Residency is what lets you live in a country for as long as you want, and usually lets you enter and leave the country whenever you choose to. It’s not the same as citizenship, although it can lead to becoming a citizen.
Some countries are easier than others to become a legal resident. Others are easy to stay in without residency.
So what’s the best choice for an expat. Should you look for residency?
As with so many other expat questions, the best answer is, “it depends.”
My husband and I are living in Panama without residency. Even though we’re here full time, officially we’re here on tourist visas. As tourists, we can stay in the country for six months. When that time is up, we can leave, and come back, and that gives us another six months.
In an interesting Catch 22, if we want to drive here legally, we have to enter and come back every 90 days.
There are also lots of good residency options in Panama.
Other countries make residency difficult or downright impossible.
Some residency options lead to citizenship, others don’t.
Most countries offer some form of residency in exchange for investment. Amounts and type of investments vary widely.
So how do you decide which residency options in which countries might work for you?
Well, first of all, deciding where to live based only on residency is foolish. It’s much more important to find a country and city that offers you the quality of life you want at a price you can afford. Only after you’ve determined that — ideally by spending a long block of time there — should you consider residency.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, though, wouldn’t it be nice to have information about residency and citizenship in one place?
Introducing the Overseas Residency Kit. Kathleen Peddicord and her team at Live & Invest Overseas have put together a guide to the 27 best options for expats who want to retire or invest in another country. It pulls all this information together in one place.