American Expats!

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  • lugiagirl249
    lugiagirl249 Posts: 66 Member
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    Hello! I'm an expat from Oregon, been living in the UK since 2008. This is also my first forum post :P

    I'm in the middle of applying for UK citizenship because heck I qualify, and who wouldn't want an EU passport?! I've spent the last year wrestling with terrible expat taxation fallout due to bad advice from an "expat specialist" tax preparer. What a joke! Renunciation isn't an option for me so now I have a real specialist tax professional on my side and things are slowly being untangled.

    I took the "Life in the UK" test a couple of weeks ago, and the other applicants couldn't understand why I wanted a UK passport when I already have an American one. I can see where they're coming from but I likes my NHS and maternity leave thanks very much.
    Wow, that totally sucks. But, when you get your UK citizenship, your passport is like a ticket to live/work wherever in the EU.
    I get the same questions at work and in public. Why are you here? School? Internship? B-but California is the best!
    They never think of love. ;)
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
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    From the Americans (but not American) not sure I'm an expat or more of an immigrant as I will likely live in France or Germany for the rest of my life.
    :drinker:
  • acpgee
    acpgee Posts: 7,742 Member
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    Canadian living in London, but I was in Amsterdam 1988-2008.
  • Velum_cado
    Velum_cado Posts: 1,608 Member
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    I'm an American who has been living in the UK for 6 and a half years. I grew up in Michigan, but was living in Minnesota when I married my Irish-but-living-in-the-UK husband. I came into the country through EU legislation instead of with a UK spousal visa, which means the process is mostly free, but takes longer. So I only just recently got permanent residency in the UK. I plan on getting British citizenship when we can afford it. I've been a full time student for the last 3 years (funding it myself because I'm not eligible for student finance), so we haven't had a lot of disposable income.

    I'm always open to new friends! :)
  • evangelene12
    evangelene12 Posts: 196 Member
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    Canadian (hope that's close enough) :flowerforyou:, living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Great to see so many expats in Scandinavia.
  • travlinjess
    travlinjess Posts: 243 Member
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    Awesome thread! Everyone's welcome to add me!

    Originally from Mississippi…moved from Portugal to Denmark a month ago. Just now settling in and becoming familiar with the many new and different food products here. Funny, I find it's actually more similar to the US than to Portugal in terms of packaging and quality.

    No specific diet; I just try to eat healthy and limit processed foods.

    I'm a lucky one when it comes to citizenship: dual with USA and Portugal (my mother's Portuguese)…so living/working in the EU is easy peasy for me and my husband.

    Looks like we'll be in Denmark for a long time…good thing we really like it here!! :)
  • 143tobe
    143tobe Posts: 620 Member
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    Here's to our Canadian and 'other' American expats! :drinker:
  • lugiagirl249
    lugiagirl249 Posts: 66 Member
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    I am glad I started this thread. It's nice to feel that I'm not alone in Europe. :)
    Welcome everyone.
  • evangelene12
    evangelene12 Posts: 196 Member
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    Awesome thread! Everyone's welcome to add me!

    Originally from Mississippi…moved from Portugal to Denmark a month ago. Just now settling in and becoming familiar with the many new and different food products here. Funny, I find it's actually more similar to the US than to Portugal in terms of packaging and quality.

    No specific diet; I just try to eat healthy and limit processed foods.

    I'm a lucky one when it comes to citizenship: dual with USA and Portugal (my mother's Portuguese)…so living/working in the EU is easy peasy for me and my husband.

    Looks like we'll be in Denmark for a long time…good thing we really like it here!! :)



    I'm still getting used to it :). I find the supermarkets very different from North America. I am glad that there are quite a lot of ethnic food stores in the city. I do go to Malmo, Sweden to get some British foods like Marmite which we cannot get in Denmark :)
  • bregalad5
    bregalad5 Posts: 3,965 Member
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    Does anyone else find dieting difficult outside of the US because of the cost of food? I drive across the border once a month to buy food in the States since meat and dairy are often 30-50% higher in Canada. Buying organic isn't even an option unless I hit the lottery. I do my best, but I imagine prices in other countries, particularly one's with small populations like Canada might be just as high, if not higher.

    Food here is ridiculous! As much as it's become 'home' to me over the past nine months, I can't wait to get somewhere where I can afford decent food.
    Well here I am in Helsinki and I go to Stockholm pretty often. Let me know if you are here and you would like to meet up for coffee :)

    Sure! Let's go when it's warmer though. XD

    Wait for meeee! I'll be in St Petersburg next year and plan on hitting up Finland again while I'm there since it's so close! :)
  • neandermagnon
    neandermagnon Posts: 7,436 Member
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    re renouncing citizenship to become a citizen of another country...

    the requirement to give up USA citizenship may be a requirement of the country that's issuing the new citizenship. Many countries don't recognise dual nationality and so require the old nationality to be renounced before someone can be granted citizenship. Their original country may choose not to recognise the renunciation though, and so their original country considers them a dual national, while their new country considers them to have one nationality only.

    this happened to someone my husband knew... she renounced her British nationality to be a national of her husband's country. However, the British embassy/government didn't recognise her renunciation and sent her passport back to her after she got her new nationality. The new country doesn't recognise her British nationality, but Britain still considers her a citizen.

    Renouncing your nationality is a lot more complicated than you'd think.
  • Maribullah
    Maribullah Posts: 7 Member
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    Hi all! American just moved to Canada--- even with Canadian spouse what a paper chase!
  • wannehunter85
    wannehunter85 Posts: 133
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    Well we do have a few markets that specialize in imported food, but you will definitely pay an imported price. I have a hard time finding good greens in the Taiwanese markets. I am personally not a fan of cabbage, and i don't think its worth it to eat. So for a box (that will last me about 4-5 days) of dark greens I pay about $10 and sometimes it goes bad before I eat it all since its imported from either the states or NZ. Other produce, I also tend to buy organic here. I dont know how many times I've washed my veggies, made a salad, begin eating it to find a caterpillar or something else unsavory inside. I'm lucky that we have a costco which I go to about once per month, but those are just the extras that I don't HAVE to have and I still spend about $2-$300 per trip. In a week I spend about $200 for my basic groceries and this is just for me. But I also rarely eat out because I can't handle all the pork, grease, and salt thrown on everything. I am just lucky that I have that money to spare since cost of living is really low and I make a decent wage here. Otherwise, I would be F***ED on my healthy eating plan. My main issue is that I tend to eat the same things because the kitchens don't come equipped with ovens which makes creativity in the kitchen hard to do. Also, the variety isnt what I am used to from America. So for me it is a protein for every meal, and the same basic 4-5 different steamed veggies for lunch and dinner. Muesli for breakfast and eggs, cheese, nuts for lunch. If its a good week they will have a supremely overpriced ($5 for a single serve cup) plain greek yogurt lol. But it is what it is! I am really looking forward to Turkey where I will get a better selection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. :) I miss hummus and its hard to make without a food processor. lol.
    I live in the land of greasy meat......greasy everything really. My students are constantly eating processed sugary breads and of course a ton of plain white rice as well as other carbs. It blows my mind how so many are thin. Also, they are pretty blunt. Weight to them (my students, adults are tad bit better, so it doesn't happen as often) is a black or white issue. You're fat or you're not, just like you have black hair or blonde hair. lol. So it isn't too long before a student or a random person on the street will say to me in Chinese or English "WOW YOU ARE SO FAT!" This is after losing 80 pounds......sigh!

    But then again I will never have the body of a Taiwanese person. lol.

    But regardless of the problems I've faced in eating, working out (its hard to find good gyms or equipment and not pay through the nose) this is my dream. To travel and teach and see the world. I think my next adventure in Turkey will come with its own set of ups and downs, but will be a great experience none the less.

    Wow. Over here I just feel really self conscious because I'm the overweight American out of all these Swedes. (in tennis mostly)
    How difficult is it to get good food in China/Taiwan?
  • travlinjess
    travlinjess Posts: 243 Member
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    Awesome thread! Everyone's welcome to add me!

    Originally from Mississippi…moved from Portugal to Denmark a month ago. Just now settling in and becoming familiar with the many new and different food products here. Funny, I find it's actually more similar to the US than to Portugal in terms of packaging and quality.

    No specific diet; I just try to eat healthy and limit processed foods.

    I'm a lucky one when it comes to citizenship: dual with USA and Portugal (my mother's Portuguese)…so living/working in the EU is easy peasy for me and my husband.

    Looks like we'll be in Denmark for a long time…good thing we really like it here!! :)



    I'm still getting used to it :). I find the supermarkets very different from North America. I am glad that there are quite a lot of ethnic food stores in the city. I do go to Malmo, Sweden to get some British foods like Marmite which we cannot get in Denmark :)

    Thanks for the add! We plan on visiting Copenhagen soon…and I don't eat Marmite (not sure if I've ever had it) so that's a non-issue for me ;)

    We moved to a small town called Nordborg. I'm actually surprised at the vast food selection in every store here: products for Sushi/Aisian, Mexican, etc…I had a hard time finding these things in my town in Portugal. I ordered Maple Syrup and Jalapenos online but can easily find them here….so that's a plus!

    There are some major differences b/w Denmark/Portugal/USA, some good and others not-so-good, but that's to be expected. Adjust and adapt, right? And maybe it's not fair since I'm comparing my new home to my last….I've spent the last few years in Portugal eating locally grown, cheap, tasty produce and meat.

    Regardless, I'm still able to make smart food choices at the store and continue on with a healthy lifestyle. We're loving life in Denmark so far!
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Great thread!

    I'm a (former) American, born and raised in Detroit, living in the Netherlands since 2001 (with a short pause where we lived in Ireland). I became Dutch in 2012 and had to renounce my American citizenship (I can totally sympathize with all the paperwork and hassle that requires!).

    It's been great reading through all the different experiences and trials people have. While living here has sooo many perks, just adapting to and living with all the cultural differences can really get to a person at times! The small things that Americans take for granted while in America are just... well, they're different when you leave home. Of course, that goes for everywhere. Culture shock isn't reserved for just one nationality!

    Anyone wanting to add me is welcome!
  • lmk240
    lmk240 Posts: 2
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    I think you will love Turkey and you will definitely lose weight. I am married to a Turk and spend lots of time in the country. For the most part they eat a very healthy diet with lots of fresh produce, yogurt, and meat. Just stay away from the baklava and manti and you will be fine!

    The best part of all is Turks are so polite they would never tell you that you look fat! :)
  • TatianaSoe
    TatianaSoe Posts: 38 Member
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    Hello all, glad to join this thread. I am an American Expat currently living in Panama City, Panama. I moved here about 2 1/2 months ago with my wife, who is a dual Panamanian/American citizen. Really enjoy it. I've been eating healthier, and walking more, which has helped me shed a few pounds, but tomorrow we're kicking it into high gear by starting P90X3.

    I'm a while a way from permanent residency, let alone citizenship, but I could never see myself giving up my American citizenship. The good news is that even if I do become a Panamanian citizen, I won't have to give it up. But to each their own, and I could never blame anyone for their reasons as to why they would want to give it up.

    As for taxes: regardless of income level, if you are an American living abroad, you have to file income taxes with the IRS. If you are making below a certain level, you can get an exemption from paying any, but you still need to file. Also, if you have at least $10,000 in a foreign bank account for at least one calendar day out of a year, you need to declare that to the IRS, or face major fines and penalties. Additionally, if you have foreign assets over a certain level, you have to declare those too. It certainly is a pain, but it's part of the price of the benefits of US citizenship, which includes keeping the right to vote, consular services, social security, and medicare, among others.

    Always looking to make more friends, whether they are expats or not. Happy to meet you all!

    Don't forget about state taxes (if you are unlucky enough to be from a state that has them). There are no exemptions for state taxes. Most states once you move overseas and pick up residence there will consider you not a resident of that state anymore. However, some states like California, will require you to prove that you are not a resident, they will consider you domicile and try to argue that you plan to return. This has been my biggest tax issue. In order to break residency I have for tax reasons had to cancel my voter registration, trade in/give up my California drivers license, and cancel all my back accounts. Basically I had to break any and all ties to the state or else they will argue that you plan on returning (it doesn't matter if you have residence in another country and are even married to a foreigner).
  • TampaExPat
    TampaExPat Posts: 29 Member
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    Hello all, glad to join this thread. I am an American Expat currently living in Panama City, Panama. I moved here about 2 1/2 months ago with my wife, who is a dual Panamanian/American citizen. Really enjoy it. I've been eating healthier, and walking more, which has helped me shed a few pounds, but tomorrow we're kicking it into high gear by starting P90X3.

    I'm a while a way from permanent residency, let alone citizenship, but I could never see myself giving up my American citizenship. The good news is that even if I do become a Panamanian citizen, I won't have to give it up. But to each their own, and I could never blame anyone for their reasons as to why they would want to give it up.

    As for taxes: regardless of income level, if you are an American living abroad, you have to file income taxes with the IRS. If you are making below a certain level, you can get an exemption from paying any, but you still need to file. Also, if you have at least $10,000 in a foreign bank account for at least one calendar day out of a year, you need to declare that to the IRS, or face major fines and penalties. Additionally, if you have foreign assets over a certain level, you have to declare those too. It certainly is a pain, but it's part of the price of the benefits of US citizenship, which includes keeping the right to vote, consular services, social security, and medicare, among others.

    Always looking to make more friends, whether they are expats or not. Happy to meet you all!

    Don't forget about state taxes (if you are unlucky enough to be from a state that has them). There are no exemptions for state taxes. Most states once you move overseas and pick up residence there will consider you not a resident of that state anymore. However, some states like California, will require you to prove that you are not a resident, they will consider you domicile and try to argue that you plan to return. This has been my biggest tax issue. In order to break residency I have for tax reasons had to cancel my voter registration, trade in/give up my California drivers license, and cancel all my back accounts. Basically I had to break any and all ties to the state or else they will argue that you plan on returning (it doesn't matter if you have residence in another country and are even married to a foreigner).

    I'm not often too happy to have my US residence be claimed in Florida, but this is one of those times.
  • TampaExPat
    TampaExPat Posts: 29 Member
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    Does anyone else find dieting difficult outside of the US because of the cost of food? I drive across the border once a month to buy food in the States since meat and dairy are often 30-50% higher in Canada. Buying organic isn't even an option unless I hit the lottery. I do my best, but I imagine prices in other countries, particularly one's with small populations like Canada might be just as high, if not higher.

    Food here is ridiculous! As much as it's become 'home' to me over the past nine months, I can't wait to get somewhere where I can afford decent food.

    As one of the few expats on this thread living in what's considered a "third-world" country, I'm in one of those places where food is significantly cheaper than in the United States. In Panama, all the local basics (meat, cold cuts, bread, pasta, produce, rice, etc) are significantly cheaper than in the US. My rule for beef is that is costs around the same amount per kilo here as it does for pound in the US. For higher end beef from a nicer store, I'll usually pay about $6-8 dollars a kilo, which is what I was paying for a pound back home. Other items are 30-50% cheaper than they were in Tampa. Imported food is usually slightly more expensive than it is in the US, so it's all a question of the quality of life you want. Outside the city in Panama things are even cheaper. They still have the stands where you can get a cooked meal for less than a dollar.

    Other cost of living here is cheaper, certainly compared to a metropolitan city. My rent is $1100 a month, and that gets me a 3 bedroom/2 bath with a giant balcony on the 18th floor of a high rise in a great location in the middle of the city. So I definitely enjoy the cheaper cost of living.

    The downside is that salaries are significantly lower here. The minimum wage is just $624 a month, which is highest in Latin America, but compared to Europe or even the US is super low. For those who telecommute like myself, and others who work in select industries that have salaries more comparable to the US, it's not a problem. But it can make life tougher for many locals.

    The government invests heavy in infrastructure, but not really in social programs. The country has a strong network of buses. You can take one anywhere in the city for $0.25, and can take one for 11 hours to the Costa Rican border for about $12. They also have an underground metro in the city that costs $0.35. But there's not too much of a social safety net. Unemployment is super low at 4%.
  • wannehunter85
    wannehunter85 Posts: 133
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    I think you will love Turkey and you will definitely lose weight. I am married to a Turk and spend lots of time in the country. For the most part they eat a very healthy diet with lots of fresh produce, yogurt, and meat. Just stay away from the baklava and manti and you will be fine!

    The best part of all is Turks are so polite they would never tell you that you look fat! :)


    Yes, I think I will quite enjoy Turkey! Turkish delight and baklava may be a thing to be wary of because I see myself eating a lot of it. lol. But I tend to eat at home a lot because it is so much easier to know and calculate the intake. The main difference for me will be the culture I think. I have been told many times that being blonde will attract a lot of attention from the male population. lol. Which is quite different than in Mandarin speaking Asia. I have lived the past 3 years in China and Taiwan and I can count on one hand the number of times I have been approached by a man. But literally every single time I mention to my friends, co-workers, or acquaintences that I am moving to Turkey, they comment on how I will be hit on left and right. Not sure the truth behind this, but if it is somehow based in reality, it will be important for me to brush up on some polite deflection skills for an uncomfortable situation. :)