The easiest and best countries to live in? Here are 11 which allow you to stay in for six months or more almost entirely hassle free.
How long you can stay and the exact nuances of staying typically depend on the country you are from, but generally speaking the policies described below apply for citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European Nations and others. Make sure you research the most recent and exact details before planning travel, but this will get you on your way!
When you arrive in Argentina you are given a 90-day tourist visa. If you would like to stay beyond these 90-days, you can apply for a 90-day extension while in the country. Want to stay beyond 180 days? You can then do a visa run.
A visa run is when you exit a country to go to a neighboring country – Uruguay, Chile or Brazil in the case of Argentina, and return on the same day to restart the clock on time allowed in the country. With Argentina, doing this would allow you another 90-days (that could be extended again for an additional 90-days) and so on. Learn more about Argentinian Visitor Visas and other visa types. Also, great Argentinian visa information can be found on wander-argentina.com.
Living in Belize is super easy for expats. Upon entry you will get a stamp in your passport that allows you to stay for 30 days. You can renew the 30-day tourist visa every month for up to 6 months at the cost of $50 per month.
After 6 months, the monthly visa fee is $100. After one year, if you do not want to go through the process of applying for residency you need to leave Belize for 72 hours, and then re-enter the country to get a new 30-day tourist visa and re-start the process. Get a firsthand account on Living in Belize: 101 or get the book learn how to move to, retire and buy property in Belize.
In Cambodia, for $35 you can get what is called an “Ordinary” visa (sometimes also called a “Business” visa). This visa can be renewed indefinitely to allow you to say in Cambodia for as long as you like. Get great information about the Cambodian visa process or read about the experiences of an expat living and working in Phnom Penh.
Citizens of many countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most of Western Europe will receive a 90-day Tourist Card upon arrival in Chile. The tourist card can be extended for an additional 90-days when the original 90-day time period is close to expiring.
According to Lonely Planet, if you would like to stay longer than six months in Chile, “it’s simplest to make a brief visit to Argentina, Peru or Bolivia, then return and start your six months in Chile all over again. There is no formal obstacle to doing so, although border officials sometimes question returnees from Mendoza, Argentina, to determine whether they are working illegally in Chile. Do not lose your tourist card, which border authorities take very seriously.”
Also, individuals with Australian or New Zealand passports between the ages of 18 – 30 can apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Chile for up to 12 months.
Learn more about how expats live, work and travel in Chile.
5. Costa Rica
According to my interview with James Kaiser, an American expat living in Costa Rica, “Technically the way the system works is if you come as a tourist you are given 90 days and after 90 days you have to leave the country for at least three days, but then you can come back and you can do that for as long as you want. I know expats who have done this for eight or nine years. It is not the most efficient way to do things, but a lot of things down here are not the most efficient way to do things.”
Want more info? Read Nadine Hays Pisani’s, Happier than a Billionaire, Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica and Working the Zero Hour Work Week.
Citizens of select countries are given permission to stay in Colombia for six months upon arrival. Read about one expat’s experience living and working in Colombia.
If you want to live in Ecuador but don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a Residency Visa there is a way to stay for up to 9 months. When you arrive in Ecuador you are given permission to stay for 90-days as a tourist. If you would like to stay up to 6 months longer you can apply for a 12-IX Visa.
If you would like to live in Ecuador on permanent basis according to Susan Schneck in an interview I did with her Living Large in Ecuador on $800 a Month, “You can get an investment visa for a 25,000 dollars investment you put in a CD. If you buy property that is taxable at around 25,000 you can get a visa. As the real estate would be taxable at 25,000 dollars it will however, cost you more than that to actually purchase it. You can get a pension visa if you can prove you make more than 800 dollars or more a month. You can also get a volunteer, work or student visa. Ecuador has made it very easy for expats. After living in Ecuador for three years you can become a dual citizen. Ecuador does not have income tax so it is really great. “
Like many countries, Guatemala grants a 90-day tourist visa upon entry. You can renew this tourist visa for an additional 90-days in one of two ways: either via a Visa Run to a neighboring country or going through Guatemalan immigration – explained in detail by okantigua.com here.
When your second 90-day extension is nearing expiration, you can renew it via leaving Guatemala and reenter the country via traveling through a country that is not El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua. Upon returning to Guatemala, from any country other than the four listed, you receive another 90-day Tourist Visa and your tourist visa clock starts again.
Mexico generously gives 180 days (6 months) to tourists from many countries when they arrive. This tourist card can then be renewed by leaving Mexico prior to the 180 days expiring and re-entering to restart a new 6-month clock. Read one American’s account of living in Mexico City or get guide to living in Mexico as an expat.
Similar to Mexico, a tourist visa in Panama is granted for 180 days and can be renewed by leaving and reentering the country. Information for American Citizens wanting to travel to Panama found on the US Department of State website or get the guide on living in Panama.
In the interview I did with Andrew Bliss, an American entrepreneur living in Taiwan, he said, “People do visa runs every 30 days all the time in Taiwan, which is simply leaving the country and coming back in on a landing visa. There is no limit to the number of times you can do it.” Learn more about living in Taiwan as an expat.