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Visas or residency abroad
Old 07-27-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Visas or residency abroad

Trying to gather information about living legally abroad. Some of the countries in question are

Peru, Equador, Colombia, Thailand and Phillipines.
Already checked out a few others.

Anyone know what criteria needs to be met for a US citizen without a government or corporate
lifetime regular income. Maybe an annuity can be arranged, Cash can be deposited in local bank
bit would prefer not to if possible.

Also do you see any downside to residency?
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:26 PM   #2
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Trying to gather information about living legally abroad. Some of the countries in question are

Peru, Equador, Colombia, Thailand and Phillipines.
Already checked out a few others.

Anyone know what criteria needs to be met for a US citizen without a government or corporate
lifetime regular income. Maybe an annuity can be arranged, Cash can be deposited in local bank
bit would prefer not to if possible.

Also do you see any downside to residency?
I can only comment on the first three.
In order of difficulty:
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru

As a non-resident you can only stay in Colombia and Ecuador a max of 6 months in any fiscal year. Currently Peru has no maximum

In Peru as a (non-resident) you can get a tourist visa for 183 days, do a border hop and return the same day for another 183 days.

Colombia- resident, you need an income that is 125% (?) of average Colombian income.

Ecuador resident. Retirement visa-$800.00 mth and annuity would work.
Investment visa- $25,000 deposited in a bank account or the purchase of land,house.

Peru- Retirement visa $1,000 mth- annuity would work.
Investment visa $30,000 invested in a company/start up, business plan and minimum number of employees over 5 years.

Residency downsides can be taxes on certain income,renewing your residency yearly, costs about $30.00 and requires two trips annually to immigration.

Residency Upsides- Purchase cheap health insurance, open bank accounts, transfer assets, no-border hopping,great food,better climate and beautiful women!
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:11 PM   #3
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I have lived in Colombia, Thailand, and Philippines and I have a resident visa in the Philippines.

Colombia is just like NYExpat said. Or you can buy your way in by purchasing property of value $200K or more or by investing over $100K in the country via investor visa (latter visa is very vague). Or you can marry a Colombiana or get a visa stating you are living together. I had several friends fake living with a Colombiana or marrying one in order to get residency (I called it a reverse green card marriage). So there really is not an easy asset-based early retirement option there.

Thailand, you need 800K baht (about 31 baht to the dollar) in Thai bank account each year at renewal (and for several months before, time varies). If apply outside the country, they want medical check AND police clearance from your home country. Latter is a pain if you have to get it authenticated. If you apply in the country, they supposedly overlook these two requirements, focus on the bank balance. Low fees, something like $200 per year for everything. Must renew every year. You have to be 50 or over! I think by doing a strategic border run at the end of the your first year, you can get another year on entry (or until you leave again). So it might be possible to avoid applying every 12 months.

Philippines, put $20000 in a special Philippines bank account. You get the interest from the account, you get it back if you ever give up the visa (called SRRV). Pay $1400 in fees. Annual fee $360 (but it is automatic, no other requirements besides money). This gives you lifetime residency. You need authenticated police clearance (major pain) and health checks, but you do this just ONCE, not annually. If you apply when you are 50 or over, you can actually use the $20K for a home. Otherwise, age requirement is 35 or over. You have two or three years to produce the police clearance after you get the visa. Also, once you give them the clearance, you can renew for 3 years at a time.

Mexico recently changed their immigration laws. You just need to show assets, and those assets can be in the USA! I don't recall the exact amounts but they are something like $110K dollars for a single person, and a couple is not that much more percentage-wise (it is not double). I think there is an annual renewal. They are very friendly to gringo immigrants.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:03 PM   #4
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This is good info guys

The few countries I have been to I do not think I would care to live in
but Peru and the Philippines are on my list.

What's the deal with health care if your age 60-65?
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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What's the deal with health care if your age 60-65?
Bring plenty of cash. You will need that after age 65, also, because Medicare does not cover you abroad.

If you are ex-military and meet their requirements, you get up to 100% coverage at many hospitals in the Philippines via the US military's Tri-Care system. This applies to all ages, not just over 65.

From the Philippines, you can fly to Guam or Saipan for medicare coverage. I don't know exactly how that works or the quality of those systems.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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You can get a discount card at a private clinic for about $50-$60 a month at any age. Private insurance with an highly rated carrier can be purchased up until age 65, after that it can be renewed for life, but you can not apply after you are 65. Rates go up annually but are capped at age 70 at about $5k/year if I remember correctly. Obviously prices will vary according with currency. Currently prices are falling as emerging market currencies weaken.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:20 PM   #7
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From the Philippines, you can fly to Guam or Saipan for medicare coverage. I don't know exactly how that works or the quality of those systems.
A Canadian physician that I worked with spent 2 years on Saipan. Based on what he reported, health services are pretty basic there.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:55 AM   #8
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Peru- Retirement visa $1,000 mth- annuity would work.
Investment visa $30,000 invested in a company/start up, business plan and minimum number of employees over 5 years.

Residency downsides can be taxes on certain income,renewing your residency yearly, costs about $30.00 and requires two trips annually to immigration.

Residency Upsides- Purchase cheap health insurance, open bank accounts, transfer assets, no-border hopping,great food,better climate and beautiful women!
Would you mind a couple of questions relating to Peru? I assume the cheap insurance, just like here in the US, excludes pre-existing conditions. So, if you are a couple and one of you has a pre-existing condition, you for all practical purposes don't have coverage for your particular ailment?

You also mentioned taxes on certain income. By any chance, do you know if this includes US IRA's and ROTHS?
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:42 AM   #9
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OP, you have received extraordinarily valuable advice from two extraordinary sources. (As have I, just reading this, by the way!) Do heed them.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Refresher,

If you are serious about this, I suggest you give Mexico a try. Close, and a potentially Gringo-friendly and inexpensive trial and get conversant with Spanish and Latin ways (some of them). You have your whole life ahead of you, so rent for a year first. Then try another country.

Cheers,

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Old 07-28-2013, 02:19 PM   #11
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Would you mind a couple of questions relating to Peru? I assume the cheap insurance, just like here in the US, excludes pre-existing conditions. So, if you are a couple and one of you has a pre-existing condition, you for all practical purposes don't have coverage for your particular ailment?

You also mentioned taxes on certain income. By any chance, do you know if this includes US IRA's and ROTHS?
First off there is a sticky on here which has some very good advice from someone (I forget name that I believe lives in Thailand) and of course Ed the gypsy advice is pertinent as well.

Insurance is too big a topic to address but I will direct you to Pacífico Seguros - Solicita tu Seguro con Pacífico as they are one of three well rated providers.

I did not realize you were married and that changes things (more so for you).IMHO for a couple Ecuador beats both Colombia (Medellin) and Peru (Lima).

In addition Peru requires $1500.00 mth for a couple vs $900.00 mth in Ecuador.

If you have a "retirement visa" then you are not taxed on any form of retirement income in Peru and I am pretty sure that would apply to Ecuador as well.

Hope this helps?
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:05 PM   #12
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Hope this helps?
Yes, very helpful. I will delve into your link and check it out as well. Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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You can get a discount card at a private clinic for about $50-$60 a month at any age. Private insurance with an highly rated carrier can be purchased up until age 65, after that it can be renewed for life, but you can not apply after you are 65. Rates go up annually but are capped at age 70 at about $5k/year if I remember correctly. Obviously prices will vary according with currency. Currently prices are falling as emerging market currencies weaken.
How would you compare the health care in Peru to New York?
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:38 AM   #14
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Bring plenty of cash.
How much do you think needs to be budgeted?
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:28 PM   #15
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Private insurance with an highly rated carrier can be purchased up until age 65, after that it can be renewed for life, but you can not apply after you are 65.
FYI, this is true throughout the Western Hemisphere. Over 65, you are stuffed. Even some (maybe all?) public programs close the door at 65.

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How much do you think needs to be budgeted?
I do not have data, but I can guess. Recently, there has been news that a couple in the US may face total health care costs of $400k in retirement. If health care costs in Latin America are 1/4 of the US, that gives us an eye-ball expat cost of $100k. This sounds high, but it would be prudent to have an emergency fund of $50k, I would say. I think long-term care is in this which should be significantly less expensive outside the US. For now. The problem is that we don't hear much from expats who have serious experience in this area.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:32 PM   #16
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From my reading, Ecuador may not have top quality health care. Thailand is said to be very good. Colombia is said to be pretty good.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:49 AM   #17
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I would hate to have to buy a couple's annuity just to generate the $1500 per month that the Peru government requires for a retirement visa. That is a lot of money to allocate just to fulfill part of a residency requirement. And if there is an annual requirement to show the income, then you will have to potentially increase the amount over time. That would be a non-starter for me, they apparently do not want early retirees with assets to retire there.

Also, I think with rules like this (in both Colombia and Peru) you end up with older retirees as younger retirees get shut out. This is one of the reasons that I left Colombia.

When I was in Colombia, I felt their immigration system for foreigners was just plain antiquated and unwieldy and this carried over to the people that worked there. There was a requirement that all tourists report monthly to an immigration office (once your initial 30 or 60 days granted upon entry were up) and especially if it was your first time, the process was unwieldy. When I applied for my first one month extension, they told me to come back to the same office TEN days later after I had completed their process to receive my one month extension stamp, I couldn't believe it. I had never been to a place where you fulfilled the process and didn't get your stamp right away. I was traveling around the country and just had to stay there for ten more days. And the immigration officer told me that my handwriting was ugly and treated me with disrespect (I later found out this was her reputation among foreigners). There were no English speakers, either, at immigration, something I had never seen before in other countries -- not a problem for me but I cringed watching some of the attempted interactions there by foreigners just trying to extend their stay by a month.

Mexico is an example of a country that is courting foreigners and has modernized their immigration system. So have the Philippines and Thailand. I decided that my preference is a place that actually welcomes foreigners and has a professional immigration service. I wish I had paid more attention to these details when I first started traveling.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:32 AM   #18
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How would you compare the health care in Peru to New York?
I really can't offer an informed opinion as I have very little heath care experience in either country. I would say that dental care here is on a par with NY, at about 25% the price.

I live with 24 y/o twins who are nurses and my wife is a hospital administrator at a well known clinic (first to be joint commission certified) so, I really don't concern myself with healthcare very much.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:36 AM   #19
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I do not have data, but I can guess. Recently, there has been news that a couple in the US may face total health care costs of $400k in retirement. If health care costs in Latin America are 1/4 of the US, that gives us an eye-ball expat cost of $100k. This sounds high, but it would be prudent to have an emergency fund of $50k, I would say. I think long-term care is in this which should be significantly less expensive outside the US. For now. The problem is that we don't hear much from expats who have serious experience in this area.
I think I read something similar and that cost was after medicare? If so, as medicare does not apply here,there would be additional costs as well as savings on unneeded medicare premiums.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:44 AM   #20
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I would hate to have to buy a couple's annuity just to generate the $1500 per month that the Peru government requires for a retirement visa. That is a lot of money to allocate just to fulfill part of a residency requirement. And if there is an annual requirement to show the income, then you will have to potentially increase the amount over time. That would be a non-starter for me, they apparently do not want early retirees with assets to retire there.
It is not a requirement only an option, although I agree not a very nice one. Another option is to deposit 75k in bank in your home country and have the bank provide a letter that $1500.00/mth will be deposited into a Peruvian bank. After 2 years you can convert to some other form of residency/citizenship or after 5 years just dump another 75k into the bank account.
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