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Figuring Out Your Best Choices For An Alternative Residency

10 Jun
French, U.S. and Chinese passport on money

Figuring Out Your Best Choices For An Alternative Residency

Top Retiree Residency Options For 2019


The whole live-and-invest-overseas thing comes down to choices.

Because taking control of your future is all about understanding your options for action.

The challenge can be that, once you’ve identified the going-overseas choices you’d like to pursue, following through on them isn’t as easy as making a quick phone call or filling out an online order form.

At least it’s not that straightforward if you haven’t laid the groundwork.

Diversifying your life and your money across borders requires an infrastructure.

Big picture, your choices for how to diversify and therefore protect and preserve your wealth while reinventing your life offshore fall into the following umbrella categories:

  • Residency
  • Citizenship
  • Banking
  • Asset Protection and Offshore Structures
  • Investing… for yield, growth, and legacy

Finding A Country For Alternative Residency

Identifying a country for alternative residency can be perhaps a priority starting point.

Home, as the saying goes, is the place where, when you show up, they have to take you in. In today’s world, establishing residency in another country amounts to creating a backup home for yourself… a place where you know you won’t be turned away.

Among the 200+ countries in the world, how do you choose where best to establish alternative residency?

Start with what kind of lifestyle you think you’d most enjoy.

Immigration law, tax incentives, available paths to citizenship, and potential investment return are all important secondary considerations. These opportunities, challenges, and restrictions can help you choose among a short list of places you think you might like to live, but they should not alone determine your course.

Thinking broadly, you have three options for how to establish residency in another country… by qualifying for:

  • A retiree or pensioner visa…
  • An investor visa…
  • An entrepreneur visa.

Understand, as you’re shopping options, that not all residency visa programs allow you to work (that is, a residency visa is not the same as a work permit)… and, as well, that not all residency programs lead to citizenship. If a second passport is an agenda for you and you hope to acquire it through residency, make sure the residency track you decide on obliges in this regard.

Other practical considerations when choosing among the many available residency options are taxes (will you be liable for them in the country where you’re thinking about becoming a resident?); required time in the country (Ecuador, for example, restricts the amount of time you can be outside Ecuador during your first two years of residency; you can’t leave the country for more than 90 days per year); and ease of access (this is especially important if you intend to divide your time between or among more than one country).

Finding A Country To Suit A Retiree

If you’re considering making a move overseas as a retiree, here are countries offering attractive pensioner residency options right now. In each case, I indicate the current minimum monthly income requirement to qualify:

  • Belize (US$2,000)
  • Colombia (US$760 at the current exchange rate)
  • Ecuador (US$800)
  • Panama (US$1,000)
  • Portugal (US$1,400 at the current exchange rate)

Backup Residency For Part-Time Living

If you’re shopping backup residency country options… not planning to make a move imminently but wanting an escape hatch should you decide you need one… following are your best current options. The physical presence requirement for each of these countries is nominal:

  • Belize
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Panama
  • Uruguay

Choosing A Country For Second Citizenship

If you’re hoping to acquire second citizenship and a second passport through residency, here are your best choices today:

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Paraguay
  • Portugal
  • Uruguay

Note that, in each case, I qualified my recommendations as being the best available today.

These programs and options are not static; countries adjust immigration law all the time.

This is why I strongly recommend that, when you identify a residency visa that allows you to realize your objectives, act on it sooner rather than later…

Immediately, if possible.

Lief Simon