Living in Phoenix as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Phoenix Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Phoenix

Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona, offers an alluring blend of urban and desert living to expats. With a population of over 1.6 million people, it is known as the largest city in the southwestern United States. Phoenix's location, surrounded by mountains and valleys, provides breath-taking views of the Sonoran Desert. The city enjoys more than 300 sun-filled days annually, which is why locals embrace the catchy phrase, 'The Valley of the Sun.' With its booming job market, extensive healthcare facilities, and a prestigious educational system, it's an attractive place for international migrants.

Tips for expats in Phoenix

Visa requirements

Expats interested in moving to Phoenix should visit the U.S. Department of State website for all visa-related information. The website provides updates regarding visa application procedures, processing times, and fees. Foreigners wishing to move permanently to the United States would qualify for the EB-1 Employment First Preference or EB-2 Employment Second Preference Visa Classes. The EB-1 visa is intended for those with extraordinary abilities in their field, or for people with outstanding research projects, or for managers or executives of multinational entities operating in the United States.

Language resources

Expats moving to Phoenix might find it helpful to learn some basic Spanish language skills. While most people in Phoenix speak English, proficiency in Spanish becomes increasingly crucial in areas that have experienced rapid population growth, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Cost of living for expats in Phoenix


The cost of housing in Phoenix is relatively low when compared to other major U.S. Cities. A one-bedroom apartment in a central location can cost around $1,000 to $1,200 per month. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment ranges from $1,200 to $1,500 a month. Expats looking for more space may prefer a three-plus bedroom house, which can cost between $1,800 and $2,400 per month. Shared housing, known as roomsharing, is a popular option for expats, with room rents ranging between $400 and $700 per month.


The cost of groceries in Phoenix is reasonable compared to other major U.S. Cities. An expat can expect to pay around $225 to $275 per month to feed a family of four. Food items such as milk, bread, and eggs are reasonably priced, while fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat display relatively lower costs compared to coastal metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and New York City.


Transportation costs in Phoenix are reasonable compared to other major metropolitan areas in the United States. Expats can purchase a monthly light rail pass for $50, which provides unlimited access to the transit system. A monthly bus pass costs around $75 for adults. Taxis are readily available throughout the city, with typical fares ranging from $25 to $50. In contrast, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are widespread.

Climate in Phoenix

Phoenix enjoys a hot desert climate, known as the BWh climate type. The region's low rainfall and exceptionally high temperatures are a result of the city's geographical location. There is a significant temperature contrast between summer and winter. During the summer months, from June to September, temperatures soar as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). In contrast, winters are mild, with temperatures hovering between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 18 degrees Celsius). Phoenix receives less than ten inches (254 millimeters) of rain annually.

Job market in Phoenix

Phoenix's economy is exceedingly robust, with a diverse blend of industries. According to recent reports, the region's job occupancy rate is over 92%. The most common employers in Phoenix are involved in healthcare, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and finance. The area is home to a multitude of Fortune 500 businesses, including American Express, Freeport-McMoRan, and PetSmart. Phoenix's economy has expanded significantly in recent years, significantly contributing to the city's low unemployment rate.

Healthcare in Phoenix

Phoenix's healthcare infrastructure is outstanding, with numerous world-class healthcare centers and hospitals throughout the city. St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is among Phoenix's most esteemed healthcare providers, offering advanced treatments and veteran specialists. The Mayo Clinic, a globally recognized institution, maintains a substantial presence in Phoenix, which adds significantly to the city's growing reputation for cutting-edge medical expertise.

Transport in Phoenix

Phoenix has an excellent public transportation system, consisting of buses, streetcars, and light trains. The Valley Metro Rail, which began service in 2008, is a popular mode of transportation and connects surrounding neighboring suburbs. The light rail has two lines, the West Valleys and the Mesa to Downtown Phoenix line. Expats can also use Phoenix's extensive bus service, which operates on weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Phoenix also has a rental bike program, called Grid Bike Share, which runs from mid-March to mid-November of each year. Additionally, most neighborhoods, especially those on the light-rail route, are bike-friendly.

Safety in Phoenix

Overall, Phoenix is considered a safe city for expats. However, crime rates do vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Expats are advised to take basic safety precautions, such as avoiding desert roads between November and April, when temperatures drop considerably and increase the risk of car accidents. Additionally, it's crucial to remain vigilant in areas with high crime rates, including the downtown area, particularly at night. While Phoenix has experienced a rise in violent crimes in recent years, property crimes are less of a concern. Expats can take pleasure in Phoenix's neighborhood watch programs, which work efficiently, reducing the crime rate.

Neighborhoods in Phoenix

  1. Arcadia

    Located on the urban fringe of Phoenix, the Arcadia neighborhood offers a perfect blend of city living and close proximity to nature. Residents can enjoy hiking and biking in the nearby Camelback Mountain. The region has an abundance of shops, restaurants, and bars, particularly along the bustling Indian School Road. Arcadia's highly rated schools and broad range of housing choices are major attractions for families.

  2. Old Town Scottsdale

    Old Town Scottsdale is one of Phoenix's most celebrated neighborhoods, attracting tourists and expats alike. The area is renowned for its small-town charm, tree-lined streets, and Victorian-era architecture. Old Town Scottsdale offers an exciting array of restaurants, art galleries, and vintage shops. It also boasts Prospect Park, a green oasis with walking paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Attractions in Phoenix

  1. Heard Museum

    The Heard Museum is among Phoenix's most prestigious cultural institutions. It's renowned for its superb collection of Native American art and artifacts. The museum showcases regional Native American music, dances, and storytelling during its annual Indian Fair & Market.

  2. Musical Instrument Museum

    The Musical Instrument Museum is a fascinating place for music lovers. The museum's vast collection highlights over 6,000 musical instruments from 220 different countries and areas. Expats can enjoy mesmerizing musical performances, interactive displays, and concerts in the museum's historic Selig Theatre.

International Schools in Phoenix

  1. Brophy College Preparatory

    1701 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Brophy College Preparatory is a Jesuit secondary school, established in 1928. The school has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence, as well as athletic and artistic achievements. The school's rigorous curriculum prepares students for higher education and professional employment at a globally recognized level.

  2. Xavier College Preparatory

    2701 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Xavier College Preparatory, an all-girls' Catholic high school, is consistently ranked as one of the best education centers in Arizona. The school focuses on developing each student's unique talents while preparing them for future academic and professional endeavors.

Useful expat resources in Phoenix

Phoenix New Times

A local news website covering arts, culture, music, and more in Phoenix.

Grand Canyon University

Provides resources for higher education in Phoenix.

Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Promotes tourism and events in Phoenix and provides resources for visitors.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation

Provides resources for activities, parks, and events in Phoenix.

Phoenix Public Library

Provides resources and services for library card holders, such as online materials and technology workshops.

The Phoenix Art Museum

Provides resources and events for art enthusiasts in Phoenix.

Arizona Department of Economic Security

Provides resources and services for social services and assistance programs in Arizona.

Gateway Community College

Provides resources for higher education and workforce development in Phoenix.

Maricopa Community Colleges

Provides resources for higher education and workforce development in Phoenix.

Arizona Opera

Provides resources for opera enthusiasts including tickets, schedules, and events.

Arizona Department of Housing

Provides resources and services for affordable housing and home ownership programs in Arizona.

Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Provides resources and services for businesses in Phoenix.

Phoenix Zoo

Provides resources and events for zoo enthusiasts in Phoenix.

University of Arizona

Provides resources for higher education and research opportunities in Tucson, Arizona.

Glendale Chamber of Commerce

Provides resources and services for businesses in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Provides information about transportation services and programs in Arizona.

Arizona State University

Provides resources for higher education and research opportunities in Arizona.

Arizona State Parks & Trails

Provides resources and services for outdoor recreation and conservation in Arizona.

Phoenix Children's Hospital

Provides resources for healthcare and pediatric services in Phoenix.

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Provides resources and services for conservation, wildlife management, and outdoor recreation in Arizona.

Talento Bilingue de Arizona

Provides resources and services for the Spanish-speaking community in Arizona.

Phoenix Art Museum: Art enrichment for youth & teachers

Provides resources for art education and enrichment programs for youth and teachers in Phoenix.

Phoenix New Times Music Edition

A monthly publication covering local music events and news in Phoenix.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Provides resources for baseball enthusiasts including tickets, schedules, and team updates.

Phoenix Art Museum Membership & Events

Provides resources for art enthusiasts in Phoenix regarding membership and events.

Phoenix Mercury

Provides resources for women's basketball enthusiasts including tickets, schedules, and team updates.

Arizona Department of Health Services

Provides resources and services for healthcare and public health programs and policies in Arizona.

Phoenix Suns

Provides resources for basketball enthusiasts including tickets, schedules, and team updates.

Expat destinations in United States