprise. 

How can I move to the Caribbean?

We work first and foremost for our clients, providing unique tailor-made solutions to each individual.

Making an investment and moving abroad may seem daunting, we know this from first-hand experience. At Global Citizen Solutions, we guide our clients through each step of the citizenship process, with 100% success rates.

Contact us to learn more about the Caribbean citizenship programs, or to learn more about other residency and citizenship programs we work with.

Best expat online communities

Intimidated to move abroad and start a new life? Do not worry, there are plenty of available community groups which will ease the transition and introduce you to the local expat communities.

InterNations allows you to connect and exchange directly with other international people. Easily get in touch with other likeminded people, attend events and activities, and build a network of expat friends.

Meetup helps you find and create local communities. Use Meetup to encounter new people, try new activities, visit places, and build new friendships.

How can Global Citizen Solutions help me?

How can Global Citizen Solutions help me?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients from around the world acquire residence permits or homes while diversifying their portfolio with robust investments.

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application.

Get in touch

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving Abroad as an expat

What is the best place to live in the world 2020?

Portugal has been ranked in numerous global studies as the top country in the world for expats. A warm climate, fresh seafood, and stunning beaches make Portugal a popular place for expats looking to move abroad.

What is the cheapest and safest country to live in?

Portugal is the cheapest and safest country to live in. Scoring highly on quality of life, excellent climate, clean air, and low crime rates, Portugal is a favorite destination for many expats looking to relocate.

Where can expats live permanently?

Expats have many options to choose from when thinking about permanently living abroad. Portugal’s Golden Visa and Spain’s Golden Visa schemes allow non-EU citizens to move to Europe and get residency, provided that they meet the program’s investment requirements first. The Caribbean islands are also popular options for expats, because of geographical proximity with the US, low living costs, and a high standard of living.

How can a non-EU citizen move to Europe?

Non-EU citizens have many options on the table when considering moving to Europe. Malta and Cyprus both offer quick and relatively easy ways to obtain EU residency. Their citizenship by investment schemes allow foreigners to invest in the country’s real estate or government bonds and business shares, in return for EU passports. Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs permit foreigners to temporarily reside in the country, provided that they invest in the country - usually real estate- and maintain this investment for five years. Eventually, you can get PR and citizenship in Spain and Portugal too.

What is the Golden Visa?

A golden visa is a permanent residency visa issued to individuals who invest, often through the purchase of property, a certain sum of money into the issuing country.

Which country in Europe is easiest to get citizenship?

Portugal is the easiest overall option for EU citizenship. After you meet the Golden Visa Program requirements and maintain your investment for five years or more, you can apply for citizenship. Meanwhile, Spain offers the fastest way to get EU citizenship if you come from one of the former Spanish colonies. By far, Malta and Cyprus give second passports quickly, in just under a year, but the investment requirements and investment thresholds are higher and more complex.

Which country gives citizenship by buying property?

Malta, Cyprus, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada.

Can a non-EU citizen live in Spain?

Yes a non-EU citizen can live in Spain, thanks to Spain’s Golden Visa program.

Which countries offer golden visas?

Spain and Portugal offer Golden Visas.

How can I get PR in Spain?

For permanent residency, you just need 5 years of residence in the country and the main condition is that, during those 5 years, you haven't been out of the country for more than 10 months at a time. You must also hold your investments during the five-year period and have a valid temporary residence permit. Whereas to obtain the Spanish citizenship you need to have lived in Spain for 10 years.

Do US citizens pay tax in Spain?

Taxes for Expats – The US – Spain Tax Treaty. The US – Spain tax treaty was originally signed in 1990, with an additional protocol signed in 2013 but only ratified in 2019 that reduced withholding taxes on dividends, interest, and royalties, as well as increasing tax information sharing between the two countries.

Where do most expats live in Spain?

Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, San Sebastian.

Can an expat buy a house in Portugal?

There are no restrictions to buying a home in Portugal as a foreigner, and the real estate sector is well developed. Many foreigners have settled in Portugal - or invested in a second home here - already.

What is it like to live in Lisbon as an expat?

Lisbon is a beautiful city, with lots of green public spaces, rich culture, surrounding beaches, excellent health care system, vibrant nightlife, and so much more. Living costs in Lisbon are also affordable.