Which countries offer a retirement visa?

Retirees' paradises worldwide: the best countries for a retirement home

What are the best countries for retirement? The US magazine "International Living" has compiled a list of the top 10 countries worldwide. Countries were selected based on factors such as visa requirements, climate, health system and cost of living. Since the ranking is primarily intended to appeal to Americans, American destinations such as Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico dominate. But also for Europeans the ranking offers exciting insights and with the first place Portugal at least a big surprise.

1st place: Portugal

First place in the list of the best goes to Portugal. Who would have thought that. The country is not even in the top 10 most popular destinations for retirement homes among German pensioners. Due to its EU membership and the associated free movement of people, the country is even more attractive for local retirees than for Americans who need a visa for Portugal. From a geographical point of view, too, Portugal is extremely attractive and can be reached in just three to four hours by plane from Germany. But why is Portugal a popular destination for Americans? The country is rich in history and culture, offers good health care, the crime rate is low and in most regions the climate is pleasant all year round. In addition, the very low cost of living is mentioned. Portugal is one of the cheapest countries within the EU, the price level is on average 17 percent below that of Germany. A 3-course lunch with drinks and coffee costs less than 10 euros in many places. Knowledge of Portuguese is also not absolutely necessary for retirement home (but of course an advantage). In the metropolises of Lisbon and Porto or in the Algarve, which is very popular with pensioners, you can get by very well with a knowledge of English. Portugal is also very diverse when it comes to leisure activities. Whether beaches, ancient ruins, museums, hiking or playing golf, anything is possible in Portugal.

2nd place: Panama

The small country in Central America is likely to be known to most only through the Panama Canal. But Panama has a lot more to offer. The climate is warm and tropical. The country has both a Pacific and a Caribbean coast with a length of over 2,000 kilometers and numerous beautiful beaches. What also speaks for Panama is that, unlike many countries in the Caribbean, Panama is largely outside the hurricane belt. The currency is pegged to the US dollar and the cost of living is extremely low. A couple can live in Panama on a monthly budget of around $ 1,800 a month. The capital Panama City is a modern city and offers high standards of health care in private clinics. What is also extremely attractive for pensioners is that the country has launched a special visa program for foreign pensioners called the “Pensionado Program”. This is available to retirees with a pension over $ 1,000 a month (regardless of age). The program allows retirees to settle in the country while offering a long list of perks. This includes medical costs and discounts on flights, electricity and telephone bills. Popular places for retirement are cities like Coronado on the Pacific coast or Boquete in Panama's highlands.

3rd place: Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a popular retirement destination for Americans for many years. The country borders Panama and offers a warm tropical climate, lush nature with many national parks and beautiful beaches. Costa Rica also has a stable democracy and is one of the most highly developed countries in Central America. The country has not had an army since 1948 and is therefore often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America. The cost of living is similarly low as in Panama, a couple can lead a comfortable life on around $ 2,000 a month. The country also offers good and affordable medical care. Costa Rica also offers a "Pensionado Program" for foreign retirees similar to Panama. A life annuity of at least $ 1,000 per month is required for the visa. Some retirees like the temperate “eternal spring” climate in and around the capital, San José. The city lies on a plateau 1,170 meters above sea level. Others prefer the dry and hot climate on the coasts, such as in the Pacific province of Guanacaste.

4th place: Mexico

Mexico is by far the most popular vacation destination for Americans and therefore extremely popular as a retirement destination. The diverse country offers breathtaking beaches, a vibrant life and culture, and a very low cost of living. Depending on their location, a couple in Mexico can live from $ 1,500 to $ 3,000 a month. Rent and health care are already included. From relaxed seaside resorts like Playa del Carmen or Puerto Vallarta to beautiful colonial towns in the highlands with spring-like temperatures like San Miguel de Allende, Mexico offers something for every taste.

5th place: Colombia

Colombia made it to fifth place on the leaderboard due to its lower cost of living, breathtaking scenery and world-class healthcare. In terms of health care, the South American country ranks 22nd out of 191 countries, according to the World Health Organization, and thus ahead of Germany! Colombia's climate is diverse, the country has the second largest biodiversity in the world, which means that there are many different climates and there is something for everyone. It is warm and tropical on the Caribbean coast in Santa Marta or Cartegena, in the lower Andes (including Medellín) there is eternal spring and it is even cooler in the mountains. In Colombia life is also very cheap. A good breakfast or lunch costs only $ 4, and a full dinner can be enjoyed for $ 8. Getting a retirement visa for Colombia is also very easy. All you need is a pension of at least $ 750 a month. A couple should plan on spending around $ 1,400 to $ 2,000 a month in Colombia.

In the other places follow:

6th place: Ecuador

7th place: Malaysia

8th place: Spain

9th place: France

10th place: Vietnam

Source: The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2020 by International Living https://internationalliving.com/the-best-places-to-retire/

about me

Rainer Hellstern

Who is writing here? My name is Rainer and I am the founder and author of the Emigration Handbook. Since 2008 I have been writing articles on the topics of work, life and retirement abroad in the blog. Here you will find information material on over 50 emigration destinations worldwide!