10 Expat-friendly countries where English is widely spoken (2023)

Portugal is planning to end its Golden Visa program

Moving abroad comes with enough curveballs and complexities as it is. And trying to navigate a new country in a language you don’t speak can become exhausting fast. Fortunately, there are scores of expat-friendly countries where English is widely spoken. Today, we highlight ten of our favorites…

Let’s get into the details below.

If you’re a remote worker, an extended stay abroad is generally not a vacation – you have to work, and work efficiently. And if you don’t speak the local language, it can create time-consuming friction points – not to mention compounding frustration.

Also, for expat retirees, speaking the local language can mean the difference between integrating socially and being constantly lonely. In both cases, a simple solution is to choose a country where English is widely spoken.

And if a place is affordable, expat-friendly, and has an accessible residency program to boot – bonus.

Of course, there is no perfect place. One country may have a super low cost of living, yet crime could be a growing problem. Another may be both cheap and welcoming to expats, but they can’t keep the lights on. Others may be near perfect for you, but easy residency options are non-existent….

So in most cases, you’re likely going to have to make some trade-offs.

Here are ten countries that are commonly considered expat-friendly, with decent(ish) residency options (especially for Americans), and where English is widely spoken.

(Although – spoiler – they’re not all renowned as being cheap destinations…)

Country Easiest Visa or Residency Options Cost of Living English Proficiency
Netherlands DAFT Residency for Self-employed Individuals (For US citizens only) Expensive (5/7) Very High (1/5)
Spain Non Lucrative Visa / Digital Nomad Visa Moderate (4/7) Moderate (3/5)
Portugal D7 Visa / Digital Nomad Visa Inexpensive (3/7)  Very High (1/5)
Malaysia Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H) / Malaysia Premium Visa Program (PVIP) Very Cheap (2/7) High (2/5)
Philippines Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV) Very Cheap (2/7) Very High (1/5)
Namibia Digital Nomad Visa Very Cheap (2/7) Moderate (3/5)
Malta Digital Nomad Visa / Retirement Visa / Malta Residence and Visa Program  Moderate (4/7) Native
India 6-Month Tourist e-Visa for US citizens Dirt-cheap (1/7) High (2/5)
Dubai Digital Nomad Visa / Dubai Investor Visa Expensive (5/7) High (2/5)

Source: Sovereign Cost of Living Index (Living Costs and English Proficiency data)

You’ll notice that none of these countries are particularly appealing from a tax perspective (with the exception of Malta and Dubai). If paying lower taxes is your key priority, be sure to check out our recent Knowledge Series article on 20 countries with no or low taxes.

Then – as for the rationale behind including India…

The Subcontinent is not exactly in Sovereign Man’s regular wheelhouse…

But we recently spoke with a global security strategist working in the development sector. He and his wife moved to Delhi from London around six months ago. He reports that while the frenetic pace of urban India and the city’s air pollution took some time to get used to, their quality of life there is exceptional.

For a fraction of their living costs in London, they now get to live in a 5-bedroom mansion in one of the city’s swankiest areas. Their garden is a verdant, expansive sanctuary. They have several domestic staff working for them full time – and they even have a full-time driver!

So while India may not suit everyone’s career and lifestyle tastes, for them the move to Delhi made a lot of sense…

And given the wealth of stylish, affordable Airbnbs to choose from there, you could totally investigate this option before making up your mind. (Plus, Americans are eligible for the Indian e-Visa, which is valid for up to six months…)

An asynchronous work schedule will be essential, however, as the time difference between Delhi and New York City is a whopping 9 hours and 30 minutes…

IMPORTANT: It’s also important to note that visa and residency requirements can change suddenly, so it’s always advisable to check the latest requirements from your nearest consulate for the country in question.

Contemplating a longer-term stint overseas?

Discover all your best residency and citizenship options, along with step-by-step guidance on how to apply, by joining Sovereign Confidential.

Sovereign Confidential is the most comprehensive international diversification service on the planet, with our global, in-depth catalog spanning over 12 years. Members also benefit from our Monthly Letters series, covering a range of mission-critical topics, including:

1. The best options for second residency and citizenship — potentially for next to nothing
2. How US citizens can easily and cheaply get residency in the Netherlands via the DAFT visa program
3. How to legally and significantly reduce your taxes
4. How to pass 100% of your estate to your family — tax-free
5. How to create a firewall around your assets — and especially your home…
6. And much, much more!

Find out how Sovereign Confidential can help you secure your own robust Plan B here.

The bottomline…

As with investing, it pays to look beyond the beaten path when it comes to your international residency options. The world is a big place filled with opportunities. All it takes to prosper – despite all the uncertainties we face today – is access to the right knowledge, and the will to take action.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

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