Why Spain is second favourite country for Americans to move to

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Why Spain is second favourite country for Americans to move to
Spain is the second favourite country for Americans to move to. Photo: Photo: @jorgefdezsalas / Unsplash

A study based on Google searches reveals that Spain is the second most popular destination of choice for US nationals looking to move overseas, and it’s the favourite in two states in particular.


Spain is the second-most visited country in the world just behind France, with a record 83.7 million international tourists visiting España in 2019. It is also among the EU countries with the biggest foreign resident populations, numbering around 6 million

So it's perhaps not surprising that the country's many attractions, from the weather and culture to the quality of life, have also proven a big draw for Americans.

According to a study by insurance company American Home Shield based on Google searches, Spain is the second most popular country for US nationals to move to.


The first is Canada, which is most likely due to the fact it's next to the US and it shares the same language and has a similar culture.

“People in 31 cities, mostly in Texas and California, are currently looking for information on how to move to Spain,” American Home Shield revealed.

People in Tulsa, Tampa, Stockton, Santa Ana, San Jose, San Francisco, San Antonio, Riverside, Plano, Phoenix, Orlando, Oakland, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Laredo, Long Beach, Houston, Glendale, Fresno, Fort Worth, El Paso, Dallas, Corpus Christi, Chula Vista, Bakersfield, Austin, Arlington and Anaheim put in more Google searches for "moving to Spain" than for any other country. 

Image: American Home Shield

Texas and California along with Florida are among the US states where you’ll find the most Spanish speakers, so it’s perhaps understandable that people from there would want to look for a country where they can already speak the language.  But Spain was also the most searched relocation country in Georgia, Arkansas, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

Image: American Home Shield

Many Americans have already made the move over here and Spain is the European country with the most US residents.

READ ALSO: Six hard facts Americans should be aware of before moving to Spain 

Spain saw a 13 percent increase in the number of US citizens moving to Spain between 2019 and 2021. The latest data available from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) shows there are a total of 39,812 US nationals living in Spain.  

The current strong dollar against the euro could also be influencing why Spain is so high on the list, as evidenced by the spike in US tourists who came to Spain this summer. In June alone, more than 377,000 visited Spain, an 86.9 percent rise compared to the same month in 2019, a pre-pandemic year.

It's not just Americans who want to move to Spain, however. According to a study by comparison site Compare the Market, Spain is the third most popular country in the world for people to move to.

For citizens from 12 different countries, including Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, Spain is their top choice when it comes to deciding where to move to. 


Where do Americans choose to live in Spain?

Unlike most Europeans who favour the coast when they move to Spain, Americans prefer the inland capital region of Madrid.

According to the latest data from the INE as of 2021 there were a total of 11,717 Americans living in the region of Madrid. This was followed by Catalonia with 8,802 US citizens and then Andalusia with 6,658.

READ ALSO: What Americans moving to Spain wish they'd brought with them

How can Americans move to Spain?

Given the high unemployment levels, employment rules and great difficulties in getting some US professional qualifications recognised in Spain, getting a work visa for Spain isn’t easy, so most Americans opt for a different way.

There are several ways for Americans to be able to move to Spain, but one of the most popular and easiest is the non-lucrative visa (NLV). In order to be eligible, Americans need to prove they have a total of €27,792 ($31,390) for one year, an amount which rises if you include other family members. You also need to show that this money is from passive income, as you’re not allowed to work in Spain while on the NLV either for a Spanish employer or a US one.

Another way is the golden visa, which grants you residency in Spain if you invest €500,000 in property in Spain.

Spain recently announced the approval of its Startups Law which also includes a digital nomad visa which will be available from 2023. Find out more about it here



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