Who Is A US Expat?
A US expat is an American citizen who lives and works outside of the United States. Expats can be found all over the world, working in a variety of industries. Many US expats choose to live and work abroad to experience new cultures and lifestyles. Others may do so for work-related reasons, such as pursuing international business opportunities or taking on assignments in other countries.
Where Do US Expats Live?
More than nine million American citizens live abroad, and their numbers continue to grow each year. But where in the world are they all living?
While Americans are scattered across every continent, most expats (78%) reside in just ten countries. The top three countries for American expats are Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which are all popular for their proximity to the States and lower cost of living.
Here's a closer look at where Americans are choosing to live abroad:
With its proximity to the US, Mexico is a popular destination for American expats. In fact, according to the latest figures from the Mexican government, over one million Americans are living in Mexico. Mexico's most popular destinations for US expats are Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos.
Costa Rica is another popular destination for US expats, thanks to its beautiful beaches and friendly people. According to the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, over 50,000 Americans are living in Costa Rica. The most popular destinations for US expats in Costa Rica are Tamarindo, Jaco, and Manuel Antonio.
Panama is a popular destination for US expats due to its low cost of living and proximity to the US. According to the Panamanian government, over 80,000 Americans are living in Panama. Panama's most popular destinations for US expats are Panama City, Bocas del Toro, and Boquete.
Ecuador is another popular destination for US expats, thanks to its affordable cost of living and its beautiful scenery. According to the Ecuadorian government, over 30,000 Americans are living in Ecuador. Ecuador's most popular destinations for US expats are Quito, Cuenca, and Puerto Lopez.
Belize is a popular destination for US expats due to its tropical climate and friendly people. According to the Belizean government, there are over 9,000 Americans living in Belize. The most popular destinations for US expats in Belize are Ambergris Caye, Placencia, and Cayo.
Thailand is a popular destination for US expats due to its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and friendly people. According to the Thai government, over 30,000 Americans are living in Thailand. Thailand's most popular destinations for US expats are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
Like Thailand, Malaysia is a popular destination for US expats due to its favorable climate, fantastic beaches, and warm people. According to the Malaysian government, over 30,000 Americans are living in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi are the most popular destinations for US expats in Malaysia.
The Philippines is a popular destination for US expats due to its proximity to the US, warm climate, and friendly people. According to the Philippine government, over 10,000 Americans are living in the Philippines. The most popular destinations for US expats in the Philippines are Manila, Cebu, and Bohol.
With a diverse culture and beautiful scenery, South Africa is a popular destination for US expats to live. According to the South African government, over 8,000 Americans are living in South Africa. The most popular destinations for US expats in South Africa are Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
Hong Kong is one of the go-to destinations for US expats due to its proximity to the US, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and vibrant nightlife. According to the Hong Kong government, over 7,000 Americans are living in Hong Kong. The most popular destinations for US expats in Hong Kong include Central, Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Singapore is a popular US expat destination due to its proximity to the US, low crime rate, good air quality, and vibrant nightlife. According to the Singaporean government, over 5,000 Americans are living in Singapore. Singapore's most popular destinations for US expats are Orchard Road, Chinatown, and Little India.
Australia is a top destination for US expats thanks to its friendly locals, beautiful landscape, and of course, its proximity to the US. The Australian government records that over 25,000 Americans are living in Australia. Australia's most popular destinations for US expats are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
New Zealand boasts of beautiful scenery, beautiful people, and beautiful living making it an attractive place for US expats to live. According to the New Zealand government, over 3,000 Americans are living in New Zealand. The most popular destinations for US expats in New Zealand are Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown.
South Korea is a popular destination for US expats with welcoming Korean nationals, a reasonable standard of living, and beautiful landscapes. According to the South Korean government, over 8,000 Americans are living in South Korea. Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island are the most popular destinations for US expats in South Korea.
Japan's fascinating culture and proximity to the US are the top reasons US expats love living in Japan. According to the Japanese government, over 5,000 Americans are living in Japan. Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are the most popular destinations for US expats in Japan.
Characterized by a rich history and cosmopolitan atmosphere, the UK is a popular destination for US expats. According to the UK government, over 3,000 Americans are living in the UK. London, Manchester, and Edinburgh are the UK's most popular destinations for US expats.
If you're considering moving abroad, be sure to do your research and choose a destination that's right for you. With so many unique places to select from, there's sure to be a perfect match for you.
Benefits Of Being An American Living Overseas
As an American living overseas, you still have the right to vote in elections back home. You can register to vote absentee with your local election office, and as long as you stay up-to-date on the issues, you can make your voice heard from anywhere in the world.
As a US citizen or legal resident living abroad, you may be eligible for certain tax benefits. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion allows you to exclude up to $112,000 of your foreign earnings from your US taxable income (for the tax year 2022). There are also several deductions and credits available that can help lower your overall tax bill.
A sense of community
There are many American expatriate communities worldwide, and being a part of one can help you feel less homesick and more connected to your home country. These communities can provide support, advice, and friendship and can also be great resources for finding jobs and housing.
Residing in a foreign country is an adventure, and it can be a great way to see the world. You'll have the opportunity to learn about new cultures, try new food and meet new people. And if you get homesick, you can take a trip back to the States.
A different perspective
Living overseas will give you a different perspective on the world and your own country. You'll learn to see things from other points of view, and you may even come to appreciate some of the things you took for granted back home.
Improved language skills
If you move to a country where English is not the primary language, you'll have the opportunity to learn a new language. And even if you don't become fluent, being able to speak some of the local languages will make your experience more enjoyable and can be helpful in business dealings.
Making friends in a new country can be difficult, but it's also one of the best parts of living overseas. You'll meet people from all walks of life, and you may even find yourself forming lifelong friendships.
A better understanding of other cultures
Living in a foreign country will give you a better understanding of the culture and how it differs from your own. You'll learn about the customs, the history, and the way of life, and you may even come to appreciate some of the things that are different from what you're used to.
Greater appreciation for your home country
Living abroad can also make you appreciate your home country more. You'll miss certain things about the United States, and you'll come to realize just how lucky you are to live in such a great country.
A more global perspective
Having a global perspective is becoming increasingly important in today's world. By living in a foreign country, you'll be able to see first-hand how other cultures live and work and better understand the world's interconnectedness.
Improved job prospects
Living overseas can give you a competitive edge if you're looking for a job. Many employers are looking for candidates with international experience, and your time abroad will make your resume stand out from the rest.
A retirement destination
Living overseas can be a great way to stretch your retirement savings if you're nearing retirement. In most countries, the cost of living is lower than in the United States, so you'll be able to live comfortably on a smaller budget.
A change of pace
Living overseas can be a great way to slow down and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle if you're tired of the hustle and bustle of city life. In many countries, people place a higher value on family and community and have a stronger sense of connection to their surroundings.
A chance to give back
If you want to make some difference in the world, living overseas can be a great way to do it. There are many opportunities to volunteer or work in developing countries, and your skills and knowledge can greatly benefit those in need.
An experience of a lifetime
Living overseas is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It's a great way to learn about new cultures, make new friends and see the world differently. And it may even change the way you think about yourself and your place in the world.
How To Become A US Expat
There are copious reasons why you might opt to become a US expat. Perhaps you have family or friends living outside the US or are looking for new opportunities and experiences. Whatever your reasons, if you're planning on becoming a US expat, there are a few things you need to do.
Decide why you want to become a US expat
There are many reasons why people choose to become US expats, such as for work, family, or adventure. Figure out what your motivation is so that you can best prepare yourself for the transition.
Do your research
Becoming a US expat is a big decision, and you must do your research before making any final decisions. Learn about the process, what paperwork you need to fill out, and what restrictions there may be on your ability to return to the US.
Consider your finances
Moving to a different country is often expensive, so it's essential to consider your financial situation before proceeding. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover your living expenses and any unexpected costs that may come up.
Find a place to live
Once you've decided to become a US expat, it's time to start looking for a place to live. If you're moving for work, your company may help you find housing. Otherwise, many resources are available online to help you find a place to rent or buy in your new country.
Learn the language
If you're moving to a country where English is not the primary language, you must learn at least some basic phrases before making the move. Learning the local language will be beneficial when you want to communicate with locals and make the transition to your new home much more manageable.
Stay connected with family and friends
One of the most complex parts of becoming a US expat is leaving your family and friends behind. But thanks to technology, staying in touch with loved ones back home is easier than ever. Use video chat platforms like Skype or Facetime to keep in touch and send photos and updates via social media or email.
Explore your new home
Once you've settled into your new country, take some time to explore all it has to offer. Visit different neighborhoods, try new foods, and participate in local activities. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and learn more about your new culture and qualities of life.
Becoming a US expat is a big decision, but it can be a rewarding experience. By researching, preparing financially, and learning about the process, you can make the transition to your new home much smoother. And once you're settled in, take some time to explore all your new country has to offer!
Problems US Expats Face
American citizens who relocate abroad face a unique set of challenges. There is a lot to consider, from finding the best way to ship their belongings to finding healthcare that meets their needs.
Here are the most common problems that US expats face:
Shipping belongings overseas
One of the first things you need to do when moving overseas is figure out how to get all your belongings there. Shipping belongings can be a challenge, especially if you own a lot of furniture or other large items. Shipping companies can be expensive, and finding one that is reputable and reliable can be challenging.
Another common challenge for US expats is finding healthcare that meets their needs. In many countries, the public healthcare system is not as good as what you would find in the US. This can make it difficult to find quality care, especially if you have a chronic illness or condition. Additionally, many life insurance plans do not cover medical care outside the US, so you may need to purchase an international health insurance plan.
Dealing with culture shock
Culture shock is a typical problem for anyone who moves to a new country, and US expats are no exception. It can be challenging to adjust to a new culture, especially if you are unfamiliar with the language or customs. This can be a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to learn about a new culture and expand your horizons on different qualities of life.
Making friends in a new country can be challenging, especially if you do not speak the local language. This can be challenging, but there are many ways to meet people, such as through expat groups, digital nomad groups, or online communities.
Another common challenge for US expats is managing their finances. This can be difficult due to some countries' high cost of living and the lack of financing options available. Additionally, many US expats are unfamiliar with the local financial system, making it difficult to open a bank account or invest in a property.
Dealing with homesickness
Homesickness is a common problem for US expats, especially those who have left family and friends behind. There are many ways to manage homesickness, such as staying in touch with loved ones through social media or Skype or joining an expat community.
Learning the local language
One of the best ways to assimilate into a new culture is to learn the local language. This can be challenging, but many resources are available to help you learn, such as language classes or online tutorials.
Adjusting to a new lifestyle
Relocating to a new country is quite often a big adjustment, and it can take some time to get used to the new lifestyle. This can be difficult, but it is also an opportunity to experience something new and exciting.
If you are facing any of these challenges, you are not alone. Many resources are available to help US expats, such as expat groups and websites. Additionally, the US State Department has a website with information for US citizens living abroad.
Want To Become An Expat?
Are you thinking about becoming an expat? If so, you should know a few things before making a move. For starters, you'll need to find the right real estate agent to help you find a suitable property in your new country of residence. The real estate market can be very different from one country to another, so it's essential to work with someone who knows the ins and outs.
You'll also need to get familiar with the local customs and regulations regarding expats. Every country has different rules and regulations, so it's essential to do your research before making a move. Moreover, don't forget that as an expat, you will still need to send and receive either emails or mail.
In this regard, you should employ a reputable mail forwarding service to ensure that you never miss voting day back home in the US. Finally, don't forget to pack your sense of adventure! Moving to a new country can be a thrilling experience, so make sure to enjoy it.