Want to Retire Overseas? Then You Might Want to Check out These Retirement Visas...
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Want to Retire Overseas? Then You Might Want to Check out These Retirement Visas...

profileKenneth Fong
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One of the biggest concerns my wife and I have is the neverending rise of Singapore’s cost of living.

Heck, it’s common knowledge that we’re one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Fun fact: did you know that we share that accolade with Hong Kong and Paris?

But most importantly, it got us thinking: Can we retire in Singapore comfortably?

Or should we consider retiring overseas instead?


TL;DR: What Are the Best Countries to Retire In? And Can I Find Tau Huay There?

There are many lists out there detailing the best countries to retire in.

But as Singaporeans, it’s probably more realistic to consider a neighbouring country within South East Asia.

As compared to the South Americas, for example.

Also, my wife has a decidedly Asian palate (FYI: she loves her tau huay).

And she will probably miss her friends and family if we’re too far away from Singapore for too long.

Mr Bean Classic Tau Huay
Source: Mr Bean

This means that retirement places like Mexico, Panama, and Portugal are out of contention.

Taking into account the countries where (most) Singaporeans would’ve considered moving to in their retirement, I managed to come up with this list:

CountryName of Retirement VisaMinimum Amount NeededMonthly Income RequiredLength of VisaCan I Find Tau Huay There?
AustraliaInvestor Visa (Subclass 891)AUD1.5 millionS$1.4 millionNoIndefiniteProbably
IndonesiaRetirement Temporary Stay PermitPurchase a home for USD$35,000
+
Hire a maid or driver
S$47,228USD$1,500S$2,0241 year
(renewable 5x only)
Yes
MalaysiaMalaysia My Second HomeRM500,000
(below 50 years old)
S$165,782RM10,000S$3,31610 years
(renewable)
Yes
RM350,000
(above 50 years old)
S$116,04810 years
(renewable)
New ZealandParent Retirement Resident VisaNZ$500,000
(maintenance)

NZ$1 million
(investment)
S$445,116
(maintenance)

S$890,232
(investment)
NZ$5,000S$4,451IndefiniteNot sure...
Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa
(above 66 years old)
NZ$500,000
(maintenance)

NZ$750,000
(investment)
S$445,116
(maintenance)

S$667,674
(investment)
2 years
(renewable)
The PhilippinesSpecial Resident Retiree's VisaUSD$50,000
(35 to 49 years old)
S$67,473NoIndefiniteYes
USD$20,000
(above 50 years old)
S$26,990USD$800S$1,080
USD$10,000
(above 35 years old & need medical care)
S$13,495USD$1,500S$2,024
ThailandNon-Immigrant O-A VisaTHB800,000S$35,391THB65,000S$2,8761 year
(renewable)
Yes

For those of you who are wondering what’s my obsession with finding tau huay in a place of retirement.

It’s actually a pretty logical thing.

Think about it.

You wouldn’t want to retire in a foreign place and not have access to your (or worse, your wife’s) favourite food in your golden years, right?


Retirement Visa for Australia

Australia Flag

Those familiar with Australia and her visas would know that there’s the Investor Retirement Visa (Subclass 405) and the Retirement Visa (Subclass 410).

However, both visas are currently repealed after the Australian government’s 2018-19 Budget announcement and are no longer open to new applicants.

It’s worth noting that as a general rule, it’s usually easier to obtain a retirement visa if you’ve lived in Australia for an extended period of time.

Or if you have dependents who already have PR status.

Since we’re focused on spending our twilight years down Under, let’s see what are our alternatives…

If You’re Starting a Business or Plan to Invest in Australia

Then your best bet is probably the Investor Visa (Subclass 891).

However, you must first be a holder of an Investor (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 162).

And have lived for a total of two years in the four years prior to the visa application

  • Minimum amount required: AUD1.5 million (S$1.4 million) worth of investments held in Australia (continuously for at least four years)
  • Income required: No
  • Length of visa: Indefinitely

Oh, and by the way, the visa will cost you AUD2,450 (S$2,271) as the main applicant.

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

Considering that cities like Melbourne and Sydney have such a vibrant expatriate community.

And the fact that you can easily find a Singaporean in a Woolies (Aussie for Woolworths Supermarket) there.

I should be able to find tau huay there.

Plus the weather’s nice — less the summers, of course.

So I’m pretty sure that the wife would be very happy to retire here.

.

.

.

IF I had S$1.4 million by the time I’m ready for retirement, that is.


Retirement Visa for Indonesia

Indonesia Flag

Under the ITAS Lansia (Visa Tinggal Terbatas untuk Wisatawan Lansia Mancanegara) or Retirement Temporary Stay Permit, you’ll be granted a one-year renewable visa to retire in Indonesia.

Note: the permit can only be renewed up to five times.

If you wish to leave the country for any reason, you’ll have to obtain a Multiple Exit Re-entry Permit, which is valid for six months or one year.

If You Are 55 Years Old and Older

The thing about retiring in Indonesia is that the government expects retirees to actively contribute to the Indonesian economy.

Meaning you’re not going to get away with living on a shoe-string budget.

  • Minimum amount required: A home purchased for USD$35,000 (S$47,228) OR 
    • USD$500 (S$675) a month in rental in Jakarta, Bandung, and Bali
    • USD$300 (S$404) a month in rental in Java Island, Batam, and Medan
    • USD$200 (S$270) a month in rental in other cities
  • You’ll also need to hire an Indonesia maid or a driver for the duration of your stay.
  • Income required: USD$1,500 (S$2,024) monthly income for each person even if you’re applying as a couple
  • Length of visa: one year

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

There’re Chinese communities in various parts of Indonesia.

And there are other Asian desserts readily available as well.

Also, I think the wife wouldn’t protest having a maid help out at home.

So yeah, Indonesia seems like a good place to retire.

HOWEVER, it’s a bummer that the Retirement Temporary Stay Permit can only be renewed for five years.

After that, we’d still need to move somewhere else.


Retirement Visa for Malaysia

Malaysia Flag

Under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme, you’ll be granted a 10-year renewable visa to retire in Malaysia.

You are also allowed to bring your spouse and unmarried children (below the age of 21) along as dependents.

However, you are expected to be financially capable of supporting yourself.

If You Are Below 50 Years Old

  • Minimum amount required: RM500,000 (S$165,782) of liquid assets
  • Income required: RM10,000 (S$3,316) monthly offshore income
  • Length of visa: 10 years

If You Are 50 Years Old and Older

  • Minimum amount required: RM350,000 (S$116,048) of liquid assets
  • Income required: RM10,000 (S$3,316) monthly offshore income
  • Length of visa: 10 years

So… Am I Allowed to Make a Withdrawal From My Liquid Assets?

From the second year onwards, you are allowed to withdraw a portion of your liquid assets for approved expenses related to:

  • House purchase
  • Car purchase
  • Education for your children in Malaysia
  • Medical purposes

However, you’ll have to maintain a minimum balance in your account.

If you’re 50 years and above: RM100,000 (S$33,163)

If you’re 50 years and below: RM150,000 (S$49,744)

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

Confirm have.

Just across the Causeway some more.


Retirement Visa for New Zealand

New Zealand Flag

There are two options when it comes to retiring in New Zealand.

If You Have an Adult Child Who Is a New Zealand Citizen or Resident (Parent Retirement Resident Visa)

You can apply to live in New Zealand permanently.

  • Minimum amount required: NZ$500,000 (S$445,116) for maintenance — independent of income and investment funds
  • Investment funds required: NZ$1 million (S$890,232) to be invested in New Zealand for four years
  • Income required: NZ$5,000 (S$4,451) monthly income
  • Length of visa: Indefinite (leads to permanent residence once you’ve completed the four-year investment period)

If You Are 66 Years Old and Older (Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa)

  • Minimum amount required: NZ$500,000 (S$445,116) for maintenance — independent of income and investment funds
  • Investment funds required: NZ$750,000 (S$667,674) to be invested in New Zealand for two years
  • Income required: NZ$5,000 (S$4,451) monthly income
  • Length of visa: Two years

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

Not really sure…

But the requirements are so high that I might as well stay in Singapore sua.


Retirement Visa for The Philippines

Philippines Flag

Under the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), you’ll be granted indefinite stay for the Philippines.

If you’re looking to make the Philippines your second home or an investment destination, then this special non-immigrant visa is perfect for you.

If You Are 35 to 49 Years Old

  • Minimum amount required: USD$50,000 (S$67,473) fixed deposit in Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) accredited banks
  • Income required: No
  • Length of visa: Indefinite

If You Are 50 Years Old and Older

  • Minimum amount required: USD$20,000 (S$26,990) fixed deposit (USD$10,000 if having a monthly pension) in PRA accredited banks
  • Income required: USD$800 (S$1,080; as singles) or USD$1,000 (S$1,350; as a couple)
  • Length of visa: Indefinite

If You Are 35 Years Old And Older + Need Medical or Clinical Care

  • Health insurance required: Policy must be accepted in the Philippines
  • Minimum amount required: USD$10,000 (S$13,495) fixed deposit
  • Income required: USD$1,500 (S$2,024) monthly pension
  • Length of visa: Indefinite

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

There aren’t that many Mr Beans in the Philippines, so that means that we’ll be living in Manila if we do choose to move there.

The requirements for the SRRV aren’t too high either.

Even though I’ve heard horror stories of the traffic in Manila, I think that the Philippines is still a worthy contender.


Retirement Visa for Thailand

Thailand Flag

Under the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa (Long Stay/Retirement), you’ll be granted a 1-year renewable visa to retire in the “Land of Smiles”.

Note: this visa will only be granted by the Royal Thai Embassy, Singapore, to Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents.

If You Are 50 Years Old and Older

  • Minimum amount required: THB800,000 (S$35,391) in a Thai bank account for two months prior to visa application
  • Income required: THB65,000 (S$2,876) monthly income (can choose to combine assets in Thai bank account with monthly income in order to meet the THB800,000 requirement)
  • Length of visa: One year

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

Sure have.

But my biggest bugbear with this retirement visa is that you have to report to Immigration every 90 days to verify your current address.

That has got to suck when I’m 70 and want to just eat my tau huay in peace.


Retirement Visa for Vietnam

Vietnam Flag

Unfortunately, there is no proper retirement visa scheme for Vietnam yet.

If you’re a Singapore Citizen, you do not need a visa if you are staying less than 30 days.

But since we’re talking about retiring there, you’ll definitely be staying longer than 30 days.

If You Are Staying Longer Than 30 Days

For that, you’ll need to apply for a Vietnam Visa at the Vietnam Embassy.

  • Minimum amount required: No
  • Income required: No
  • Length of visa: Three months (Note: NOT a retirement visa)

Types of Vietnam Visas Available

There are two types of Vietnam Visas available: Single Entry and Multiple Entry.

The Single Entry visa allows you to enter and exit Vietnam only ONCE during the validity of the visa.

So even if you enter and exit Vietnam before the granted exit date, the Single Entry visa will expire.

Instead, you’ll want to get the Multiple Entry visa which allows you to enter and exit Vietnam as many times as you wish.

Both visas come in one month or three-month validity.

When your visa is about to expire, you’ll need to apply for a renewal.

Are There Other Options Since There’s No Vietnam Retirement Visa?

If you have familial ties in Vietnam, you may be eligible for a Permanent Residence Card.

You’ll have to renew it after three years.

If you are married to a Vietnamese citizen, you may be eligible for a Five-Year Visa Exemption which grants you multiple-entry and exit privileges for Vietnam.

However, you’ll have to renew it after five years.

How Likely Will I Find Tau Huay There?

I’ve seen a Mr Bean in Ho Chi Minh before.

So I know for sure that I can definitely satisfy my wife’s tau huay cravings if we retired there.

The problem is, Vietnam doesn’t have a proper retirement visa yet.

And I really don’t want to be applying for visa renewals once every three months…

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About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
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