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Eight Countries With Easy Immigration Policies

An international airport

An international airport

Easiest Countries to Immigrate to

Be warned that this list mentions many countries that are very different from the USA or Canada.

With most developed countries reducing the number of immigrants they let in, immigration is becoming increasingly difficult. Let's face it: unless you have an advanced, technical skill, it will be very difficult for you to get a visa in a highly developed country.

So what do you? Well, you could settle for a less-developed nation that can still meet your needs. So, this list goes off the beaten path a bit, bypassing many of the developed countries that are the most popular immigration destinations, and instead focuses on less developed countries with lax immigration policies.

It is important to understand that many countries have permanent visas that allow people to stay in the country indefinitely, but this is different than becoming a citizen of that country. Applying and obtaining citizenship can give you significant benefits depending on the country, and all of the countries mentioned in this article have incredible perks for being a citizen.

Keep in mind that some of these countries are not highly developed, but they confer special benefits. Being a citizen of any country that is a member of the European Union is an incredible benefit and thus makes those nations desireable.

These are just the basics if you are really serious about taking the plunge and immigrating to one of these countries you will need to consult with the government agency that handles immigration in that country.

Countries With Easy Immigration Policies

  1. Uruguay
  2. Ecuador
  3. Argentina
  4. Brazil
  5. Svalbard
  6. Panama
  7. Bulgaria
  8. Belize

1. Uruguay

Yes, this is a small country in South America, with a small population, but Uruguay has some of the best national healthcare of any country in South America, among other positives. While Uruguay is a small country, its citizens are very friendly and accommodating to foreigners. Additionally, the nation has very low pollution from industrial technology, and it is generally regarded as one of the cleanest countries in South America.

How to Obtain Residency and Citizenship in Uruguay

There are some specific requirements to obtaining residency and citizenship in Uruguay. To become a citizen of Uruguay, you need to reside in the country for at least five years (three if you're married) and be granted residency to apply for citizenship. The countdown for citizenship starts the moment you set foot in the country.

To obtain residency in Uruguay, you need to follow these six steps:

  1. Inform the government of your intent to immigrate in writing.
  2. Provide a birth certificate that has been legalized by the Uruguayan government.
  3. Provide a legalized marriage certificate. (If applicable.)
  4. Provide proof of a steady, reliable monthly income.
  5. Undergo a routine medical exam.
  6. Prove that you hold a legitimate Uruguayan address.

Residency applications typically take 1-2 years to process.

Playa Mansa from the Planeta Palace Hotel, Atlantida, Uruguay

Playa Mansa from the Planeta Palace Hotel, Atlantida, Uruguay

2. Ecuador

An amazingly green and beautiful country right at the equator, Ecuador is the ideal romantic South American destination. A benefit to living in the country is that it has a low cost of living and uses the US Dollar as its currency. This country also claims the Galapagos islands.

To immigrate, all you need to be able to show is a guaranteed monthly income of $800 for yourself, and an extra $100 for each of your dependents. Technically this falls under the "pensioner's visa," but the country does not verify that you actually have a pension. If you simply prove to the government that you have a steady income of $800 a month you are good to go. So, if you are retired and have a pension of $800 per month, you can easily settle here. If you're not retired, you can invest in a mutual fund or a fixed deposit that can generate the necessary amount.

There are additional steps to take if you wish to obtain citizenship in Ecuador. If you have succeeded in obtaining a pensioner's visa, you can apply for residency after twenty-one months of residence in Ecuador, then follow the necessary steps for citizenship.

How to Obtain Citizenship in Ecuador

  1. Be a resident of Ecuador for at least three years.
  2. Provide a birth certificate from your country of origin that has been verified by the Ecuadorian government.
  3. Provide the necessary government-issued forms and paperwork that prove your residency.
  4. Pass the Ecuadorian citizenship test and interview.

Read More from WanderWisdom

Baños, Tungurahua, as viewed from the eastern mountains on 18 November 2011.

Baños, Tungurahua, as viewed from the eastern mountains on 18 November 2011.

3. Argentina

Argentina is a large country with a small population. Another beautiful South American country with a good standard of living, Argentina is one of the top spots to immigrate to. The population density is just 15 people per square kilometer. It has a wide variety of climates, ranging from temperate in the north to almost polar in the south. To settle here, all you need to show is a guaranteed monthly income of $850. To become a permanent resident or citizen, that will require some extra steps.

How to Obtain Residency and Citizenship in Argentina

To gain permanent residency and citizenship in the country, you must have lived in Argentina for at least two years, and submit the appropriate documents and paperwork to the National Immigration Office.

  1. Birth certificate notarized by the Argentinian consulate in your country of origin.
  2. Proof of residence in your previous country.
  3. Copies of your identification documents
  4. Proof of financial security, such as work contracts or bank statements indicating a positive cash flow.
Atardecer en el Congreso de la Nación Argentina.jpg

Atardecer en el Congreso de la Nación Argentina.jpg

4. Brazil

Brazil is a great country with a rich culture and a high human development index. As the largest country in South America in terms of land mass and population, Brazil has some serious diversity. From the Amazon rainforest to the golden beaches of Rio de Janiero, there are plenty of breathtaking sights and sounds to take in. The country is also known for being very kind and accommodating to outsiders.

To settle here, you have to be retired and have a monthly pension of $2000. You can take two dependents along with you. For every dependent you bring, you will need an extra $1000 per month. There are additional steps required if you want to obtain permanent residency and citizenship in Brazil.

How to Obtain Residency and Citizenship in Brazil

The quickest ways to obtain residency in Brazil involve marrying a Brazilian national, having a child with a Brazilian national, being a high-level researcher or scientist, showing proof of a fixed monetary income, or investing a significant amount of money into the country. Those who invest a minimum of R$450,000 (about $126,000) into a Brazilian company or real estate will get a fast track to residency and citizenship.

To apply and obtain citizenship, a foreigner must live continuously in Brazil for fifteen years; however, that time can be reduced to as low as four years if you have sufficient understanding of Portuguese, and you hold a job that pays a sufficient amount of money.

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio De Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio De Janeiro

5. Svalbard

Svalbard is a large collection of islands north of Norway. Though officially a part of Norway, Svalbard boasts a multi-national population from countries as far-flung as India, the United States, Canada, Japan, and South Africa. The Norwegian government has devolved a significant amount of control to Svalbard to self-govern itself. Due to its location within the arctic circle, the climate is very inhospitable, which coupled with its remote location, makes Svalbard one of the most sparsely-populated places in the world (its population is approximately 2,667).

Nordspissen av Prins Karls Forland, Svalbard

Nordspissen av Prins Karls Forland, Svalbard

In actuality, anyone can move to Svalbard and settle as there is no need for a visa or any type of permit. However, this is a very expensive place, and you need to prove that you'll be able to support yourself.

Proof of significant income is the only requirement to live in Svalbard, and they take it seriously: unemployment and homelessness are outlawed on the archipelago. This is due to the rough conditions, the fact that it is 1,000 miles from mainland Europe, and the constant polar bear attacks. Yes, that is right, polar bear attacks are common in Svalbard. A very cold and barren place, but beautiful and isolated, Svalbard is a destination for those looking to get away from the trappings of modern life, but it comes at a significant cost.

6. Panama

With some of the easiest immigration laws on the planet, Panama is a great option, especially for those who already have American citizenship. The country uses the US Dollar and since the United States is on Panama's list of "friendly countries" it is easy to get a long-term visa. You can get a long-term retiree visa so long as you have a monthly income of at least $1,000. For those on the younger side, you simply have to put $5,000 in a Panamanian bank and you are eligible to apply for a friendly nations visa.

If you want to obtain Panamanian citizenship, you will have to live as a resident in the country for five years before you can apply. Keep in mind that Panama does not allow dual citizenship so you will have to renounce your citizenship from your home country.

7. Bulgaria

Bulgaria has one of the easiest residency and citizenship programs of any nation in the EU, and it can be a great way to gain the benefits of the European Union in a short amount of time.

The quickest way requires a bit of cash upfront to invest though, as the process to get a fastrack Bulgarian citizenship requires an initial investment of BGN 1,000,000 (approx USD 600,564) to gain a residency visa, then another investment of BGN 1,000,000.

The whole process of citizenship only takes about eighteen months, and you don't have to actually live in Bulgaria if you don't want to. Instead of buying property you can buy government bonds and then get your investment back after 5.5 years.

The famous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The famous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria.

8. Belize

This Central American country features fabulous beaches and plenty of other scenery. With a land area the size of Wales and a population the size of Bakersfield, CA, Belize is a sparsely populated paradise with easy immigration policies.

You can apply for permanent residency after living in Belize for a year, all you have to do is continue to renew your 30-day travel visa until you get to the 50-week mark and then fill out the paperwork and pay $1,000. To apply for citizenship, you must live in Belize for five years and have permanent residency.

The island of Caye Caulkner just off the coast of Belize.

The island of Caye Caulkner just off the coast of Belize.

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