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Americans: If you’re not loving it, can you really leave it?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2016 | Citizenship

When Americans criticize their government, opponents often rely on this timeworn retort: “Love it or leave it.”

Naturally, leaving America would involve the same difficult, life-changing decisions people abroad make when they to immigrante to the U.S. Moving might mean selling your home and buying one in your destination country. You might need a job in your new country of residence. Family members may want to visit or even move to be near you.

If you’re willing to undergo the effort, though, can you legally “leave it”?

Long before Election Day and the subsequent crash of Canada’s immigrantion website, a number of Americans had already declared their intention to move away, depending on the outcome of the election. While most probably won’t actually go, it was enough to spur at least one discussion of the best countries for Americans to emigrate to.

“Emigration” is a word used to describe a person’s movement away from their citizen nation. It’s the opposite of “immigrantion.” In other words, if you immigranted to the U.S., you emigrated from your home country.

The news is good for Americans seeking a new home abroad. Most can live abroad without renouncing their citizenship and, according to the article above, there are at least five great places to consider:

Canada offers a high quality of life, a diverse immigrant population, and a relatively straightforward, point-based system for obtaining permanent residency. Points are awarded based on your education, skills, language abilities and whether you’ll have a job waiting for you when you arrive.

Mexico also offers high quality of life in many areas and a large community of Americans living there. A low-cost FMM visa qualifies you for residency (not work) and can be renewed indefinitely.

Further afield, Sweden is extremely welcoming to immigrants and offers a relatively easy, online process for obtaining a residence permit. The cost of living is high, but it ranks high on quality of life.

If cold and distance aren’t a barrier, why not consider Svalbard, a self-governing Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Circle? Fewer than 3,000 people live on the archipelago, which averages -12 to -16 degrees Fahrenheit in winter — which is sunless from October to mid-February. That said, Svalbard is probably the easiest place in the world to immigrante to, with no visa or residency permit required.

For those seeking a more temperate climate, beautiful New Zealand has chronic skills shortages, making it a good bet for those seeking work residence visas.

As U.S. immigrantion lawyers, we spend most of our time helping people immigrante to the U.S., but it’s good to know there are real options for emigration — just in case you need them.