Can I Live in Another Country as a Freelancer?

In short, yes! As a freelancer – at least one who works online – you’re likely not tied to a physical location, which means you can work from almost anywhere in the world. Although it’s a tempting proposition, you should consider the most significant pros and cons of freelancing abroad.

In this article, we’ll explore whether you can live in another country as a freelancer, digital nomad, remote worker, or online business owner. Discover the main benefits and potential challenges of freelancing in another country to help you make this possibly life-changing decision.

Benefits of Living in Another Country as a Freelancer

Living in another country as a freelancer has various benefits, including:

Discovering a new culture and way of life

  • You can immerse yourself in a new culture and experience it firsthand.
  • By learning about local customs, traditions, values, and beliefs, you can gain a deeper understanding of their way of life and an appreciation for the diversity of our world.
  • You’ll have the chance to taste new dishes and try out new cooking styles.
  • Exposing yourself to different cultures and perspectives is a surefire way to broaden your horizons and inspire new ideas in both your private and professional life.
  • Cultural immersion can help you develop empathy and understanding for people from different backgrounds, which can be invaluable in both personal and professional relationships.
  • You can enjoy the cultural exchange: share your own culture with others and learn about the local one. You can inform people about your customs and traditions and learn from them in return.

The opportunity to learn a new language

  • By being surrounded by a foreign language on a daily basis, you’ll likely develop your language skills more quickly than you would in a classroom setting.
  • You’ll have plenty of chances to practice your language skills and become more proficient at speaking, reading, and writing in a foreign language.
  • You may also gain insight into cultural nuances, and colloquialisms of the local language.

The opportunity for a lower cost of living

  • Depending on the country of relocation, you could spend less and stretch your money further by enjoying a lower cost of living, cheaper housing, food, and transportation. 
  • You’re also more likely to invest in experiences instead of things (that will be difficult to transport with you later).

Potential for a higher standard of living

  • Some countries offer a better standard of healthcare, education, public services, more affordable housing, and better social welfare programs that can provide financial support if you’re unable to work for a period of time.
  • You may have access to more affordable healthcare services and/or advanced medical treatments that aren’t available in your home country.
  • You can choose a country with a more favorable currency exchange rate and earn in a more favorable currency from your foreign clients.

Making use of tax benefits or incentives

  • Depending on the country, you may be able to take advantage of tax benefits or incentives and government programs offered to foreigners who plan to work or start their business there.

Expanding your social network: privately and professionally

  • You can meet new people from different backgrounds by attending local groups (especially with an expat or freelance focus) as well as networking events.
  • By joining clubs, attending events, and participating in local activities, you can meet people you wouldn’t have had a chance to meet if you had stayed in your home country.

Gaining a fresh perspective on your work or freelance business

  • Living and working abroad can be a powerful way to develop new professional skills and gain valuable experience. You’ll likely encounter new challenges and opportunities that can help you grow as a professional.
  • Being exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking can help you approach your work and/or business in new and innovative ways, leading to increased creativity and productivity.
  • You can also gain a better understanding of how different industries operate and learn new techniques or best practices.

Improving your work-life balance

  • Some countries have a more relaxed pace of life and a stronger emphasis on leisure time, which can be a stimulating change if you’re used to a fast-paced lifestyle.

Accessing new markets

  • Living in another country can give you access to new markets, clients, or business partners, providing opportunities for development and expanding your freelance portfolio.
  • New opportunities for investment of your money, time, and energy: you’re more likely to invest in property, businesses, etc. in a market you can be part of and observe closely.

Personal growth

  • Living in another country can be a great way to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. You’ll learn to be more adaptable, independent, resilient, and self-reliant, which can help you grow as a person and as a freelancer.
  • By navigating a new environment with unfamiliar challenges, you can develop your problem-solving skills and better adapt to new situations.
  • Through new experiences and challenges, you may also develop a greater sense of self-awareness and learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds can improve your social skills, including cross-cultural communication skills. In general, it may help you communicate effectively, listen actively, and be more empathetic and understanding.

Making use of new travel opportunities and a different climate

  • By being located in a different region of the world, you’ll be able to visit nearby cities and towns, explore neighboring countries and cultures, as well as take in the natural beauty of the area.
  • You can choose to freelance in a country with a better climate, different temperatures, more sunshine, or less pollution.

Challenges of Freelancing Abroad

While living in another country as a freelancer can be exciting, you have to be aware of the following challenges of freelancing abroad and prepare for them:

Navigating the legal system and bureaucracy of a new country

  • Laws, including banking regulations and taxes, can all be different from what you’re used to in your home country.
  • Dealing with bureaucracy including visa applications, residency permits, and other bureaucratic processes can be time-consuming and confusing. Research is key here. Consultations with local government institutions and specialists are highly recommended.

The potential language barrier

  • If you’re moving to a country where you don’t speak the language well enough (or at all), you may have difficulty communicating with the locals (including administrative officials).
  • Not being able to communicate effectively can make everyday tasks more difficult.
  • It can be isolating to not be able to fully participate in conversations or social events.

Experiencing homesickness and loneliness

  • Being far away from family and friends and not having a strong social network in your new country can make it difficult to feel connected and supported.
  • Missing out on important events back home can be a real challenge for some expats. The homesickness associated with watching social media and seeing friends and family back home enjoying familiar activities and events can make it even more difficult to adjust to life in a new country.

Dealing with time zone differences

  • If you have clients in different time zones, you may need to adjust your work schedule to accommodate the time difference. This can be especially difficult if you’re working with clients in multiple time zones.

Setting up a reliable internet connection and ensuring access to necessary tools and resources

  • Depending on where you’re freelancing, you may face challenges with unreliable infrastructure, such as power outages, slow internet, and transportation disruptions. This can make it difficult to work effectively and meet deadlines.
  • Depending on where you live, you may need to invest in expensive equipment or deal with slower or unreliable internet connections.

Experiencing culture shock and unexpected changes

  • Living and working in another country can expose you to unexpected challenges such as changes in the political climate, conflicts, or even natural disasters.
  • Dealing with cultural misunderstandings, as well as differences in social norms, customs, values, and business practices can be stressful when living abroad and requires flexibility and a lot of adaptability on your part.

Are you intrigued by the benefits of living abroad as a freelancer and feeling ready to face the potential challenges? Now the next big question is: where should you relocate to as a freelancer?

Discover our 4 top countries for freelancers and digital nomads based on location, local income tax, cost of living, and other unexpected benefits!

FAQ – Freelancing in Another Country

Can I live in another country as a freelancer without a visa?

Whether you need a visa to move to another country as a freelancer will depend on your nationality and the country you’re moving to. You may need to obtain the appropriate visa to live and work legally in some countries.

Can I work for clients in my home country while living in another country?

Yes, you can work for clients from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. You also need to keep in mind potential tax obligations in both your home country and your destination country. Your tax duties will depend on the national laws of your home nation, the new country, and any double-taxation agreements between them.

What are the benefits of living as a freelancer in another country?

There are numerous benefits of living in another country as a freelancer, including experiencing new cultures, a lower cost and higher standard of living, expanding your social network, and many more.