The tiny city-state of Monaco rarely gets a mention in the news as being a place people move to. It is tiny, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded on its remaining sides by France. It covers less than 2 square kilometres, or ¾ square mile, yet it has over 32,000 permanent residents, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Monaco is ruled by the Grimaldi family and the official language is French, although Italian and English are also widely understood. The currency is the Euro. The reason for the large number of residents is that Monaco is regarded as a tax haven. Many wealthy people from other countries have made Monaco their residence, and the population is 84% immigrant. 47% of Monaco’s residents are French nationals and a further 16% are Italians. Monaco levies no income tax, hence many wealthy celebrities, racing drivers and business people benefit from their residency here.

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Although Monaco is both a state and a city, the best known resort is Monte Carlo. Known for its casino and the Formula 1 racing which takes place around the tiny streets each year, Monte Carlo is also the playground of the rich and famous. The harbour is where many visitors stay on their luxury super-yachts which are worth millions of dollars. The Mediterranean climate of Monaco means that winters are mild, and summers are dry and sunny with temperatures reaching 80F (27C).

The main source of income for Monaco is tourism, and many visitors come to play in the well-known casino. Although there are a few industries in the cosmetics and biothermic industries, most jobs are centred on tourism. Jobs may be found in the hotels and restaurants of the city, although immigrants will find the cost of living exorbitantly high compared to neighboring France.

Visas should be investigated as Monaco is not a member of the European Union. A visa is waived for some nationalities for stays of up to 90 days, but check the up-to-date status before traveling. A visa may take up to two months to issue and costs around 60 Euros. American students intending to study here will need a visa before leaving the USA, even if the stay is for less than 90 days.

Real estate in this crowded and wealthy country is all priced at over a million Euros, even for the tiniest studio apartment. Rental prices are similarly prohibitive for most people. Healthcare comes under the jurisdiction of France, and similar rules apply. The standard of healthcare is excellent, and French nationals are generally taken care of by social security, but other nationals will need a healthcare insurance policy.