In this guide we're rounding up the top VPN services for expatriates. Wherever you're living in the world, you'll be able to find the right VPN for your needs.
Being an Expat means you're part of a somewhat exclusive club of those who have the luxury of living abroad.
To your friends and family, this probably means they think you live a jet-set lifestyle and while there are definite benefits of living abroad, there are also some negatives.
As someone who has been an expat myself, I understand that missing home is one of the biggest downfalls and part of that comes with missing TV from home.
There's also the issue of internet security and access depending on what country you're in. What you can access at home is not always accessible abroad and if you're an expat in China, for example, then you'll find the internet massively restricted.
Recommended VPN for Expats
We've rounded up our top picks for VPN services for Expats. They offer some of the better services we've tested.
However, we're also interested in hearing about any services you've used that you felt were beneficial or had negatives for the expat community. Why not pop a comment at the end of this article?
If you're looking for a VPN as an expat, then you can't go wrong with these seven choices:
ExpressVPN has one of the most extensive ranges of server locations which is great for expats. With servers in over 94 countries, it makes them suitable regardless of what country you live in.
They also have one of the most significant ranges of apps covering everything from mobiles and tablets to laptops and computers. Additionally, there's a VPN app for Amazon Fire TV devices, allowing you to watch TV from home.
Talking about TV from home they also unblock one of the largest ranges of TV services available. So if you want to watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, NBC, Sky, BT Sport, Hulu or almost any other service then you'll have no trouble here.
In our recent VPN speed tests, we found ExpressVPN to offer some of the fastest speeds, so much so that we commended them on this in our latest review. They also took our coveted ‘Editor's Choice' award both last year and the year before.
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IPVanish is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry and for expats, they're one of the best options too.
Over the years they've built a reputation for a reliable and robust VPN service and with servers available in over 50 locations worldwide they're suitable almost anywhere on the globe.
Apps are available for all the most popular devices covering phones, tablets, computers and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. With unlimited concurrent connections available, you'll be able to secure all your devices and any family members and unblock content from across the globe.
IPVanish isn't the best for unblocking TV and services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer will be blocked. If that's your primary usage, then you're better sticking with ExpressVPN.
There's a 30-day money back guarantee which should be plenty of time to test the service for your needs.
NordVPN offers the right combination of quality service, ease of use and features for those living abroad.
There are now well over 5,000 individual VPN servers available, giving you plenty of connection choice. The benefit of this is it means their network isn't overcrowded, allowing you to get exceptional speeds.
We love the fact the service works well for unblocking streaming and everything from US Netflix to BBC iPlayer, Sky and Disney+ works well on the service. If you're after watching TV from your home country, then it's one of the best options.
Their range of apps are available for all the most popular devices and they're incredibly easy to use. If you're new to VPN use, then you'll find everything easy to set-up and quick to connect.
4. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN is another good option if you're an expat who doesn't want to deal with complicated set-up or is new to VPN use.
They've got a range of easy-to-use apps with connection options for specific purposes. They have a full variety of possibilities pointing you in the right direction to unblock TV services.
Alongside the extensive TV unblocking there's a secure VPN service with high levels of encryption and apps for all the most popular devices. You can stay secure whether you're at home or on the move and they've even got apps for Fire TV devices too.
You can use the service on up to 7 devices at the same time and there's a lengthy 45-day money back guarantee on top.
VyprVPN is one of the oldest and most respected VPN services available and if you're looking for a consistently good VPN service for use as an expat they're worth checking out.
No longer do they offer a free trial, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee available as with the other services.
We like their range of apps and while they don't support Fire TV devices, they do have VPN apps for Android, Apple iOS, Windows and Mac devices with some of the most beautifully designed and easy to use apps we've seen.
To protect your privacy overseas, they're now a totally no-log VPN service so what you do while connected remains private. They've even been audited to show this claim is valid.
The sixth VPN on our list is Surfshark, which may be young, but it definitely deserves its place on the list. Surfshark is an excellent solution for expats for several reasons.
For example, it is cheaper than the competition, even though it is just as good as any other provider listed here. It offers strong encryption and added features to help you stay secure online.
Not only that, but it also has a massive server network that covers 63 different countries, offering over 1,700 servers in total. That means that no matter where you decided to settle down, chances are that Surfshark has servers there, as well as in your home country.
Its biggest strength, however, lies in the fact that you can use it on an unlimited number of devices at the same time. So, no matter how many devices you have, or if you wish to protect your entire family, you can easily do it with this service.
Lastly, in the seventh spot, we have VPN.ac.
This is another premium VPN that has a smaller server network than most others listed above, but its servers are still highly functional and located in all the right places.
There are over 20 supported countries, and it lets you protect more than six devices simultaneously. However, due to the lesser coverage, you'll need to check if they cover your area before signing up.
VPN.ac has other strengths, such as the fact that it is very affordable, but also fast and reliable.
That makes it great for streaming, making video calls, uploading and downloading content, and more. It is reliable, and it is backed by a skilled team, one you can depend on if you ever require assistance.
Apart from excellent speeds and support, this VPN is also great in terms of protecting its user's privacy and it's backed by a team of cyber-security experts.
Which VPN is best for your needs?
As an expat, you will have a few everyday needs, from unblocking services such as entertainment and financial services to protecting the privacy of what you're doing on the internet.
However, depending on your specific usage, there could be a VPN service that is more suitable for your particular needs.
Our best all-round VPN service for expats is definitely ExpressVPN, and although they're a dollar or two more expensive than other VPN services they do offer much more in terms of features, speed and ease of use.
You may find that for specific needs these VPNs are more suitable.
If you want to try without commitment, take any of the services from above, all offer 30-day money back guarantees with CyberGhost offering 45 days.
If you want the most coverage, grab ExpressVPN. With connection points in more than 94 countries, there are very few providers who match this number. None of our other recommendations come anywhere close. You'll be covered no matter which country you find yourself in.
If you want the ultimate in ease of use, sign up for NordVPN. Their apps are well designed, easy to use and the best option for new users. You can connect simply with just one or two clicks and using their helpful map feature you'll never get stuck for connecting to the country you need.
If you want a lightweight service for multiple devices, get CyberGhost VPN. With connections allowed on up to 7 devices and apps for all the most popular devices, you'll have no trouble getting connected to the right server for your needs here.
A VPN is an essential tool for expats
A VPN can help with both issues but it's also the answer to many other problems which is why these days it's essential to use a VPN as an expat.
The question is, which one? And which one is right for you? It's easy to say ‘XYZ' VPN is the best but is it the best for your needs? There's no one size fits all.
In this guide we've given you a handful of suggestions from the leading VPN services that are suitable and best tailored for your usage.
So while you sit by the pool sipping your cocktail, you'll be able to discover which of the seven above is best for you.
How to choose a VPN as an expat
There are some standout features you should be looking for in a VPN as an expat and below we've listed them.
Keep these in mind when shopping for a VPN because they'll make the difference between getting a reliable VPN service over getting something that's lacking essential features.
- Range of apps – The expat lifestyle is hectic. Whether you're working abroad or retired, there's always lots to do. Having VPN apps keeps things simple. Make sure the VPN service you sign up to offers apps for the types of devices you use. If you need a VPN for your phone, make sure it has an Android or Apple iOS app, need it for your Amazon TV then make sure they have apps for that and so on.
- Servers in your location – Using a VPN will lead to some speed loss but good services mean this stays minimal. By having VPN servers in your country or at the very least in a neighbouring country will limit this speed loss. If you're in Australia and the nearest server is in India, then you're going to have a problem. Look for those with plenty of nearby locations.
- Money back guarantee – VPN services differ in quality for all users. Having a lengthy money back guarantee allows you to test without any risk. There are also a couple of rare providers that have free-trials although this isn't common.
- No log policy – When using a VPN, all of your data is tunnelled through their service. You're handing them your privacy versus your internet service provider. Ensure that the VPN service you sign up to has a no log policy. Better still, look for those that are “audited” or have proven cases to show their no log policy is worthy.
Reasons to use a VPN as an Expat
You might be wondering, what advantages does a VPN give to expats?
Interestingly enough, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to consider getting one. Here are the top reasons:
1. Watch home TV services and sporting events
Due to geo-restrictions and censorship, you often won't be able to watch your home country's television in a foreign country.
Some major TV channels may be available worldwide, but even that comes with a catch, and the catch is that you would have to pay for costly cable TV.
Alternatively, just pay $10-$15 for a VPN, and have most channels around the world available to you instantly.
And, if you love following sports, there are plenty of Australian, Russian, and other countries' channels that allow you to watch live streams for free.
2. Stay secure on insecure networks
As an expat, you will often find yourself having to use the internet in public areas, such as hotels, airports, bars and cafes, parks, and alike.
However, the problem is that you can never know if there is someone else connected to the same network.
Such public hotspots are often visited by hackers who attack unsuspecting users, steal their money, personal data, and more.
The last thing you need is for something like that to happen to you in a foreign land. But, with a VPN, you can encrypt your connection completely, and use public Wi-Fi without having to worry about such things.
3. Unblock websites/apps blocked in the country
Different countries have different rules in place when it comes to what is allowed and what is not.
For example, if you visit China, you will find yourself unable to visit any of the apps you might typically use.
That includes social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. You won't be able to access international news sites, or most other apps you might enjoy using on a daily basis.
So, simply use a VPN to connect to an overseas server, and voila, everything is available again. This is not something you will only encounter in China, but this country's censorship is one of the most extreme examples, so keep that in mind.
4. Use services from home
If you prefer using an online bank account, for example, which is something that most people do these days, you may end up in trouble if you log into it from a foreign land.
The bank might think that you are being hacked, which may lead to having your account and funds frozen.
This can lead to a world of complications where you may end up unable to access your own money, stranded overseas.
Prevent it from happening simply by using a VPN to connect to your account from your home country, and put your bank at ease.
Lastly, you should always think about protecting your privacy.
When we spoke about the dangers of public hotspots, we said that hackers might spy on you and steal your data.
However, this is not only a danger if you use public Wi-Fi. You may be monitored by all kinds of entities, such as your current country's government, advertisers, websites that you are visiting, and, of course, hackers themselves never cease to be a threat.
Secure your privacy with a VPN, and always be safe, no matter where you live or travel to.
How can I watch home TV on an actual TV?
VPN services are great, but they have one downside – you have to install them on the device you want to unblock TV services from home.
This is fine if you're happy to watch on a laptop, phone or tablet, but what about getting comfortable and enjoying TV on an actual TV?
For this it's almost impossible to install a VPN on your TV so you'll need to invest in a VPN router.
This is a hardware device that connects to your usual internet router and creates a VPN Wi-Fi hotspot (or it can be used via a wire too).
The most cost effective and easiest to use is the InvizBox 2 (Check out our Invizbox 2 review here).
Are VPNs legal in my country?
Well, that depends on which country you are from, and which country you are currently in.
We can't give you a definitive ‘yes' or ‘no' that would apply to every country in the world. However, we can say that they are mostly legal since there is only a handful of nations out there that don't allow them.
Some examples include:
- North Korea
- and potentially Turkey, which is currently pushing to have VPNs banned.
Apart from these countries, there might be a few more locations which have extremely oppressive governments, but in most places around the world, use of VPN is 100% legal.
Using a VPN as an expat is beneficial for numerous reasons, not least because it allows you to keep in touch with the world ‘back home' through TV services, financial and other websites which you'll likely find blocked otherwise.
Alongside that there's the genuine threat against your privacy which a VPN will help protect and depending on what country you're in could even allow you to go about your everyday life without worry.
We recommend using ExpressVPN because they offer that little bit more than the competition. They do cost a dollar or two more than some services, but in our opinion for all that they offer it's well worth the tiny amount of extra cash.