Wondering how to leave the US? You are not alone.
America has come a long way since its independence in 1776. Once a country synonymous with pride, freedom, and opportunities, America, for many, has turned a bleak corner.
The last couple of decades have seen more and more American citizens becoming wary of their nationality, and certain recent developments have only increased their frustration.
Most of the Americas who approach us feel that they need to be ready for the next thing that the US government decides to throw at them, and while that may sound ominous, in our experience, it isn’t that far from reality.
Take the recent developments, for example – it seems like every day there is something new going on that makes an average American think, “is it the time to finally get out of America”?
The US school shootings, the overturning of Roe v Wade, and the rising racial tensions are only some of the factors that are making people fear for their freedom, safety, and overall quality of life in America in 2022.
The recent developments may have dramatically increased the “moving out of America” sentiment, but we assure you that it has always been there.
Believe it or not, Americans do not need an alarming reason to leave America or move offshore anymore.
The US citizens and residents are starting to realize what the rest of the world has already seemed to wrap their heads around a long time ago, and that is the idea that no one country is perfect – not even America, the land of the brave and free.
Ironically, nothing is free in America and the government seems to be on a spree to regulate whatever liberty they come across.
So why don’t Americans just leave and settle somewhere else? Somewhere they feel safe, secure, free, and comfortable. Here’s where the complications start.
As a veteran in the holistic offshore strategy, we, at Nomad Capitalist, have heard every loophole, complication, and myth under the sky about why Americans just can’t move offshore, especially without renouncing their citizenship.
And we are here to tell you that that is simply… not true.
Before we get into the nits and grits of how to leave the US, first, let’s address some of the most common and intimidating myths associated with it, to put you at ease.
Common Myths and Questions About Leaving the United States
As if the mere thought of leaving the US wasn’t overwhelming enough, there is plenty of false information out there that stops people from even trying to strive toward a life abroad.
Let’s address some of these concerns:
Is there a penalty for leaving the United States permanently?
To leave the US, Americans, who want to renounce their citizenship, have to pay an exit tax. It’s not a penalty and it’s certainly not a huge fraction of your net worth, as it’s often portrayed to be.
Can you come back to the US after renouncing US citizenship?
It all depends upon your passport. Some passports may require you to get a visa for re-entry, while others may not.
Do you still have to pay US taxes after renouncing your citizenship?
No, US taxation laws only apply to US citizens, Green Card Holders, and non-US people earning a US-sourced income. So, if you are not one, it simply will not apply to you.
In essence, American citizens can not only move offshore, settle abroad, and purchase foreign real estate, but they can also do so completely legally while paying only a fraction of the taxes that they are paying currently.
Is it easy? No.
Moving out of the US is not as easy as taking a yearly trip up north. It requires comprehensive planning and professional guidance at every step. That’s where we come in.
We, at Nomad Capitalist, have not only been serving our clients successfully for years but we are the only ones who have gone through this whole tunnel ourselves.
Mr. Henderson has not only spent years traveling abroad, assessing offshore legal mazes, and developing his Trifecta Strategy, but he has also renounced his US citizenship to pursue a perfectly nomadic life abroad.
So who better to plan your post-US life than the man who has done it himself.
This article discusses 5 easy steps to move out of the United States and where to escape once you’ve made that brave leap.
How to Leave The US – 5 Things to Get in Order
What do you mean when you say, “I want to move out of the US”?
It may seem like an odd ask, but the answer to this question varies more than you think.
To some people, moving abroad or having a second passport (Plan B) equals “moving out” of a country, while for others, moving out may mean cutting all ties (Plan A).
Our list of steps applies to both these situations, but more so to people who are ready to cut all ties with the United States permanently and pursue a life of offshore freedom and opportunities.
1. Manage Your Finances
Why is it so important to manage your finances?
Money is, oftentimes, a core factor in many of our life’s decisions. Getting a new car, moving to a new country, acquiring a second passport – all of these decisions primarily depend on your finances.
Managed correctly, your finances can provide a huge relief in case of your international move. Leave them scattered all over the place, and you may have to face extremely stressful and costly aftermath.
First, let’s talk about American citizens who are finally ready to take the plunge, cut all ties, and renounce their citizenship.
In that case, you may want to move a major fraction of your finances offshore and limit any financial factor tying you to America.
That way, you will have a clean slate to build your finances elsewhere, preferably in a tax-friendly region, giving you the tax advantage of your life.
But if you are not quite there yet, if you still consider your American passport to be your asset, then it would be wise to move only a fraction of your wealth outside of the country, while leaving some sort of banking presence in the US.
In our experience, getting a credit card and earning a decent credit score could be tricky in a foreign country.
In this case, your US bank account can provide you the ease to use your credit card for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, paying certain bills and investing in certain assets.
Here, it’s important to notice that as long as you are an American passport holder, you will have to pay US taxes and report back to US authorities regarding all your income and assets outside of the US.
Merely, moving out of the US does not grant you immunity from US taxes. Unfortunate, sure, but that’s how it is.
2. Organize Your Assets
Asset management is another crucial step toward a safe and hassle-free move out of the country.
Ask yourself these three questions:
- What are my assets?
- Where are my assets?
- What am I going to do with my assets?
Let’s start with the first one. List all your assets – real estate, precious metals like gold and silver, IRAs, etc.
Once you’ve listed down all your assets, make sure that you know exactly where all your assets are.
If you have one or two properties, that’s not a problem, but if you have several assets at different locations, it might be a good idea to assess their current condition.
Lastly, the most important part, ask yourself what are you going to do with those assets.
Why is it the most important part? Because the answer has to align with your reasons for moving abroad.
Let’s discuss what you can do with some of your most important assets:
If you want to cut all ties, then the best way forward is to sell your properties and put the money into offshore real estate opportunities.
Because, as an American expat, you may find that managing properties in the US require far more stress and paperwork compared to most countries.
It also doesn’t make sense to leave the real estate in the US if you are moving out to pay fewer taxes since you will still have to pay the property tax for these assets.
Precious metals like gold and silver may be easier to manage and move than real estate but it does not mean that you show up to an airport carrying your pot of gold – not only is it inconvenient, it may even lead to a reporting situation.
It’s far better to hire any credible logistic service to move these assets for you. This way, it will be their headache to deal with the shipping, customs, and every little detail associated with these sorts of tasks.
You can move your precious metals to a vault in countries like Switzerland or Singapore. You can also move these assets to non-bank safe deposit boxes, which is a huge advantage as they are outside the banking system.
When it comes to IRAs, many people have come to us with concerns about the ever-increasing government regulations.
Here’s what you can do about it. You can either liquidate it or stop adding to it.
Another thing that you can do, especially if you have an IRA containing six or 7 figure amounts, is to move it offshore through an offshore IRA.
An offshore IRA lets you invest in offshore non-US assets while being under the banner of the IRA, hence giving you more control over your purchases and assets.
3. Deal with Your Business
When it comes to your “moving out” plan, your business could prove to be an asset or a liability.
It all depends on how you handle it.
The ideal situation is when the business is location independent and hence can be easily moved offshore to reduce your taxes dramatically.
Because if you are out of the country then it makes sense that your business should also be out of the country.
But if that is not the case, and you have a running, location-dependent business that you are not ready to pack up yet, then you should be ready to pay a certain amount of tax on it.
You will still save taxes by moving abroad but you can not completely eliminate them.
4. Residence Permit
Now that we’ve talked about your finances, assets, and business, and how to handle them in the event of leaving the US, let’s talk about where will you be living and more importantly, how.
That’s where the residence permit comes in.
Generally speaking, American passport holders have more freedom than many other people when it comes to leading a nomadic life, constantly jumping from one place to another.
But if you want to live somewhere, rather than booking tickets all the time, it’s best to get a second residence, especially because we are seeing more and more countries regulating the visa runs.
Here, it’s important to notice that you have to periodically renew a residence permit, and it does not necessarily allow you the status of a permanent resident unless you’ve lived in the country for a certain number of years.
A residence permit can serve you in the following ways:
“I can go to any country I want, why get a residence permit?”
That’s the question some Americans ask when they hear about residence permits.
The answer is simple. If you don’t get a residence permit, you will have to leave the country at the end of your certain “visiting period”, even if you don’t want to.
For example, Americans can visit the European Schengen zone visa-free and stay there for 90 days in a 180-day period. If you want to live there for more than that, you need a residence permit. It’s simple as that.
You can have one or multiple residence permits from different countries and enjoy your time experiencing different cultures, food, and the overall vibe of these countries.
If you are wondering how many residence permits to go for, here is a wonderful article about Mr. Henderson’s Trifecta strategy, in which he talks about his personal strategy of selecting three countries to live in and dividing his time among these.
We also have tons of content discussing the details of the most attractive second residency programs and Golden Visa programs all over the world.
Think of a back-pocket residence as your insurance policy, in the event that something happens to your original Plan B.
If due to any reason, you find yourself stuck in your country, not being able to move to your Plan B residence, your back-pocket residence can offer you the out you desperately want at that moment.
Ideally, for a back-pocket residence, you should select a country with the most flexible or non-existent visiting regulations.
That way, it can comfortably sit in your back pocket without consuming your time and effort, and you can use it whenever the need arises.
We have already established that the only way to completely get out of the US system (tax rates, business regulations, reporting back, etc.) is by renouncing your US citizenship.
Even if you are not ready to make that move right now, we still advise you to get a second citizenship.
In our experience, second citizenship offers the kind of freedom that every American should have in these unprecedented times.
The most common way to get second citizenship is through the citizenship by investment program.
In fact, doing what we do, if there is a citizenship by investment program out there, we know about it.
You can also apply for citizenship by descent program if your ancestors belonged to another country, although proving a lineage is often not that easy.
These are the 5 steps that you can follow to leave the United States.
Once you’ve made up your mind about leaving the US, the very next question is where to go?
This question can feel pretty overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you are a person who has only ever known life in the United States.
But we assure you, no matter what your motives are, be it more autonomy over your choices, attractive tax incentives, or raising your quality of life, there is a country out there for you that will offer you exactly what you want and more.
You just have to take a leap of fate.
Now that you know the steps to leave the US, let’s look at some of the easiest countries to move to as an American expat.
Easiest Countries to Move to As an American Expat
Let’s start close to home.
It’s really surprising that all the memes about leaving America at the time of the 2016 election mentioned Canada as the ultimate destination country when Mexico is right there.
Close to the US, great weather, friendly people, and one of the best foods in the world, there are so many things to love about Mexico.
But the best part is that in Mexico, you will never feel like a sore thumb since the country has not just the largest US expat population in the world, but it’s been also crowned as the most popular expat destination for North Americans in the world by International Living.
Mexico is a very popular retirement destination too, so is Costa Rica and Brazil if we stray away towards Latin America.
If you’re not set if renouncing your US citizenship is the right thing to do for you right now, you can give Mexico a visit first if you haven’t yet.
US citizens don’t need a tourist visa to enter Mexico for stays put to 180 days for business or tourism and up to 30 days for transit purposes.
You can also explore Belize, US citizens can stay in Belize for up to one month.
In Mexico, you will find American expats everywhere, especially in San Miguel de Allende which is a Mexican city with a popular expat neighborhood.
No huge culture shock either since the country offers tons of Americanized experiences.
Given your amount of income and the time you are willing to spend there, it’s not hard to get a second residency and citizenship in Mexico.
Panama is a country in Central America that you may have heard of because of the Panama Canal or even the Panama Leaks.
US dollar is one of the currencies used in Panama making it a huge advantage for American expats who don’t want to get into currency exchange complications.
Another great factor about getting a Panama permanent residency is that you don’t have to live there to keep it active, rather you only have to spend one day in Panama every two years making it a pretty effective option for a back pocket residence.
Panama offers residence to Americans, among other countries’ nationals, via the Friendly Nations Visa Program, through which you are granted a visa if you create professional or economic ties in Panama.
But how do you create those ties?
How To Create Professional or Economic Ties in Panama
Some of the methods to create professional or economic ties in Panama are mentioned below:
- Investing in the real estate
- Setting up a corporation or business
- Investing in the forestry
Foreign banks in Panama are particularly great because the country’s Economy is fully dollarized.
The local culture is great, the beach towns are beautiful, and high quality medical care is provided at an affordable cost, making Panama a stellar option to move to from the United States.
If you have your heart set on Europe, Portugal just might be the place for you.
Apart from being a beautiful country with a rising number of digital nomads, Portugal also has one of the best Golden Visa Programs in the world.
You don’t have to worry about the language barrier that much as English is widely spoken there.
What makes Portugal so attractive for Americans is that getting a residence visa there grants them a place in the EU, still keeping them tethered to the western world, which is exactly what some ex-Americans want.
If you decide to look toward Asia, you probably won’t find a better country than Singapore.
Living in Singapore, you will never have to compromise on the quality of your life, no matter what level of luxury you were previously accustomed to.
In fact, it is one of the most favorite destination countries for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals.
According to the Safe Cities Index, Singapore has ranked in the top 5 countries of the world in digital, health, and infrastructure security, making it one of the most progressive and safest countries in the world.
For Americans who don’t feel safe in the US anymore, this is a hugely encouraging factor.
The government’s strict regulations on guns and firearms have made violent crimes a very rare occurrence in Singapore.
Start a New Life in a New Country
For many Americans, the recent developments have proven to be the last nail in the coffin.
If you are one of them, don’t wait for the situation to get any worse before making a decision for the betterment of your life.
Contact us today – not only we will hear your concerns but we will also devise a holistic strategy that best suits your life, choices, and dreams.
Let’s not delay any more – a new life is waiting.