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Top 15 English-Speaking Countries for Expats in 2024

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While some people find the prospect of total immersion in a foreign language enticing, romantic even, plenty of others shudder just thinking about it.

And that’s why they keep putting off moving abroad and lessening their tax burden.

It can certainly feel isolating not knowing the language that the majority of people speak. Sure, you can get by with English at touristy spots and hire a local to help you navigate finding a property and the bureaucracy, but it’s not quite the same as connecting with a place on a more personal level.

So, if not being able to speak a second language is stopping you from living overseas and gaining tax advantages, don’t let it.

Languages can be learned and there are plenty of English-speaking countries where you won’t need to worry about the language barrier.

If you want to acquire a second residency or citizenship, set up a call with us today. We’ll find the country for you that treats you best.

What’s in a Language, Anyway?

Before moving to a new place, the number one fear faced by expats is the language barrier.

It ranks as being even scarier than separation anxiety from friends and family and much more frightening than issues like culture shock or lesser healthcare and infrastructure standards.

We know this all too well, having lived and worked in many new countries.

There is so much value in these micro-interactions that there is little wonder that people who don’t speak a second language are hesitating to move abroad.

But with so much to gain, both personally and financially, don’t let it become the reason you’re missing out on life.

The great news is that you can decrease your tax burden and move to a new place without compromising your quality of life.

There are 15 countries where English is commonly spoken, which also holds great potential tax-wise. 

Which one you go for depends on your outlook, financial goals and offshore strategy.

15 English-Speaking Countries (That Make Sense Tax-Wise)

Here are the 15 best English-speaking countries to move to if you want the tax advantages of living abroad without having to learn a new language.

1. Bahamas

Bahamas

The Bahamas ranks among the best and largest English-speaking countries and is also one of the most advantageous countries for tax-free living.

This tropical paradise has no personal income tax, corporate income tax, capital gains tax, sales tax, withholding tax, gift or inheritance tax, or other probate fees. You can become a tax resident by spending more than 183 days a year in the Bahamas.

However, this is a costly residence option, costing around $750,000 and $1.5 million or more for the privilege.  

Considering millions of tourists and an endless number of cruise ships head there each year, it doesn’t sound like a bad life. Beyond the beaches, 87% of Bahamians speak the English language well.

If island life appeals to you, it is a good choice.

And if you want to do business in the Bahamas, it’s a well-recognized financial centre with favourable tax laws that welcome foreign investment.

2. Belize

Belize

Belize is a well-known jurisdiction for offshore banking and company formation.

You might want to move to Belize as the country’s recognised official language is English and a reported 81% of the population speaks it.

Sure, there are pockets where Belizean Creole or Spanish are used more often, but English should be enough to allow you to conduct your affairs and social life.

 It’s a beautiful paradise along the coast of the Caribbean Sea, where you can explore Mayan ruins or go snorkelling, fishing, sailing, caving, and much more.

3. Bermuda

It only makes sense that Bermuda, as a British Overseas Territory, would be among the list of countries where people speak fluent English. You can find native English speakers and stunning sunsets in Bermuda.

Bermuda is one of the most livable countries with no income tax, although it’s extremely expensive to live there. Finding a property will also be a tall order as it’s in short supply and relatively expensive.

Yet, if you have the cash and want to live on a highly developed island with close travel connections to the United States, Bermuda may be for you.

It is also an excellent offshore banking hub. And at 92%, more Bermudians speak English than do mainland Americans.

4. Dominica

Please note, this bit is about the island of Dominica and NOT about the Dominican Republic – two separate countries.

As home to the world’s most affordable Citizenship-by-Investment program, Dominica isn’t just a place to get a second passport; it’s also a Caribbean paradise where over 2,000 Americans live. These are primarily retirees and sunbirds, so if you’re after an upbeat lifestyle, Dominica may not be for you.

Unlike Saint Kitts and Nevis, where English is also a very commonly spoken language, Dominica does have an income tax, so be careful spending too much time there.

5. Gibraltar

Gibraltar English-Speaking Country

Though most Gibraltar citizens are bilingual in English and Spanish, English is their only official language.

The country has long been a tax haven and the perfect place to set up shop. Whether you’re incorporating a business (no capital gains tax) or becoming a tax resident (maximum effective tax rate of about 25% with the possibility for a lump-sum tax).

Being a British Overseas Territory, although on the southern coast of Spain, Gibraltar’s official language is English, so you would have no problem getting by.

Residence permits are easy to come by, and the overall culture is rather welcoming. Plus, if you get bored, you can always pop over to Andalusia for the wines, cured meats, and flamenco.

6. Ireland

Keeping a pulse on life in Ireland is relatively easy because, although Irish Gaelic is recognised as the official language, a mere 5% of the population speaks it regularly.

Ireland’s national language is English, which is excellent news for you. And while it’s not exactly a recognised income tax haven, it is an offshore paradise.

Companies such as Apple and Google have long recognised this and established businesses in Ireland decades ago – the 12.5% corporate tax is the main appeal there. It has been confirmed that the new 15% global corporate tax rate introduced by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will take effect from 1 January 2024 in Ireland. 

Just about everyone in Ireland speaks English. Sure, you’ll encounter some new vocabulary and the accent can be challenging in parts, but Ireland ticks a lot of boxes:

  • A highly reputable country on the international scene
  • Member of the EU and very close to the continent
  • Modern infrastructure, high-standard health care, and education
  • A great quality of life enjoyed by both expats and locals alike.

Personal income tax ranges from 20% to 40%, but with some thoughtful planning, your decreased corporate taxation could compensate for the relatively high income tax.

You may also qualify for citizenship by descent in Ireland.

7. Isle of Man

Isle of Man

Can you see yourself living on a tiny island between Ireland and the United Kingdom? If yes, the Isle of Man may be perfect for you.

It’s a self-governing territory of the British Crown, featuring sleepy fishing towns, medieval castles, and vast rural landscapes.

Needless to say, everyone there speaks English, so if you’re after an island that’s a bit closer to where life is happening as opposed to, say, an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, then the Isle of Man could be a good choice. London, Dublin, and Edinburgh are all just a quick plane ride away.

Income tax operates in two bands of either 10% or 20%. That’s not too high a price for an English-speaking country with all the amenities a low-key island life could require.

8. Jersey

Don’t be fooled by the town names St Helier, St Ouen, and La Pulente, which all sound suspiciously French. Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency with two official languages, French and English.

Located between the UK and France, it’s a so-called ‘channel island’ that offers stability, a relatively high quality of life, and a booming finance sector.

Jersey has no capital gains tax and the income tax is flat at 20%.

While not that low, you can opt to pay a lump-sum tax that may make it worthwhile to gain access to the Jersey infrastructure and the countries nearby, too.

9. Malaysia

Malaysia English-Speaking Country

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, practically everyone speaks English to some degree, and if you stay in the city, you don’t need to learn Bahasa Malay. English is the de facto official language.

We’re a huge advocate for living in Kuala Lumpur. We feel that outside of similarities with Bahasa Indonesia, there isn’t a lot of utility for Malay in global business or when travelling elsewhere.

There are also some islands where you can immerse yourself fully in the local culture and speak only English, for example, Langkawi and Penang – and both offer a great quality of life.

10. Malta

English speaking country- Malta

Malta may well be the best place to live in Europe when it comes to countries that speak English.

Malta doesn’t have a territorial tax system. Taxation there is determined by tax residence and where your income comes from. 

So, even if you become a citizen of Malta, you won’t have to pay taxes in the country if you’re not living or earning income there. 

And it certainly helps that it’s a tax haven, allowing offshore companies domiciled there to claim a considerable credit on taxes they pay and get their corporate tax rate as low as 5%.

Setting up a company in Malta also allows non-EU citizens to obtain residency in the country. 

If living on an island that’s said to be quite traffic-ridden gets boring, you’ll have access to all of Europe without having to do the ‘Schengen Shuffle,’ which is an added bonus.

On top of Malta’s benefit as an offshore hub for easy banking, low taxes, and openness to industries like gambling, 89% of all Maltese speak English.

All of this makes living in Malta more than just a Mediterranean paradise.

11. Mauritius

Mauritius

If Mauritius is one of the best English-speaking African countries, why isn’t it on more people’s radar?

With beaches, underwater waterfalls, and snorkelling opportunities galore – this petite Indian Ocean island is one of the best English-speaking countries in Africa.

You may not have heard of this African island nation, but you’ll be amazed at all it has to offer. An English-speaking country with tax benefits, offshore companies, and advantages for crypto investors, Mauritius packs quite a punch.

Yet, what caught our eye is the ease of doing business there. Its favourable tax laws and expansive banking system allow you to easily take your offshore incorporation to Mauritius.

Income tax rates stand between 0-20%, and local regulations determine that only income remitted to Mauritius is taxable. In other words, not all of your worldwide income would be affected.

12. The Philippines

The Philippines

We bet you’ve never thought of the Philippines as your English-speaking country of choice, have you?

Through historical ties, English has been the unofficial language of the Philippines for decades. It is widely taught in its schools, although you should stick to mainly urban areas to experience the 64% of the people who speak English in the country.

As a nice bonus – only income derived from sources within the Philippines is taxed, so if you have foreign income, this would be exempt.

Retirees especially love the Philippines for the relatively low cost of living and the low-key island lifestyle.

13. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Imagine having a quality of life similar to that of the United States, the largest English-speaking country, yet living in a tropical paradise with abundant flora and fauna.

English and Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico is an unincorporated US territory, which means it gets some of the benefits of being associated with the US but not all of the rules and regulations.

You can read more about the Puerto Rican tax incentives for US citizens here, but if you’re just interested in seeing what life is like there, then it would suffice to say that it’s an eclectic mix of the English and Spanish cultures.

14. Singapore

Singapore

Singapore is a place where so many nationalities and cultures intermingle that it’s hard to imagine it as a place where English is widely spoken.

But forget the preconceptions – most Singaporeans are native bilinguals. If you want to do business, English is also the de facto language of banking, hand-shaking, and contract signing.

You should know that one in five expats in Singapore is a millionaire. It’s an extremely pricey place to live, and you’ll need some good capital to make the move.

However, we wouldn’t recommend burning the ships and severing all ties with your home country if you were to come live in Singapore.

Sure, it can be great, but it can also feel a tad too sterile and uneventful, as far as countries go.

15. Vanuatu

Vanuatu is far, far away.

It might make sense for New Zealanders or Australians to move there because it’s relatively close for them. But for everyone else, it’s not an optimal choice.

Imagine visiting family back in Los Angeles every Christmas – a logistical nightmare at worst and an extremely long journey of 3+ flights at best.

However, if you want to take the plunge and give Vanuatu a chance, you’ll be glad to know that English is one of the official languages of the tiny nation.

Plus, it’s one of the most accessible places on earth to pay zero income tax and get a second passport in a matter of months.

Other English-First Scenarios

To be clear, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend becoming tax residents in the following countries, although a place like Lithuania, with its tax rate of 15%, might seem appealing.

  1. Scandinavia – Norway, Sweden, Denmark

These Viking lands are economic powerhouses, where the lingua franca is English. So, while it might not be an obvious choice, you should give them a fair chance.

Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are rated as some of the happiest places on earth, so you know that the quality of life there is through the roof.

What they are not, however, are tax havens. They feature some of the highest rates of income tax in the world, and a permanent move there won’t suit everyone.

However, if you plan it out carefully and don’t become a tax resident, Scandinavia is an amazing place to live.

High-quality food, top public services, unspoiled nature – this could be all yours, and you’d get to enjoy it in English too.

  1. The Netherlands

Rotterdammers have been named as the most adept at speaking English as a second language in the world.

Amsterdam, the Hague, and other Dutch cities are not far behind, making the Netherlands one of the most prominent English strongholds in Europe (outside of the UK).

If you have ever dreamed of strolling along the romantic canals of Amsterdam, you’ll be happy to know that over 90% of Dutch speak English – more than 15 million of them.

While becoming a permanent resident of the Netherlands may not be the best move for tax purposes, Western citizens can easily spend half of their year in Europe’s Schengen area, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a second home in Amsterdam.

Bonus point: The Netherlands has some favourable corporate arrangements in place, thanks to copious tax treaties and tax participation exemptions (e.g., dividends and capital gains realised are exempt from corporate tax).

It’s a highly stable country with access to all of Europe, with extremely modern health, transport, and educational facilities.

So what’s not to like? Well, the income tax is a bit of a stinger, so be careful and don’t overstay your non-resident welcome.

  1. The Balkans – Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and More

Depending on where you find yourself in the Balkans, you might come across some  Italian or German speakers. But the region’s main second language – of the younger generation at least – is English.

The older generation might still be monolingual or speak Russian as their only foreign language. But in the bigger cities like Zagreb, Sofia, or Belgrade, you shouldn’t encounter any problems assimilating into the community as an English speaker.

Some Balkan countries also have favourable tax regimes with flat income tax rates and are extremely grateful for foreign capital via investment or business incorporation.

So, if you are looking for an English-speaking country that’s expat-friendly and a little under the radar, the Balkan countries might be a good choice.

  1. The Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

The Baltics are often skipped over, usually in favour of somewhere with a richer cultural history, better food, or a milder climate.

But people thinking like this are selling themselves short. These three countries have been experiencing some of the European Union’s fastest growth rates over the last three years.

There’s lots of investment potential, programs for foreign capital, and the possibility for more favourable tax regimes than in some other countries.

With ever-increasing foreign investment and tourism, the Baltics can provide quite a comfortable life at a fraction of the cost of Scandinavia but with many of the same amenities.

Especially in Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn, you can work towards lower tax rates and fully immerse yourself in the social life, speaking only English.

And The Very Best English-Speaking Country for Expats in the World is…

Globe

… the one you move to after you do your due diligence.

We’ve given you lots of food for thought as to which country you can call home and still go about your daily life solely in English.

Yet, as we always say, ‘Go where you’re treated best.’

Choosing one of the English-speaking countries is a puzzle that needs to be picked apart:

  • Will it make sense for you to become a resident of the country?
  • Would you want to invest there too?
  • Are you going to take your business there?

Ultimately, the decision of where to choose to live plays a pivotal role in your holistic strategy. Are you ready to create a life of greater personal and financial freedom? If you want help figuring out which country fits best into your individualised plan, apply to become a client

Expat-Friendly Countries with English as a Main Language – FAQ

How many English-speaking countries are there?

There are 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities with English as their official language.

How many English-speaking countries are in Africa?

There are 24 countries with English as their official language.

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