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 27,000 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 USA.”
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.
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.
U.S. migration numbers hit an all-time low
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 as shipping, the website adds. It includes not only background checks and medical checks but requires future ex-pats 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.
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.
‘I’d leave the U.S. in a heartbeat’
Redditors from all over the world shared their migration woes.
“For all the shit US 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.”
“I’d leave the U.S. in a heartbeat with my three animals,” another said. “It’s a little complicated because home is Hong Kong, but I have UK citizenship. All my family is in England (mum just moved mid-April), so I would go there and start from scratch.”
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.”
“To add another perspective: it’s not that the other countries all can’t wait to take US Americans in,” another user said.
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.
Newsweek reached out to the Reddit poster for comment.
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.
Some have suggested that Latin America needs a “human rights-based recipe” for post-pandemic recovery.
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.