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Ridiculous article of foreign retirement.....what about visas
Old 11-30-2012, 09:12 AM   #1
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Ridiculous article of foreign retirement.....what about visas

Increasingly there are articles describing the wonders and benefits of retiring outside the USA. While other countries have lots to offer these articles are mostly fantasy because they fail to mention the immigration, visa and taxation issues that go along with moving to a foreign country. Some countries do have "retirement visas", but most don't, and they won't let you retire there without satisfying their immigration policies. Here is a puff travalogue piece that is a prime example of fantasy and shows the Forbes/Yahoo don't employ editors.

The Best Foreign Retirement Havens - Yahoo! Finance
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Perhaps this couple has found a better way to retire abroad with out actually retiring abroad:

Can't Decide Where to Retire? - WSJ.com
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:25 PM   #3
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Yes, the visa issue is a big one. Here in Mexico where we're living full-time expats are having conniption fits due to a big jump in income requirements, but relatively speaking it's still very easy to get a long term visia here as well as to become a permanent resident.

I recently read that Spain will give citizenship to anyone who invests at least $160K in a house, but that's purely a sign of their current economic desperation. Otherwise the places I know with workable requirements are Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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Thailand has easy visa requirements for retirees too. But 75% of the countries in the article don't and you'll need family sponsorship or to get in on an investor visa. Also nothing is mentioned about the tax and financial problems of being a US expat. The couple in the WSJ article avoid many of those by never staying anywhere long enough to become resident.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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You have to prove you have assets and jump through some other hoops to get a Thai retirement visa, but that's not the main obstacle. For Americans the distance and time zone difference is big - it's no accident that retirees from Australia do much better, but hte biggie is Thailand is extremely xenophobic and the language is difficult enough to learn that the only expats who seem to are those who marry into Thai families and have little choice.

The tax and financial problems are few unless you are rich! As long as you don't keep large sums in a foreign account (there's no reason to anyway) or get involved with real estate (a fool's errand in most of the U.S. and madness in the third world) you'll do just fine.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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Nice posts and I also agree with pretty much everything kevink just said. I wish I had paid more attention to visa stuff before I started living in various places around the world. Yes, I could not get a retirement visa in Thailand because I am under 50 -- there is no retirement visa available there until you are 50 (and after a certain time I no longer wanted to live there, anyway, for various reasons).

Kevin, one exception to not being able to avoid the USA foreign bank requirements is for the retirement visa itself -- most countries (unlike Mexico) require you to bring over a certain amount of money and put that into a local bank account. I have thought about doing that here in the Philippines, I would have to put and maintain US $20K in a dollar CD at a Filipino bank (refundable when you give up your permanent residency). So that puts you over the limits that trigger filing FBAR, etc. And you have no choice but to deal with a national bank that accepts USA citizen clients, etc.

Also, if you are truly living overseas for good, at some point you are going to have to bring money over to buy property or a car or to pay for an operation and you will surpass the limit and trigger these issues.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:16 AM   #7
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Those who have thought of foreign retirement, what do you folks think about racism and how that will affect on your quality of life?
Personally, I had a hard time spending more than a week in Austria and Belgium. Ireland was nice though.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:46 AM   #8
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What do you mean ? Americans are as likely to witness anti-American sentiment in Europe as Europeans are likely to get anti-European backlash here. There are ignorant people on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Those who have thought of foreign retirement, what do you folks think about racism and how that will affect on your quality of life?
Personally, I had a hard time spending more than a week in Austria and Belgium. Ireland was nice though.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:53 AM   #9
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:00 AM   #10
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"American" and "European" are races?

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Old 12-02-2012, 06:05 AM   #11
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Hello Michael - I was just answering a comment. Please feel free to delete my answer.

To come back to the OP's question, foreign retirement is definitely part of my future years. I already have a condo in Europe where I plan to spend some time. I also know many communities in Central America where I provide medical care - the people there always welcome me with open arms. Airfares are likely to be a significant part of my ER budget, visas not so much.

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Old 12-02-2012, 06:09 AM   #12
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I did not say anything about races. I mentioned ignorance.

And Austria, Belgium and Ireland - the three countries cited in the post - are in Europe, I believe ? :-)
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obgyn65 View Post
To come back to the OP's question, foreign retirement is definitely part of my future years. I already have a condo in Europe where I plan to spend some time. I also know many communities in Central America where I provide medical care - the people there always welcome me with open arms. Airfare are likely to be a significant part of my ER budget, visas not so much.
Out of interest what will be your residence status in these places, do you have a Belgian residency visa?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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I have a US + European passport.
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Out of interest what will be your residence status in these places, do you have a Belgian residency visa?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:38 AM   #15
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I have a US + European passport.
Ok so that makes things easy, the original article is probably quite relevant to you as you can retire in any EU country. My point was that the article didn't even mention the immigration issues a US citizen would have with many of the countries mentioned.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:43 AM   #16
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Those who have thought of foreign retirement, what do you folks think about racism and how that will affect on your quality of life?
Personally, I had a hard time spending more than a week in Austria and Belgium. Ireland was nice though.
If you are into races, I prefer Holland as it is nice and flat.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #17
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:53 PM   #18
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Nice posts and I also agree with pretty much everything kevink just said. I wish I had paid more attention to visa stuff before I started living in various places around the world. Yes, I could not get a retirement visa in Thailand because I am under 50 -- there is no retirement visa available there until you are 50 (and after a certain time I no longer wanted to live there, anyway, for various reasons).

Kevin, one exception to not being able to avoid the USA foreign bank requirements is for the retirement visa itself -- most countries (unlike Mexico) require you to bring over a certain amount of money and put that into a local bank account. I have thought about doing that here in the Philippines, I would have to put and maintain US $20K in a dollar CD at a Filipino bank (refundable when you give up your permanent residency). So that puts you over the limits that trigger filing FBAR, etc. And you have no choice but to deal with a national bank that accepts USA citizen clients, etc.

Also, if you are truly living overseas for good, at some point you are going to have to bring money over to buy property or a car or to pay for an operation and you will surpass the limit and trigger these issues.
Hi Kramer - it's nice to see your name pop up on the forums - have been wondering how you were doing!

Yes, for those unfamiliar, having more than 10K in a foreign account triggers the FBAR reporting requirement. It's a PITA but not a deal-breaker for foreign retirement.

Like you we've learned and continue to learn a lot from the Kaderlis (retireearlylifestyle.com for the unititiated) and one thing we've really taken to hear is to do all we can to live lightly and stay below the bureaucratic radar overseas. In Mexico many come down for the permitted 180 days at a time on a tourist visa and then either return to the U.S. or go somewhere fun further south (Guatemala? Costa Rica?), getting a fresh six months on their return. I know people who've done that for 15 years.

We bought a 5K used car down here and just made a bunch of trips to the ATM. Those transactions don't (so far) fall under FBAR, and as for buying a house - not a good idea anywhere outside the U.S. (and dubious most places inside in IMHO). Renting makes all kinds of sense, especially as a guest in a foreign country where any number of circumstances (changes in visa requrements, crime, family needs back home) could cause you to need to return home pronto. The only thing I find troublesome is that between having to pay U.S. taxes even as a non-resident (the U.S. being the only country that does this) and the FBAR idiocy that it seems like our government is more concerned with keeping people like us (or at least our assets!) in the country than keeping the riffraff out!
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:41 PM   #19
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I recently read that Spain will give citizenship to anyone who invests at least $160K in a house, but that's purely a sign of their current economic desperation.
Do you by any chance have more information or a link for this? I tried to google it, but couldn't find anything for it. I'd be curious to learn more.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:59 PM   #20
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Moving to another country every 90 or 180 days or so, whatever the tourist visa rules are, is a way to avoid the visa and foreign taxation issues, but as a retirement lifestyle it wouldn't suit many.
For those that want to actually reside in another country they need to get the visa issues sorted FBAR is the least o the tax worries.
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