Many people want to use their golden years to relax and spend time traveling and exploring new places, perhaps even living in another country. For this reason, several countries issue retirement visas to allow foreigners to live and enjoy their retirement.
What Is a Retirement Visa?
A retirement visa is a residence permit that allows you to spend your retirement years in a foreign country. To qualify for this type of visa, you must be at retirement age and have enough money to support yourself.
Retirement Visa Countries
Here are some countries that issue retirement visas:
- Dubai. To qualify for Dubai’s retirement visa, you must be over the age of 55 and either invest in real estate, have savings over AED 1 million, or have an income of AED 20,000. However, you cannot apply for this visa outside of the country; you must first apply for an entry visa, enter Dubai, and then apply for your retirement visa.
- Indonesia. Indonesia’s retirement visa is issued only to nationals of selected countries. So, first, you have to make sure you are from an eligible country, and then you can apply for the visa (via an approved travel agency). Please note that you cannot work under this visa.
- Italy. Italy’s retirement visa is officially known as the Elective Residence Visa. It is issued to foreigners who have sufficient funds to retire in Italy.
- Portugal. Portugal issues two different types of visas in its retirement program. The retirement visa in Portugal is issued to those who meet the financial requirements to live in Portugal without working. While the Golden retirement visa is issued to those with enough money to invest in the country.
- Thailand. Thailand provides a one-year retirement visa and a ten-year retirement visa. The first visa type is available to all nationals, while you must be from an eligible country for the latter. Keep in mind that under Thailand’s retirement program, you cannot work.
Who Can Apply for a Retirement Visa?
You can apply for a retirement visa if you meet the following criteria:
- You are over the age of 55 (65 in some countries).
- You have a specific monthly income (the amount varies from country to country).
- You are from a country with a retirement agreement with your destination country.
Retirement Visa Requirements
Make sure you provide the following documents for your retirement visa application:
- Your retirement visa application form.
- Your valid passport.
- Passport-sized identity pictures.
- Copy of national ID.
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Divorce certificate (if applicable).
- Proof of financial funds to support your stay.
- Proof of life insurance.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Evidence of accommodation.
Retirement Visa Application Process
Here’s how to apply for a retirement visa:
- Locate a visa application center.
- Gather your documents.
- Submit your application.
Locate a Visa Application Center
You must find the correct visa center in your country where you can apply for a retirement visa, such as an embassy or a consulate. Sometimes, you may also apply through a private visa application center, to which the embassy/consulate has outsourced visa submissions.
Once you find the visa office, make an appointment to submit your application and complete your visa interview.
Gather Your Documents
Before applying for the retirement visa, you must assemble the required documents and prepare them according to the instructions. Your passport pictures must be recent and the size required by the embassy/consulate. Your civil documents (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.) must be verified with an apostille stamp, if applicable, or certified.
Submit Your Application
After assembling your documents, you must attend your visa interview and hand over your application and biometrics (pictures, fingerprints). When you visit the visa center, they may ask you to pay the application fee the same day. If you were required to pay earlier, you must provide a payment receipt. Then, your application will be processed for some time until a decision is made.
Important: Please note that not every country follows the same application procedure. For example, for Indoenisa’s retirement visa, you cannot apply on your own you must contact a travel agency to apply on your behalf.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Retirement Visa?
It takes a few months to process your retirement visa application. Some countries may take longer or less time to process depending on the number of applications.
How Much Does a Retirement Visa Cost?
Your retirement visa fees can go to $2,000 along with the service and administrative costs.
Retirement Visa Fees by Country
Retirement visa fees change from country to country:
How Long Does a Retirement Visa Last?
Your retirement visa can be issued between one to five years—depending on your destination country.
Retirement Visa Validity by Country
Here’s the validity period of retirement visa in different countries:
|Indonesia||One year with a five-year renewal period|
|Portugal||One year with a five-year renewal period|
|Spain||One year with a five-year renewal period|
|Thailand||One or five years (10 years for nationals of specific countries)|
Can I Get Permanent Residency With a Retirement Visa?
Yes, you are eligible for permanent residency with a retirement visa. However, you must have lived in that country for at least five years before you can apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship.
Retirement Visa Denial
Your retirement visa application may have been rejected for any of the following reasons:
- You do not meet the age criteria for a retirement visa.
- You do not have enough financial resources to support yourself.
- You are not from an eligible country for a retirement visa.