A perk of starting your own remote business is the ability to work just about anywhere. If you wish to do some exploring and live out of the country, that’s entirely possible in today’s virtual work environment. Choose the best country to start a business as a foreigner carefully, and you may soon find yourself living your best life abroad.
Settling in a locale you enjoy that supports you and your business is the key to success as an expat business owner.
What Makes a Country Ideal for Remote Work?
When searching for the best countries to start a business, there are some essential attributes to consider. To find a country where you’re happy and able to conduct business efficiently, you’ll want to answer the following questions.
- What are the steps and costs to set up your business in the country? If there are a lot of complex stipulations, it may not be the ideal location.
- How much will you be taxed? Many entrepreneurs move to other countries to gain a higher quality of life. But if you are taxed heavily, that can eat into any outside of work funds.
- What is the country’s internet, electricity, and banking infrastructures? You’ll need good internet and electricity to conduct business efficiently while working remotely. Being able to bank in the country easily is also essential.
- Do you speak the local language or plan to learn? Being able to express yourself and understand what’s happening around you is vital to running a successful expat business. If you don’t know the language, you should have a plan for learning as soon as possible.
- Do you enjoy city life, or are you more into nature? The country you choose should offer your preferred type of lifestyle.
- Is the country relatively safe? A country may be beautiful and check off all the other boxes, but choosing another locale for your expat business might be a good idea if your life could potentially be in danger.
Best Countries to Start a Business Remotely
If you’re thinking of working out of the country, consider the following five best countries to start a remote business.
With its economical and political stability, Canada ranks as one of the best countries to start a business. As of 2020, Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was worth $1,645,423.41 billion, and the country’s free-market makes up 1.45% of the world economy.
There is a moderate amount of government regulations in Canada—just enough to offer some semblance of order but not so much that there are barriers to entry. Incorporating and registering a new business in Canada as an immigrant/expat is a reasonably straightforward process. There are clear guidelines in terms of paying taxes.
When you wish to socialize with other entrepreneurs, the country has several startup communities. Many originated from Startup Canada, an organization that provides entrepreneurs with resources for starting and building a business.
As for the quality of life in Canada, it’s considered very good. The crime rate is low, and there is access to affordable housing, healthcare, and education. The top two languages spoken in the country are English and French.
The weather in Canada is on the cold side. According to Canadian Geographic, the country ties with Russia for first place as the coldest country in the world. The average annual daily temperature is 42.08 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not be the best country for your expat business ideas if you enjoy warmer weather.
With a GDP of $356,084.97 million, Denmark can make an excellent location for starting an expat business. The country has good internet, and setting up a business is relatively simple. You submit a business plan, application for residence, and work permit before moving to the country. Running a business in Denmark is also considered easy. World Bank named Denmark No. 1 in Europe and No. 4 globally for ease of doing business.
In this entrepreneur-friendly country, there is a wide variety of support for running your own business. The country’s Startup Denmark program offers clear guidance as to how to start a business in the country as an expat. The country also has an extensive network of private and public business hubs and accelerators and access to capital.
You can open a bank account in Denmark once you become a resident. While taxes are high for Denmark nationals at 55%, expats can pay as low as 32.84% tax on employment income for up to seven years.
The quality of life in Denmark is considered very high. CEOWORLD magazine’s 2021 report put Denmark at no. 2 in the world. The country is safe and politically stable, and work-life balance is a priority in their culture.
The primary language in Denmark is Danish, although citizens also use English. The country combines natural open space and city life with a mild coastal climate and annual rainfall.
The World Bank rated New Zealand as no. 1 in the world in 2019 for featuring the most business-friendly regulations. The country doesn’t have taxes on social security, payroll, or general capital gains. The tax system is also simple and easy to navigate. For the first four years, expats don’t need to pay taxes on overseas investments or pensions. New Zealand’s GDP is robust at $210,700.85 million as of 2020, and the country is economically and politically stable.
Setting up a business in New Zealand is easy. Choose from many business structure options, including sole trader (equivalent to the sole proprietor), limited liability, and partnership. There is little red tape to cut through, and transparency is high. You only need to show a business plan, understand the country’s business climate, and have sufficient funds to live in the country and do business there. You can also open a bank account in New Zealand as a foreigner.
The quality of life in New Zealand is high, and the country is considered safe. The weather in New Zealand is somewhat variable, although most of the country lies near the coast, resulting in mild temperatures throughout the year. English is the predominant language.
While Panama’s GDP isn’t as high as some nations at $53,977.04 million, the country is one of the most stable and safest in Latin America. Panama also has one of the best banking systems in the world, and foreigners can open accounts there.
The cost of living in Panama is low compared to many areas of the world, yet the standard of living is high, and the economy is stable. The country has a solid infrastructure, including access to quality internet.
Panama operates on a territorial tax system. This means that the income you earn outside the country may not be taxable. You only pay taxes on the income you generate within Panamanian territory.
Setting up a business in Panama is straightforward, and maintaining your residency is easy compared to other countries. You can apply for permanent residency through the Friendly Nations visa program if you meet specific requirements. Forming a corporation in Panama takes two to five business days. Setting up a sole proprietorship is even easier.
Panama is home to a large community of expats from the United States and Europe. This provides entrepreneurs access to communities for socializing and comparing business notes.
The country is a good choice if you wish to live in a tropical climate with breathtaking natural areas and some of the best beaches in the world. Panama lies near the equator, so the average annual temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit remains stable throughout the year. The primary language is Spanish, though many people also speak English.
While the cost of living in Singapore is high, there are many reasons why the country ranks at the top of the list of best countries to start a remote business. Singapore is safe and politically stable, and there are protections for intellectual property. The country also manages to combine beautiful tropical terrain with cosmopolitan living.
World Bank ranked Singapore number two in overall ease of doing business in 2020. The GDP in Singapore is relatively high at $339,998.48 million. The country has a strong economy and robust financial center, and foreigners can open bank accounts there.
The culture in Singapore is pro-business, as evidenced by EntrePass. This program allows eligible foreign entrepreneurs to start and operate companies in the country.
Costs to open a business are relatively low in Singapore, and the country is well-known as a tax haven. You only pay taxes on the money made within the country, not foreign-sourced income. There are also no capital gains taxes, and corporate taxes are low. Startups can enjoy extra perks. You may qualify for a tax exemption for the first three consecutive years of business.
English and Mandarin are the top languages spoken in Singapore. The tropical climate is ideal for those who prefer warm year-round temperatures, high humidity, and rainfall.
Additional Remote Work Considerations
Before you head out to start a business in another country, consult with an accountant and lawyer. Such experts can help you weigh the pros and cons of living in the country you’re considering.
You’ll also want to ensure you get all your correspondence while working away. The most secure way of doing this is to open a virtual mailbox. This allows you to select a physical mailing address to receive your mail through a certified mail receiving agent like SnapMailbox. Check out a free trial today.