Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisboa Image Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons

As expats, it is key to feel welcomed by locals in each country. With the ease of travel and new opportunities, expatriates are present in every thriving economy. 


For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked about 13,000 expatriates representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories about various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven.

Between 81 and 94 percent of expats surveyed for the latest Expat Insider survey rate the attitude of the local population towards foreign residents positively in these top destinations. Globally, this is only 67 percent.


1. Portugal

Portugal claims first rank as the world’s most welcoming country for expats. Almost every expat living there (94 per cent) is satisfied or happy with the attitude of locals towards expat residents. Climbing nine places since 2016, close to four in five expats describe the Portuguese as welcoming, and about three in ten say that locals make up most of their social circles.

2. Taiwan

One third of Taiwanese expats say they would stay foprever if possible in the country. If that doesn’t give you an inkling of how friendly the locals are, 86 per cent of expats openly agree that locals welcome expatriates with open arms.

3. Mexico

Mexico ranks very high in ease of making local friends, at least 73 per cent of expat respondents felt that it was easy to make friends in the country.

4. Cambodia

At twice the global average, Cambodia ranks highest when it comes to ‘feeling straight at home’ for foreign residents. 92 per cent of surveyed residents agree that Cambodian locals are incredibly friendly to foreigners who reside in the country.

5. Bahrain

Seven in ten find the Bahrainis welcoming, and feel at home in the local culture. This might be since 91 percent find it easy to live here without speaking the local language.

6. Costa Rica

Out of 65 countries, Costa Rica is number one for making local friends. More than four in five expats say that they feel at home in the local culture, as compared to a global average of 60 percent.

7. Oman

Another Middle Eastern entrant to the top, expats in Oman (73 per cent) agree that locals are very welcoming. However, only three percent state to be mainly friends with locals

United Arab Emirates is also among the top tier of friendly countries for expat residents, ranking high in quality of life and ease of settling in.