Every four years, the American election cycle often results with exaggerated statements not from candidates, but from everyday voters. One of the most popular statements of frustration is they want to move to another country if a certain candidate wins a presidential election. However, what many people do not understand is that moving to another country is a very difficult process that requires several complex steps between applying and approval. In addition, would-be expatriates would continue to face numerous challenges after leaving, including crossing borders legally and holding work once settled in a home country.
Can a United States resident move to another country after an election cycle? Although it is possible, becoming an expatriate should not be attempted without a careful plan and expert assistance.
Can I move to another country to be a resident?
Many people qualify to move to another country simply due to their good citizenship in their home country. Although the regulations vary between countries, most nations require potential residents to be of good moral character, able to work and speak at least one of the official languages of the country.
With that, there are several items that will prevent a potential traveler from becoming a permanent resident or citizen of another country. Potential blocks include a criminal record, human or international rights violations, or having an inadmissible family member attempting to move as well. In Canada, a conviction for driving under the influence can be enough to prevent someone from even crossing the border into the nation.
Furthermore, financial concerns can also prevent someone from moving to another country. If a traveler cannot prove they have enough money to sustain themselves while they work to become a resident, they may be denied entry into the country, or even denied for permanent settlement.
Finally, lying on an application can disqualify a traveler's application immediately. It is important for travelers to be honest and upfront throughout the application process – otherwise, they could be removed from consideration and banned for a period of time for future applications.
Can I move to another country for work purposes?
Moving to another country for work purposes is one of the most common reasons individuals emigrate every year. Although the process differs between nations, the two most popular ways to move for work is by obtaining a work visa or having a company sponsor.
Certain skilled workers may be able to apply for a work visa to the country they hope to work in without having a job offer in hand. Many immigration offices maintain a list of skills that are in demand in their nation, allowing those with those skills to apply for a work visa to fill those occupational voids. However, applying for a visa without a job may require the job seeker to prove they have enough cash on hand to sustain themselves as they seek work in their new country. Moreover, opening an application for a work visa may require a significant investment up front.
In Australia, an application for a subclass 457 temporary work visa can cost over $800 per person.
Having a work sponsor requires one to have a job offer in hand from a company prior to arriving in their new home nation. Although this may sound straightforward, it is a much more difficult process for both the job seeker and the hiring company. Aside from the interview and hiring process, the hiring company must often prove they attempted to fill the position with a local candidate before hiring someone from outside the nation. Therefore, moving to another country for work purposes can be challenging without the right sponsor company.
Can I move to another country and declare asylum?
Moving to another country for asylum suggests a traveler's life in their home country is in immediate peril, or they face severe persecuted for their way of life. Because most people in the United States are not necessarily at risk of persecution due to their race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or identification in a social group, it is highly unlikely for an American to declare asylum in a foreign country.
In order to declare asylum in many nations, the seeker must be identified as a refugee fleeing a situation in another country. Some nations require a referral from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while other nations simply require identification as a "special humanitarian concern." In the United States, those seeking asylum must be a refugee fleeing persecution and admissible to the country.
What happens if I move to another country illegally?
Attempting to illegally move to another country can come with a number of penalties, and should not be attempted under any circumstances. The penalties for moving to another country illegally vary between nations but often results in a combination of imprisonment, deportation, and a ban from entering the country.
Customs and border officials are trained to identify risks at border crossings, including those who may be trying to immigrate illegally. If a customs officer believes someone is attempting an illegal move, that person can be denied entry to the country and returned to their point of origin on the same carrier that brought them in. Those detained for additional questioning may be asked for proof of their itinerary, including hotel information, outbound flight information, proof of travel insurance, and (in extreme cases) proof of financial stability.
In the United States, those who are caught attempting to illegally immigrate into the country are subject to deportation after a hearing. After deportation, the immigrant cannot re-enter for ten years, which includes applying for visas or permanent resident status. However, if an illegal immigrant agrees to voluntarily leave their country, then they would be able to re-apply to return legally without a waiting period.
Although moving to another country can be a difficult process, it is manageable if all the proper steps are followed. By making a plan and seeing through the lengthy process of residency, travelers can ensure a smooth move to another country – if they feel strongly enough.