10 Countries You Can Emigrate to If You're Over 50

Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Tourists Walking on the Beach Along Colorful Bungalows with Souvenirs


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Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Tourists Walking on the Beach Along Colorful Bungalows with Souvenirs

Emigration Options

The number of Americans giving up their citizenship and hightailing it for other countries looks to be on the rise again — maybe because offices processing the requests are getting to their pandemic backlogs and maybe for more serious reasons. As of May 15, a total of 5,315 US citizens renounced their US citizenship, a significant increase from the 2,390 US citizens who did so in 2022.

Numbers have been up for years, up to 5,344 in 2016, says Bambridge Accountants, a company specializing in preparing taxes for expats. The figure was only 1,534 a decade ago, when a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act went into effect.

But relocating with a resident visa to another country is not as easy for some Americans as for others. Those over the age of 50 might find themselves shut out of residency in some of the world's most popular countries, such as Australia (unless of course you can  meet strict criteria). Here are some countries still happy to become new homes to relocating people over 50.

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Aerial of Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand, Scenic View Before Sunset
Myriam Munoz/istockphoto

New Zealand

You can't be an Aussie; how about being a Kiwi? New Zealand, Australia's neighbor in the South Pacific, offers several visa options, including a Work to Residence visa for those 55 or younger. To qualify, you must have a skill that's in short supply and work with an accredited employer. The country's immigration website notes that many of its work visa options are available to applicants of all ages, just in case getting resident status is not a must. 

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Aerial of Numerous Hotels and Condos in Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Beach on the Right

Dominican Republic

Known for political and economic stability and a pleasant climate, the Dominican Republic made residency visas essential not long ago for those planning to live there long term: Without one you can't get a driver's license, car insurance, a bank account, or a mobile phone contract. There's no age limit, but you must be able to comply with at least one of the country's residency visa conditions, such as employment, getting a monthly pension of at least $1,500 or monthly rental income of at least $2,000, or being prepared to invest $200,000 in the country in the form of a business or home purchase.

Related: Bucket List Destinations for Foodies

Câmara de Lobos on Madeira, Portugal During Sunset, Many Colorful Boats in the Ocean
Juergen Sack/istockphoto


Portugal is popular among relocating Americans thanks to its picturesque geography, well-respected health care offerings, and affordability. Residency visas are open to retirees, who must apply for a D-7 Residence Visa while still in their home country. Key requirements for eligibility include proving you can provide for your monthly living expenses through either work income or retirement funds (typically about $1,000 per person); retaining an international health insurance policy that has an expiration at least one year in the future; and having a clean criminal background. 

Cuenca, Ecuador, Panoramic View of the City with Mountains in the Background


The bureaucratic process can be daunting and is best handled by hiring an immigration lawyer, but there's no age limit for getting a resident visa for Ecuador, which lets you stay permanently and import household goods duty-free — in fact, if you're 65-plus, resident status entitles you to half-price bus transportation, half-price movie tickets, discounted airfare, a free landline (remember those?), and a refund on local taxes. If you're not retired but still hope to relocate, check out the Category 60-II visa that covers those with stable monthly income from sources outside Ecuador such as investments, rental properties, or wages.

Related: Rainforest Adventures for Frugal Travelers

A Man and a Woman Embark in a Sea Kayak Near the Barrier Reef, Caribbean Sea, Belize, Kayak on the Left


Yet another warm-weather option particularly popular among expats, Central America's Belize puts no age limit on resident visas. But if you want a visa, you must first live in the country for 50 consecutive weeks on a tourist visa, renewed every 30 days. After that, you can apply for permanent residence, paying a nonrefundable $2,000 and proving financial stability. You'll need to undergo a medical exam and provide a clean police background check from Belize and your home country. As a former British colony, Belize's official language is English — but there are cons as well, including less reliable health care.

Related: Things You Must Do While Traveling Central America

Port of Valletta, Malta, Ocean on the Right


First things first: Malta is gorgeous. With its turquoise waters, sunny climate, and charming villages, English-speaking Malta is a nation worth visiting, and living there could be downright dreamy — and the country's immigration website says permanent residence is "open to everyone," without age restriction. The country also has cheap but slow health care in general. To become a permanent resident, you'll need to buy or rent a property in Malta or Gozo (one of the Maltese islands) and pay a minimum annual tax liability on foreign income earned while in the country.

Palm Trees Against Skyline of Panama City, Panama


The Friendly Nations visa (officially called Permanent Residence for Nationals of Specific Countries) is your ticket to long-term residence in Panama if you're 50-plus. One of the countries that gets top marks from the International Living website for quality of life abroad, Panama offers the visa you want to those who own real estate or a business in Panama, or who have a job in the country. It courts qualifying retirees with perks on health care, utility bills, travel, and entertainment.

Scenic View of Arenal Volcano in Central Costa Rica During Sunrise, Lush, Green Hills in the Foreground

Costa Rica

An eco-tourist mecca known for lush jungles and tropical climate, as well as an extremely high standard of living and peaceful government, Costa Rica is another welcoming option for those concerned about age limits for long-term residency. Available resident visa options here include the Rentista and Pensionado programs. The Rentista Program is a good choice for professionals who are not yet retired and thus unable to provide proof of a monthly pension; they must be able to show $2,500 in verifiable monthly income for the past two years. The Pensionado Program, on the other hand, requires having a minimum of $1,000 a month in lifelong income from either a pension, Social Security, 401(k), or an IRA.

La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Colorful Building in the Center, Surrounded By Green Trees, People Walking on Cobble Stone Streets


Argentina offers everything from subtropical jungle to cosmopolitan cities comparable to Paris. This country is home to a significant expat population (many living in Buenos Aires). Known for welcoming, liberal visa policies, Argentina offers various relocation options: Its Rentista visa is open to people with a steady, guaranteed monthly income of 30,000 Argentine pesos (as of October, that's only about $192); it is valid only for a year, but can be renewed up to three times — and after that you can apply for permanent residency. Under this visa you can be self-employed or start a business, but not work for someone else.

Colorful Flags Line Top of the Street in the Town of Sayulita, Mexico, Looking Up, Shop Buildings on Both Sides
Marilyn Nieves/istockphoto


With its low cost of living and proximity to the United States, Mexico is one of the most popular expat destinations. Professional, affordable medical care is a bonus, International Living says. A temporary residency visa — for people who want to stay in the country longer than six months but less than four years — is one of the best ways to approach a long-term stay and has no age restriction, while having lower income requirements, at about $2,593 per month. After four years, you can apply for permanent residency. Some of the perks of being an officially declared temporary resident of Mexico include being able to buy and register a car, open a bank account, and import household goods without paying duty. You'll also have unrestricted entry and exit rights.