You must prove that you have sufficient monthly income to retire legally in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In the post-pandemic world, when economies are struggling, countries are trying all sorts of gimmicks to breathe new life into the local scene.

But whether you’re looking to live and earn legally in another country, or just want to find a safer, happier place abroad where your nest egg will go further, there’s one question that could very well determine where you should concentrate your efforts. :

How much money should I bring in each month?

Virtually every visa application you will encounter – retirement or work related – will require an answer to this question. Depending on what income you can legally prove, you may or may not be eligible to live in your country of choice. Take, for example, the Cayman Islands. His new remote worker visa requires proof of income of at least $100,000 per year. Some people can easily cover that. Others cannot. And if you’re in the “can’t” crowd, it clearly doesn’t make sense to even consider the Caymans as a potential destination.

All of which brings us to the big question: how much money do I need to earn to live in X? (Note: I use “earn” loosely. No one earns Social Security or retirement income; those are passive. “Earn” is just shorthand for how much you need each month from the job or social security, pensions, rental income, etc. to qualify for a residency visa in a particular country.) This range of income needed to live in a particular country is all over the map, as one might to be expected, given the wide range of costs from country to country. But the cost of living often does not match the official income requirements. France is more expensive than Thailand, for example, but the Southeast Asian nation requires you to prove nearly four times the income France does.

Finally, check these numbers as you do your research; they change from time to time. Also, the dollar amounts I have listed will fluctuate due to currency fluctuations.


Let’s start with Europe, as it tends to be the holy grail for so many looking to live or retire abroad.

Portugal is becoming a preferred destination due to its moderate cost of living, fabulous food and wine, world-class healthcare, and climate and geography reminiscent of California in the South.

If you apply for a so-called D7 visa (it allows you to live and work in Portugal), you will need to prove €7,200 in income per year, or the equivalent of around $740 per month. If two of you apply for a visa together, increase the amount by 50%.

To qualify for Franceanother popular destination (and actually quite affordable outside of Paris), you’ll need €564 per month (about $696) for yourself, or €840 ($1,036) as a couple, if you’re under 65. If you’re older than that, then you need around €870 ($1,073) as a single, or €1,350 ($1,666) as a couple.

From there, the numbers climb rapidly. In Spaina residency visa for retirees requires €25,560 per year, plus €6,390 for each additional family member, or $2,628 or $3,285 per month, depending on whether you are single or in a relationship. Greece requires €2,000 ($2,468) plus an additional 20% for a spouse, for a monthly requirement of $2,468/$2,961. Italymeanwhile, is $3,185 single or $3,900 as a couple.

Latin America

In Latin America, you can generally expect much lower monthly income requirements.

Last fall, for example, Ecuador lowered its minimum to just $400 a month, with no additional income requirement for a spouse. Argentina is 30,000 pesos, which because the Argentinian peso is such a disaster currency, is only 350 dollars at the moment.

In Colombiayou will need 2.633 million pesos (about $765 per month), which is three times the national monthly minimum income.

In Peru, Costa Ricaand Panamayou’ll need $1,000 a month, but if you’re in a relationship, Panama bumps that up by $250, while Peru bumps it up by $500.

Chile is generally satisfied with a monthly income between $1,000 and $1,500. Uruguay settles for around $1,500, though there’s technically no set minimum. Mexico is $1,620 per month, plus $540 for a spouse. Belize is at the higher end – $2,000 per month.


Asia tends to be a more difficult continent for residency visas without large investments. But a few countries offer special retirement visas that you can get with proven retirement income.

In Thailand, you’ll typically need 65,000 baht ($2,175) per month, plus a security deposit of 800,000 baht ($26,760). Malaysia is a little more at 10,000 Malaysian ringgits, or $2,500.

the Philippines is significantly lower at just $800 per month for a single person, or $1,000 if you’re in a relationship. You will also need to make a term deposit of $10,000 in a Philippine bank.

Vietnam and Cambodia (two beautiful countries) do not specifically offer long-term residency to foreigners, although many opt for some sort of endless temporary residency via visa extensions. Neither country sets a minimum monthly income.

This story was originally published in International Living.

Comments are closed.