Retirement is the golden period of one’s life. And rightly so. After sweating out the entire youth to secure your own and the future of your loved ones, you truly deserve to spend your retirement years in peace and happiness.
Perhaps for this reason, a number of retirees across the world are opting to spend the rest of their retired life outside of their home country.
There could be several reasons for this; however, the two most common ones that come to the fore (after discussion with some retirees) are:
- Better climatic conditions abroad – Old age is when health assumes topmost priority and certain conditions start troubling a little too much – asthma and arthritis in particular. Therefore, a lot of people would prefer moving to warmer regions to save themselves pain and discomfort if the weather in their country is relatively cooler.
- Lower cost of living abroad – This is particularly true of wealthy nations where a person’s pension income is literally a pittance. On the other hand, if they were to spend their retired life in a developing nation, the same amount could save them a fortune or at least be more than enough to live a comfortable life.
Now, to realise your dream of spending your retired life in a foreign land, you need to go through the official formalities of obtaining a legal retirement visa. This post intends to educate you all about getting one.
Who can apply for a Retirement Visa?
Every country has its own legal specifications regarding eligibility for a retirement visa. It’s therefore best to check the official website of the country you’re planning to visit to determine the exact requirements.
Generally speaking, if you’re considering applying for a retirement visa, you must satisfy the following:
- Age: 55 years or above
- Dependants: No dependent children (except spouse)
- Financial status: Be able to support oneself in the foreign country without the need for any cost to be borne by the latter’s social and welfare services
Which Countries Offer Retirement Visa?
Several countries offer retirement visas, some of which we’ve mentioned here:
- South American nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, and Panama
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- New Zealand
- Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia
Which is the Best Country for Retirement?
Although you could choose any of the above nations to spend your retirement years in peace, there are a few considered to be the best choices (based on people’s experience and other factors). Let’s look at the top 3 countries where you’d be happy spending your retired life:
- Mexico– A gorgeous North American country, it’s the top choice for most retirees for its picturesque beauty.
- Portugal- One of the most widely-travelled countries in Eastern Europe, it’s a major attraction for tourists from the world over.
- Costa Rica– Proudly featuring, among the ‘happiest places on earth’, Costa Rica is favourably secluded in one corner of the world, away from technology, immersed in nature. If you’re looking for a relaxed, low-key place to retire, then this is it.
What is the Procedure to Get a Retirement Visa?
Retirement visas for different countries would have their own specific procedures, which can be learnt from their respective official websites. In general, obtaining any retirement visa would comprise the following steps –
- Non-Immigrant Visa – You’d need to obtain this visa first before transiting to a retirement visa. This visa doesn’t permit you to work or even volunteer for service.
- Valid passport with at least one year remaining before date of expiry
- Nationality or permanent residency of the country of application
- Proof of funds of the applicant
- Retirement Visa –
- 50 years or above
- Signed copies of each page of a valid passport
- Non-immigrant visa
- Departure Card
- Proof of financial situation
- Original bank book
- Letter from the bank
- Passport-size photographs (covering full face)
- Re-Entry Permit –
- Copies of the Arrival Card
- Copies of the first page of the passport with your photograph
- Copies of the passport page with the latest visa stamp
- Copies of the passport page mentioning the expiration of the page
- Recent passport photo(s) taken within the last six months
- Original passport
- Reporting every 90 days –
Once you’ve successfully obtained the above three documents, you’d be required to report every 90 days to the immigration office of the country applied.
You may be subjected to fine in case of failure to report within the stipulated time period. For this, you’d need to produce the following:
- Your passport
- Copies of the passport page which has the latest visa stamp
- Copies of the passport page with your picture
- Copies of the passport page which mentions the expiry date of the passport
- Copies of the Arrival Card and Departure Card, if applicable
- Proof of address
What Countries Have the Easiest Visa Requirements?
When it comes to the thought of choosing a foreign country for your retirement years, the first major concern that comes to mind is going through the legal formalities.
Now, some countries might have very tough criteria to apply for permanent residency applicants, while some others are fairly easy to get in.
Let’s look at some of the best countries you can try to get a retirement visa the easiest:
- Panama – The country has some of the easiest immigration programs for expats, such as those from the US. You can invest $22,000 in the country’s reforestation program and obtain permanent residency. Further, after completing 5 years of residency in Panama, you’re eligible to apply for citizenship.
- Mexico – Another country offering easy retirement options to senior citizens; you only need to prove that you have a monthly pension income fee higher than 2,500 Dollars during the last 6 months.
You can produce a Social Security letter mentioning your pension and bank account statements from the last 6 months reflecting that amount.
- Portugal – Its Golden Visa program is the best for US retirees, granting a temporary residence permit without obtaining a prior residence visa.
Citizens of any country outside the EU are eligible to obtain a Golden Visa when they, either personally or through their company, make substantial investment in Portugal’s real estate, artistic or scientific activity, and urban rehabilitation, or create jobs in Portugal for a minimum period of at least 5 years.
What are the Best States to Retire Financially in 2020?
US offers multiple choices where retirees can lead a comfortable and luxurious life. Here are the top 3 states to choose from:
- South Dakota – A unanimous choice among retirees, it’s extremely affordable in terms of housing. Moreover, the state does not tax Social Security benefits to retirees or their pensions; there’s no income tax or inheritance tax either, and the state sales tax is also fairly low.
- Florida – Another tax haven for those who retire here guaranteeing no income tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax options, along with no tax on Social Security or other retirement income as well.
- New Hampshire – Lower taxes, better and affordable health care, no sales tax, best deals on shopping, no state income tax – what more could one ask for? However, while the state doesn’t impose tax on the retirement income, it does levy a 5% tax on dividends and interest on those with investment income.
Which Country is the Most Friendly to Immigrants?
What would an immigrant expect the least from the country he wishes to obtain residency in? Friendly people and a warm, accepting welcome, besides other things.
However, friendliness tops their expectation list, hands down. And more so when you’re planning to settle there post retirement. At this age, one would want the good company of a few friends for solace and comfort.
This is why we’ve compiled a list of the most retiree-friendly nations, which you may consider before putting in all the time, money, and effort to obtain a retirement visa.
Points to Note Before Retiring Abroad
Now we know all about the procedure involved in obtaining a visa for retirement, where to retire and why. But it’s equally important to know a few other vital points before you zero in on the decision of settling abroad in the ‘golden period of your life’.
After all, settling elsewhere other than your home country where you’ve spent the majority of your life isn’t an easy decision to make. So we’ve prepared a small checklist for you to go through and help make a wise and informed decision.
- Visit the country you choose, if possible – You may have visited a country several years ago for work and made up your mind back then to spend your retirement life there.
Well, lots of things change over time – certain places even become unlivable after a point, owing to climate, pollution, or population factors. If possible, pay a short visit to the place you finally wish to settle in to examine things for yourself.
- Always rent; then buy – Don’t make the mistake of spending a considerable amount of your retirement pension on purchasing a new home abroad before moving in there. Always rent first; and slowly, after examining the property prices and arriving at a comfortable financial situation (after you’ve settled in with the cost of living expenses), make the plunge.
- Make efforts to learn the local language – It’d always come in handy, now that you’re one among the residents there. Of course, a large part of the world understands and speaks English today, but some countries would have their own native language spoken in some parts of the state. It’d help (and also be appreciated) if you could manage a few words.
- Make cost comparisons before you go – Always compare the cost of living of your home country with that of the one you choose abroad before arriving at the final decision. It’s your hard-earned money after all and you need to fully protect it until your last breath. So make informed comparisons and an intelligent choice of place. Always prefer states where investment income is higher than the cost of living.
- Go through transport options – Most likely, you wouldn’t be comfortable to drive on your own, now that you’re ageing. It’d therefore help to find out all about the public and local transport options before you make the move. Check on what choices you have and how reliable they’d be. Also choose a home closer and easily accessible via transport.
- Check on taxes – This is particularly important, again because it concerns your money. Read up on the taxation laws of a particular country that you choose to retire abroad.
- Don’t forget your safety – This is even more important than anything else on this checklist. Happen what may, you can’t take it for granted, especially when you’re in a strange land. Take into account all safety options in terms of residence, transport, etc.
- Consider a few recreational activities – It’s good to check up on some leisurely activities you can possibly engage yourself in while you’re there.
You could do this when you pay a short visit to the country earlier. Find out from people what leisure options would more suit your age and health; factor in those and if possible, register for them already so you can start as soon as you move and settle down.
Retirement is your time to enjoy and relax; spend it wisely and carefully, just like your money. Ask our immigration experts for more information. Reach out to us on 1800-102-0109 or write to [email protected] for further details.