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Are Expats Returning Home due to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: We surveyed expats and asked if they are returning home or making plans to repatriate due to the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of expats said that felt safer staying put or were unable to repatriate due to travel restrictions.

Coronavirus Pandemic - Are Expats Returning Home due to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

We asked expats if they are considering returning to your home country due to the coronavirus. And, for those planning to repatriate, we asked if it would be a temporary move or a permanent one. To take our coronavirus expat survey, click here. Here is what they had to say:

"No I will stay put we have a better chance of getting through this here as long as all islanders take it seriously and continue to adhere to the emergency laws," wrote a British expat living in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize (Mar 25, 2020)

"My plan had been to return to the US on 1 June, 2020. So far, I hope to keep this plan but predicting international travel options that far out [ten weeks] is not possible. I haven't really given any thought to returning to the US any earlier. If anything, I feel safer in Uruguay than I would in the US," wrote an American expat living in Montevideo, Uruguay (Mar 23, 2020)

"No...the US is far behind the Italian system and I'm afraid it will last much longer there," wrote an American expat living in Carro, La Spezia, Italy (Mar 17, 2020)

"I hope to continue teaching here and not have to return home. I'm more concerned about my financial state and livelihood than I am about contracting the virus. And I do feel safe here. The situation is hardly noticeable," wrote an expat from living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Mar 21, 2020)

"We are considering it - but at present the State Dept can't tell us if we would have to quarantine in our first port of entry or what. We may be asked to return early but our work has us here until middle of June," said an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile (Mar 20, 2020)

"Because the US is so well organized with Trump, Pence, & Kushner in charge???? Hell, no," wrote an American expat living in Jinotepe, Nicaragua (Mar 17, 2020)

"I can't return to the USA because the situation is worse there than here in Ecuador. My daughter is worried about me, and I am worried about her back home," wrote an American expat living in Cuenca, Ecuador (Mar 19, 2020)

"We currently plan to stay in Nicaragua. We cancelled travel to the USA to visit our daughter and her family in Colorado, since the virus is more prevalent there. And a conference that I was going to attend in Chicago was cancelled. We hope to be able to travel back to Colorado later in the year, but we plan to stay in Nicaragua to live for the near future," wrote an American expat living in Tola, Nicaragua (Mar 19, 2020)

"NO. I hope to stay with my husband. and kids. Where ever GOD allows us," wrote an American expat living in Martinique, Martinique (Mar 19, 2020)

"No, we are not planning to return to our home country until the summer (June) when we already scheduled time to see family and friends. Those tickets were purchased months ago. We will be returning to Europe on September 4th, if the virus threat has lessened," wrote an American expat living in Athens, Greece (Mar 19, 2020)

"I can not return due to the current restrictions. I do worry about my family in the UK, some of whom are vulnerable due to age and health issues. I would prefer to stay in Tirol," explained a British expat living in Innsbruck, Austria (Mar 23, 2020)

"I am not considering returning to live in the US at this time due to the cost. My youngest daughter wants me to come back. I will travel there if possible in late Summer. It would definitely be nice to be on one’s own ground in a situation like this. I have Medicare, too. But I am sticking things out here for now. I don't want to board a plane. That scares me more than staying here. I need to continue to work on getting healthy before venturing out. So I’m just isolating here and hoping for the best," wrote an American expat living in Bali, Indonesia (Mar 19, 2020)

"We are scheduled to depart June 3 rd anyway. If we can last we definitely prefer to be here," wrote an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile (Mar 18, 2020)

"No, I feel safer here for now," wrote an American expat living in Pencahue, Chile (Mar 18, 2020)

"Not considering going back as we have pets that need looking after. Besides much easier to practice social distancing here as there are so many less people in our neighborhood," said an American expat living in Punta del Este, Uruguay (Mar 17, 2020)

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"We feel even more assured about our decision to leave the US for Portugal in view of how the situation has been handled. We would not return to the US because of the virus as the US is less prepared," wrote an American expat living in Lisbon Area, Portugal (Mar 17, 2020)

"We would not return to the United States. We are much safer here with leaders that know how to make decisions and keep its citizens safe," wrote an American expat living in Medellin, Colombia (Mar 16, 2020)

"Considered it. Not convinced America will handle this better. The flight is likely more dangerous than staying in place," wrote an American expat living in Pasay, Vilamor, Philippines (Mar 18, 2020)

"No. I feel safer in Panama where there are fewer people. ," wrote an American expat living in Boquete, Panama (Mar 18, 2020)

"I can't leave Guatemala for my home country. Guatemala is shut down travelwise," wrote an American expat living in Antigua, Guatemala (Mar 16, 2020)

"Yes, temporarily until this thing blows over but Bermuda is probably much safer at the moment," wrote a British expat living in Bermuda (Mar 16, 2020)

"Already here in the US, but it does make me feel better," wrote an American expat living in Washington DC Area, Md and Virginia , US (Mar 16, 2020)

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Mar 25, 2020

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