There are many benefits to being a U.S. citizen. The right to vote is paramount, as is the right to be part of one of the most robust and vibrant job markets in the world. Freedom to travel overseas is also largely free from restriction, as is the ability to move overseas for an extended period of time. Moving outside of the U.S. permanently is also possible, though it is a bit more complicated. Below are some of the more important considerations to make.

The Positives
Retired individuals residing overseas can breathe a sigh of relief as it is possible to receive Social Security payments outside of the U.S. All that is required is to show up monthly at a nearby U.S. embassy to receive the payment. There are certain restrictions though. The Social Security office states it isn't currently possible to receive benefits in Cambodia, Vietnam or parts of the former Soviet Union.
A big positive concerns having children abroad. In the vast majority of cases, a child born outside of the U.S. to parents who are U.S. citizens can automatically qualify for U.S. citizenship when born. The Department of State recommends heading to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible to get the proper documentation. This can be important for obtaining a passport or other documentation that is necessary for the child to eventually make it to the U.S.

Voting is also possible while living abroad. There are differing options for U.S. military personnel from citizens living outside the U.S., but options exist to vote as an absentee. The Federal Voting Assistance Program ( lists the options in detail and includes online resources to register to vote, request ballots and track the activity once it is completed. It is important to note that voting differences exist among the last state of residence, so be sure to check with each state individually.

The Negatives
It can be tricky to obtain medical assistance overseas. Medicare benefits are not available outside of the U.S. However, many countries have less restrictive healthcare systems and will openly accept non-citizens.

Uncle Sam is also a stickler when it comes to taxes. Generally, the same rules that apply inside the U.S. apply outside of it, meaning U.S. citizens are responsible for the paying of all taxes and amounts, regardless of where they live. This can be a big disadvantage because in many cases a U.S. citizen may also be responsible for paying taxes in the country he or she is currently residing in. However, the U.S. does have tax treaties with dozens of other countries that can help reduce, or even eliminate, the disadvantage of double taxation.

U.S. consular offices state they cannot perform marriages abroad, which means a U.S. couple must return stateside to get hitched. Divorces are a bit trickier and depend upon individual state requirements to determine whether getting unhitched overseas will be valid. Getting pets overseas is also quite complicated, though possible. A pet health certificate is required to make sure the pet is free from disease, parasites or anything else that cannot be brought to another country. Some European countries now even require the implanting of a microchip, which tracks vaccination records and the whereabouts of a pet while overseas.

Work and travel visas can be the trickiest component to living abroad for extended periods of time. Individuals lucky enough to be sent as part of an existing job will likely have all the essentials taken care of. For citizens that are retired or traveling on their own, it is necessary to look at the specific requirements of each individual country.

The Bottom Line
Overall, it is possible to permanently move overseas and still keep many of the benefits that come with U.S. citizenship. Of course, there are strings attached. For many, the opportunity for adventure, or to pursue gainful employment abroad, may far exceed the negatives.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    How the Social Security Reboot May Affect You

    While there’s still potential for some “tweaking” around your Social Security retirement benefits, I’d like to share some insight on what we know now.
  2. Investing

    10 Cheap Vacations for the Ultimate Foodie

    If you are a foodie then explore one of these destinations in 2016.
  3. Retirement

    Should Social Security Be Privatized?

    The idea of controlling your own retirement money is one that continues to hold appeal for a large segment of voters.
  4. Insurance

    What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

    One program is for the poor; the other is for the elderly. Learn which is which.
  5. Retirement

    How to Fix an Error on Your Social Security Check

    For many seniors, social security benefits checks are their income stream which means the benefit has to be correct. If you spot an error, you can fix it.
  6. Economics

    What China's New Policy Means for Business

    Now that China has eliminated its one-child policy, how will the new policy impact businesses?
  7. Retirement

    How to Stretch Your Retirement Savings

    What does "nest egg" mean for your personal situation? Will you deplete it, or will you nurture it to generate income that lasts throughout retirement?
  8. Savings

    Avoid the Worst Air/Rail Travel Fee Rip-Offs

    Airline fees can vary tremendously. We've compared them side-by-side – along with Amtrak's new charges – to determine who charges the most (and least).
  9. Insurance

    Avoid the Obamacare No-Insurance Penalty by Jan. 31

    If you don't have health insurance, act NOW or you could owe penalties on your 2016 taxes, in addition to this year's.
  10. Professionals

    IRA Holders: How to Avoid this Huge Mistake

    Here's why using your IRA funds to delay taking Social Security benefits may be a good option for more financial security in retirement.
  1. How can I receive my Social Security benefits if I want to retire outside the U.S?

    If you are planning on retiring abroad, you may be concerned about forfeiting your Social Security retirement, disability ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do tax brackets include Social Security?

    A portion of your Social Security benefits may be subject to federal taxation using tax brackets. Your tax bracket is determined ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can FHA loans be used for condos?

    A borrower can obtain Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans to finance the purchase of a condominium as long as the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can I get dental insurance with Medicare?

    Medicare does not offer dental insurance that will cover dental care and medical supplies, such as cleanings, sealants, extractions, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who can make catch-up contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

    An eligible individual who is 55 years or older at the end of his tax year can make additional catch-up contributions to ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do banks offer FHA loans?

    Many major U.S. banks, including Well Fargo & Company, U.S. Bancorp, Bank of America and Flagstar Bancorp, offer Federal ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Flier

    The slang term for a decision to invest in highly speculative investments.
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  4. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  5. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  6. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
Trading Center