Home » How to Move to Another Country Without a Job

How to Move to Another Country Without a Job

How to move to another country without a job

Do you daydream about moving to another country but keep yourself from seriously considering it due to not having a job abroad? This just in—you don’t need to have a job waiting for you in a foreign country to move there! 

There are a plethora of not-so-talked-about avenues to moving abroad without first receiving a job offer—becoming a student, transitioning to online work, and volunteering, to name just a few. Each path, and country, has its own set of requirements and permitted duration of stay.

Woman happy posing for a photo with the sea and buildings behind her

In this article we’ll explore some strategies for moving to another country without a job, from three questions you’ll want to ask yourself to the available visas. If you’re leaping to live abroad, read on to see how you can make it happen faster than you can say passport!

Can I move abroad without a job?

Quick answer—yes, absolutely. But depending on the country you’re fawning over, programs and visas vary widely. 

Before we jump into all the different ways to live abroad, here are some questions we recommend that you sit down, with your beverage of choice, and ask yourself:

    • How long do I want to live abroad? – Knowing your desired length of time abroad will help you narrow down what programs or visas to look into. Wanting to stay just a few months in South Korea? No problem, buy your ticket, book an Airbnb, and enjoy those 90 days. Looking for over a year in Europe? Might want to look into a European digital nomad visas, European work visas and learn about the top jobs in Europe for Americans.


    • How much am I willing to spend while abroad? – Determining your budget is another pre-travel essential—for anyone not wanting to be hit with overdraft fees on a Brazilian beach. If you have a few countries in mind, take a look at rental prices and groceries to get an idea—more on this later.


    • Do I want to continue saving money while abroad? – If you’re looking to let your debit card collect dust for a few months, consider volunteering programs that cover basic costs of living while you work. 

If you’re particularly interested in living in Europe, we recommend checking out this all-encompassing guide that covers the 18 easiest countries to move to: I’m Outta Here! An American’s Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe

How to move to another country without a job

Okay, time to get down to the nitty gritty—how to move to another country without a job. It isn’t as risky as you’d think. All the move requires is a bit of preparation, research, and patience. 


From volunteering to marriage, here are all of your options to joining the ever-growing legion of proud expats. 


Volunteering is a viable option for anyone looking for an immersive experience abroad, open to a shorter stay, and trying to avoid the visa process. And as the world of volunteering is about as diverse as a Turkish spice market, you’re bound to find a unique opportunity.

woman volunteering in a field

US citizens can stay in many countries worldwide for up to 90 days—no questions asked and no visa required. Looking for more than 90 days in Europe as a US citizen? More on that in this article.

More generous countries will offer up to 180 days, although we might have to give Georgia and Albania the most generous country award for doing away with a visa requirement entirely for Americans. You live there for an entire year without having to do any paperwork. 

Here are four resources to start planning your next volunteer trip abroad: 

    • Workaway Workaway is an online international platform that connects volunteers with hosts who offer accommodation and meals in exchange for work. The nature of tasks can range from farm help to hostel reception. Hosts and travelers pay a small fee to access all the site’s features and messaging system.


    • WWOOF – WWOOF functions similarly to Workaway but focuses solely on organic farming. Another key point about WWOOF is that it is country-specific so each country has its own WWOOF page and, thus, separate membership fee whereas Workaway is international.


    • Worldpackers – Worldpackers is designed to enable budget-conscious travelers to gain unique cultural experiences, make meaningful connections with locals, and contribute to the local community while traveling. Just like Workaway, there is a wide variety of work offered and a small fee.


    • Facebook Groups – Facebook groups are an excellent way to find a wide range of volunteering and cultural exchange opportunities. Girl Gone International is a group you can join if you’re looking for a low-budget options abroad without having to invest as much time volunteering. 

House swap

House swapping—yes, like in Kate Winslet in The Holiday—is a unique and cost-effective way to spend time abroad. 

How it works is that you trade your home with someone else from around the world; this can be simultaneously or non-simultaneously. And you don’t have to live in a popular destination like New York or San Francisco to swap (although it definitely helps!), people around the world are looking to swap apartments, houses, and vacation homes in major cities, towns, and remote areas. 

The biggest perk of house swapping is that you essentially eliminate your accommodation expenses abroad. Swaps can last from a few days to weeks or months. Imagine spending 3 months in London without having to pay London rental prices. 

If you feel a little weary letting a complete stranger stay in your home, reputable house swapping platforms often have verification processes and user reviews, ensuring a level of trust and safety. Home Exchange is our recommendation!

Apply for a non-lucrative visa

If you can demonstrate sufficient income and/or savings from your home country, you could be eligible to apply for a non-lucrative visa, also known as a retirement visa—although you don’t need to be retired to apply. This affords you a longer stay but doesn’t give you the right to work in that country.

Spain is the most well-known country for their non-lucrative visa. Perfect for someone who can live off their savings for a bit. The main requirements are getting your hands on a comprehensive health care plan and prove an annual income of at least €28,800 as well as roughly €7,200 for each dependent coming with you. 

Other counties that offer non-lucrative visas include: Portugal, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Malta, Switzerland and Ireland. Grab your copy of I’m Outta Here! An American’s Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe to learn more. 

Study abroad

Studying abroad allows you to further your education all while living in another country. And with the prices of American Universities on the rise, you might actually save money choosing to study abroad. 


Beyond working towards a first, second, or third degree—a masters or PhD— you are able to build your professional, international network which may be your way into the labor market. In general, roughly 80% of jobs are found through ones network—this is no different overseas. 


If you’re specifically looking to work towards a language certification, consider studying at a language academy in lieu of a university. Some countries offer student visas to foreigners committed to learning a language at an accredited language school.

Consider a job search visa

Many countries, such as Spain or the Netherlands, don’t just kick you out upon graduating. They offer special visas to their international graduates, allowing them an extra year after graduating to look for work. These can last anywhere from six months to three years!

job seeker visa

In Germany you can apply for a job seeker visa, even if you haven’t studied there. Just head to Germany on a tourist visa, apply for your six-month job seeker visa, find work, and then apply for your work visa without ever leaving the country.

Apply for a business visa

A business or investment visa allows foreign investors or business people to enter and stay in a country for the purpose of conducting business or investing in the country. The specific requirements and conditions for a business or investment visa vary from country to country. 

This generally requires the establishment of a new business, proof of a certain level of investment, or the purchase of an existing business within the host country. In some cases, a business or investment visa may also allow the visa holder to eventually apply for permanent residency or citizenship. 

To give you an idea, here are three countries that offer such a visa: 

    • France – France launched their French Tech Visa to attract foreign talent, making it easier for startup founders, employees, and investors to come and work. Each has specific requirements, such as minimum salary, equity ownership, or investment amount.

    • Australia – Australia’s visa requires a minimum investment of AUD 1.5 million (approximately USD 1.1 million) in an Australian business or government bond, and it also requires the applicant to have a minimum net worth of AUD 2.25 million (approximately USD 1.7 million).

    • Chile – Chile offers a business visa, known as the “Temporary Residence Visa for Business Activities” for foreign nationals who intend to conduct business activities in the country. This visa allows the holder to stay in Chile for up to one year. 

Become a digital nomad

If you are a digital nomad, or have the opportunity to transition to online work, listen up! Digital nomad visas are becoming more and more common as countries look to attract foreigners to spend money in their economy. Digital nomads include remote employees, freelancers, and the self-employed. 

Choosing to live in a country with lower living costs will also help you put away money in the long term and maybe give you a bit of a lifestyle boost while you’re at it!

If you’re curious about going this route, read through this guide to digital nomad visas in Europe to learn about the requirements for 11 European countries that are currently offering the DNV.

Freelance Abroad

Freelancing abroad allows you to work in a foreign country. This differs from being a digital nomad, as digital nomad visas require you to work with clients located outside of the country you wish to live in. However, freelancing visas allow you to work with local clients. 

The main requirement is that you need to show that you have prospective clients—this is usually easier than it sounds. Start your search with the following three visas:

  • Czech Republic’s Zivno visa
  • Germany’s Freelance or “Freiberufler” visa
  • Italy’s self-employment visa

Get Married

Sometimes there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to moving abroad. If you have a foreign partner, marrying them is a surefire way to residency.

newly married couple smiling on the beach

Keep in mind, you don’t always have to fully marry a citizen of another country to receive residency, and work, rights. Many countries offer visas ranging from a fiancé visa to something comparable to a civil union. In Spain this goes by the name Pareja de Hecho for example.

Pro Tip: Research the Cost of Living

The cost of living differs greatly between countries and should play a huge role in your final destination—especially for those of you looking to survive on savings. Conducting this research is a crucial step in preparing for an international move and will help you determine a realistic budget and expected lifestyle abroad.

When researching the projected cost of living in a country, consider the prices of: 

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Personal costs 

Various online resources, such as cost of living calculators and online expat forums, can provide valuable insights and help estimate living expenses. 

Take the leap & move abroad without a job

Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery, a new challenge, or a better quality of life, moving abroad will tick all the boxes—and more. And now that you know of all of the options for how to move abroad without a job, the hardest part is choosing where!

To narrow down your search, ask yourself those three key questions mentioned at the top of this article, determine which visas or opportunities are viable for you, and take into account a country’s living costs. 

If you need more help navigating a move abroad be sure to join the next Move Abroad After 30 Masterclass. This 4-day LIVE Masterclass with help you understand how YOU can move abroad on your terms.

There’s an option for everyone. See you soon abroad!

Share this post

Leave a Reply