The world’s best countries to retire in

Top countries to make the most of your retirement (and have a high quality of life)

Retirement visa programs, cost of living and taxes

Retiring overseas is a growing trend among Westerners. There are several reasons for this; however unsurprisingly, in most cases the one that ends up weighing most has to do with money. Retiring commonly involves less income, but more free time. So, retiring n a country that offers you the same facilities and comforts as home – but where for the same price you can have a standard of living twice as high – can be a great decision.

Besides upgrading your lifestyle without ruining your budget, retiring abroad can provide you with the opportunity to have new experiences, know new cultures, change your lifestyle and enjoy more pleasant climates. And certainly, the possibility to keep in touch with family through new communication technologies and cheaper international transport are key factors for the growing number of people who, once they’ve stopped working, pack their bags and move abroad.

Retiring abroad requires well-studied financial planning. In addition to the cost of living, it is important to consider the countries with the most beneficial retirement visa programs and the requirements to qualify to them. Find out whether or not you can receive Social Security benefits from your country when abroad. Tax considerations are equally important; your residence status for tax purposes, the type of pension and your home country’s tax law should all be evaluated. This includes a retirement country’s foreign-source income taxes, tax treaties and how they will affect you in terms of pensions, annuities or other income.

Next, we’ll cover the key aspects of what we think are some of the best countries to retire in Europe, The Caribbean, South America, and Asia, considering climate, the retirement visa programs available, safety, medical services, language, expat community, cost of living and taxes.

 

Best places to retire in Asia

Retire in Malaysia

Malaysia has great variety, from undeveloped islands with white sand beaches, crystal clear water and tropical forests like Pulau Kecil and Pulau Tioman, to colonial-era cities like Georgetown (Pulau Penang), and the hustle and bustle of the modern urban landscapes of Kuala Lumpur.

Culturally, Malaysia is also an exciting country. Together with the native Malay culture, the Chinese and the Indian communities coexist harmoniously. It also has a strong British colonial influence that is reflected mainly in its architecture, manners, law, religion and language. English is an official language and many of its inhabitants speak it fluently. Its religious variety is also visible; its common to find a mosque, a Chinese Taoist temple, a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and a Christian church all on the same street. This cultural mix also makes it one of the most varied gastronomic destinations in the world. 

retire in malaysia
Georgetown, Pulau Penang, Malaysia

Retirement Visa in Malaysia

Malaysia My Second Home. This is the name of the retirement program that the Malaysian government launched a few years ago. The program has been a success and is still in force. It offers a multiple entry visa for 10 years, renewable.

Malaysia My Second Home requirements:

Requirements for individuals aged below 50 years

  • Have liquid assets of at least MYR 500,000 (≈ USD 112,000)
  • Have a monthly income of at least MYR 10,000 (≈ USD 2,250).
  • Make a fixed deposit in a Malaysian bank of MYR 300,000 (≈ USD 67,500), which can be withdrawn half to buy a house, purchase health insurance or pay children’s education. After a period of one year, part of the deposit may be withdrawn to use for certain approved expenses, such as purchasing a car, real estate, educating children in Malaysia or medical expenses. This is permitted as long as a minimum balance of MYR 150,000 (≈ USD 33,707) is maintained during the entire stay in Malaysia under the program.

Requirements for individuals aged 50 years and above

  • Have liquid assets of at least MYR 350,000 (≈ USD 78,600). These liquid assets can be cash, bonds or shares.
  • Have a monthly income of at least MYR 10,000 (≈ USD 2,250).
  • Make a fixed deposit in a Malaysian bank of MYR 150,000 (≈ USD 33,707), from which MYR 50,000 may be withdrawn to buy a home, purchase health insurance or children’s education. After two years, part of the deposit may be withdrawn to use for certain approved expenses, such as purchasing a car, real estate, educating children in Malaysia or medical expenses, as long as a minimum balance of MYR 100,000 (≈ USD 22,500) is maintained during the entire stay in Malaysia under the program. Applicants who have a monthly Government pension above MYR 10,000 (≈ USD 2,250) will not need to meet this requirement.

Requirements for individuals who have purchased a house / s for a total value of at least MYR 1m (≈ USD 225,000).

  • Show evidence of ownership and full payment of property
  • Have purchased the property within 5 years prior to the visa application.
  • Make a fixed deposit in a Malaysian bank account of MYR 150,000 (≈ USD 33,707) if the applicant is under 50, or MYR 100,000 (≈ USD 22,500) if he/she is equal to or older than 50.

Other requirements

  • A Malaysian sponsor is required to support the application and place a personal bond of up to MYR 2,000 (≈ USD 450) before the visa is issued.
  • Have medical insurance from any insurance company that is valid in Malaysia. Senior applicants who are denied coverage because of their age are exempt from this requirement.
  • Undergo a medical examination from any private hospital or clinic registered in Malaysia.
  • Police clearance certificate from the country of origin to prove that the applicant has no criminal record.

MM2H visa holders who are 50 years of age or older and possess specialized skills can work up to 20 hours per week in certain sectors, following the approval of a committee.

They can also establish and invest in a business, as long as they are not actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

Visa holders may purchase property without restriction, provided that the minimum price established for foreigners in the state where they make the purchase is applied. Usually, the minimum price is MYR 1m, but there are states like Penang with a lower minimum. Buyers must receive state approval, which can take up to six months. They may also apply for a bank loan. Local banks will require proof of repayment capability since repayment is normally required when the borrower turns 65-70.

Other benefits include the duty-free, excise and sales-tax-free import of an automobile owned by the visa holder requesting an approved permit (AP). This is permitted as long as the car has been purchased prior to the date of the application and it is carried out within a period not exceeding 6 months after the issuance of the visa, and imported within a maximum period of 2 years. Visa holders can also purchase a tax-free Malaysian car during the first year of visa.

Applicants may include their dependents in the application.  

It is important to note that the visa under the MM2H program does not qualify for a permanent residence permit.

Ready to retire in Malaysia? Get started now at residencies.io/malaysia.

Cost of Living in Malaysia

Malaysia is a considerably cheap country for a standard pace and quality of life. Currently, in crowded Kuala Lumpur, renting a two-story house in suburban neighborhoods would cost about USD 700 per month and a three-bedroom condo can be found for USD 400-500. Downtown, a three-bedroom condominium would cost more than USD 1000 per month. In other metropolitan area cities like Petaling Jaya, prices are 20-30% cheaper. If you intend to buy in the center of the city, the square meter rate starts ranges from USD 2,500-3,000. On the outskirts, the price can be reduced by up to 50%.

One of the preferred destinations for expatriates is Georgetown, on the island of Penang. It’s located to the northwest of the country, 120 km from its border with Thailand. It is undoubtedly one of the country’s cities that offers the best quality of life. With the same facilities and amenities that you could find in KL, Penang is much less traveled and the colonial atmosphere makes it very charming. In addition, its proximity to rural areas makes it an interesting destination for trips and excursions. It is more affordable; a three-bedroom condominium in the center would cost about 600-700 USD per month, and the price per square meter is not much more than USD 1,600. Outside the center and the most touristic area, prices can be 20-30% lower. Another destination with a large expat community is Malacca, where prices are slightly lower than Penang.

Basic utilities will cost on average around USD 60 per month. An internet connection of 10mbps would go for another USD 40.

Regarding grocery expenses, in Malaysia, local products are very affordable but imported products such as cheese are very expensive. Alcohol has a very high tax burden, and is more expensive than in the West. A basic monthly food basket could cost around USD 100-150 per person.

A meal at any local market or restaurant is very affordable, at between USD 3-5, while a mid-range restaurant the price will be between USD 10-15 per head. As has already been mentioned, alcohol is expensive, so if you are a nightlife lover, you should add a few hundred extra dollars to your monthly budget. In a pub, a pint will not be found for below USD 3-4 and in the supermarket, a beer can cost between USD 2 and USD 2.50. Do not expect to find a bottle of low-end wine for less than USD 13-15.

Getting around by car is not expensive in Malaysia. Malaysia is an oil producing country, and although since 2014 prices have fluctuated according to international prices, gasoline is still affordable. Currently, a liter of gasoline 95 in any dispenser costs around USD 0.50. However, Kuala Lumpur has an extensive and efficient public transport network, including several railway lines and a bus network. The average price of a trip is less than one dollar. The state rail network covers 11 of the 13 Malaysian states. Kuala Lumpur Airport is an international hub, connected to most major cities worldwide.

The public health system in Malaysia is among the best in the region. However, under the program, you will not have access to it. Private healthcare is also high quality, but it is not excessively cheap. For a person of about 60 years, the most basic private health insurance will cost about 130 USD per month.

Finally, to have an average standard of living, the minimum monthly income recommended for living in Kuala Lumpur would be around USD 2,200-2,500. In cities like Georgetown or Malacca, this can be reduced to about USD 1,500.

Taxes in Malaysia

To be considered a resident for tax purposes you must be in Malaysia for more than 182 days per year. Income generated abroad by an individual is not taxable.

Real Estate Capital gains are taxed at 5% if the transferred property was purchased more than 5 years earlier, 15% if 4-5 years earlier, 20% for 3-4 years and 30% for less than 3 years.

There is a local property tax, which is 6% in the value of the annual rent, according to the assessment of local authorities. Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 6%.

You can consult Malaysia’s corporate tax scheme and tax treaties at incorporations.io/malaysia.

Do you want to know more about Malaysia?

Check out these articles our team has written on the country:

Labuan: Southeast Asia’s Best-Kept Secret

Malaysia | How to Do Business in Asia – Connection Economy

 

Retire in the Philippines

The Philippines is synonymous with emerald rice fields, Spanish colonial cities like Vigan, frantic megalopoleis such as Davao, Cebu or Manila, colorful jeepneys, ancient Sagada Excavated Tombs, impetuous volcanoes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, endless islands and heavenly beaches such as Boracay and El Nido, all made even more pleasant by the perpetually smiling and carefree Filipinos, or pinoys, as they refer to themselves locally. 

The Philippines’ more than 7,000 islands are a major selling point for those who want to retire with a relaxed and refreshing lifestyle set between turquoise waters and verdant tropical rainforests. English is widely spoken among its inhabitants. The population is predominantly Catholic, which is relatively rare in Southeast Asia; do not be surprised to come across baroque Spanish churches dating from the 16th century. For those seeking beaches, beautiful landscapes, a tropical climate, seafood and charming people, Philippines may be one of the world’s best countries to retire.

Boracay Island, Philippines, see more pictures at Your Amazing Places

Retirement Visa in the Philippines

We have already discussed the Philippines Retirement Visa. As a reminder, to retire in the Philippines, a foreigner may apply for the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), with which he or she may reside indefinitely in the Philippines with free entry and exit. The visa must be applied in Philippine territory to the Philippine Retirement Authority of Manila (PRA) or to an embassy abroad. Mainly there are three categories within the program:

SRRV Smile

  • Be 35 years or older
  • Deposit of USD 20,000 in a Philippine financial institution, which must be maintained until the cancellation of the visa.

SRRV Classic

  • From 35 to 49 years: deposit of USD 50,000 in a Philippine financial institution.
  • 50 years or more with a pension of at least USD 800 per month or USD 1,000 for couples: deposit of USD 10,000 at a Philippine financial institution.
  • 50 years or more without a pension: deposit of USD 20,000 at a Philippine financial institution.
  • The deposit may be used to purchase a ready-for-use real estate property, as long as the minimum investment is USD 50,000.

SRRV Human Touch

  • 35 years or older
  • Certificate showing a pre-existing medical condition to be considered an ailing retiree.
  • Deposit of USD 10,000 in a financial institution, which must be maintained until the cancellation of the visa.
  • Monthly pension of at least USD 1,500.
  • Acceptable Health Insurance Policy in the Philippines

The program includes two dependents (spouse and child). An additional deposit of USD 15,000 will be required for each additional dependent. SRRV Human touch includes only one dependent.

Deposits may be converted to Philippine Peso (PHP) 30 days after visa issuance. Deposits should be made at one of the following financial institutions: Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Allied Bank, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Pacific Star Branch Only, Bank of China, Korea Exchange Bank, Tong Yang Bank and Unionbank.

Other requirements include a valid passport with a tourist visa in the Philippines, medical certificate, police clearance certificate and proof of relationship with dependents.

The procedure takes approximately 10 days. Application fees are USD 1,400 and USD 300 for each dependent. Applicants will be issued an ID card for USD 10 which must be renewed annually, paying an annual fee of USD 360. The annual fee covers three people; for each additional dependent a fee of USD 100 will be added.

Under the program, the visa holder will be able to work in the Philippines, as long as he or she gets an Alien Employment Permit (AEP).

Willing to pack up and retire in the Philippines? Start now at passports.io/philippines.

Cost of Living in the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the places where retirees can get the most out of their pension. With USD 2,500 a month, a couple can have a considerable standard of living. One of the most popular cities for expats is Cebu, which is a great town just half an hour from the beach. In Cebu, you can rent a three-room condominium in the city center for just over USD 700-800. In Manila, the capital, rents are somewhat more expensive, so a similarly-located condominium in the center would cost about USD 1,000-1,200 a month. Davao is much cheaper; an apartment in the center will not exceed USD 500 a month. Anyway, it is possible to find condominiums outside the city center for USD 300-400 per month. And if you move to a few km away you can find two-story houses for the modest price of USD 300. If you want a nice villa with a pool and garage right on the beach, you can get it from around USD 1,300 per month.

Foreigners cannot buy land in the Philippines, but they can buy condominiums. In the downtown of Manila and Cebu the square meter cost is around USD 1,700-1900. Out of the center prices are much lower, around USD 1,000.

Electricity is not particularly cheap. For a 85 square meters condo, monthly expenses on utilities could be USD 100. A 10 Mbps internet connection is about USD 50. Hiring a full-time cleaning or gardening service will not cost more than USD 300 monthly.

With regard to food, this is a little bit more expensive than in other countries of Southeast Asia. The monthly basic purchase for a person could cost USD 150, but it will always depend on the number of imported products, which can considerably increase the budget. Eating out is cheap. In a street market, you can eat for USD 2-3 and in a mid-range restaurant for about USD 7-8.

Entertainment is affordable, especially alcohol. For less than USD 1 you can have a beer in a pub and go to the cinema for USD 3. You can enjoy two hours of massage for less than USD 10.

Getting around Philippine cities is very affordable but can be maddening. A journey with a jeepney or a scooter taxi is low-priced. In addition, the km rate of a conventional taxi costs around USD 0.25, but foreigners should be aware of the correct price if they don’t want to be scammed. In Metro Manila, there are four intracity train lines, which is definitely not enough for such a Metropolis of around 13 million people. 

The health system in the Philippines is acceptable. A full coverage medical insurance for a person over 60 may be expensive, up to USD 200 per month. However, paying the costs of each clinic visit are considerably affordable.

Taxes in the Philippines

Although residents’ worldwide income is subject to Personal Income Tax, SRRV holders’ pensions and annuities are exempt from tax. The Philippines has treaties to avoid double taxation with more than 40 countries. Further information can be found at incorporations.io/philippines.

In addition, under the program, retirees will be exempt from customs duty on the importation of their personal effects, with a total maximum value of USD 7,000. Interest generated by foreign currency deposits will be tax-free. If converted to PHP they will be subject to a 20% withholding rate.

Program participants will be exempt from paying the Travel tax, provided they have not stayed in the Philippines for more than one year from the date of their last entry into the country

Do you want to know more about the Philippines? Read our article on Taxes, Business and Fun in the Philippines.

 

Retire in Thailand

Few countries can boast of offering as much diversity, possibilities and options as there are in Thailand. A favorite destination for those living on a budget, but also for those who live without checking the bank statement. For those who want to relax on the pristine beaches of the Andaman Sea or the Gulf of Thailand. Of those who prefer living surrounded by the northern mountains, as found in charming Chiang Mai. Or those who prefer the bustle of the bubbling streets of the frenzied all-in-one Bangkok. And also, for those looking for the vice and the neon lights of places like Pattaya.

A balmy tropical climate, take-the-breath-away natural landscapes, dream islands, majestic mountains, tropical rainforests, colorful temples, an impressive variety of food, authentic places, busy outdoor markets, endless shopping malls, massages, crazy nightlife, monkeys and elephants; Thailand has it all, and is even further enlivened by the local people, who know how to enjoy the moment like no one does. In addition, it is one of the safest countries in the region. Together with an excellent private healthcare system, Thailand is undoubtedly one of the world’s best countries to retire, and as such is the top Asian destination among expat retirees.

Retire in Thailand
Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand

Retirement Visa in Thailand

The Visa policy in Thailand is daunting. However for retirees, a small window seems to have been opened, through which some air enters the unsealing Thai visa room.

To retire in Thailand an individual may apply for a Non-immigrant O-A (Long Stay) visa, which allows for a stay of 1 year, renewable annually. The visa must be applied for at the embassy or consulate in applicant’s country of residence. One of the following requirements must be met.

  • Deposit of THB 800,000 (≈ USD 23,000) in a Thai bank; or
  • Monthly income or pension of THB 65,000 (≈ USD 1,900); or
  • THB 800,000 (≈ USD 23,000) in a combination of a bank deposit and annual income or pension.

The minimum age for qualifying for the Non-immigrant O-A visa is 50 years. The visa fee is THB 5,000 (≈ USD 140).

Other requirements include the absence of a criminal record in both Thailand and country of residence, medical certificate, and a marriage certificate (if applicable). This type of visa is individual and cannot include dependents. If the companion does not meet the requirements for a Non-immigrant O-A (Long stay) visa, he or she can opt for a Non-immigrant O visa (short stay). This single-entry visa will allow the dependent to stay in Thailand for a period of 3 months, renewable up to 1 year.

Every 90 days, the visa holder must inform the immigration office of his/her address. This visa does not allow one to engage in any kind of work in Thailand.

Another visa option to retire in Thailand is the Thailand Elite Visa. Under this program, a foreigner is allowed to stay 5 to 20 years in the country. Most common types of membership are:

  • Elite Ultimate Privilege Membership: Renewable 5-year multiple entry visa with the extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry. Membership validity of 20 years’.
    Membership fee: THB 2m (≈ USD 57,000) (excluding V.A.T.).
    Annual fee: THB 20,000 (≈ USD 570) (excluding V.A.T.).
  • Elite Family Premium Membership: For Elite Visa holder’s dependents. Renewable 5-year multiple entry visa with extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry. Membership validity is subject to the validity of the core member.
    Membership fee: THB 1m (≈ USD 28,500) (including V.A.T.).
    Annual fee: THB 10,000 (≈ USD 285) (including V.A.T.).
  • Elite Property Partnership Membership: Renewable 5-year multiple entry visa with an extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry. Membership validity of 20 years’, provided that the applicant has bought property in cooperation with a Thailand Elite authorized agent.
    Membership fee: THB 1m (≈ USD 28,500) (excluding V.A.T.).
  • Elite Easy Access Membership: Renewable 5-year multiple entry visa with an extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry. Membership validity of 5 years’.
    Membership fee: THB 500,000 (≈ USD 14,250) (including V.A.T.).

The program includes benefits as premium services in Thai airports, limousine transportation, golf, spa, health checkup, duty-free benefits and special discounts at hotels, dining establishments and shopping malls.

Is Thailand your retirement haven? Get started now at passports.io/thailand.

Cost of Living in Thailand

The cost of living in Thailand is relatively low, but options for squandering are not lacking.

Regarding rental prices: In Bangkok, there is considerable contrast depending on the area. A three-bedroom condominium in the most centrally located areas can easily cost more than USD 2,500 per month. On the other hand, in a middle-class neighborhood or just a few km away from the center, the cost can come down to around USD 400-500. In peripheral neighborhoods or in localities of the metropolitan area you can find more than 100 sq. m. houses from USD 400, and a modern condominium from USD 300 per month.

Under the Condominium Act, foreigners are allowed to purchase condominiums. Prices in downtown Bangkok vary from USD 3,000-3,500 per square meter to USD 1,000 per square meter in the outskirts.

Other locations with large expatriate communities are Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Krabi and Chiang Mai.

In Pattaya, the closest beach area to the capital, rental prices are slightly lower than in downtown Bangkok. It’s possible to find 100 sqm. houses with a garden and swimming pool for USD 1,200 per month. A beachfront three-bedroom condominium would cost about USD 700 per month. The same goes for Hua Hin, a coastal town that has one of the largest expat retiree communities in the country, along with Chiang Mai.

Phuket is one of the most expensive places in the country. Although the rental prices are similar to those of Pattaya or Hua Hin. the cost of living is generally higher.

On the other hand, we have Chiang Mai and Krabi, two much cheaper destinations, especially the former. On average, rentals in Chiang Mai are 50% cheaper than in Bangkok. In Krabi, you can find real bargains; chalets 10 km away from the beach for USD 300-400 per month, however prices increase the closer they are to the beach and tourist areas.

In Bangkok, the monthly utility expense for a two-person apartment may be around USD 100 per month. Upcountry can be up to 50% cheaper.

With regard to foodstuffs, there is a price disparity. In general, certain fruits, vegetables and dairy products are usually slightly more expensive than in southern Europe. Animal-derived products such as eggs, pork and especially chicken tend to be much more affordable. For an average person with USD 100, a week should be enough to fill the refrigerator. But everything will depend on the selection of products, and the place they are purchased. Imported products are expensive. Buying in local markets may reduce your budget by 20-30%. Grocery prices in more wealthy areas can be 20-30% more expensive. Even large distributors do not sell at the same prices in all areas.

Moving around Bangkok is complicated. It is one of the worst traffic-congested cities worldwide and public transport is deficient. There are two Skytrain lines and two subway lines for the entire metropolitan area: in other words, not enough. Expats are usually concentrated in the areas closest to the stations. The average price of a trip is USD 1. There are many bus lines and songtaews (adapted pickups), which are very cheap – a trip does not exceed USD 0.30. You can also travel by taxis (less than USD 0.20 per km), tuk-tuks (more expensive and tourist-oriented), or with taxi scooters. However, when traveling with a vehicle you run the risk of getting stuck in one of its endless traffic jams for hours on end. 

In most upcountry locations, intracity public transport is very poor or almost non-existent, so you need to have a car or a motorbike. On the other hand, intercity transport is very convenient, as Thailand has a large number of airports and airlines’ fares are considered affordable.

With regard to eating out, leisure and entertainment, there is an offer for all budget levels, from a dinner at a street stall for USD 1-2 to high-end restaurants for over USD 300 per person. A beer can cost you USD 1.5 in a local pub or USD 10 at some Rooftop Sky bar.

The Thai public health system is very cheap, but in many areas extremely inefficient. Private health care is of high quality, with an affordable and abundant insurance supply.

Taxes in Thailand

The retirement visa does not include any tax benefits. According to the Thai tax law, anyone living in Thailand for more than 183 days is a tax resident. Tax residents’ foreign-source income transferred to Thailand in the same year is subject to personal income tax. Savings or lump sums may not be taxable, but pension income may be. Capital gains and rental income or interests are also subject to Income Tax. The tax rate is progressive up to 35%.

If the taxpayer proves that their income has already been taxed at the source or a tax treaty applies, it may be exempt from income tax payment.

To pay taxes you must ask for a tax identification number. De facto, it is seldom asked and the Thai taxman rarely investigates because it is assumed that the pension already pays taxes at source. You may do it, but you assume a risk.

Learn more about Thai corporate tax scheme and tax treaties at incorporations.io/thailand.

Read more about Thailand:

[Infographic] BOI Company Thailand

Corporate Structure in Thailand

Bangkok City

Thailand | Visas | Work Permits | Investments | Private Equity

 

Best places to retire in The Caribbean

Retire in Panama

Panama is becoming the destination par excellence of American retirees. Location, beaches, sunshine, low cost of living, cheap and good healthcare, an attractive tax regime and ease of residence, with several benefits, are just some of the reasons. Keep reading to find out more. 

retire in panama
Panama City, Panama

Retirement Visa in Panama

If you wish to retire in Panama, you may apply for the so-called Pensionado Visa, with which you will obtain permanent legal residence in Panama. To qualify for the program you must have a lifetime income of at least USD 1,000 per month; USD 1,250 for a couple and an additional USD 250 for each dependent.

If you purchase a property in Panama worth USD 100,000, the minimum lifetime income required will be USD 750 per month.

Relevant documentation will be required to prove lifetime income, by means of a notarized letter of the institution or company that pays it, and authenticated by a Panamanian Consulate

In addition to permanent residence, the program provides a large number of benefits:

  • A one-time exemption from import duties of household goods up to a maximum total value of US$ 10,000.
  • 100% exemption from customs duties for the importation of a vehicle every two years.
  • 50% discount on entertainment events, such as movies, concerts or sports.
  • 30% discount on bus, boat and train fares
  • 25% discount on certain airline tickets.
  • 50% discount on hotel stays from Monday to Thursday
  • 30% discount on hotel stays from Friday to Sunday
  • 25% discount on restaurants
  • 15% off fast food restaurants
  • 15% discount on hospital bills (if there is no insurance)
  • 10% discount on prescription drugs
  • 20% discount on medical consultations
  • 15% discount on dental and ophthalmic exams
  • 20% discount on professional and technical services
  • 50% reduction in mortgage loan closing costs
  • 25% discount on utility bills
  • 15% of loans made to the holder’s name
  • 1% less on mortgages for a personal residence home.

Begin your move to Panama by applying now at passports.io/panama.

Cost of Living in Panama

There is a considerable contrast between the capital, Panama City and rural areas. Panama City is an urban development center, with all facilities at hand, but is very crowded and more expensive. There are offers for all rental levels, from a beachfront house in Clayton for more than USD 8,000 per month, to a one-room apartment in the suburbs for USD 700. For a three-bedroom apartment’s utility costs, including the internet, the price will add up to around USD 100-150 monthly. If you are thinking of buying, the square meter rate in a downtown neighborhood in Panama City would cost around USD 2,200, while in the suburbs it will be around USD 1,400.

Considering that the average monthly salary of a Panamanian is USD 700, with a monthly income of USD 1,800-2,000 you can lead a comfortable and carefree life, but without great luxuries. The monthly food expenditure could be USD 150, for buying the essentials.

Regarding transport, there is the metro and Metrobus, for USD 0.25 and 0.35 per way, respectively. You can also go by taxi for USD 2 per km.

As for leisure and eating out, an average meal for two people can be around USD 30-40. A beer in a pub is around USD 1.50 and watching a film in the cinema is about USD 6.

Health insurance would range from an annual amount of USD 100, the most basic, to USD 800, for the most complete.

Taxes in Panama

Foreign-source income is not taxable in Panama…

Interested in Panama?

We have written a detailed article about how to get residency in Panama.

 

Retire in Belize

Tropical breezes, pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral atolls, the second longest reef in the world, fishing, diving, swimming, nature parks, hiking, rainforests, Mayan ruins, few cars … and casinos. Located between Mexico and Guatemala, with a population that barely exceeds 230,000 inhabitants and English as an official language, Belize is extremely attractive to those looking for luxury, tranquility and relaxation. If you are looking for big malls or nightly entertainment, Belize is definitely not for you. As an English-speaking country and its proximity to the United States, Belize has a remarkable community of American and British expats.

Retire in belize
Belize

Retirement Visa in Belize

If you want to retire in Belize, you must apply to the Belize Tourism Board for the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QPR). To qualify for the program, you must be aged 45 or older and must prove a foreign source pension or annuity or another acceptable source of income of at least USD 2,000 per month. Signing a commitment to transfer the aforementioned income into a bank, credit union or any financial institution in Belize is also required. 

With the program, you will receive a residence permit, which must be renewed every December 31st. You must meet the necessary requirements every year and remain in the country for a consecutive period of 30 days per year. The program allows for the inclusion of dependents.

Other benefits of the program include a full exemption from customs duties for the first year on importing household and personal effects, a ship, an aircraft and a vehicle every three years.

With the QPR card, you will not be able to work for a company in Belize, but you can keep your companies abroad, work online or for clients from abroad.

The cost of the program is USD 1,000 for the main applicant and USD 750 for each dependent, in addition to a non-returnable application fee of USD 150 and a fee for the issuance of the QPR card of USD 200. There is also an annual renewal fee of BZD 50.

Wish to retire in Belize? Get started by applying now at residencies.io/belize.

Cost of Living in Belize

The largest expat communities in Belize are in the coastal districts of Ambergris Caye, Corozal, Belize City, and Placencia. Ambergris Caye is the most luxurious area, where you can find spectacular beachfront villas from USD 4,000 per month, although there are also inland options for about USD 1,500. Corazol Town is more affordable – for about USD 800-100 you can rent a nice house with a garden. In Belize City, the most populous city, you can find everything from villas for more than USD 3000 a month up to three-bedroom apartments for USD 600. In Placencia, for USD 2,000-3,000, you can rent a two-bedroom beach house and a condominium for USD 1,000-1,500.

If you contemplate the possibility of buying a property, a villa in Corozal Town could cost more than USD 500,000. In Ambergris Caye, two to four-bedroom beachfront houses can cost over USD 1m. A condominium with ocean views would cost around USD 500,000. In these two districts, 95% of the buyers are foreigners. Inland houses are considerably cheaper, at about USD 200,000. In the south of the country, prices have increased a lot in recent years, but they are still more affordable. A beachfront condominium in Placencia would cost around USD 350,000.

The cost of utilities such as electricity, water, and waste can cost an average of USD 100. Internet is expensive; a 10MB broadband contract would cost around USD 120. Have a cleaning service or a gardener will cost about USD 2-3 an hour.

The food is sensibly affordable. With USD 200 per month, you should have enough. With another USD 200-400 a month, you can have quite an entertaining life. A dinner for two in an average restaurant would cost about USD 30, although there are local restaurants and open-air markets that you can eat for less than USD 5.

Regarding transportation, a regular bus from Belize City to Corazol (2 and a half hours) would cost about USD 4.5. The taxi is relatively expensive, every km costs USD 2.50.

In Belize healthcare in public hospitals is affordable, but suffers from a shortage of personnel, equipment and medications, especially outside of Belize City. Private family insurance with basic coverage could cost around USD 200 per month.

Taxes in Belize

In Belize, income earned abroad is not subject to personal income tax. More information about Belize’s tax scheme and tax treaties can be found at incorporations.io/belize.

If you want to learn more about the country, read our Belize articles here.

 

Retire in the Cayman Islands

Made up of 264 sq. km of islands between Cuba and Jamaica, The Cayman Islands is an archipelago formed by three islands surrounded by a turquoise sea. The Cayman Islands present a high-standard retirement option. In addition, the Islands are known for being the capital of Caribbean gastronomy; seafood risottos, octopus with spices, lobster, crab, and a mix of Spanish and Mexican food. Tax-Free, with an English-speaking population and safety, are other incentives to retire there. For those seeking luxury, The Cayman Islands may be one of the world’s best countries to retire.

retire in cayman islands
Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, more at Top Things to do in the Cayman Islands

Retirement Visa in the Cayman Islands

Individuals who wish to retire in the Cayman Islands should apply for the Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means (R2). A minimum income and investment in the territory are required to qualify for the program. The amounts vary if you intend to reside in Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.

Requirements for residing on Grand Cayman Island:

  • Proof of a continuous income source equal to or greater than KYD 120,000 (USD 98,400) per year.
  • Have invested KYD 500,000 (USD 410,000) on the island, of which KYD 250,000 (USD 205,000) must have been invested in developed residential real estate. Deposits or savings accounts are not considered investments for this purpose.

Requirements for residing in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman:

  • Proof a continuous income source equal to or greater than KYD 75,000 (USD 61,500) per year.
  • Have invested KYD 250,000 (USD 205,000) on the island, of which KYD 125,000 (USD 102,500) must have been invested in developed residential real estate. Deposits or savings accounts are not considered investments for this purpose.

In addition, the applicant must not have any serious criminal convictions, must be in good health and have adequate health insurance coverage. Once the requirements are proven and the application is approved, the applicant will be granted a residence certificate (R2), valid for 25 years and renewable at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer. With the certificate, the holder can reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work. Dependent people can be included in the program.

The cost of the program is KYD 500 (USD 410) per application and KYD 20,000 (USD 16,400) for the certificate issuance. For each dependent, there is a KYD 1,000 (USD 820) fee.

An individual can also apply for permanent residence, valid for life, by applying for the Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means. In such cases, it is required to prove annual income and own developed real estate of a value of at least KYD 1.6m (USD 1.3m).

Cost of Living in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands is the Caribbean country with the highest standard of living, and it is also one of the most expensive in the world. Statistics indicate that the Islands are on average 80% more expensive than in the United States, not counting rent, which is 40% more expensive. Most commodities are imported and they face a duty rate of 22-27%. The rent price for villas at the first line of coast does not go lower than USD 4,000 and inland is around USD 1,800. A three-bedroom apartment in the center of George Town costs about USD 3,000 and in the suburbs about USD 2,000. Electricity and water may be more than USD 300 per month. An internet connection costs about 80 USD per month.

Gastronomy is one of the claims of the Islands, but enjoying it doesn’t come cheap. A dinner in a mid-range restaurant for two would cost around USD 80 and a half liter of draft beer in a pub will be around USD 3.50. Cooking at home is also expensive. As has already been mentioned, most basic food products are imported and subject to tariffs. So a monthly supermarket budget can be around USD 400 per person.

In the Cayman Islands, you’ll need a car to get around. You can also take the bus for USD 1.80 per ride or a taxi for USD 4 a km.

Regarding health, The Cayman Islands enjoy a modern and effective health system. There are four large hospitals, two of them public, with a ratio of 1 bed for every 25 inhabitants, in addition to an endless number of private specialized clinics. The cost of a basic health insurance package can be around USD 150-200 per month.

Taxes in the Cayman Islands

In the Cayman Islands, there is no personal income tax nor capital gains, nor corporation tax or value added tax. The only existing taxes are:

  • Stamp duty on the lease of the property, from 5 to 20% of the annual average rent.
  • Stamp duty on the lease of a land, 5% of the value of the property if the term is more than 30 years, or 5% of the average annual rent if less than 30 years.
  • Tourist Accommodation Tax: 10% of the income obtained by renting tourists or USD 10 per day for each room occupied in timeshare properties.
  • Stamp duty on the transfer of a property of 7.50% of its value.
  • Import duty tariffs between 22% and 27%.

 

Best countries to retire in South America

Retire in Ecuador

For lovers of nature and tranquility, Ecuador may be one of the world’s best countries to retire. Considered the most biodiverse country in the world, it is divided by the volcanic mountain range of the Andes. The climate is tropical on the coast and cooler in the mountainous zone. The country boasts an affordable cost of living, charming people, a good healthcare system, healthy and varied gastronomy, beaches, mountains, and jungle. Getting a residency permit is straightforward, and may be one of the places where you can make the most of your pension. In addition, it is also one of the safest countries in Latin America.

Retire in Ecuador
Cuenca, Ecuador

Retirement Visa in Ecuador

There used to be a Pensioner Visa available in Ecuador. However, following the entry into force of the new human mobility law, residence visas have been reduced to two types: Temporary and Permanent.

If you wish to retire in Ecuador, you must first apply for a temporary residence visa. You will need to justify that you have an income equal to or higher than USD 800. After two years, you will need to apply for a visa renewal for two more years. In the first year of the visa extension, you should apply for a permanent resident visa or citizenship. You cannot leave the country for more than 90 days per year during the temporary visa and must remain for more than half of the year in Ecuador during the first two years of a permanent visa. More details here.

Cost of living in Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the countries where it’s possible to make the most of your pension. In cities such as Quito or Guayaquil, with USD 1,500-1,800 a month you can have a considerably high quality of life. In Cuenca, life is even more affordable. In rural areas, USD 1,000 will be enough to have a quiet and carefree life. In the two largest cities, living in a central 3-bedroom apartment will cost about USD 700 a month, with utilities and internet included. In rural areas, you can find family homes for as little as USD 300. If you prefer to buy, real estate in Ecuador is the cheapest in Latin America. In the cities, the average price per square meter oscillates between USD 1,100-1400. It’s considerably lower in rural areas.

The monthly expenditure on food can be around USD 100-120 per person. You can have dinner at a good restaurant for about USD 15.

As for transport, in addition to being cheap (a monthly pass costs USD 10), retirees enjoy multiple discounts. Taxi rides are also cheap – about USD 0.40 per km. 

As a resident, you will be able to apply for membership in the Ecuadorian public social security system. In any case, private insurance is affordable. You can find health insurance with full coverage for USD 50-70 per month.

Taxes in Ecuador

If you justify that your income is already paying taxes in your home country or in any other country, you may be exempt from paying personal income tax in Ecuador. If not, you will have to face a progressive tax up to 35%. Know more about Ecuador taxes here.

 

Retire in Uruguay

Taking a walk around coastal towns like Casapueblo, can make you feel like you’re in Santorini or any gorgeous Greek, Italian or Spanish Mediterranean town. Strolling around Montevideo and observing its architecture, squares, and cafés can give you the impression of being in any historic city in southern Europe.

But Uruguay is much more. For lovers of beaches, luxury, fun and nightlife, you can go and spend the summertime in Punta del Este, the entertainment capital of South America. Those looking for tranquility enjoying an asado and a thermos of mate, can stay in any of the villages of the 600 km of immaculate Atlantic coastline. Another option is the La Plata river shore, with its meadows dotted with palm trees. If urban life is more your thing, Montevideo offers the same comforts as any western city. It’s considered the South American capital with the best life quality, and it is one of the most modern and civilized cities in the whole continent.

Retire in Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay

Retirement Visa in Uruguay

An individual who wants to retire in Uruguay must apply for a permanent residence visa. The main requirement is to present to the Residency Department of the National Migration Directorate a notarized certificate of the pensioner status and the proof of income obtained abroad, in addition to a Health Card of Uruguay and a certificate of absence of criminal records. During the first two years of possessing a retirement visa, a foreigner must request a re-entry permit if they wish to leave the country.

Foreign retirees in Uruguay can import goods of domestic use free of custom taxes. They will also be allowed to import a vehicle, as long as they receive a minimum income of USD 1,500 per month or have purchased a residential property for at least USD 100,000, which cannot be sold in a period of 10 years, or if they have invested the same amount in Government bonds.

Cost of Living in Uruguay

The cost of living in Uruguay is not exorbitant, but it is not cheap either. Montevideo offers a great quality of life, but it is also one of the most expensive metropolises of the continent. Having an acceptably comfortable life requires at least USD 2,500 a month, as shall be seen below.

Renting a three-room apartment ranges from USD 400 to USD 1,300, depending on the area. It is common that when renting a flat, the landlord asks for 5-6 months in advance. If you want to buy, the square meter rate can reach more than USD 2,000. Outside the capital, prices are significantly cheaper.

Basic utilities can rise to more than USD 200 per month, mainly for electricity, which is very expensive. The internet plus phone package can cost around USD 30. A monthly groceries shopping cart for two people without any excess will cost USD 200.

Getting around by car is expensive in Uruguay. The high tax burden, the appreciation of the dollar and the high margins of distributors make gasoline expensive. That being said, the country is well connected with a network of Omnibuses, which cost from USD 1 a ride or USD 40 a monthly pass.

With regard to leisure, dining in a mid-range restaurant can cost around USD 25, a half-liter draft beer in a pub USD 2.50, and watching a movie premiere about USD 9. It all depends on the choices, but we calculate an expense of at least USD 200-250 per month in entertainment.

Healthcare is excellent in Uruguay, and a basic health insurance package will cost USD 60-80 per month.

Some imported products, such as electronics, are considerably expensive in Uruguay. Import taxes range from 0 to 35% with an average of 22.27%.

Taxes in Uruguay

Income earned abroad remitted to Uruguay is not subject to personal income tax. The property tax is between 0.25% and 1%.

A place you can pay NO Taxes and get a 2nd passport… Keep reading about Uruguay here.

Best countries to retire in Europe

Retire in Portugal

Portugal is one of the favorite retirement destinations for North Europeans, and it is becoming increasingly popular among Americans. This is due in no small part to its retiree foreign income tax-free regime, combined with an enviable climate, beaches, open-air markets, good food, wine and an extensive knowledge of English among its population. Portugal is a safe country, besides possessing one of the best healthcare systems in the world, and at a considerably affordable price. The largest retirement expat communities in Portugal are located mainly in Lisbon, the Algarve, Cascais, and Guimarães. If you are a European wishing to retire abroad, but not so far from your home, Portugal may be one of Europe’s best countries to consider.

retire in portugal
Algarve, Portugal

Retirement Visa in Portugal

To retire in Portugal, the main requirement is having a monthly income of at least EUR 1,000.

Non-EU citizens must apply for a category 1 resident visa at any Portuguese consulate or embassy. Upon arrival in the country, they must apply for a residence permit within six months. This will be renewable every two years. After the 5th year they can obtain a permanent residence permit.

There is also the option of the Golden Visa, which allows for a residence for 5 years to foreigners who buy property worth EUR 500,000 or invest EUR 1,000,000 in a business, or start a local business that creates at least 10 jobs. After 5 years, it is possible to apply for the permanent residence permit and after 6 it’s possible to apply for citizenship.

During the first 30 days of stay, EU citizens must apply for a residence permit that will be valid for a period of 5 years. After that, they can apply for a permanent residence permit.

If you are willing to retire in Portugal, apply now at residencies.io/portugal.

Cost of Living in Portugal

Portugal is one of the most affordable Western European countries. With USD 1,500-2,000 a month you can live without great luxuries, but pleasantly enough. 

In the Algarve, renting a detached house will cost between USD 600 and USD 1,000. In Lisbon, the rent for a standard apartment will be around USD 800-1,000. There are cheaper options from USD 300, but in less touristic and rural areas. The basic utilities in an apartment of 85 m2 will cost around EUR 85 per month.

The real estate market offers great opportunities, and is one of the most affordable in the EU-15. The average price per sq m. in Lisbon and the Algarve is approximately EUR 2,500 and EUR 2,000, respectively. In addition, rental yields are acceptable, from 5-6% in Lisbon and 3-4% in the Algarve.

Non-EU nationals must have a health insurance, which costs around USD 100-250 per month, depending on the coverage. The healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world.

The price of food is considerably cheap compared to other European countries. A monthly budget of EUR 150-200 should be enough.

With regards to transportation, 1 km by taxi in Lisbon costs EUR 0.47, and starts at EUR 3.50. A bus or subway ticket is EUR 1.60, and the monthly pass is EUR 36.

Retirement is about enjoyment, and in Portugal it comes at a good price. A meal in a local restaurant costs between EUR 8-10 and a mid-level restaurant dinner can be about EUR 15. After dinner, you can have a pint of beer in a pub in Lisbon for the modest price of EUR 1.50.

Taxes in Portugal

If you obtain the non-habitual resident (NHR) status and have not resided in Portugal during the previous five tax years, foreign-source pensions, dividends, royalties and interest income will be exempt from tax during the first 10 years. To apply for the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) status, you must reside 183 days in the year of application and subsequent years. If you are not a tax resident in your home country, and it has a tax treaty with Portugal, your pension might be totally tax-free. Check incorporations.io/portugal to learn more about its tax treaties.

 

Retire in Cyprus

This island at the eastern end of the Mediterranean has for decades been the destination of choice for many Western European, and especially British pensioners to retire, due to its relatively low cost of living, favorable tax conditions and an English-speaking population. In addition, the island enjoys tranquility, the absence of congested areas and a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle. Good year-round weather, nice beaches, mountains, and extremely friendly people. Another of the great advantages of Cyprus that  being a former British colony, its population has a high knowledge of English. 

retire in cyprus
Ayios Tychonas-Klimonas, Cyprus

Retirement Visa in Cyprus

Non-EU Individuals who want to retire in Cyprus should apply for a permanent F category residence visa. The application must be made in the Department of Civil Registry and Migration in Cyprus or in the Immigration district branches or at any Cyprus Embassy or Consulate.

To qualify for the visa, a minimum regular annual income of EUR 9,568.17, and EUR 4,613.22 for each dependent must be proven, but the Immigration Control Board may demand additional amounts as necessary. The residence permit will be canceled if the holder gets a permanent residence abroad or is absent from Cyprus for a period of two years.

The residence permit F prohibits the holder from participating in any economic activity or work in Cyprus.

The issuance of the permit usually takes from 6 to 8 months. There is a fast-track option where the residence permit will be issued in less than 2 months. In order to qualify for this preferential treatment the applicant must:

  • Buy a property in Cyprus for at least EUR 300,000 (excluding VAT)
  • Have a 3 year fixed term deposit in a Cypriot bank of at least EUR 30,000, plus EUR 5,000 for each dependent.

The fees for obtaining the residence permit are EUR 500 and are paid when submitting the application.

Do you want to get a Residence Permit in Cyprus? Apply now at residencies.io/cyprus.

Cost of living in Cyprus

Compared to most European countries, the living costs of Cyprus are considerably low, especially for housing and its related costs, and healthcare.

The average rent for a house with two rooms is around EUR 620. In the center of Nicosia, the most expensive area, renting a 3-room apartment would also be around EUR 600-800, while in the suburbs it would be EUR 300-350. The average price per square meter in the center of Nicosia is approximately EUR 1,500. And on the outskirts it can be as low as EUR 1,200.

On average, basic utilities, such as electricity, heating, water or rubbish fees, will cost about EUR 110-130.

An internet connection will cost about EUR 26 per month. EU citizens have free access to the public health system, which is reasonably efficient. For non-EU citizens, who are required to take out health insurance, these are not especially expensive.

The price of food is slightly lower compared to the larger European cities, especially local seasonal fruit and meat.

With regards to leisure and eating out, a standard restaurant meal is EUR 12, with a half-liter of draft beer for EUR 3.50, while watching a film at the cinema for EUR 8.

The price of a single bus ticket costs EUR 1.50 and taxis charge EUR 0.75 per km, starting at EUR 3.50. In Cyprus, there is no railway network but the bus network is wide and covers almost the whole territory.

Taxes in Cyprus

Another of Cyprus’ incentive for retirees is its favorable tax environment. Pensions and other income from foreign sources are taxable at a 5% rate. Withdrawals from lump sum pensions can be entirely tax-free. In addition, Cyprus has concluded tax treaties with a long list of countries. You can consult these treaties at incorporations.io/cyprus.

In this link, you can read an interview with a British expat living in Cyprus..

 

Retire in Malta

300 days a year of sunshine in the heart of the Mediterranean. Pristine beaches, a fascinating historical cultural heritage, and one of the safest places in Europe; a relatively affordable cost of living and a favorable tax environment; English as the official language and a large expat community. It goes without saying that Malta is certainly one of the best places in Europe to spend one’s retirement years enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle. Read here Why Malta should be an option for your next European getaway.

retire in malta
Malta

Retirement Visa in Malta

Malta has a Retirement Program (MRP) for EU, EEA or Swiss nationals wishing to spend their retirement years in the country. To qualify for this program, applicants must own/purchase and reside on a property worth EUR 275,000, or EUR 250,000 if the property is located in Gozo.

Those who rent a property for an annual value of EUR 9,600, or EUR 8,750 if it is located in Gozo can also qualify for the program

In order to qualify for the program, the applicant must receive a pension, whether from employment, a pension plan or insurance. This will have to constitute 75% of their regular income. In addition, the applicant must reside an average of 90 days a year, in periods of 5 years, and not stay in another country more than 182 days a year.

Besides offering permanent residence, the program also offers considerable tax advantages.

Application fees are EUR 2,500.

For non-European citizens who wish to retire in Malta, they can acquire a permanent residence permit through two schemes:

  • High Net Worth Individual Scheme: Requires owning a property in Malta with a value of at least EUR 400,000 or renting a property for an annual value of EUR 20,000, in addition to complying with minimum tax obligations. The cost of the application is EUR 6,000. (EU, EEA and Swiss citizens may also qualify for this program).
  • Global Residence Program Scheme: Requires owning a property in Malta worth at least EUR 275,000 or renting a property for an annual value of EUR 9,600. In addition to complying with minimum tax obligations. The cost of the application is EUR 6,000. (US, EEA, and Swiss citizens cannot qualify for this program).

With these programs, it is possible to get an EU resident card, so the holder can travel around the Schengen area without restrictions.

Do you want to retire in Malta? Get started now at passports.io/malta.

Cost of Living in Malta

Despite being a very touristic island, the cost of living in Malta is considered affordable. A 1 bedroom apartment in the center of Valletta, the most expensive city, can cost around EUR 600 per month. The monthly cost of utilities can amount to about EUR 80-90 on average.

Groceries are considerably cheaper than in other European capitals. Eating in a mid-level restaurant can cost around EUR 30 with a glass of wine included, while a beer in a pub can cost around EUR 3.

Another advantage of the island is its excellent transport system, so having a car is not necessary.

Residence cardholders can access the public healthcare system of Malta.

Taxes in Malta

Taxation will depend on the program which the retiree assumes residency through:

  • Malta Retirement Program (MRP): 15% of income from foreign sources, whether they are pensions from employment, pension funds or insurance.
  • High Net Worth Individual Program: 15% of income from abroad. The minimum tax amount is EUR 20,000. If the minimum amount is not reached, income will be taxed at 35%.
  • Global Residence Program: 15% of income earned abroad. The minimum tax amount is EUR 15,000. If the minimum amount is not reached, income will be taxed at 35%.

Check Malta’s tax treaties at incorporations.io/malta.

Do you want to learn more about Malta? Read our article about getting a Maltese passport.

How we can help you

As we have seen, there are many options to turn your retirement years into some of the best experiences of your life. Once you decide to retire abroad, choosing the country you will call your new home is a momentous decision. Location, cost of living, climate, environment, language, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, expat communities, top-class services, safety, excellent healthcare, and a tax-friendly environment are all factors that should not be overlooked.

At Flag Theory, we can help you with all of these choices, and the practicalities of turning them into reality. Reach out to us. We are here support you throughout the whole process of acquiring visas and residence permits, and we’ll make sure you have all the necessary information to make the best, informed decision, with an optimized financial planning so that you can save money and make the most of your retirement. 

FAQs

What are the cheapest countries to retire in?
Ecuador is the country with the lowest cost of living among our suggested choices, followed by Southeast Asian countries.

What are the most tax-friendly countries to retire in?
The Cayman Islands, followed by Belize, Panama, Malaysia, Philippines, and Portugal. None of these countries tax foreign-source income.

What are the easiest retirement visas?
Ecuador, Portugal, and Panama are the countries with the fewest requirements and the fastest process to obtain residence. Although requirements in Uruguay and Cyprus are not so demanding, it can take more than half a year to receive the actual residence permit.

What are the safest countries to retire in?
Although all mentioned countries are considered safe, European countries, the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Thailand are the ones with the lowest crime rates.

What countries have the best healthcare?
Probably Portugal and the Cayman Islands. In Portugal, as a resident, you have the right to use its public healthcare system. In the Cayman Islands, private healthcare is premium but quite expensive.

In what countries can I work with a retirement visa?
As it is not a specific retirement visa, but a residence permit, Ecuador and Uruguay. In Malaysia, a retiree could work up to 20 hours per week in certain sectors or invest in a business, under the approval of the authorities. In Philippines the retirement visa lets you work, as long as you apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP).

What are the countries with the lowest real estate prices?
Ecuador and the Philippines.

Any specific questions? Schedule a coaching call with us here.


This article should not be construed as legal, tax or investment advice. Flag Theory has access to a global network of qualified attorneys and accountants who can give you the proper advice for your particular circumstances.  Contact us for further information.

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