How To Establish Residency And Acquire Second Citizenship In The World’s Top Retirement Havens

“Kathleen, I did a search and found that what I have been reading from you is not as you represent it to be.

“For example, I have been to Colombia a couple of times. They limit the amount of time you can stay there. So an extended stay beyond five or six months is not possible.

“I noticed when I went to many of the other countries you mention and researched that the same applies. You cannot go for a year. If you want to live in another country, you have to return to the United States half the year. That makes no sense to me. Yet many of your ads recommend retiring and staying permanently in the countries you write about. From what I can see, it is very difficult, and you have to do this back and forth for several years before you could even apply for a citizenship there.”

–Dennis L., United States

First, you’re confusing citizenship with residency. “Residency” is the right to be physically present for a particular amount of time (to “reside”) in a country. Being a resident of a country does not make you a citizen of that country. Becoming a citizen of another country requires more extraordinary measures and is not always possible.

Next, your idea that it is possible to reside only up to six months in any given country before having to return to your home country is also confused. Perhaps you’re looking at tourist visa information. A tourist can’t stay on anywhere indefinitely (typically, a tourist visa limits your stay to 90 or maybe as many as 180 days with extensions). However, a legal foreign resident can reside in a country for as long as his residency status allows–that is, in some cases, for the rest of his life, if that’s what he’d like to do.

It is possible, in fact, to obtain residency as a foreigner for most countries we recommend in these dispatches, and we try to point out the exceptions. It’s difficult, for example, to obtain full-time residency as a foreigner in Croatia, so we recommend that country for part-time retirement, which allows you to avoid the issue altogether.

However, it’s important to note that choosing to spend only part of each year in a particular country (Croatia, for example) does not mean you must return to the United States for the rest of the year. You could choose to spend six months in Croatia and six months in Mexico…or four months each in Argentina, Thailand, and France…etc. In fact, returning to the States for an extended stay each year would be especially difficult if you were, say, a U.K. national, as Brits are eligible for only 90-day tourist visas in the United States.

All the particulars related to establishing foreign residency in our top havens are detailed in full in our ” Passport To Freedom: The World’s Top Havens For Residency, Citizenship, And A Second Passport,” available here.

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