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What are the most popular destinations for British expats?

Spain has always been a popular destination for British expats, owing primarily to its sunnier climes, more desirable quality of life and ease of travel to the UK. However, according to data from, Australia, the US and Canada were also among the most popular destination choices for British expats.

Over 5.5 million British people live abroad, with approximately 1.3 million living in Australia, 761,000 in Spain, 678,000 in the United States, Canada ranks fourth with 603,000 and Ireland fifth with 291,000 British expats.

Dubai is the most popular Middle Eastern destination for British expats and, when compared to more cosmopolitan cities, Dubai’s rent prices are considerably lower; its tax-free salaries and all-year-round hot weather also add to the city’s appeal for expatriates.

Britons seeking a more luxurious lifestyle tend to relocate further afield to the Caribbean and South America. However, expats can also access a life of luxury on some of the Spanish isles.

Emigrating abroad


The Balearic Island Mallorca is one of the most popular mass tourist destinations, attracting millions of holidaymakers each year, and its charm often compels many to relocate permanently.

Famed for its picturesque beaches, mountainous terrain, Roman and Moorish ruins, and vibrant culture – Mallorca has become a hotspot for retirees seeking to retreat to a life of luxury. Many celebrities reportedly own luxury apartments and condos on the “crown jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands”.


Renowned for being the sanitarium of the Western Hemisphere, the Bahamas is one of the most sought out countries for Brits looking to retire.

For English-speaking retirees who are not ready to learn another language, the Bahamas is an excellent alternative. The capital, Nassau, boasts of having some of the best modern amenities there is to offer, and its tax-friendly policies make the city an extremely cheap place to live.

Those seeking culture, golf, and the height of luxury reside in New Providence, which is also home to Lyford Cay, one of the most exclusive gated communities in the world where it is possible to live in secluded luxury.


UK citizens moving abroad prior to December 31st deadline would have ensured EU rights to residence, healthcare and pensions in SpainFrance and other EU member states, protected under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

However, it is unlikely that those who fail to apply for residency during this transition period will be penalised, so long as you can provide evidence proving you were living in the EU before the deadline.

UK citizens who applied for residency after July 5th were issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero’ (TIE) which guaranteed their rights in Spain on a temporary (five years or less) or permanent (more than five years) basis.

Those looking to become residents before the year-end deadline will continue to have access to state healthcare. At the same time, British pensioners will continue to receive and have their pensions uprated in line with inflation.

British nationals who apply for residency post-Brexit could find themselves in need of a special visa to visit their property, or exposed to higher fees and additional costs.

With the EU and the UK still negotiating a post-Brexit trade agreement, those who move abroad after December 31st are also at risk of having to find private health insurance. Similarly, the pension agreement is not guaranteed post-Brexit, as currently there are no arrangements in place for this to continue.

Coronavirus causing currency rates to become volatile


Currently, people travelling to Spain from the UK are not required to self-isolate on arrival but must present a PCR swab, taken no more than 72 hours before arrival to be allowed to enter the country.

However, as Spain is not currently on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel corridor list, those returning to the UK from Spain will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

The UK government is currently advising against all non-essential travel. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is particularly cautious to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the UK as the country continues to ease restrictions and reopen its economy.

While the UK’s coronavirus curve is flattening, the British government confirmed that they are willing to take further action if it means reducing Britain’s risk of exposure to the virus.

News of a resurgence of cases in Spain is also weighing heavily on the euro (EUR), though the single currency continues to climb higher against the US dollar (USD).

At the time of writing, the pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is trading higher at EUR 1.10, while the euro to US dollar (EUR/USD) exchange rate has risen to USD 1.22.

Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, said: “Spain is safe for Spaniards and tourists.” Nevertheless, we advise those considering emigrating to the EU in the next six months to monitor the coronavirus situation in Europe closely.