OPTIONS FOR LIVING OVERSEAS IN YOUR RETIREMENT
Literally millions of people are choosing to live in another country after they retire. Their motivations may be a desire to try something different, enjoy a better climate, or sample a change of lifestyle. Some aim for an improved standard of living at a lower cost and others see more affordable healthcare as a priority. The list of reasons is diverse.
Whatever their rationale, for many people, as they approach or actually embark upon retirement, residing abroad has become a more achievable goal as more and more countries are making available a wider variety of visa options.
- Many places now have visa classes pertinent to retirees who can demonstrate that they meet a minimum available income, level of savings or investment requirement. The types of relevant visa may involve those specifically designed for retirees or others such as Residency-by-Investment, Citizenship-by-Investment or Citizenship-by-Ancestry. We will examine the last three, as they may be less well understood.
Selected examples of countries with these programs are:
- In Europe: Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
- In the Americas and the Caribbean: Panama, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
- In Asia and Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vanuatu.
In return for certain types of investment, a Residency-by-Investment Program (RBI) generally permits the applicant and qualifying family members to physically relocate, with the right to live, work and study in the new territory. They typically give access to public healthcare, though they may require the applicant to have specific health insurance. Many have other benefits, which may include access to education for family members, favourable tax regimes, and a potential route to citizenship. Most also do not have language, educational or management experience requirements.
Qualifying investments can be in several different forms, although this varies with each jurisdiction. The main types are investment in approved real estate, either residential (which may then be owner occupied) or, in several cases, commercial property. A second option may be an approved investment fund and respective programs may have other choices such as donations. All nation’s requirements and benefits are different and we emphasize that these must be examined closely to determine what best suits a particular individual’s case.
(Please note: the table is a summary only. For more details, please talk to a trusted legal professional.)
These programs confer full citizenship rights and a new passport, in exchange for a dedicated investment. For retirees, a Citizenship-by-Investment Program (CBI) may better satisfy their needs than a Residency-by-Investment Program, whether the objective is financial planning, travel mobility, permanent residence or having an insurance policy in an unpredictable world. The number of available programs is more limited than for Residency-by-Investment Programs, however, they may be comparatively less costly.
The Citizenship-by-Investment Programs of the island states, Vanuatu in the Pacific and, in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis or St. Lucia, are the most reasonably priced of this kind.
As well as gaining full citizenship rights, including rights to healthcare and education, and relatively fast processing times, the passports of the five Caribbean countries give access to more than 150 countries visa-free or with visa-on-arrival, including all Schengen members, the UK and the European Union.
A retiree may be eligible for citizenship through descent if they have ancestors who were, or who are, citizens of a particular country. Clearly an individual either does or does not meet the ancestral conditions and these can vary significantly by destination. Nevertheless, if entitled, the retiree may sometimes obtain permanent residency or citizenship rights and the consequent privileges.
GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
Each of the programs outlined above has its own stipulations and advantages. As Jean-François Harvey, Founder and Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group (HLG) points out, “The subject is potentially quite complex. We would suggest seeking professional advice if you need help to navigate through it.” Harvey Law Group (HLG) has more than 30 years’ experience in the immigration field. Unlike agents or non-authorised firms, HLG is a professional immigration law firm, and as such, has an obligation to advise you on the best options and on the programs most suited to your goals.