2018 First Month Relocation Costs Index


With the rise of digital nomads, remote office spaces and cheaper international travel, more and more people are seeking work and life opportunities abroad. At Nestpick, we help individuals with their initial stage of relocation by aggregating furnished apartments, so we know first-hand that the cost of moving can vary widely depending on location. To help those looking to relocate, we decided to investigate the general costs involved with moving which you might incur during your first month. This index is designed to be a useful tool for millennials, students and expats to make an informed decision about their next big move.

To begin the study, we looked at the most popular destinations for work opportunities, top universities and thriving start-up cultures, before finalising a list of 80 cities from around the globe. To calculate the cost of moving to each place, we first researched the potential immigration factors such as a possible visa fee, and the visa processing time. Next, we calculated the living costs for the first month, covering rent prices, internet cost, phone service, food and drink expenses and any public transport costs. The final index is then ranked from most to least expensive, based on the total cost involved for the first month of relocation.

“The world has never been more accessible than it is right now to those seeking out employment opportunities, cultural exchanges or remote working hubs. In the last few years especially, we’ve seen trends that more people than ever are relocating to far-flung destinations which have rapidly digitalized. It’s now equally as possible to find 4G on a beach as it is in a built-up city.” comments Ömer Kücükdere, Managing Director of Nestpick. “The cost of living is often a huge factor for those looking to move, with the initial month almost always incurring extra costs due to potential visa applications. We hope that this index serves as a good indicator of how affordable or expensive many of the most popular remote working destinations are around the world, and will help those seeking opportunities abroad to make a smart decision.”

If you’re relocating to a new city, many on this list would likely be a good fit. We offer many of these cities on Nestpick, have a look at furnished apartments in Los Angeles and many others.

Location Immigration Process Living Expenses First Month Score
Rank City Country Total Score


To determine the final cities featured in the index, we looked at the most popular cities for work opportunities based on job listings, those cities with top universities and those with thriving start-up cultures to create the final list of 80 cities. Seven factors were then researched for each city, as stated below. The Total column is the sum of the cost of all factors, excluding Visa Processing Time, which is expressed in days. The final index is ranked from most to least expensive first month living cost.


Visa fees: Visa fees were determined by sourcing the cost of a standard working visa (also known as working permit, employment visa, long-term visa, long-stay visa), valid for a minimum stay of 1 year with possible multiple entries. Following visa types were included into the research: Argentina: Working Visa; Australia: Temporary Visa; Austria:Long Term Work Visa; Belgium: Work Permit Type B; Brazil: Temporary Visa - VITEM-V; Bulgaria: Long Stay Visa (Type D Visa); Canada: Federal Skilled Worker Visa; China:China Work Visa Z; Colombia:Work Visa TP-4; Czech Republic: Visa D; Denmark: Business Visa; Egypt: Work Permit; Finland: Business Visa; France: Long Term Visa (Type D); Germany: German Working Visa; Greece: Long Stay visa (D Visa); Hong Kong: GEP Visa; Hungary: Residence Permit for the Purpose of Employment; India: India Employment Visa; Indonesia: Limited Stay Visa (VITAS); Ireland: Employment Visa; Israel: Work Visa B-1; Italy: Work Permit; Japan: Working Visa; Latvia: Long-Term visa (Type D); Malaysia: Multiple Entry Visa; Mexico: Temporary Resident Visa; Netherlands: Work Visa; New Zealand: Essential Skills Work Visa; Norway: Skilled Worker Residence Permit; Poland: Type D National Visa; Portugal: Portuguese Residence Visa; Romania: Long Stay Visa (D); Russia: Business Visa; Singapore: Work Permit; South Africa: General Work Visa; South Korea: E Visas; Spain: Long Term Visa; Sweden: Work Permit; Switzerland: D-Type Visa; Thailand: Business Visa (Category B); Turkey: Temporary Work Permit; UAE: Employment Visa; UK: Tier 2 General Visa; USA: Visa H1B; Vietnam: Business Visa.) Source: Foreign Affairs Department or Local Administration of Immigration in each country. If these sources were not available, then we referred to the price of the most prominent visa services company, and deducted their service fee to determine the real cost of the visa. Data correct as of May 2018.

Visa Processing Time (in days):Source same as for visa fees.

Rent: The rent for each city was calculated by finding the median asking rent per square meter as advertised on online property services within the greater city region. The median rent per square meter was calculated for single-person capacity apartments, in which we included only listings for one-bedroom apartments with an area of 39m2. The median rent per square meter was calculated for furnished apartments where we included listings which advertised serviced apartments available on long-term contract (6 months or more), but excluded hotels and vacation rentals such as on peer-to-peer services like AirBnB. Housing standards published by the Greater London Authority states that 420 square feet (39 square meters) is the minimum living space recommended for one person (source: London.gov.uk).Therefore, the column "Rent" shows the rent for a 39m2 apartment, using the median rent/m2. Data correct as of January 2018.

Internet Cost: Internet costs are for an individual (I.E. not a family). The final price is an average calculated by taking the cost of 5 - 7 of the most popular internet service providers in each city. The price for the plan/package must be a regular price (I.E. long-term), with an internet speed of at least 10 Mbps, which is standard for browsing, streaming and watching videos in any country. In countries where the internet speed is below that, we took the cheapest option. The type of connection is either Fiber or ADSL. Data correct as of May 2018.

Phone: Phone costs were calculated using an overview of each country’s mobile provider price plans. Cost includes set-up fees including SIM card and activation, plus a monthly package including and equivalent to 5GB of data. Data correct as of January 2017.

Food/Drink: The monthly estimated expenditure on food and drink was calculated from an average of several sources, not taking into account Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), in order to keep the data relevant from a local perspective. Sources: Eurostat, World Bank Research, Outlook Publications and The Economist. Data correct as of January 2017.

Transport: Transport fees were taken from all local transport authorities. Price is for one full month of travel within the city. Data correct as of January 2017.