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Want to Retire Overseas? Retirement Visas For Thailand, Malaysia, and Other Countries

retirement visa singaporeans

Joanne Poh

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Retiring in Singapore does not seem to be easy, judging by the number of elderly people toiling away in menial jobs, and the fact that the cost of living never stops rising.

One alternative to working till the day you die is to retire in a cheaper country.

Here are seven countries with retirement visas that Singaporeans can qualify for.

 

7 countries with retirement visas that Singaporeans can qualify for

Country Minimum amount of required (SGD) Income required? Length of visa
The Philippines $27,387 No Indefinite
Thailand $34,642 Yes 1 year
Indonesia $46,000 Proof of pension or income of at least $2,054 per person 1 year
Malaysia $118,385 No 10 years
Portugal $384,831 No Indefinite
New Zealand $1,176,425 Annual income of at least $54,101 Indefinite
Australia $190,285 Yes, need to qualify for Entrepreneur Visa Indefinite

 

Retirement visa for Malaysia

Malaysia is an increasingly popular retirement destination for Singaporeans as it’s right next door, has a similar cultural and linguistic makeup, and has a significantly lower cost of living than Singapore.

Under the Malaysia My Second Home programme, you can get a 10-year visa to retire in Malaysia once you turn 50 by opening a fixed deposit account in Malaysia containing 350,000 MYR (115,097 SGD), or showing proof of a pension of at least 10,000 MYR (3,288 SGD). CPF payouts count as a pension for the purposes of the visa.

What if you’re under 50 and just want to enjoy an early retirement? Applicants below 50 can obtain a 10-year visa (except in Sarawak) if they have liquid assets of at least 500,000 MYR (164,409 SGD), and an income (not derived from Malaysia) of at least 10,000 MYR (3,288 SGD) per month. You must also open a fixed deposit account in Malaysia containing at least 300,000 MYR (98,641 SGD).

Requirements 50 years old and above Under 50 years old
Fixed deposit account 350,000 MYR
(115,097 SGD)
300,000 MYR
(98,641 SGD)
Proof of pension 10,000 MYR
(3,288 SGD)
Liquid assets 500,000 MYR
(164,409 SGD)
Income (not from Malaysia) 10,000 MYR per month
(3,288 SGD)

The financial requirements for over-fifties aren’t too onerous when you consider that the liquid asset requirement is even less than the current CPF full retirement sum.

Sold and thinking about where the best place to retire in Malaysia is? Read about these other cities that aren’t KL, Penang, Malacca or JB.

 

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Retirement visa for Thailand

Thailand is a fantastic holiday destination, so it’s unsurprising that it’s also an increasingly popular place to retire.

The Thai retirement visa is open to those aged 50 and above. You will need to show proof of:

  • Thai bank account containing at least 800,000 THB (34,642 SGD), or a monthly income of at least 65,000 THB (2,815 SGD), or
  • A combination of the two, so long as the sum of your bank account balance and 12 months’ worth of income is at least 800,000 THB (34,642 SGD)

These are some pretty damn relaxed income requirements, but the catch is that the visa is only a year long and must be renewed every year.

There is also a five-year retirement visa with more stringent financial requirements, but it is only open to certain nationalities, and excludes Singaporeans.

 

Retirement visa for Indonesia

Whether you dream of retiring on a beach in Bali or just want to enjoy nasi padang at a lower price, Indonesia is another affordable destination offering a retirement visa.

The ITAS Lansia or Retirement Temporary Stay Permit enables those aged 55 and above to remain in Indonesia for one year and is renewable up to five times.

You must be able to show proof of pension or income of at least 1,500 USD (2,054 SGD) per month per person. If you are applying as a married couple, both of you must be able to prove you satisfy the income requirements separately, otherwise one of you will have to sponsor the other.

Unfortunately, if you are thinking of living on a shoestring budget, know that retirees are expected to spend money and boost the Indonesia economy.

Therefore, you must also show that you will be living in accommodation that, if you bought it, costs at least 35,000 USD (46,000 SGD). If you are renting accommodation, your rent must be at least 500 USD (685 SGD) a month in Jakarta, Bandung and Bali, 300 USD (411 SGD) in Java, Batam and Medan, or 200 USD (274 SGD) elsewhere.

You are also required to employ an Indonesian maid for the duration of your stay.

 

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Retirement visa for The Philippines

Singaporeans rarely think of the Philippines as a place for retirement, but they should, since the cost of living there is very low and their retirement visa is one of the easiest to qualify for.

Thanks to the Philippines’ Special Resident Retiree’s Visa, it is possible to retire with a mere 20,000 USD (27,387 SGD) time deposit if you are 50 years old and older.

If you are 50 and above and have a pension of at least 800 USD (1,095 SGD) as a single or 1,000 USD (1,369 SGD) as a couple, you only need to get a time deposit of 10,000 USD (13,693 SGD)

If you are aged 35 to 49 and want to retire early, you can do with a 50,000 USD (68,467 SGD) time deposit.

And if you are a former citizen of the Philippines aged at least 35, you get to retire in the Philippines with a time deposit of a mere 1,500 USD (2,054 SGD).

 

Retirement visa for New Zealand

If you’d like to retire in a developed country where English is the main language, New Zealand is one option.

In order to qualify for a Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa enabling you to stay up to 2 years, you’ll have to be at least 66 years old.

The first financial requirement is that you invest at least 750,000 NZD (676,425 SGD) over two years. You must also inform the New Zealand government of how you plan to invest that money, such as through property, shares, business and so on.

You’ll also have to show that you have at least 500,000 NZD (450,935 SGD) as maintenance funds, AND an annual income of at least 60,000 NZD (54,101 SGD) or more.

It seems that you need so much money to retire in New Zealand that it’d be easier to just stay in Singapore.

 

Retirement visa for Australia

Australia is the most popular Western country for Singaporeans living abroad, so it’s no wonder many dream of retiring there.

The Investor Retirement Visa lets you live and even work in Australia if you are over 55. The visa is four years long and can be renewed. You should either be prepared to start an Australian business or invest at least 1.5 million AUD (1.43 million SGD).

Alternatively, if you can get at least 200,000 AUD (190,285 SGD) in funding for a business in Australia, you might qualify for an Entrepreneur Visa.

Obviously, we are not all Mr Moneybags. That’s why many Singaporeans retire in Australia by getting sponsorship from a relative, usually their child, who has obtained PR or citizenship.

 

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Retirement visa for Portugal

Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, and with lots of beaches and sunshine, could be a good base from which to explore the rest of Europe. It’s already a very popular retirement destination for EU citizens from Western Europe.

As a non-EU citizen, you can apply for a visa that will let you live in Portugal through the Golden Visa scheme. This is particularly attractive as you will be able to travel through the Schengen area, too.

In order to qualify, you will need to fulfil at least one of their investment requirements. There are many requirements on the list, and you can choose which one you wish to fulfil.

These include buying property valued at at least 500,000 euro (769,600 SGD), investing at least 350,000 (538,804 SGD) in research activities conducted by a research institution in the science and tech system, transferring a capital investment of a least 250,000 euro (384,831 SGD) in support of Portuguese arts or national heritage, or invest in 500,000 euro (769,600 SGD) worth of shares in investment funds or venture capital for Portuguese SMEs. If you run a business, you can also get a visa if you create at least ten job positions in Portugal.

 

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What else should you consider when retiring overseas?

Cost isn’t the only factor you need to consider. Here are some things to think about before you pack up and leave:

  • Availability and cost of medical care: Not all retirement visas will qualify you for free or subsidised healthcare. You will need to find out how much healthcare costs, and if you need to be covered by private health insurance, how much your premiums will be. If you are moving to a developing country, you will also want to consider the standard of healthcare, and the viability of returning to Singapore on short notice if you need to see a doctor.
  • Return to Singapore: If you intend to return to Singapore often, you’ll want to factor in the cost of flights as well as travel time.
  • Transport: Cars are likely to be cheaper than they are in Singapore, but you’ll also want to consider the ease of use of public transportation options.
  • Safety and living conditions: As a retiree, you might have less tolerance for challenging living conditions than you did when you were younger. Also consider factors such as air pollution and crime rate.
  • Culture and language: Moving abroad requires you to adapt to the local culture and learn the basics of the local language. It’s best to pick a place where you already speak the language, where you are motivated to learn it or where English is widely spoken.

 

How much you need to retire and Singapore retirement age

According to Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the minimum retirement age in Singapore is 62 years old, which basically means that your employer cannot request that you retire before you turn 62 if you are a Singaporean citizen or PR.

How much you need for retirement really depends on when you want to stop working and when you expect to live until. It also varies depending on your lifestyle.

If you are a minimalist person with a clean bill of health well into old age, you will need less than someone who enjoys material pleasures or someone who has expensive and recurring medical bills.

So, there’s no hard and fast rule as to how much you need for retirement. You need to sit down and plan in order to accurately estimate how much you need for your retirement.

Read our starter guide on how to start retirement planning if you have no clue.

Where do you want to retire? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.