U.S. citizens moving overseas complain of red tape, high costs, sympathize with those trying to get in
By Nick Mordowanec
Many people leave their homelands to live permanently in the United States, but some people try to do the opposite — only to find numerous fiscal challenges along the way.
A viral Reddit post in the “Anti-Work” forum explains why Americans “can’t just move to a better country.” It is a screenshot of the views of one poster who described how “immigrating to a different country is difficult and expensive.” It has about 37,000 upvotes.
The poster explains that she and her husband are currently in the process of moving from the U.S. to an unspecified Western European country, only waiting on the final visa decision. Both work remotely, make high incomes and “have no strong attachments to the U.S.”
But the poster said that the amount of money it has taken the couple to transplant from one continent to another has been mind-blowing, to say the least. “When all is said and done we will have spent around $25,000 legal payments, rental agent fees, flights/accommodations to go apartment hunting, flights/accommodation to travel to a different state to apply in person at the nearest consulate, other random expenses we didn’t plan for,” the poster said.
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They also had to hire a moving company and are essentially paying double the price on rent due to their moving timeline, which has presented “variable” timelines because it’s been hard to commit to a move-out date.
While the individual admitted to crying “multiple times” over the stress of the move, they acknowledged that it would be much harder for someone who either doesn’t have a work relocation option or a lot of time and money.
The website The Travel supports the Reddit post, saying that it can easily cost over $3,000 to ship domestic items overseas in shipping containers. It is described as “the most popular method of getting everything from one place to the other and also the most cost-efficient.”
Getting a visa may be a bigger hassle that could cost as much or more than shipping, the website adds. It includes not only background checks and medical checks but requires future expats to both go to the U.S. consulate of the country where they are moving — in addition to using the U.S. consulate in their own state.
Another website, International Living, reported in November 2020 — during the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic — that it saw a surge of web traffic of 1,676 percent among searches for “How to move out of the U.S.” It was described as a 16-fold increase compared to average searches.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that between March 2020 and March 2021, only 8.4 percent of Americans changed residence — the smallest share in any year since migration statistics were first tracked by the bureau in 1947. As the pandemic comes tyo end, relocations are expected to increase both in and out of hte U.S.
In 2013 the Migration Policy Institute reported that the U.S. government does not formally track how many Americans leave the United States, either temporarily or permanently, but estimated that numbers varied between 2.2 million and 6.8 million people going abroad.
In 2016, the Association of American Residents Overseas referenced State Department statistics that 8.7 million Americans had left the country. A poll estimated that 40 percent of former U.S. citizens stayed in the western hemisphere, living in Canada, Central or South America. About 26 percent headed to Europe.
Redditors from all over the world shared their migration woes. “For all the shit U.S. gets about being ‘anti immigrant’, the rest of the world is even worse,” one said. “Hell, I’m a bloody immigrant to the US and am still stuck,” one user commented. “I can’t even afford to move BACK HOME.”
Some were perplexed why others were itching to move to the U.S., with one user calling the country “a dump.” Another added, “This country is a s**t show.” Said another user, “To add another perspective: it’s not that the other countries all can’t wait to take US Americans in.”
Many also echoed the original post, saying that having wealth makes life easier in many circumstances, especially when it comes to moving to another land.
Migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border have been drawing the attention of the world.
A controversial policy known as Title 42 is set to end this month, and some experts have warned that this could result in a wave of migration across the U.S.-Mexico border. One poster wonder it is so difficult for Latin Americans to move to the U.S. “Hell, the U.S. is losing population and is becoming a country of old farts. Who is going to flip burgers at McDonalds and change the bed pans at the nursing homes if they don’t allow more people in?”
Nearly 70 percent of voters support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the country, a NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll published on Wednesday.