The United States is great place to live, but there are a growing number of citizens looking to move outside of its borders, particularly as they approach retirement age. Moreover, at least 1,788 Americans officially renounced their citizenship in 2011, exceeding the totals of 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined, according to data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Requirements for permanent visas vary from country to country. There are a few key similarities that emerge among countries from around the world. While marrying a new husband or wife may provide residency in most cases, this article will discuss some easier ways to obtain a permanent visa that can eventually turn into citizenship over time.

SEE: What Americans Need To Know About Living Abroad

Retirement and Guaranteed Income
Many countries try to attract retirees that have guaranteed income, since they do not seek jobs and spend money on local goods and services. For instance, Panama's well-known pensionista program not only provides a permanent visa to live in the country, but also offers many tax advantages and even discounts to those retiring in the Central American country.

Many times, countries will also offer a permanent visa to those that can prove guaranteed income over their lifetime. For example, Costa Rica's rentista visa provides a five-year visa - that can usually be converted to a permanent visa after three years - to those who can show a guaranteed income stream coming in from a source outside of the country's borders.

The major requirement for these programs is a guaranteed income, which can include company pensions, social security, annuities or other similar programs. There are, of course, some exceptions for foreign income originated from a telecommuting job, as long as the employment contract is long-term and from a reputable international company.

Investments and Starting a Business
Investing in real estate is another great way to obtain a permanent visa in many countries. These countries benefit by boosting their property tax revenues and real estate markets through foreign investment. For instance, Thailand's investment visa provides a permanent visa to those investing more than 10,000,000 THB (US$318,450) in real estate.

Other countries have similar investment visas for those looking to start companies or those who are self-employed. For example, Canada's Self-Employed Visa and Entrepreneur Immigrant programs provide routes to permanent residency for those who are either self-employed or looking to start a company within the country's borders.

Countries are always seeking new ways to foster job growth and boost asset prices, which makes these visas possible. While the terms for these investment visas differ from country to country, many countries around the world offer very affordable possibilities to U.S. citizens, particularly in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The Bottom Line
Those looking to obtain a permanent visa under one of these programs should consult a lawyer that specializes in immigration in the country of your choice. In addition, a lot of information can be found on the country's embassy website or by contacting representatives at these embassies for more information on the requirements and application process.

Those moving from the U.S. should also remember that worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax regardless of the person's country of residence.

In the end, a permanent visa to live in a foreign country can be obtained in a variety of different ways. From real estate investment to retirement income, many countries can help you establish a path towards residency.

Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Is Retiring in France Safe Today?

    After a series of deadly terrorist incidents, some may be asking themselves this question.
  2. Investing Basics

    The Top 4 Income Investments for Retirees in 2016

    These four investment types should mitigate risk in 2016 for retirees seeking income.
  3. Investing

    Why We’re Bearish On U.S. Housing

    Hedgeye analyst Josh Steiner discusses the reasons behind our decision to go from bullish to bearish on the U.S. housing market.
  4. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    What People Hate About Financial Advisors

    Advisors need to make a living too, but doing so by cutting corners at a client's expense isn't right. Here are the top complaints against advisors.
  5. Personal Finance

    5 Places Where Your Travel Dollar Goes Furthest

    The dollar is pretty strong right now, but where is it strongest? Canada? South Africa? Europe? Here are five places to travel to right now on a budget.
  6. Your Clients

    Top Tips to Transition into Retirement Confidently

    Here are some of the best ways to make the transition to retirement painless.
  7. Retirement

    When to Fire Your Advisor and Go Robo-Advisor

    Human financial advisor or robo-advisor: Which suits your needs best? Here are some general tips to help guide you to the right professional.
  8. Investing Basics

    How to Get More Yield From Your Investments

    Yield seeking investors can boost the amount of income their investments generate through tweaking their portfolio of stocks and bonds.
  9. Career Education & Resources

    Laws & Regulations To Know Before Changing the Name of Your Business

    Discover some of the most important steps you need to take after making a decision to change your legally established business name.
  10. Personal Finance

    Passport Procrastinators: This Year, Renew Early!

    Millions of passports issued nearly 10 years ago when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative became law are expiring. Expect backlogs; leave extra time.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the maximum I can receive from my Social Security retirement benefit?

    The maximum monthly Social Security benefit payment for a person retiring in 2016 at full retirement age is $2,639. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the Writ of Mandamus?

    A writ of mandamus is a court order issued by a judge at a petitioner’s request compelling someone to execute a duty he is ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does my spousal Social Security benefit work?

    If you have never worked or paid Social Security taxes, you will not be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why are most airplane tickets nonrefundable?

    Airplane tickets are generally nonrefundable, because the majority of tickets sold are discount tickets. In exchange for ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How liquid are variable annuities?

    Variable deferred annuities and variable immediate annuities are not considered liquid. Variable deferred annuities carry ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  2. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  3. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  4. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
  5. Godfather Offer

    An irrefutable takeover offer made to a target company by an acquiring company. Typically, the acquisition price's premium ...
Trading Center