5 Southeast Asian countries with retirement visas for foreigners

By Hoang Phong   July 22, 2023 | 03:30 am PT
5 Southeast Asian countries with retirement visas for foreigners
Tourists enjoy at a beach in Thailand, on March 20, 2020. Photo by AFP
Southeast Asia has recently emerged as an ideal hub for global retirees thanks to its tropical weather and cheap cost of living, but only five countries now offer visas specifically for global retirees.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, offers a visa for elderly and retired individuals with a period of one year, which can be renewed annually for up to five years. Those holding the retirement visa are not allowed to work in Indonesia.

To be eligible for the visa, foreigners aged 55 years and above, who can provide a guarantee letter from a tourism board as a guarantor, are required to show a proof of at least $1,500 a month in funds and health insurance.

They also need to submit a proof of accommodation in Indonesia and proof of having employed an Indonesian maid or domestic helper.

Since 2002, Malaysia has launched a retirement visa policy called "Malaysia My Second Home Program" in which applicants are divided into age-based categories of 25 to 49 years and 50 years and above.

The visa program allows foreigners to live in Malaysia for up to 10 years.

Those under the age of 50 must have liquid assets worth a minimum of RM500,000 ($118,500) and an offshore income of at least RM10,000 ($2,370) per month.

For those from 50 and above, they are required to have at least RM350,000 in liquid assets and an offshore income of at least RM10,000 per month.

Obtaining a retirement visa in Malaysia enables foreign retirees to purchase a house, set up their business and get a domestic helper.

Thailand recently introduced a special policy for retirees aged 50 years and over with a 10-year multiple entry renewable visa, fast-track service at Thai airports, tax exemption for overseas income and a work permit among other privileges.

To be eligible for the visa policy, foreign retirees are required to have an annual pension or stable income of at least $80,000 per year at the time of application.

The Philippines, home to more than 64,000 foreign retirees, has launched a Special Residence Retiree's Visa program, allowing wealthy foreigners to hold a multiple-entry visa and the right to reside in the Philippines indefinitely.

For those at least 50 years old and above, they need to have a deposit of $10,000 and a monthly pension of $800.

Deposits for applicants aged 35 to 49 years old was $50,000 while those aged from 50 and above who do not receive monthly pension need to have a deposit of $20,000.

Though travel experts believed that Vietnam has great potentials to become a paradise for global retirees, the country has yet to implemented any specific policies to lure retiree tourists, as it has only exempted visas for 24 tourism markets with a limited stay duration of 15-30 days.

The Cambodia retirement visa program allows foreigners to stay for up to 12 months. They can apply to extend it for another year with multiple-entry after it expires. The visa fee costs $290 per person.

Obtaining a Cambodian retirement visa allows foreigners to rent and own a property and purchase a car. To be eligible for the visa, foreigners must be 55 of age or older, prove that they are retired and unemployed, and have sufficient financial means.

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