Within the list of the 10 best countries around the world to retire from working life, a travel magazine, called Travel + Leisure, ranked the Dominican Republic in third place when it comes to retirement.
According to the prestigious magazine, only Panama and Portugal surpass the Dominican Republic. The considerations for the Dominican Republic to occupy the third place are based, among other factors, on the ease of obtaining residency, the health system, the climate and the cost of living.
In the list, published by the Infobae portal, it is specified that Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, the rent is 90% lower than in New York and the cost of living is 55% less.
Here are 10 of the best places to retire in the world, according to Travel + Leisure:
This Central American country has become a retirement destination, in part due to its proximity to the U.S., climate and welcoming atmosphere. The cost of living can fit most budgets, depending on location and style of housing.
The government has made retirement in Panama especially attractive with the “pensionado visa,” a plan that requires a pension income of at least $1,000 a month and offers benefits that include discounts on a variety of services and a tax exemption on the importation of household goods. With a valid passport, visitors can stay for three months, but for permanent residency, a local immigration lawyer must handle the details.
Panama has a two-tier health care system with public and private hospitals, clinics and doctors, both requiring co-payments for services, with lower costs in the public system. Most retirees choose the private system which offers excellent care and facilities at reasonable prices, covered by private insurance or self-pay.
Portugal has become one of the most popular retirement destinations in recent years for Europeans and others from around the world. The mild climate, beautiful scenery and welcoming citizens are some of the reasons.
Housing and the general cost of living are reasonable, with variations from city to city. Costs in Lisbon and Porto are about 50% lower than in New York, and living in Porto costs slightly less than in Lisbon.
Legal residents can register with the National Health Service to access public hospitals and health centers, paying for services as they go. For others, medical care is generally covered by private insurance. Health insurance is required as a condition for receiving a residence permit, along with a passport and proof of income. Retirees must apply at a local consulate for a residence permit that is valid for five years, and then must apply for a permanent permit when it expires.
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Most retirees purchase private health insurance as they are not eligible for government programs, and quality medical care in private hospitals is available at reasonable prices.
The Dominican Republic offers a retirement or “pensionado” visa with proof of at least $1,500 in monthly income, background check, and birth certificate. Retirees can enter the country on a tourist visa and then apply for a retirement visa, which takes several months.
Most expats live in the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago, and there are beautiful resort towns such as Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Boca Chica. Certain areas are not considered safe, so it is advisable to do your research before moving.
The warm climate, welcoming culture and a variety of environments, from coastal beach towns to sophisticated cities, make Spain a desirable place to retire. The country’s highly qualified healthcare system includes public medical care for citizens and residents who contribute to social security. Most expatriates opt for private healthcare covered by insurance.
There are several different types of visas available, but for retirees from countries outside the European Union, the residence visa is generally used. The first permit is for one year, with renewals for up to five years, at which point retirees can apply for a residency visa.
The cost of living varies among Spain’s major cities, and settling outside the cities is generally cheaper. For example, in the coastal city of Alicante, the cost of living is approximately 48% lower than in New York, and rent is approximately 80% lower than in New York. Groceries and dinners in Spain’s excellent cuisine are generally less expensive than in New York.
This Central American country, where “pura vida” is a greeting and description of culture, stretches from the Caribbean to the Pacific, with jungles, jungles and beaches. Costs vary as much as the surroundings, but in general, the cost of living in Costa Rica is reasonable. For example, in the city of San Jose, the cost of housing is 83% lower than in New York, and the cost of living is 53% lower.
Some ways to become a resident include the Pensionado Program, which requires a monthly income of at least $1,000. Those funds must be transferred to a Costa Rican bank to be withdrawn for expenses. The Rentista Program, for those without a monthly pension, requires a minimum of $60,000 or monthly income of $2,500 for at least two years.
Medical care is available through public and private systems. For residents, the national medical program (with no co-payments or exclusions) is available along with the option of private care with out-of-pocket expenses that can be self-insured or paid through a private insurance policy.
The population of this small Mediterranean country is nearly 15% expatriate, mostly from continental Europe, Australia and the UK. Malta’s attractions include climate, location, beaches and architectural beauty. English is widely spoken; Malta was once part of the British Empire. The cost of living is only 4% lower than in the United States, and housing is about 30% less. Groceries and restaurant dinners are reasonably priced.
Private medical care is recommended as expatriates do not have access to national health insurance. To obtain permanent residency, a “self-sufficiency” visa requires about $60,000 in assets, proof of health insurance, and a 15% annual tax. The Permanent Residency program requires about $600,000 in assets, financial contributions to the government, and purchase of real estate.
Located in northwestern South America, Ecuador is the gateway to the Galapagos and is home to an active volcano and miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. Its low cost of living attracts retirees, especially those who enjoy adventure and appreciate nature.
In the city of Cuenca, a popular place for expatriates, the cost of living is 66% cheaper than in New York and rents are about 88% lower than in New York. Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, and many people in major cities speak English.
Health care services are approximately 25% lower in cost than in the United States, the quality is high, and all citizens and visitors are guaranteed care. Foreign retirees can join the government system for less than $100 per month for full coverage or can provide proof of private health insurance.
Permanent residency visas are available once a person has lived in Ecuador for at least 21 months on a temporary visa. Minimum income requirements, real estate investments or bank deposits are required as part of the temporary visa application.
Mexico’s low cost of living and nearby location attract a large number of retirees from the United States and Canada. In addition, as a tourist destination, Mexico is familiar to many visitors who have vacationed there over the years. The country offers a wide range of locations, lifestyles, climates and costs of living, making it the premier retirement destination for Americans who choose to leave the US.
Medical care is available through two government-run programs that cover low-income residents or require payment of a premium. Private hospitals and specialists offer high-quality, low-cost care, and many retirees simply pay cash for services or maintain private insurance.
Becoming a resident is relatively easy, with income requirements of about $2,100 per month for temporary residency and $2700 for permanent residency. Bank account requirements are around $36,000 and $149,000, respectively. Temporary residency is for up to four years with provisions to reapply after that point, and applications are processed through the Mexican Consulate in the United States (or country of residence).
This South American country, located on the northwest coast of the continent, offers beaches, rainforest, mountains and a variety of cities. Colombia has increasingly become a popular tourist destination, and many visitors have discovered its attractions as a retirement home.