Mariners who live abroad: where did you go & how did you do it?

Looking to start a conversation about living abroad while still sailing US flag. I’d like to move overseas and set up residency somewhere for my off time, but it seems daunting based on the various residency, working requirements, max length of stay, etc, in different places. I’m interested in somewhere in Europe, Australia (which seems impossible), or potentially SE Asia. I’d be sticking with AMO.

What countries are most common, or best, for US mariners to live in abroad? I’m looking for a change of pace and a break from living in the states. Anything helps!

Just so you know now, you’ll still have to pay US Federal taxes.

I think Costa Rica is good about letting you live there long term, especially if you don’t need permission to work there.

@banana_port_control It all depends on how permanent you want to be.

On a US passport you can typically get 30-180 days with a tourist visa on arrival. If you aren’t so determined to own property then that stays pretty easy.

Lots of people set up an address with a mail forwarding service in the US. Two of the big ones are South Dakota and Florida. Both states with favorable income tax situations.

For me working 28/28 keeps me always on a fresh tourist visa. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

US Department of State has a pretty all encompassing page for visas and length of stay for every country. Take a look at it and see what’s easy.

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I have worked with a few guys who live in the Philippines or Thailand, and a couple guys who live in Vietnam or Japan.

I know people who bought winter home small farms in New Zealand many years ago. However, New Zealand has become very expensive and expats are leaving. Australia is similar.

I know people who live or have lived, or have second homes in various places in Europe.

Latin America is the favorite place of Americans and Canadians to live. Mexico is easy, you can drive there, flights are short, and something like 2 million Americans and Canadians live in Mexico. It’s not as cheap as it use to be. Costa Rica is nice but it can be expensive to live like an American in the desirable areas.

There is a lot to be said for Europe. Outside of large cities and the most desirable resort areas it’s not that expensive, particularly in Spain and Portugal. Even rural France is affordable.

A Schengen tourist visa gives you access to most of Europe for 180 days per year. 180 days a year is easy in most of Latin America.

It’s fairly easy to live in most places for a few months. Rules change often which make it easier or more difficult to live in some countries. Digital Nomad visas are popular right now. Some countries restrict the purchase of property.

I encourage anyone to travel and check out a few different places. If you are thinking about putting down roots somewhere, live in a “short term” furnished apartment for the first year. Foreign property can be easy to buy, but very difficult to sell.

The safety and comfort situation is subject to change. Weather is a huge and changing factor. Some places are great in the winter, but suck in the summer, or vice versa. Some places are suffering from over tourism and too many foreigners. Some places are experiencing droughts or wildfires. Some Latin American countries are very stable, others are one election away from becoming Venezuela.

I try to stay away from places that have cruiseship tourism. They become ruined and are a ripoff.

The expat and digital nomad websites have lots of information, but they tend to be very rah rah promoters that want to make money helping you relocate. They don’t reveal the negatives. Be very wary of YouTubers.

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You can live in Costa Rica for 180 days and your drivers license is good for that time. You cannot work in Costa Rica until you become a permanent resident. I am a retired MM&P member and there are a few retired Seaman living here.

I sail with AMO and lived in Ireland for a few years. Arrived on a 90-day tourist visa, then transferred it to a 1-year once I had a bank account and PPI number set up. Was quite easy and had no issues.

Costa Rica immigration agents have discretion to issue from 30 to 90 day tourist entry visas at the airport. They usually give you what you ask for, but some people have gotten less.

Many Americans that live in Costa Rica year round are “perpetual tourists” that do a “border run” about every 90 days to reset their visa for another 90 days. You can take a bus to the border in Panama or Nicaragua, or fly. Flights to Cancun or Bocas del Toro seem to be popular and reasonable.

There are three easy ways to get a Costa Rica visa: collect a government pension (social security), get married, or have a baby.

The new Digital Nomad visa should be fairly easy too.

While there are many other visa types, they are not easy to get.

I know one American in Costa Rica who has been doing border runs for 30 years. She has spent thousands on lawyers trying to get a different type of visa to no avail.

The ARCR, Association of Residents of Costa Rica has lots of good information, membership is cheap and they are very helpful. Arcr.net.

There are English language newspapers online: Tico Times , and AM Costa Rica.