Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (2023)

Europe is an epicentre for expats, with 2.7 million foreigners moving to the EU only in 2019. There are several reasons internationals move to Europe, including better job opportunities, higher salaries, a higher standard of living, and better government support.

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When you plan your move, it’s important to remember that some countries may be better suited for you than others. For that reason, you should do extensive research and find out the European countries that are the best for expats.

Best European Countries for Expats to Live In

Some of the best European countries for expats are:

  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Luxembourg,
  • The United Kingdom
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland

These countries are the best when measuring the quality of life, healthcare, social, physical, and financial security they offer to their citizens and residents.

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Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (1)

Known as the land of “Poets and Thinkers” and with its high standard of life, Germany is home to the most expats in Europe. Having one of the best economies and several routes for immigration, moving to Germany is more accessible than other EU states. Its capital, Berlin, is a social hub for those who enjoy going out and meeting new people, so adapting to the culture is no issue.

To move to Germany, you can apply for an employment visa if you have a skill in demand there. If your partner has German citizenship, you can move for family reunification. Additionally, Germany also offers an artist visa for those who wish to pursue a career in the arts.

>>How to Obtain German Citizenship By Investment?


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (2)

Portugal is one of the best countries in Europe for expats. Its popularity stems from its favourable climate, economic development, excellent education opportunities, and outstanding quality of life. Portugal is relatively cheap for most expats, and the living expenses are significantly lower outside of Lisbon.

Additionally, Portugal is well known for welcoming foreigners and having plenty of social opportunities for cultural integration, making it one of the easiest countries to settle down in for expats.

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If you don’t need a visa to visit Portugal, you can usually stay for 90 days and use this opportunity to explore the country. Afterwards, you have plenty of opportunities to move to Portugal with long-term visas or retirement visas; for wealthy expats, there’s even a Golden Visa option.


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (3)

Right next to Portugal, Spain is another popular expat destination. It offers the same benefits as its neighbour with a high quality of life, a great health system, and low expenses. American expats can quickly move to Spain through the North American Language and Cultural Assistant program. But, this program is not a pathway to permanent residency; participants need to have a valid work permit if they want to make Spain their permanent home.

Expats from other countries can still use other opportunities to move to Spain. For example, individuals who prefer to work independently can apply for a freelance visa, or those with enough financial means can utilize Spain’s Golden Visa opportunity.


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (4)

This small European country has one of the highest GDP per capita, and it was ranked the second-richest country in the world for several years. As a result, Luxembourg makes one of the best countries to move to. Especially considering that more than 40% of the population is foreign.

It offers an excellent quality of life, great opportunities for business technology and innovation, and it has one of the highest salaries in Europe. Plus, it’s bordered by Germany, Belgium, and France, which are only several hours away from Luxembourg, making it an ideal place for those who want to explore other countries in Europe. Moreover, Luxembourg also has three official languages, and most of the population can speak English very well, so communication is rarely an obstacle to settling down.

However, Luxembourg’s most significant disadvantage is that along with the highest GDP per capita and high salaries, living costs are also very high compared to other European states. Plus, immigration routes to Luxembourg are restricted, and in reality, it’s challenging to relocate there as a permanent resident.


The United Kingdom

Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (5)

The UK is the best European country for Americans to move to. Because there is no language barrier, Americans find it easier to transition into their new country, socialize, and learn the culture and customs. Moreover, the UK remains one the most economically developed countries in Europe, offering many opportunities for employment, start-ups, and freelance work, in addition to social and health benefits.

One of the most common ways to move to the UK is through an intra-transfer company visa if your work is relocating you there. But, there are also several options for work visas, family visas, and there is also an investor visa for potential investors in the UK.

The only disadvantage of the UK is that now with Brexit, it’s no longer a part of the EU which means its citizens do not enjoy the same rights as other EU nationals and freedom of movement is more restricted.


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (6)

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland keeps scoring high as the happiest country in the world, so no wonder many expats are attracted to this Nordic country. It offers social and economic security and one of the best education systems globally, making it ideal for families to settle down.

Yet, many expats in online forums report that Finland is difficult to adapt due to a complicated language and a lack of social and leisure activities. If you are a social person who enjoys a lifestyle packed with activities, then Finland may not be the ideal place for you — especially if you don’t like cold weather.


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (7)

Iceland is another Nordic country with a high GDP per capita and scores within the top 20 in healthcare, education, and economic development. Moreover, according to the Global Peace Index report, Iceland has ranked the safest place to live. Additionally, expats — especially those from large urban areas — are attracted to the mesmerizing nature and stunning views that Iceland offers.

To move to Iceland, you need to have a valid visa. For example, you have work lined up and you can apply for a work visa or have a partner with Icelandic citizenship that you want to join there. But, keep in mind that Iceland, like other Nordic countries, has been reported as more challenging to settle down due to the weather conditions and the reserved nature of the locals.


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (8)

Ireland is another top European country for American expats, mainly because of the language. Ireland offers the same advantages as other European countries and has one of the highest GDP per capita, but unlike other countries, language is not a barrier which makes it easier to integrate.

Another advantage of Ireland for expats is that many Americans have ancestors who were previously Irish citizens and qualify for citizenship by descent.

>> Ireland Investor Visa


Planning a Move in 2022? Here Are Europe's Best Countries for Expats to Live In (9)

Switzerland is another excellent European country, between the chocolate, nature, and the high quality of life. Switzerland provides safety, stability, career opportunities, and financial security for many expats. Plus, it has an outstanding work-life balance allowing people to manage their professional and personal lives stress-free. However, it is still one of the most expensive countries in Europe, so if you plan to move there, you must be in a good place finance-wise.

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Benefits of Moving to Europe

Moving to Europe comes with several advantages that include:

  • The option to travel without a visa to other European countries.
  • Access to affordable national healthcare plans.
  • Access to high salaries.
  • The opportunity to live in one of the most well-developed countries globally.
  • The opportunity to live in a safe country.
  • A better work/life balance.
  • Access to famous historical sights and green spaces.

Tips Before Moving to Europe

No matter where or why you are moving, it’s always difficult to get used to your new environment. Follow these tips to make the move to Europe easier for you:

  • Learn the language. Before you move, try to pick up some common words and phrases. This will help you long-term when you need help during the moving process, plus any local who sees you are trying to learn their language will be more likely to welcome you and assist you if you need it. Don’t assume that everyone in Europe knows English, even though multiple languages are common.
  • Find accommodation. You must ensure that you have secured a place to stay when you transfer to Europe. You can choose from several options like renting a temporary Airbnb or staying at a hostel until you find a permanent place. Most expats recommend you visit the country first (if you have visa-free access to Europe) and meet with a real estate agent to find a place to stay in.
  • Prepare health insurance. While most countries in Europe offer national health care plans, it takes a couple of months until your insurance is valid when you first move there. Before you move, purchase travel insurance and a basic health insurance plan that will cover you during that time. VisaGuide.World provides a detailed information about what are the best health insurance options for expats, information on how to get it, coverage, costs, etc.
  • Read up on social customs. Every place has its customs and traditions, some of which may be entirely contradictory to those you are familiar with. So, try to read about some of the most common customs in the country you are moving to.
  • Prepare for culture shock. Culture shock can still happen and take you by surprise despite your preparation. So, be prepared to deal with many changes at once and take one step at a time until you get accustomed to your new place.


Which European country is best for expats? ›

Portugal is the best destination for expats in Europe

Expats like the opportunities for playing sport and 93 per cent said it's easy and safe to get around on foot or by bike. Those surveyed also said it was easy to make local friends and have an enjoyable social life.

Which country is the best to migrate to in 2022? ›

National profiles of the easiest countries to immigrate to
  • Canada. Known for its vast natural beauty and remarkably polite population, the "Great White North" is one of the safest, most peaceful, happiest, and economically stable countries on Earth. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • Mexico. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • Germany.

Which European country is the easiest to move to? ›


What make Portugal the easiest country in Europe to gain citizenship is that there are no physical presence requirements. Meaning you only need to hold your resident permit in order to qualify for naturalization. You don't need to spend most of the year in the country like most other countries.

Which European country is best to settle? ›

  • Switzerland has best salaries.
  • Germany provides quality education.
  • Spain — opportunities for investors.
  • Countries with a high quality of life.
  • Canada is the leader in terms of living standards.
  • Luxembourg and its business opportunities.
  • Austria has the most comfortable cities.
  • Finland has the happiest people.

What countries are most welcoming to expats? ›

The Best Countries for Expats—According to Expats
  • Spain.
  • Australia. ...
  • Cyprus. ...
  • Portugal. ...
  • Ireland. ...
  • United Arab Emirates. ...
  • France. ...
  • Netherlands. Enticed by modern cities and stunning countrysides, experienced expats have only great things to say about relocating to the Netherlands. ...
3 Mar 2022

Where should I live if I only speak English in Europe? ›

While we have already discussed that Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are some of the top English speaking countries, we shouldn't forget that Germany and Belgium are very high up the list, with over 62% of the population in Germany being English speakers and 61% in Belgium!

Which country gives permanent residency easily? ›

One of the popular nations on our list for citizenship or residency is none other than New Zealand. The country has a skilled migration program that makes it easier for people to immigrate. However, to move to the destination, criteria such as having an age limit under 55 and work experience are mandatory.

Which country has the most job opportunities for foreigners 2022? ›

Below are the top 10 countries with the most job opportunities:
  • The United Kingdom.
  • Germany.
  • China.
  • Hong Kong.
  • Turkey.
  • Australia.
  • Canada.
  • France.
19 Apr 2022

Which European country is cheapest for living? ›

Cheapest European countries for expats
  • Portugal. This country is famous for good food, beautiful beaches, a relaxed lifestyle, and affordable living. ...
  • Slovenia. This Central European country became an independent country in 1999. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Croatia. ...
  • Bulgaria. ...
  • Italy.

What is the safest European country to live in? ›

  1. Iceland. Opening the list of the safest countries in Europe is Iceland, which has ranked as the safest country worldwide for more than 10 consecutive years. ...
  2. Ireland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the country known for its lush green hills has very few red flags. ...
  3. Denmark. ...
  4. Austria. ...
  5. Portugal. ...
  6. Slovenia. ...
  7. Czech Republic. ...
  8. Switzerland.

Which European country is easiest to retire in? ›

Switzerland. The Alpine country ranks high on the lists of best retirement places for expats for its high standard of living, low taxes, excellent health care and safety. It's also full of picturesque locations with peaceful and relaxing mountain landscapes, and a wealth of outdoor activities — not least, skiing.

Where is the cheapest and safest place to live in Europe? ›

Where are the cheapest and safest Countries to live in Europe? A: If you plan to move to Europe and looking for a cheap and safe country to live then try to stay near the big city area of any of these four European countries – Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Where are expats the happiest? ›

Best performing countries for happiness
2New Zealand8.93

What is the safest country for expats? ›

William Russell: Which countries are the safest to live in for expats?
  • Austria: 95% of expats feel safe in Austria.
  • Canada with its relatively low level of crime.
  • Denmark has a low crime rate and there's almost no risk of natural disaster.
  • Iceland has a very low level of crime, and high levels of equality.
26 May 2022

What is the cheapest and safest English speaking country to live in? ›

Possibly the cheapest English-speaking country to live in is South Africa. Not only can you get by without having to go to language school, but most South African cities also have a high standard of living, similar to Western cities, which will make the transition much easier.

What is the easiest English speaking country to move to? ›

Here are the 15 best English speaking countries to move to if you want the tax advantages of living abroad without having to learn a new language.
15 Expat Countries that Speak English (and Make Sense Tax-Wise)
  1. Bahamas. ...
  2. Belize. ...
  3. Bermuda. ...
  4. Dominica. ...
  5. Gibraltar. ...
  6. Ireland. ...
  7. Isle of Man. ...
  8. Jersey.

Which European country speaks most English? ›

With a proficiency of 71.45%, the Netherlands is the country with the highest proficiency in English in all of continental Europe. Whether it's the similarities between English and Dutch, or some other factor, the population of this region can speak English at near-native levels.

Where is the best place to retire to in Europe? ›

  • Spain. Best Overall. As the most popular retirement for retired Brits, Spain is an obvious choice. ...
  • Malta. Best for Climate. Just like the people, Malta is warm and accommodating. ...
  • Italy. Best for Food. ...
  • France. Best for Culture. ...
  • Austria. Best for Quality of Life. ...
  • N. Cyprus. ...
  • Croatia. Best for Natural Beauty.

Which European country has the brightest future? ›

This wealthy European nation has the most potential for future growth, researchers say. Switzerland has more potential for economic growth than any other country in the world, according to new research.

Which country gives free citizenship? ›

Austria, Belgium, Ecuador, Belize and Costa Rica, countries where you can get citizenship and work visas easily of you have an Indian passport. Travel Tips, Immigration with Indian Passport: There are many countries in the world who give citizenship of their country if you have the passport of India and some documents.

Which country permanent residency is easy in Europe? ›

GREECE. One of the cheapest residency programs, with minimal financial investments needed, the permanent residency program offered by Greece, is one of the cheapest as compared to other European residency programs.

Which Schengen country is easy to get visa in 2022? ›

The easiest country to get a visa to is Lithuania. Almost 98.7% of short-term visa applications for a Schengen Visa to Lithuania received a positive response in 2018.
Other Important FAQs.
SomaliaSri Lanka
3 more rows

Which country in Europe has highest job opportunities for foreigners? ›

The Netherlands had the highest employment rate among European Union countries in 2022, at 81.8 percent, followed by Sweden, which had an employment rate of 77.6 percent.
Employment rate in the European Union in 2022, by country.
CharacteristicEmployment rate
9 more rows
6 days ago

What jobs are in demand in Europe for 2022? ›

Telephone operators, sales agents, and distributive workers are also highly demanded by over 15% more European employers, compared to previous years. Especially in the case of Spain, where employers willing to hire foreign staff jumped from 16% to 24% in a year.

Which country gives jobs to foreigners easily? ›

Estonia is known for its high rate of accepted work visa applications, making it the easiest country to obtain a work visa.

What is the safest most affordable country to live in? ›

10 of the cheapest and safest places to live in the world
  • Albania.
  • Portugal.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Panama.
  • Mexico.
  • Thailand.
  • Malaysia.
  • Vietnam.

Where is housing most affordable in Europe? ›

Price index in real terms (RHPI) of residential property in Europe 2000-2022. In 2022, Sweden had the highest house price index (RHPI) out of the 16 European countries under observation, making it the country with the least affordable housing.

Which European country has the lowest cost of living 2022? ›

15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Live In: 2022 Edition
  • Romania.
  • Bulgaria.
  • Hungary.
  • Poland.
  • Latvia.
  • Lithuania.
  • Slovakia.
  • Croatia.

What are some cons with living in Europe? ›

Distance from family and friends

Another disadvantage of living in Europe is how far it is from family and friends. Living in Europe can be a difficult adjustment without a familiar support system. They won't be around the corner or even a state away; you all will be an ocean apart.

Which country is the most stable in Europe? ›

Political stability - Country rankings

The average for 2021 based on 45 countries was 0.55 points. The highest value was in Liechtenstein: 1.64 points and the lowest value was in Turkey: -1.1 points. The indicator is available from 1996 to 2021.

What is the cheapest country in Europe to retire? ›

Retirees usually choose the capital city Sofia as their destination because of its cheap and affordable lifestyle. The prices of real estate are some of the lowest in Europe.
Living Costs in Bulgaria.
HousingMonthly Costs
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre$285
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre

Which European country has best work life balance? ›

Top 10 European countries for life-work balance
  1. Luxembourg. ...
  2. Spain. ...
  3. Norway. ...
  4. Germany. ...
  5. France. ...
  6. Poland. ...
  7. Slovenia. ...
  8. Iceland.
11 Jun 2022

What is the most affordable country to retire in? ›

The Cheapest Countries Where You Can Retire Well
  • Portugal. Cost of Living Index: 42.18. ...
  • Malaysia. Cost of Living Index: 34.41. ...
  • Spain. Cost of Living Index: 47.51. ...
  • Costa Rica. Cost of Living Index: 43.65. ...
  • Panama. Cost of Living Index: 48.25. ...
  • Peru. Cost of Living Index: 30.74. ...
  • Slovenia. Cost of Living Index: 47.30. ...
  • Austria.
1 Oct 2022

Where is Europe's safest climate change? ›

The 3 European Countries Least Affected by Climate Change
  • Iceland. According to GreenMatch's study, Iceland turned out to be the European country that has been affected by climate change the least. ...
  • Greece. The second country least affected by climate change turned out to be Greece. ...
  • Norway.
29 Jul 2022

Which city in Europe has the best quality of life? ›

Europe: Current Quality of Life Index by City
RankCityQuality of Life Index
1The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands216.47
2Eindhoven, Netherlands204.37
3Zurich, Switzerland196.72
4Vienna, Austria190.58
84 more rows

What is the most affordable European country to live in? ›

Cheapest European countries for expats
  • Portugal. This country is famous for good food, beautiful beaches, a relaxed lifestyle, and affordable living. ...
  • Slovenia. This Central European country became an independent country in 1999. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Croatia. ...
  • Bulgaria. ...
  • Italy.

Which European country has lowest taxes for expats? ›

Bulgaria is the best European country to live in if you want to pay as little tax as possible as it is Europe's lowest-taxing country with its rock-bottom 10% tax rate gives workers the biggest pay packet.

What is the safest country in Europe to live? ›


What is the most demanded job in Europe? ›

The most in demand careers and jobs in the EU for 2021
  1. IT specialists Careers and jobs. ...
  2. Engineers Careers and jobs. ...
  3. Health care specialists Careers and jobs: ...
  4. English teachers and education facilitators. ...
  5. Social workers.

What is the cheapest and safest country in Europe? ›

While more expensive than many Eastern European countries on the list, Portugal is the cheapest country in Western Europe. At a monthly budget of about 1200 Euros, Portugal offers a warm climate, access to the ocean, and a high level of safety.

What countries are tax free for expats? ›

Let's take a look at eight countries with no income tax:
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates) ...
  • Bermuda. ...
  • BVI. ...
  • Cayman Islands. ...
  • Monaco. ...
  • The Bahamas. ...
  • Turks and Caicos. ...
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Which European country is tax free? ›

Monaco: The tiny European city-state imposes zero tax on citizens income.

Which country is tax free for foreigners? ›

Currently, Oman is a tax-free nation, as there is no taxation on personal income. Moreover, there are no taxes on income from property, wealth, capital gains or death. However, the Oman Government is currently evaluating a Personal Income Tax Regime as a part of its 2020-2024 Medium Term Fiscal Plan.

What is the number 1 safest country to live in? ›


Iceland also has a low rate of natural disasters, making it a safe place to live. Based on all these factors, Iceland ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. As well as being ultra safe, Iceland is also an exceptionally beautiful country.

What is the most stable country in Europe? ›

Political stability - Country rankings

The average for 2021 based on 45 countries was 0.55 points. The highest value was in Liechtenstein: 1.64 points and the lowest value was in Turkey: -1.1 points. The indicator is available from 1996 to 2021.


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