Today starts a legal series on Residencies – Permanent Visas. So many people from the Radio Show or YouTube, The Expat Files and this blog ask about what does it take to get off the Tourist Visa merry-go-round. In this little country that merry-go-round requires you to exit the country once every 90 days to stay current and technically you need to be out for 72 hours. Most border agents say you only need to be out overnight, but the law, should they ever choose to enforce says 72 hours.
The next challenge for this is running to El Salvador or to Honduras which are both easy and convenient don’t work. Nor does Nicaragua or Costa Rica. With those exceptions off the board, it leaves Belize, 12 hour drive each way, Mexico, 6 hours each way, a flight to the US or to Panama and points south. That works good when you are flush with cash. Not so good when things get tight.
Next on a lot of people’s agenda is to find a place where it is less expensive to live than the US. Where their retirement funds can be stretched as much as 5 times further. A place where getting a permanent visa is easy to obtain. What seems to be happening is that countries are stiffening their laws. Quite recently Uruguay made some dramatic changes. In a place where that second passport was a snap if you had enough cash, all of a sudden the process has been extended and now the costs have skyrocketed. Other permanent residencies programs especially for pensioners have also been made more difficult.
There is a little country we will get to where you can fly in, start the process and fly back out after a couple of weeks while not having to maintain residence in the country during the next year. There used to be many more, but whether it is just countries changing or countries being coerced by the US to change those loophole countries are fast disappearing.
Why would one want to fly in and fly out for that visa. Well, maybe the person will not be retiring and moving in the next years. Maybe they want to get their Plan B started and have a haven they can go to. Maybe they just want to have options. Or Maybe They Want To Get Their Second Passport Process started. For some reason losing my sovereignty when living outside the US leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
In this series we will explore several countries over the next few weeks. I am pretty sure Johnny will also talk about it on the YouTube Channel, The Expat Files, but here I will start with “those golden countries”. The ones everyone thinks they want to live in before they have any or many facts. Like “the Paradise of Costa Rica”. It has to be nice. Everyone says it is nice. And Belize and Panama. I hear these all the time. They look good, they smell good, but one soon finds out they are but mere empty promises.
If you look back to my early blogs you will see that one of my earliest was about Stumbling into ¿Paradise?. I went to a small country that in all my research never, NEVER came to the top or even appeared. Why? Why that country, because they had a seminar that didn’t seem to be a sales one. You know, the speaker speaks for 3 hours, you break for lunch and then they sell you products for the next 5 hours. Great for the guy putting on the seminar, II, but leads to disasters for the attendees. Sometimes ill thought out investments and sometimes just plain crooks that haven’t been caught yet.
I ended up in a country where the ghosts of 1,000 years ago still roam the streets. Where charm and warmth walk hand in hand. Where smiles abound. Where 78 is the edge of hot and where 64 is the edge of cold. Where it is spring year around.
As I said, that little country turned out to be a gem. And a Gem for everyone is in the eye of the beholder. Vegetables 1/5 the cost in the US. Housing 60% to 70%. Homicides 2/3s of New Orleans. Alti Plano where people don’t have or need space heaters or fireplaces and don’t need air conditioning. Remember John Kerry says AC is more dangerous than Global Warming and ISIS and a Nuclear Iran and a North Korea with missiles purchased from Germany and the US that can deliver to the their targets. So that little country especially in the Altiplano regions is like a peace and climate paradise.
So from our Lawyer, Jose, next week we will talk about Costa Rica, The Dream and The Reality as far as residency goes.
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