Man using a laptop on a beach with the text "why expats love living in florida.

Why do expats love Florida so much? This is a question we often explore as we assist our international clients with their transition to life in the Sunshine State.

Throughout our journey in real estate, we’ve had the privilege of guiding many newcomers through the exciting process of making Florida their new home.

As Florida residents, we understand the ins and outs of making Florida your new home.

In this guide, we’ll share the insights we’ve gathered on why Florida is not just a destination, but a dream home for people from all corners of the world.

Join us as we delve into the cost of living, employment opportunities, cultural diversity, and the welcoming communities that make Florida a top choice for expats.

Reason #1: Lifestyle and Culture in Florida

Let’s start off with the easiest perk of all: the lifestyle and culture is amazing.

We haven’t regretted our move to Florida even one time. We love it here.

Imagine warm waters, pristine beaches, back-porch restaurants, and a mix of people from all over the world enjoying 365 days of warm weather.

It’s truly a special place. We love our beach days.

We moved to Orlando from a cold, northern climate, and we couldn’t have imagined how good life could be.

The best part is you aren’t alone in this journey; Florida is home to the third most populated state in America with over 20 million people.

And, depending on where you are relocating from, you’ll likely find familiar culture somewhere in the sunshine state.

Nearly 30% of households in Florida speak a language other than English.

Check out the language matrix for Florida from

#LanguageSpeakersShare of Population
2French (Incl. Cajun)103,0310.51%
7Yiddish, Penn Dutch, West Germanic18,4020.09%
12Ukrainian, Other Slavic20,4680.10%
14Persian (Incl. Farsi, Dari)10,5400.05%
20Nepali, Marathi, Other Indic11,1550.05%
21Other Indo-European Languages41,6240.21%
24Malayalam, Kannada, Dravidian12,1330.06%
25Chinese (Incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)75,6220.37%
Popular languages spoken in Florida

We love that cultures from all over the world have decided to call Florida home.

Moving from Chicago, we hoped Florida would offer diversity in people, food, and culture, and it has pleasantly met our expectations.

Love food? Florida is home to a 19 Michelin star rated restaurants, and 32 Bib Gormound rated restaurants.

Love beaches? Florida has two of the top 10 best beaches in America according to Lonely Planet’s 2024 ranking for top 100 beaches in the world.

Have kids? You’ll love weekend trips to Disney, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, and dozens of state and national parks in Florida. Not to mention, you’ll get Florida resident rates which is a huge savings!

We could go on and on, but you get the picture. Florida is a great place to settle down.

Reason #2: Tax Savings

One of Florida’s best perks is it’s low-tax lifestyle.

Expats moving to Florida can potentially experience significant tax savings compared to their home countries, especially coming from regions like Europe, Asia, South America, and Canada.

You can read more about the financial benefits of Florida here, but we will break down the biggest tax breaks below:

Here’s how Florida stands out in terms of tax advantages:

No State Income Tax

That’s right, Florida has zero state income tax. You’ll only be required to pay the federal income tax of 20%.

  • Europe: Many European countries have high income tax rates, often exceeding 40% for higher income brackets. You won’t need to worry about Florida taxing you more.
  • Asia: Income tax rates across Asian countries display considerable variation. In nations with high income taxes, such as Japan, South Korea, China, and the Philippines, there is potential for substantial savings in America.
  • South America: While tax rates in South American countries can be lower than in Europe and Asia, expats from countries like Chile, Columbia, and Aruba may experience significant savings in Florida.
  • Canada: Canada has a progressive income tax, with top federal rates approaching 30%, plus provincial taxes. Florida’s lack of a state income tax helps to off-set provincial taxes.

No Inheritance or Estate Tax

  • Europe: Many European countries levy inheritance or estate taxes. Florida, however, does not have these taxes, offering potential savings for expats planning their estates. Nothing like building generational wealth, right?
  • Asia, South America, Canada: Similar to Europe, the absence of inheritance or estate taxes in Florida can benefit expats from these regions, where such taxes might exist such as Japan and South Korea with inheritance taxes over 50%.

Property Tax Considerations

Property taxes in Florida are considered moderate, and there are homestead exemptions that can reduce the taxable value of a primary residence for residents.

We realize that not every country has property taxes, or they come in different forms. In the UK for example, homeowners don’t pay a direct property tax, but face Stamp Duty Land Tax, Ground Rent for leaseholds, and Council Tax, depending on location and property size.

And if you are coming from Asia, you may not see a tax break at all. For example, Thailand has minimal property taxes, especially on condos, which can be as low as $60 per year for a property worth $600,000. Similarly, Cambodia has a nominal annual property tax rate of 0.01% of the appraised value, with many property owners not paying it in practice due to lax enforcement.

Lower Corporate Taxes

If you are a business owner, Florida could be the best place for an expat. Florida’s corporate tax rate stands at a competitive 5.5%, which is lower than many countries worldwide.

European countries like Portugal have higher rates, with Portugal’s at 31.5%. In Asia, the United Arab Emirates recently introduced a federal corporate tax of 9%, marking a significant shift from its previous 0% rate.

Meanwhile, South American countries exhibit even higher rates, such as Argentina’s 35%, reflecting a global diversity in corporate tax burdens.

Florida has a business-friendly position with its low corporate taxes, matching the worldwide move towards more attractive tax policies to bring in investment.

Reason #3: Employment Opportunities

Florida’s economy stands out for its significant job growth, making it a thriving environment for expats.

In fact, we have really thrived since we moved here. The business and job environment is wonderful.

In 2023, Florida was ranked eighth in the US for job growth, adding nearly a quarter million jobs, which is a clear indicator of its booming economy.

With an overall job growth rate of 2.5%, surpassing the national average of 2%, Florida is an amazing place to grow your career.

We work with clients all over the United States who have moved to Florida and found gainful employment. We also have countless stories of residents who’ve moved to Florida with a job and then found an ever better job once here.

We have some real booming metros. For example, Orlando has landed on the list of fastest growing cities for years with jobs being added in tourism, hospitality, healthcare, government contracting, and tech.

Screenshot of a floridacommerce website section on press releases, featuring a headline about orlando area employment data for february 2024.
Screenshot of a floridacommerce website section on press releases, featuring a headline about orlando area employment data for february 2024.

This economic landscape is particularly appealing for expats looking for opportunities in a state that not only offers a vibrant lifestyle but also a thriving job market across various industries.

Florida’s ability to continually add jobs and outpace the national growth rate signals a welcoming and prosperous environment for newcomers.

Reason #4: Community for Expats

Florida’s expat community showcases the state’s rich diversity, with dozens of languages and cultures across cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Before we moved here, we had no idea just how many different cultures have decided to call Florida home.

We love hearing languages from around the world in some of Florida’s unique cities.

From Spanish and Haitian Creole in Miami to the welcoming Brazilian community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ensures every newcomer finds a place that feels like home, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a new beginning.

Interestingly, a study by Wallethub found that FFloridais the 8th most diverse state in the United States.

A screenshot of a cbs news web page with a headline stating "report: florida ranked eighth most diverse state in america.
CBS news “report: florida ranked eighth most diverse state in america.”

Languages Spoken and Cultural Groups in Florida

  • Miami: Dominantly Spanish with pockets of Haitian Creole speakers.
  • Orlando: Diverse, with a strong presence of Spanish speakers.
  • Tampa: Spanish and historic Cuban influences, also home to a growing Polish community.
  • Fort Lauderdale: Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and Creole speakers.
  • West Palm Beach: Spanish and Haitian Creole communities.
  • Naples: Spanish-speaking communities amidst an affluent setting.
  • Hialeah: Predominantly Spanish-speaking with a significant Cuban-American population.
  • Kissimmee: Large Puerto Rican population, mainly Spanish speakers.
  • Tarpon Springs: Known for its Greek community, Greek language and culture are prominent.
  • Clearwater: Hosts a Polish community center and has a noticeable Polish-speaking population.
  • Sarasota and Venice area: Known for a significant German and Italian-speaking expat community.
  • St. Petersburg: Offers Russian and Ukrainian-speaking communities, reflecting its diverse European expat presence.

We had a client move from Spain with roots in Brazil and found the perfect blend of Spanish and Portugese speakers in Orlando. In fact, Central Florida is home to 200,000 Brazilians alone.

We appreciate the ability for expats to experience cultural comforts with American conveniences blended with the laid-back lifestyle of Florida.

Reason #5: Climate and Natural Environment

One of the most frequent questions we receive from new residents is, “Is Florida safe from hurricanes and natural disasters?”

We understand the concern—Mother Nature has become increasingly unpredictable in many parts of the world. And, you want to protect your investment and enjoy your new life.

Florida, despite its reputation for hurricanes, emerges as a compelling alternative when considering the broader context of global natural disasters. While the state is no stranger to hurricanes, extensive data and history show that certain areas within Florida offer a relatively safer haven due to their geographical location and infrastructure preparedness.

Let’s give you a few examples of why areas of Florida can help you mitigate natural disaster danger.

Central Florida, for instance, with cities like Orlando, is noted for its resilience against the brunt of hurricanes. Being inland, Orlando and its surrounding areas benefit from a natural weakening of storms as they travel over land.

Despite Florida’s extensive history with hurricanes — 173 and counting hurricane-force storms since 1887 — Central Florida remains one of the least affected regions. It’s a testament to the fact that while hurricanes are a part of Florida’s climate, their impacts are not uniformly felt across the state.

In contrast to the severe natural disasters striking other parts of the globe, Florida’s hurricane season comes with a level of predictability and preparedness that can mitigate the worst of the impacts.

If you are moving from an area of the world with unpredictable tsunamis, earthquakes, or droughts—you’ll be glad to know that Florida has very little risk from these disasters. You can read more about earthquake risk in central Florida here.

Map depicting historical hurricane tracks of various intensities passing through florida.
Map depicting historical hurricane tracks of various intensities passing through florida.

You can see from the graph above that Central Florida rarely experiences hurricanes over category 1 and has never faced a hurricane over category 3 in 150 years.

This is the same reason we chose Orlando as our home.

The recent increase in natural disasters around the world underscores the importance of choosing a destination with an informed understanding of its climate risks.

Florida offers expats a warm, sunny home with strong measures in place to protect against hurricanes, ensuring a safe environment for living and working.

Navigating Challenges: Legal and Social Considerations

Okay, this next section is meant as a general guide. But, you should always seek professional legal counsel when making big moving decisions from your home country.

To embark on the journey toward U.S. citizenship as an expat in Florida, first, ensure you’ve secured your green card, the pivotal initial step that grants you lawful permanent residency in the United States.

Steps to becoming a u.s. citizen: infographic outlining the four main requirements for naturalization, including lawful permanent residency, living in the u.s. for a specified period, demonstrating eligibility, and taking the oath of allegiance.
Steps to becoming a u.s. citizen

How can I get a green card?

There are a few pathways to applying for a green card. Please make sure to check with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services here for complete details.

  1. Family: If you have family in the U.S. like a spouse, kids, parents, or brothers and sisters who are American citizens or green card holders, they might be able to help you get a green card.
  2. Work: If you have a special job skill, an advanced degree, or are planning to invest money in a business in the U.S., you might be able to get a green card through your job.
  3. Safety: If you’re in danger in your country and need a safe place to live, you might get a green card if you’re already allowed to stay in the U.S. as a refugee or as someone who got asylum.
  4. Lottery: The U.S. has a lottery every year when they give out 50,000 green cards to people from countries that don’t send many people to the U.S. You have to be lucky to win, and you need to have at least a high school education or some work experience.
  5. Special Situations: Some people, like certain religious workers, people who worked with the U.S. government, or others in special jobs, can also get a green card.
  6. Help for Victims: If you’ve been treated very badly, like being hurt by a family member who’s a U.S. citizen, trafficked, or a victim of a serious crime, there might be a way for you to get a green card.

For each way to get a green card, there are different rules and steps to follow. You might have to fill out forms, go to interviews, and wait a while for everything to be processed.

What do I do after I receive my green card?

Once you have your green card, you’ll need to live continuously in the U.S. for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen, maintaining a physical presence in the country for over half of the required residency time and establishing your residency in the state or USCIS district where you’re applying.

The last step to citizenship

Once you’ve lived in America for 5 years with a green card, you’ll need to solidify your place as an American.

You’ll need to prove a few things first:

  • Good moral character is non-negotiable, evidenced by a clean criminal record and adherence to U.S. laws.
  • Proficiency in English and a solid understanding of U.S. history and government, as demonstrated through the naturalization test, are also essential.
  • Male applicants of certain ages should register for the Selective Service, showing willingness to serve when called upon.
  • Finally, pledge your allegiance to the United States through the Oath of Allegiance at a public ceremony, symbolizing your commitment to the responsibilities and privileges of U.S. citizenship.

We’re here to assist, guide, and ensure you have all the support you need to navigate the processes to make your transition as smooth as possible when joining us in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the privatized healthcare system in the U.S. compare to socialized medicine in other countries?
The U.S. healthcare system is largely privatized, offering high-quality services but at a higher cost, which necessitates having health insurance. In contrast, countries with socialized medicine typically offer healthcare services at lower out-of-pocket costs to residents, funded by taxes. Expats moving to Florida should prioritize securing comprehensive health insurance to cover healthcare expenses.

Can expats easily enroll their children in Florida’s education system?
Yes, expat children have the right to enroll in public schools in Florida. The state offers a variety of educational options, including public, charter, and private schools, with many areas also offering international baccalaureate programs. It’s advisable to research schools in your area to find the best fit for your child’s needs.

What is the typical length of a U.S. visa, and how can expats extend their stay?
The length of a U.S. visa can vary widely depending on the visa type. For example, tourist visas (B2) typically allow a 6-month stay, whereas work visas like the H-1B can be valid up to three years, with the possibility of extension.

What are the rules for getting a driver’s license in Florida for expats?
Expats in Florida can drive with a valid foreign driver’s license for a short period. However, if you become a resident, you’ll need to obtain a Florida driver’s license. The process involves passing a vision, written, and driving test. Documentation required typically includes proof of identity, Social Security number (if applicable), and proof of Florida residency.

What are the regulations for bringing a pet into the U.S. and Florida?
Bringing a pet to the U.S. generally requires proof of rabies vaccination and a health certificate from a veterinarian. Florida may have additional requirements, such as treatments for ticks and tapeworms. It’s essential to check the latest regulations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services before your move.


As we wrap up this guide, it’s evident that Florida offers a vibrant and appealing destination for expats from around the globe.

With its favorable tax structure, diverse employment opportunities, inclusive educational system, and welcoming communities, the Sunshine State stands out as a place where expats can truly thrive.

Navigating the practical aspects of moving, such as healthcare, visas, and driver’s licenses, is an essential part of the transition, but with the right preparation and resources, expats can smoothly integrate into their new Floridian life.

Whether you’re drawn to the beautiful landscapes, the rich cultural tapestry, or the promise of new beginnings, Florida beckons with open arms, ready to offer a warm welcome and a safe haven for those seeking to make it their new home.