Countries worldwide are increasingly opening their doors to new residents and citizens who can demonstrate reasonable financial independence to support themselves. These programs are commonly referred to as income or non-lucrative visas, and they vary in restrictions and classifications depending on the country. Some of the names for these visas include Passive Income Visa, Income Visa, Person of Independent Means Visa, Freelancer Visa, Non-Lucrative Visa, Rentista Visa, or Retirement Visa. In this article, we will delve into the types of income that may qualify for non-lucrative visas and explore residency options worldwide.
Understanding passive income vs. active income
Some countries offer visas that cater to specific types of income. There are two primary income categories for immigration purposes: passive and active.
Passive income typically refers to money earned without the recipient actively working for it at the time of payment. Passive income sources include rental income, dividends from uninvolved company ownership, pension income, annuities, or income generated from silent business partnerships. It includes income earned with minimal effort on the recipient’s part.
On the other hand, active income involves earning income through active work, including freelancing, self-employment, or being employed by a company.
Countries also consider the source of your income. Income originating outside their borders is often more appealing to them, as it contributes to their local economy.
Many individuals aspire to spend their retirement years in a new environment. Retiring abroad has become increasingly popular, leading governments to introduce retirement visa programs. These programs generally come with age requirements, typically ranging from 45 to 60 years old, and often necessitate proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage.
Minimum income requirements for non-lucrative visas
Interestingly, the monthly income required to qualify for an Income Visa is often not excessively high. The income threshold tends to be influenced by the cost of living in the country. Nations with lower living costs typically set lower income requirements. The rationale behind this is to ensure that applicants can comfortably support themselves.
Here are some examples of income thresholds for various countries:
|Country||Required monthly income (indicated in US Dollar)|
Which countries offer non-lucrative visas?
Over twenty countries worldwide offer some form of Income Visa, including Passive Income Visa, Person of Independent Means Visa, Non-Lucrative Visa, Retirement Visa, or Rentista Visa programs. These programs vary in quality and complexity, making it advisable to seek guidance from a reputable immigration lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome. Here are some countries that currently offer these programs:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Spotlight on some examples of non-lucrative visas
In the following section, we take a closer look at some of the most popular Income Visa programs:
Spain Non-Lucrative Visa
This visa allows individuals to earn income from sources outside Spain. It is well-suited for location-independent businesses, freelancers, passive income earners, and retirees. Applicants must demonstrate an income of €26,000 and €6,390 for each dependent family member, along with comprehensive health care insurance.
Mauritius Retirement Visa
The Mauritius retirement visa targets individuals over 50 who can show a consistent monthly transfer of over USD$1,500. The visa is valid for ten years and renewable.
France Visitor Residence Permit (“Carte de séjour visiteur”)
France offers a 12-month renewable visa with income requirements of around €1250, depending on rent expenses. Applicants must also have a place to stay and acquire expat health insurance.
German Freelancer Visa (“Freiberufler”)
Germany welcomes applicants who can demonstrate an income of approximately €800 per month for the Freelancer Visa. Applicants must have their principal residence in Berlin and contribute to the local economy. For individuals over 45, an adequate pension plan is required (with some exceptions), and those over 67 must show a minimum pension of €1280 per month.
Portugal D7 Passive Income Visa
The Portugal D7 Passive Income Visa mandates proof of a steady passive income stream. While the government does not specify a minimum income to cover living expenses, an annual income of €12,000 is generally considered sufficient. Applicants must reside in Portugal for at least eight months each year to qualify. Portugal offers a non-habitual resident tax rate of 0% on global income for ten years.
Austria Person of Independent Means Visa
Austria requires a passive income of around €1,000 for the Person of Independent Means Visa. Applicants should also demonstrate German language proficiency, possess health insurance, and have suitable housing. Additional income must be shown for dependent family members.
Ireland Person of Independent Means (Stamp 0)
Ireland’s residence permit program has no age restrictions and requires proof of an annual income of €50,000. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate sufficient savings to cover unforeseen expenses and acquire health insurance.
Aruba Passive Income Visa
Aruba grants residence permits to those who can prove a passive income of Afl100,000 (approximately USD$58,000) annually. For individuals over 55, the requirement drops to Afl50,000 (approximately USD$29,000) annually.
Indonesia Retirement Visa (KITAS)
The Indonesia Retirement Visa is designed for individuals aged 55 and older. Applicants should have an income of around USD$1,500, as well as health and life insurance. Hiring an Indonesian citizen in some capacity, such as a domestic worker, nurse, gardener, or assistant, is also a requirement.
Nicaragua Pensionado Residency Visa
Nicaragua offers a pensionado residency visa to individuals over 45 years of age. This retirement visa program boasts the lowest income requirement for a retirement visa globally.
Which documents are most often requested when one applies for non-lucrative visas?
Documentation requirements are bound to vary from one country to the other, which is why it is critical to get in touch with the consulate, embassy, or visa-issuing center of the country you wish to travel to in order to ensure your documents meet the legal requirements. More often than not, you will have to submit the following documents as part of your application process:
- Passport and copies of the bio-data page of the passport.
- Marriage certificate, if applicable.
- Medical certificate from a medical practitioner stating that the applicant does not suffer from any infectious or contagious disease
- Police clearance certificate
- A certificate from your bank stating your financial capacity
- Unabridged birth certificates for minors, if applicable
Non-lucrative visas: expanding your horizons
Income Visas provide a pathway for South African citizens to live abroad in numerous countries, offering diverse choices. Many of these visa programs offer the possibility of obtaining permanent residency, citizenship, and a passport, with varying qualification periods based on your chosen country. If you can demonstrate a stable income stream, these programs can open up a world of opportunities.
Whether it’s an Income Visa, Passive Income Visa, or Non-Lucrative Visa, these programs offer individuals with financial stability a chance to embark on exciting international adventures.