5 countries where it's relatively easy for Americans to become expats

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Lots of people are talking about leaving the US now that Donald Trump has become the next president-elect.

With that in mind, we’ve looked into some of the easiest countries to immigrate to as an American. While actually moving to a new country is never a simple process, it does help if you’re a skilled worker with some disposable income.

See below for our top five picks.



Canada is one of the most welcoming countries for immigrants in the world. More than 20% of Canadians were foreign-born as of 2011, the highest proportion among all G8 countries.

While the election results rolled in last night, Canada's immigration website crashed. Unsurprising when you consider that the top story on Business Insider has been 'How to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen.'

For skilled immigrants, Canada has an express entry program. Simply fill out the form online, and you'll see how many points you have. Points are awarded based on your skills, education, languages you speak, and whether you have a job offer waiting for you in Canada.

Candidates with the most points are invited to apply for permanent residence. Applying for a permanent residence will set you back $490 CAD ($365 USD).

Beyond a seamless immigration process, Canada also ranks highly for expat quality-of-life.



More American expats call Mexico home than any other country in the world, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Many of these American expats are retirees who go to Mexico for the warm weather, as The Washington Post's Adam Taylor has noted.

Though Mexico is not without its problems, due to narcotics-related violence, it ranks highly for expat quality-of-life, likely due to the delicious food and beautiful beaches.

If you want to move to Mexico, the first step is buying an FMM visa for only $21 USD, which you can do upon arrival. The FMM visa -- only valid if you don't intend to work -- works for up to six months, and you can renew it indefinitely.

Trump's wall, if it gets built, might end up serving a dual purpose.



If the thought of President Trump scares you so much that you're willing to permanently relocate to a tiny archipelago north of the Arctic Circle, look no further than Svalbard.

While technically part of Norway, Svalbard's 2,642 residents are largely self-governed. And unlike the rest of Norway, the Immigration Act doesn't apply to Svalbard -- meaning that no residence permit or visa is required to settle in Svalbard. You just need to buy a plane ticket.

While Svalbard is probably the easiest place to immigrate to in the world, living there is tough. The average temperature in the winter ranges from -12 to -16 Farenheit, and you won't see the sun between October and mid-February. And don't mind the polar bears.



Sweden welcomes immigrants with open arms.

The Swedish government granted approximately 110,000 residence permits in 2014 -- a huge number for a country with a population of just under 10 million. For comparison, Poland, which has a population of around 38 million, only let in 46,000 migrants in 2013, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Sweden also scores high on expat quality-of-life rankings, with a strong education system and environmentally-friendly policies.

But Sweden, like other Scandinavian countries, has high taxes and a high cost-of-living.

If you want to move to Sweden, you can start the process online. A residence permit will set you back 1000 Swedish krona (approximately $117 USD.)

New Zealand

New Zealand.

New Zealand is arguably one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Beyond the filming locations of the 'Lord of the Rings,' New Zealand offers countless opportunities for outdoor recreation and some pretty cool cities to boot.

New Zealand has chronic skills shortages. It's so bad, that three-quarters of CEOs in New Zealand think that skills shortages are the biggest threat to their businesses, according to a 2015 survey by the consulting firm PwC.

If you work in the oil-and-gas, agriculture, or even the snowsports industry, you'll have a relatively easy time securing a work residence visa.

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