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Old 06-08-2009, 10:47 AM   #41
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Hong Kong is an awesome place. Trying to get there someday myself. While it's expensive, the scheme in also expensive:

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Immigration Department

There seems to be a couple of schemes where you don't need so much money up front. Check the website and see what you can come up with.

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Old 06-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #42
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Thank-you for the replies. I realize that HK is expensive. I'm still in the thinking/planning stages right now.

I have been to that website before Billman. I read through it again and I don't see how one can avoid investing all of the required money up front. Could you please help me out on this one?

In the statistics segment I was surprised to see how many people had their applications denied. The requirements seem pretty straight forward.

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Old 07-08-2014, 01:54 PM   #43
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South America appears to be somewhat forgotten on this forum, so here is some more up to date information on retirement visas offered by select South American countries. I tried to use official government websites where the information was easy to find and in English, so please consider the unofficial website info suspect until verified. As always, your own due diligence is a very, very good idea.

Argentina: Income of AR$ 2,500/month (roughly US$308)
Unofficial Website: Expat Destinations. Retirement in Argentina. : Expat Info Desk
Note: The ARS recently lost significant value vs. the US$, so I'd reverify this income requirement before making any serious plans to apply for a retirement visa in Argentina.

Ecuador: Income of US$ 800/month (Foreign Pension)
http://cancilleria.gob.ec/annuitant-...nsion/?lang=en

Uruguay: Income of US$ 1,500/month
Information about permanent residence in Uruguay.

Peru: Income of US$ 1,000/month
Unofficial Website: Peru Guide: Retire in Peru, How to apply for a Peruvian retirement visa: To obtain a retirement visa in Peru,

Colombia: Income of COP $1,700,100 (approx. US$917)/month
Unofficial Website:Requirements Colombia Pension Visa| Colombia Retirement Visa

Chile: Income varies, but US$ 1,000/month is good rule of thumb
Unofficial Website: Chile Retirement and Income Visa
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:49 PM   #44
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I have a retirement visa in the Philippines (known as SRRV). I am under 50. Requirements for me were:

* $20,000 in a dollar CD in a Philippines bank
* One-time: $1400 application charge
* One time: Pass simple physical
* One-time: Show home country police record within a year or so of application
* $360 per year

If you are over 50 and have a government income (I think $800/mo or more), then the CD requirement is only $10,000.

With a one month notice at any time, you can withdraw from the program and get the return of your CD monies.

You never have to visit immigration again. Everything is done through a special office called the Philippines Retirement Authority. For the once a year payment, I just pay an agent (located walking distance from my place) a $10 charge (plus the $360 fee) and he takes care of the payment, gets me the new Resident card, etc. You can pay up to 3 years in advance.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:59 PM   #45
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Early Retirees are shut out of many Retirement visa opportunities because they usually do not yet have a pension.

This is one reason that, even though I enjoyed living in Colombia, retirement there was not an option for me. There were workarounds but they were also difficult (spend $200,000 on a property, invest $100,000 with an immigration-approved business plan, get married to a Colombiana, pledge that you are permanently committed to a Colombiana in a non-marital relationship).

I think it is important to make this distinction among Retirement Visas.

Some visas require an income but that income can be shown to come from investments, so I would not put them into the "government pension required" category but somewhere in-between depending on the details.

And with experience I can state that: You really don't "live" in a place until you have some kind of permanent visa. Border runs and temporary visas are simply not the same thing. Even a Retirement Visa which must be renewed from scratch each year (as in Thailand) is not really all the way there, in my opinion.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:01 PM   #46
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Early Retirees are shut out of many Retirement visa opportunities because they usually do not yet have a pension.

This is one reason that, even though I enjoyed living in Colombia, retirement there was not an option for me. There were workarounds but they were also difficult (spend $200,000 on a property, invest $100,000 with an immigration-approved business plan, get married to a Colombiana, pledge that you are permanently committed to a Colombiana in a non-marital relationship).

I think it is important to make this distinction among Retirement Visas.

Some visas require an income but that income can be shown to come from investments, so I would not put them into the "government pension required" category but somewhere in-between depending on the details.

And with experience I can state that: You really don't "live" in a place until you have some kind of permanent visa. Border runs and temporary visas are simply not the same thing. Even a Retirement Visa which must be renewed from scratch each year (as in Thailand) is not really all the way there, in my opinion.
I agree with this assessment. Worrying about doing a monthly visa run is not my idea of a relaxing retirement, and don't consider those as viable even when the visa is free and almost guaranteed (like Thailand).

I can see how authorities could be leery of accepted investment income as opposed to an actual government or company pension that is almost guaranteed. People can cash out their investments after gaining permanent residency and if they lose the money, say in a bad business deal, they will then no longer meet the qualifications, and potentially be a burden on the state. A traditional pension is a monthly check that is fairly reliable and it can be assumed that the recipient will receive it perpetually.

Sri Lanka also offers a retirement visa, but there is a minimum age requirement of 55 years. Income requirements are US$ 1,500/month single or $2,250/month married.
(Unofficial Source): Retire to Sri Lanka - The Visa
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:01 AM   #47
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Another thing to consider now that was not as big of a consideration before is whether the country where you become a resident taxes you on worldwide income. Before FATCA it was difficult for any country (especially those without tax treaties with the USA) to find out anything about your worldwide earnings (including your passive earnings in the USA). But with FATCA, there will be full information exchange agreements with most countries.

I can still remember looking up the rules for foreigners who are Colombia residents and realizing that after 5 years of residency one pays taxes on worldwide income. When I explained this to a couple of friends with residency there, they both laughed and said how would the Colombian government ever find out about those earnings? The answer now is FATCA, reported straight to the foreign government from Uncle Sam.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:00 AM   #48
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I was in Singapore for 25 years, and the last couple years even retired there. I was able to get a Permanent Residency, and of course most countries overseas do not tax US retirement pensions. To make a long story short, by some accounts Singapore is the most expensive place to live in the world, and being 67 years of age, I liked the idea of not paying US$5,500/year for health insurance. I like Medicare, and being a part of that system. I gave up my PR and returned to the States and bought a house in Washington

I also had a retirement visa in Malaysia. I gave that up, also, but quite simple if I ever wanted to get it back. The US$50,000 Malaysian bank deposit that was required to deposit was needed to buy my house. If I ever wanted to return to Malaysia, I would opt for the pension scheme rather than the bank deposit. Malaysia was wonderful, but there were aspects of living there that did not appeal to me. Glad to share what they were if you ever ask.

My goal now, since I am completely settled in my new home, is to split the time between where I am now in the States and other warmer retirement haven to escape to for 3 or 4 months. I've already been to Mexico (Lake Chapala), and want to explore Costa Rica and Panama. I might even return to Malaysia/Singapore.

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Old 07-11-2014, 09:54 PM   #49
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I also had a retirement visa in Malaysia. I gave that up, also, but quite simple if I ever wanted to get it back. The US$50,000 Malaysian bank deposit that was required to deposit was needed to buy my house. If I ever wanted to return to Malaysia, I would opt for the pension scheme rather than the bank deposit. Malaysia was wonderful, but there were aspects of living there that did not appeal to me. Glad to share what they were if you ever ask.
I visited Malaysia for the first time this year, spending most of my time around Georgetown. While the costs were generally low for food, I wasn't crazy about the amount of traffic. However, I could certainly get by with public transport so long as I lived fairly close to a bus stop. If I lived on Penang it would have to be away from the central area of Georgetown, maybe closer to the airport or on the other side of the island. There appear to be quite a few short and long term rentals that come furnished for an inexpensive monthly rent outside of Georgetown. I would also prefer the pension scheme, assuming that a bank deposit would be in MYR which is not the most stable currency in the world. Malaysia is a great place, although beer was expensive to purchase. I liked the live at let live attitude, and the generally friendly attitude that Malaysian Muslims seem to have towards non-Muslims. I don't know how well I'd do here full time, though. I like some cooler weather, so maybe if I found a town in Malaysia at higher elevation that got cool at night, I'd be more at home.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:15 PM   #50
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Rob - Just wondering what the issues were with Malaysia?

Indonesia offers retirement visas if over 55. The financial conditions are not too difficult to meet but there is a bit of bureaucracy involved (like everything in Indonesia).

Indonesia is lower cost than Malaysia (bit less developed, more traffic etc). In Indonesia there is no problem with operating US$ accounts etc.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:24 AM   #51
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I have a Thai Retirement Visa. It costs me $59 per year. To avoid keeping money in a Thai bank, 800,000 THB/$25,000, I get an "Income Verification Letter from the US Embassy, for a $50 fee. My annual Retirement visa expense is $109, plus incidental fees such as photos and photo copies. With a Retirement Visa I never have to leave the country.

If I do leave, I must apply for a "Re-entry Permit" cost $32 for a single or $118 for a multiple. Interestingly the Multiple Re-entry Permits costs more than the actual visa.

This is Thailand
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:05 AM   #52
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Having lived in Singapore for 25 years and even retiring there for two years, the transition to Malaysia was easy. The Malaysian retirement visa (called MM2H- Malaysia My Second Home) was easy to get, and as already mentioned, the people generally are as friendly as anywhere in the world.

I gave up the MM2H retirement visa to return to the States to retire is because of several reasons. First, it's very difficult or impossible to get health insurance if you are over 60 (I'm 67), and if you do get it, it's expensive. I like Medicare in the US. If I ever got really sick in Malaysia, I'd need to pay out of pocket or sit in an air plane for 24 hours to get back to the States. Second, the air quality at certain times of the year is just awful, and in my 25 years in that part of the world, it's not improving. The burning of forests to clear land on Sumatra and even certain parts of Malaysia bring a haze that can last for months periodically with unhealthy air quality and poor visibility. Third, I have a Labrador Retriever at my current house in the States. The culture of Malaysian does not have the same love for dogs as we do (no criticism). Therefore, condos do not allow dogs at all, and that's at every condo I explored. Fourth, I guess after all these years in Singapore, I was tired of the hot humid weather. I was ready for a change.

When you fly to Malaysia, you automatically get a 3 month tourist visa on arrival. That visa can easily be extended by crossing over the Singapore and back. Many of the people in Malaysia on the retirement visa are not there full time anyway, so if you want to choose Malaysia as a place to spend part of the year there, you really don't need the retirement visa to do that.

Regards,
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:10 PM   #53
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This is an extraordinarily valuable thread. There is information here that does not appear in the highly visible glib articles that pop up on the web.

Would it be possible to keep it in the FAQs at some point?
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:11 AM   #54
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I have a Thai Retirement Visa. It costs me $59 per year. To avoid keeping money in a Thai bank, 800,000 THB/$25,000, I get an "Income Verification Letter from the US Embassy, for a $50 fee. My annual Retirement visa expense is $109, plus incidental fees such as photos and photo copies. With a Retirement Visa I never have to leave the country.
That sounds like a great deal.

Heard people say the first visa run is an adventure, the second is fun, the third is something you gotta do, the fourth is a serious pain in the ass, the fifth....

Being able to pound in the tent spikes without that would be wonderful.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:11 AM   #55
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Another thing to consider now that was not as big of a consideration before is whether the country where you become a resident taxes you on worldwide income. Before FATCA it was difficult for any country (especially those without tax treaties with the USA) to find out anything about your worldwide earnings (including your passive earnings in the USA). But with FATCA, there will be full information exchange agreements with most countries.

I can still remember looking up the rules for foreigners who are Colombia residents and realizing that after 5 years of residency one pays taxes on worldwide income. When I explained this to a couple of friends with residency there, they both laughed and said how would the Colombian government ever find out about those earnings? The answer now is FATCA, reported straight to the foreign government from Uncle Sam.
And I assume this also includes IRA's and ROTH IRA's, where any gain would be taxable in the current year in most foreign countries and not deferred as in the US?
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:31 AM   #56
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And I assume this also includes IRA's and ROTH IRA's, where any gain would be taxable in the current year in most foreign countries and not deferred as in the US?
Are you asking about gains or distributions? Capital gains in a Roth are not subject to taxation in the US, so I'm not sure how it would ever be reported to the foreign government. Roth distributions similarly are not taxed (provided you meet the age and 5 year requirement), and again I'm not sure how the foreign government would even find out about it.

I'm too young to be drawing on my Roth, but does the investment company even issue you any kind of 1099 for qualified distributions? I wouldn't think they would.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:39 AM   #57
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Are you asking about gains or distributions? Capital gains in a Roth are not subject to taxation in the US, so I'm not sure how it would ever be reported to the foreign government. Roth distributions similarly are not taxed (provided you meet the age and 5 year requirement), and again I'm not sure how the foreign government would even find out about it.

I'm too young to be drawing on my Roth, but does the investment company even issue you any kind of 1099 for qualified distributions? I wouldn't think they would.
I'm just referring to gains, not distributions. As I understand it, most foreign countries don't recognize deferred taxes as they are in IRA's.

The expat is supposed to report it (if the tax treaty warrants it). But I don't know how the foreign government would ever know. But I'm assuming that if they found out you cheated, you could be in trouble. Who knows what type of reporting between governments will be in place in 5 or 10 years.
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:51 PM   #58
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I'm just referring to gains, not distributions. As I understand it, most foreign countries don't recognize deferred taxes as they are in IRA's.

The expat is supposed to report it (if the tax treaty warrants it). But I don't know how the foreign government would ever know. But I'm assuming that if they found out you cheated, you could be in trouble. Who knows what type of reporting between governments will be in place in 5 or 10 years.
I think it will very much depend on the double tax agreement between the USA and the country. For example the UK does not tax gains within an IRA but does tax distributions, and does not tax gains or distributions in/from a ROTH, however the same courtesy does not go the other way. The equivalent to an IRA in the UK is an ISA and in the UK the interest is tax free during accumulation and distribution but the US taxes all ISA interest as it arises. Also, you can have stocks and bonds and MF's in an IRA and the UK doesn't treat them as PFIC's since they tax all IRA distributions as regular income, but if you have stocks and bonds and MF's in an ISA you have to report them as PFIC's to the US.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:40 PM   #59
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This is an extraordinarily valuable thread. There is information here that does not appear in the highly visible glib articles that pop up on the web.

Would it be possible to keep it in the FAQs at some point?
Excellent idea, Ed. After discussing it, the moderators have agreed that we should move the thread to the FAQ sub-forum. Unlike the other FAQ threads, we plan to leave this one open (for now) so that people can update it as they learn more.


Edit: It appears that the way forum permissions are set, moving this thread means that no one can post to it, so I'm moving it to Life After FIRE and making it sticky.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:41 PM   #60
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And with experience I can state that: You really don't "live" in a place until you have some kind of permanent visa. Border runs and temporary visas are simply not the same thing. Even a Retirement Visa which must be renewed from scratch each year (as in Thailand) is not really all the way there, in my opinion.
Agreed. If I had to do it over again I'd have paid the price in time, money and hassle up front to get the official retirement visa instead of the unofficial one which must be extending every year. OTOH, if Thailand ever decides to stop extending as a blanket policy, that will probably be a symptom of other changes which would already have me planning an exit strategy.
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