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Complete guide to obtaining a retirement visa in Europe, the required documents, and the best places for retirees

An epicenter for expats, with more than 2 million foreign individuals living in its countries, Europe can be considered an expats heaven. Europe is a favorite amongst retirees for many reasons. The tax system, healthcare, living costs, and high quality of life are just a few reasons why retirees consider moving to Europe to spend their retirement years.

To learn more about how you can retire in Europe, read the article below.

How Can I Retire In Europe?

To retire in Europe, you must apply for a retirement visa depending on the European country you want to retire to. A retirement visa is issued between one to five years and allows you to spend your retirement years in a foreign country. 

To be eligible for a retirement visa, you must be at retirement age and have the necessary financial means to support yourself and your dependents.

Who Can Retire In Europe?

EU/EEA citizens and non-EU nationals can retire in European countries once they meet the financial requirements and criteria set by each country.

The financial requirement differs from country to country, depending on where you want to settle. 

Your retirement visa will be denied if you do not meet the financial requirements or do not have enough monthly income.

Which Countries Issue Retirement Visas in Europe?

Many European countries have designated retirement programs and issue retirement visas for individuals who have the necessary financial means and want to retire in European countries. However, a considerable number of countries in Europe do not have retirement visas, but they offer other alternative retirement options.

Retirement VisaAlternative Option
HungaryNo 
AustriaNo Settlement permit except gainful employment
IrelandYes 
KosovoNo 
AlbaniaYes 
SwitzerlandYes
GermanyNo Residence permit
BulgariaYes 
The United KingdomNo Settlement Visa
FranceNo Carte de Sejour
MontenegroNo Golden Visa
Luxembourg No 
DenmarkYes
SpainNo Golden Visa – Non-Lucrative Visa 
UkraineNo 
SloveniaNo Residence Permit
LatviaYes 
EstoniaNo Residence permit
GreeceNo Golden Visa
Sweden No Golden Visa 
Portugal Yes 
Czech Republic (Czechia)No 
BelgiumYes 
RussiaNo 
NetherlandsNo 
MaltaYes 
RomaniaNo Category D long-stay Visa
Bosnia and HerzegovinaNo 
ItalyYes
IcelandNo Residence Permit
PolandNo 
LiechtensteinNo 
CroatiaNo 
MonacoNo Golden Visa

How Much Does It Cost to Get A Retirement Visa In Europe?

The fees for a retirement visa can vary depending on the country you want to retire in. Generally, it can go to $2,000, including the services and administrative costs.

Europe Retirement Visa Duration

Each European country has its own visa policy that differs from one another. Usually, a retirement visa can be issued for a period of 1 year to 5 years, to 10 years maximum.

IrelandOne year
MaltaFive years 
PortugalOne year 
LatviaFive years
BulgariaOne year 
AlbaniaOne year 
SpainOne year

Can US Citizens Retire in Europe?

US citizens can retire in Europe if they meet the eligibility criteria for retirement. Once the criteria are met, you need to apply for a long-stay visa to be allowed to stay in the country of your choice for a long-term period.

If the country you want to retire to has a specific retirement visa, you can just simply apply for that type of visa and then enter the country once the retirement visa has been issued. 

Which Are The Best Countries To Retire In Europe?

Whether you are looking for a place to visit, work, study, or retire, Europe is always a great choice. The continent can be divided into seven geographic regions, each with its own great countries. 

To help you find the right place to retire, here are some of the best countries to retire in Europe:

  • Portugal.
  • Switzerland.
  • Greece.
  • Spain.
  • Malta.

Portugal

Besides being one of the easiest places to get a retirement visa, Portugal is also one of the cheapest countries to retire in. It is a popular destination among retirees who want a place with warm temperatures, a low cost of living, excellent healthcare, and high quality of life. Portugal has two retirement visa routes that allow you to permanently live there as a retiree and reside in the country. 

The country has many beautiful places where you can retire, but most expats choose to retire in Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Alentejo, etc., depending on the location preferences. 

Switzerland

Switzerland constantly ranks up as a top destination for expats to move to permanently. With all the beautiful natural sceneries, high-quality lifestyle, and healthcare, Switzerland has everything you could ask for. 

To retire in Switzerland, you must have sufficient financial funds to not depend on social benefits. The country has different criteria for non-EU and EU citizens that you must meet in order to get the Switzerland retirement visa.

Greece

With pristine beaches, crystal clear water, and mesmerizing islands, who would not be hypnotized by beautiful Greece? Greece makes the perfect second home to spend your golden years in breathtaking scenery with amazing views every time you wake up. Although places like Mykonos and Santorini are known for being expensive, Greece has many other islands with relatively low living costs, perfect for people on a budget. 

If Greece is your retirement choice, you can go ahead and apply for a Greece Retirement Visa and start planning your retirement in the beautiful European land.

Spain

Moving to the southwestern part of Europe might be the best decision you can make, more specifically, moving to Spain. 

Spain is a picturesque country and home to thousands of expats from different parts of the world. Lately, Spain has become a super popular retirement destination for independent persons who want to find a new permanent home. The increased number of people who choose Spain as their retirement home is a result of the low living costs, top healthcare, safety, and great lifestyle. 

By getting a Spain retirement visa, you can move to the country and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Malta

An archipelago with a great climate, stunning architecture, beautiful landscapes, and home to some of the oldest temples in the world, Malta must be on your retirement bucket list. Malta has several beautiful and safe beaches where you can go for a swim on a hot summer day.

Malta is not only a great place to visit but also to retire. This is proven by the number of expats making Malta their retirement choice. Retirement in Malta comes with great views, low costs, the best health insurance policy, and an easy application process. 

Once you obtain a Malta Retirement Visa, you can continue to enjoy your retirement benefits on the European island.

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