I have to admit, this is a difficult topic to bring up because, to many, it veers way too close to betraying the country of our birth. However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If I truly believe that utter chaos is coming to America in the form of an economic collapse, EMP, or some other horrific event, then why stay here? Why not find a small, obscure country and hole up for a while, thus protecting my family and myself?
I began researching this subject a few years ago when a reader contacted me and told me about her move to Chile. She and her husband had decided to make the move, sight unseen. They were loving the clean air, pure food, friendly people, and a change in their lifestyle.
My first discovery was a shocker. Very few countries want me! They don’t want me, my husband, my family, my parents. Rules for residency can be quite strict, sometimes even requiring the deposit of a large sum of money into one of the nation’s banks. Some countries are quite frank about preventing people like me from coming into their country. To do so, I need to provide:
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of regular income
- Background check
- Health report from a doctor for each family member
- Financial information
Additionally, I have to follow strict rules regarding time in country and visa requirements.
This is a stark and startling contrast to the mass human migration we’ve seen in the past couple of years. If citizens of Central America, Mexico, and nearly every other country can walk past our southern border without any of the above, including personal identification, then why do other countries make it so difficult, and, more importantly, where can a law-abiding, hard working American citizen go when they decide to relocate?
Plenty of questions, no easy answers
At one time I thought my family could just pick a country and move there. The entire world was our oyster! Where should we go? Australia? New Zealand? England? Somewhere in Europe?
Well, it didn’t take long to find out that if I’m over 35, Australia doesn’t want me. Other countries may let us visit for a time, but do not allow long-term or permanent residency. The countries that are left are an odd mix:
- Costa Rica
- Ireland (ancestry)
- Israel (If you’re Jewish or have Jewish heritage.)
There are a few more, but the pickin’s are slim.
It boils down to having money, ancestry, time, and/or flexibility. $100,000 will buy a passport and citizenship in Dominica. Ancestors from Hungary, going back 4 generations, can smooth the way for residency in Hungary. Convert to Judaism and you may become an Israeli citizen, complete with mandatory military service.
If you’re about to have a baby, or are planning one, Brazil is one of only a handful of countries that provides citizenship to every baby born within its borders. Permanent residency can be obtained in Chile, after living there continuously for five years.
As you can see, there is no simple path to residency or, if you choose, citizenship. And then there’s the nightmare of dealing with bureaucrats, long distance phone calls, websites and applications in a foreign language — it’s ALL entirely possible. Just not as easy as one would think.
I answer that question and provide several historical examples of relocating — in fact, it’s highly likely your own ancestors relocated and that’s how you ended up an American citizen!
I’ve learned a lot from these resources: