08/05/2013 08:11 am ET

Moving Abroad? The World's Top 21 Residency Havens


Most countries want to attract tourism dollars and so they make it easy for people to visit -- so long as they plan to leave again within a specific time frame (usually 30 to 90 days). But, in the case of retiring abroad, how welcome would you be to put down roots and make a country your adopted home? It's not always easy to find a place that will roll out the red carpet for retirees wanting to be long-term residents. Each country has its own rules and regulations about who can remain.

And that's why Live and Invest Overseas has compiled a list of 21 countries that offer residency visas with reasonable requirements.

Even so, the requirements vary considerably, and most countries offer more than one option. Both your financial situation and age will play a role in what options might be available to you. Many countries require you to show proof of a certain level of income.

Generally speaking, Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of Live and Invest Overseas, said that some countries go out of their way to attract foreign retirees.

"Many Latin American countries, for example, offer what are referred to as 'pensionado' residency programs intended to make it very appealing for foreigners to take up full-time residence in retirement," she told Huff/Post50. "Panama, Ecuador and Nicaragua, for example, all offer pensionado programs that make it possible for qualifying retirees to bring personal possessions, household goods and even a car into the country with them completely tax-free.

"Panama’s pensionado program also comes with many other special benefits and perks for retirees to this country, from discounts on in-country air travel, hotels and restaurants to savings on doctor’s visits, prescription medications, even closing costs for a home," she added.

Those seeking a retiree or pensioner visa for residency in a Latin American country will most likely have to prove that they receive a pension in an amount that meets the country's minimum requirement. That minimum varies by country, ranging from $400 a month to $1,000 or more. This means that a U.S. citizen receiving the average monthly Social Security check (which is about $1,100) would be eligible for a retiree or pensionado visa in at least a few countries south of the border.

To check out the complete list of 21 countries recommended by Live and Invest Overseas, see the slideshow below. What do you think? Would you like to move to any of these places? Let us know in comments.

The World's 21 Best Places To Call Home
The World's 21 Best Places To Call Home