Researching Different Governments for an International Move

Choosing the right country is a huge part of international moving, but what exactly makes a country right for you? You may be moving to a particular country due to work related pursuits, or ease of immigration, but an important yet harder to quantify aspect of choosing a country is to consider how you will fit in within the country’s government system.

Why you should research what type of government your destination has

If the values and beliefs of both the local government and the local people clash with your own values and beliefs, you could have a problem. Before you fully commit to moving to another country, it is a good idea to research what types of governmental and cultural differences you are going to have to adjust to when you move internationally.

Online research is always the easiest first step when researching a country that you don’t live in and the most available online information is usually about that country’s government. Remember that the government system of a country directly informs and sometimes reflects the general culture of its populace, but it is a mistake to oversimplify and think that classifying the government can directly let you classify the culture. The title of a government system can be misleading and just like your own country, there is always plenty of dissent and dissatisfaction with every government in every nation

Common governments Dictatorship

The government is run by just one person or party. What they says goes. These are often governments or leaders that claim to be elected officials, like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, but there is no mistake that he is truthfully the country’s dictator.

If a country’s official title is “The Democratic Republic of…” or “The People’s Republic of…” they are likely trying to hide the fact that they are really a dictatorship. China being solely run by the communist party is a softer type of dictatorship, but the calling cards of fascism: censorship and information protection, show that one party still is in absolute control.

People from countries that value a person’s right to freely express their opinions of the government may have a bit of adjusting to do if they plan on living in a country where there is a dictatorship. It is important to be very respectful of the government while attempting to gain entry and live in these countries. You may need an exit visa to leave, as well.

Republic/ Democracy

The government is run by officials elected by the people. A democracy technically means that the government is run by all of the people. True democracies don’t really exist, however. Most countries that claim to be a pure democracy really are republics since the entire population can’t feasibly run a country.

This is the most common government system in “developed” nations. Moving from one republic to another shouldn’t be terribly jarring for someone, but it is important to note that many countries don’t allow non-citizens to vote for elected officials. Even if you get citizen status, some countries won’t allow immigrated citizens to run for some positions.


A king, queen, or emperor acts as the ruler of a country and the title is usually kept within one family. Monarchs are essentially dictators, but they occasionally have a more democratic group of advisers to consult with on national matters.

There are no large countries with true monarchs anymore. Great Britain calls itself a monarchy, but it is really a republic since the Queen doesn’t have any real political power. Moving to a true monarchy would be a big cultural adjustment for the average British person.


The government is controlled by the wealthiest people. Very few countries officially call themselves aristocracies. The United States could derisively be called an aristocracy if you believe that the wealthiest people and companies hold influence over the elected officials.

The power of money varies from culture to culture, but it almost always can sway the government in some cases. Expect defined classes if moving into an aristocracy.

Capitalism vs. Communism

Most countries act on a capitalist basis where competition for goods and money fuels the economy. Communism, which rules places like Cuba and China is supposed to eliminate that competition by spreading the wealth equally through government restrictions on businesses. However, communism rarely lives up to its lofty goals and the actual system ends up ironically functioning as an even more brutal capitalist society. China, for example, is exceedingly capitalist and class-based for a country that claims to be communist.

Costs of Living in Europe

A Guide to Expat Insurance