When becoming a citizen of another country is too big of a step to take – or simply out of your reach, obtaining a permanent residency permit will generally solve most immigration problems you might face as an expat. It will also allow you to stay abroad without having to renounce your citizenship if your home country, or your new country of residence, don’t allow dual citizenship. However, the process of obtaining permanent residency and acquiring these privileges can often be a very lengthy and expensive one.
Fortunately, some countries do offer affordable and convenient permanent residency schemes. When you’re moving to one of the countries below, the choice for obtaining permanent residency is made a lot easier without risking the implications of a citizenship. Here you’ll find out how to get permanent residency in the five easiest countries.
You will be eligible for permanent residence after five years of uninterrupted living in Belgium. Citizens of any country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland will acquire the permanent residence status automatically. Citizens from other countries have to apply at their local municipality for permanent residence.
‘Uninterrupted’ is in this case defined as residing legally and continuously in Belgium in the five years preceding the application for permanent residency. To stay within this definition, you can’t leave Belgian territory for more than six months at a time and one year accumulated in the five years before applying. Once you become a permanent resident of Belgium, you will have many privileges Belgian citizens have, like equal access to employment, voting and welfare.
Like Belgium, France grants permanent residency to you after living there for five years uninterrupted. Contrary to when obtaining permanent residency in Belgium, you will not be allowed to vote when you become a permanent resident in France. Permanent residents in France do have access to other benefits, like health care, welfare and open employment access.
Panama is known as a country for easy retirement. While that’s true, citizens of 50 “Friendly Nations” who are not yet ready for retirement also have easy access to permanent residency. If you have a job offer in Panama or are willing to establish a business there, you can obtain residency through the “Friendly Nations” visa. When applying, you will need to prove your economic solvency by opening a Panama bank account and depositing $5000. However, as a foreigner, you can’t work in regulated occupations, like being an attorney or working in some medical occupations. Other than that, once your visa is approved, you can start working at the company where you got your job offer or start your own business while holding permanent residency in Panama.
Singapore has several ways to obtain permanent residency, but the easiest way is by applying for permanent residency while working in Singapore on an Employment or Entrepreneur Pass. Once you have worked in Singapore for at least six months (and are able to prove this by showing six months of salary pay slips), you are eligible for the Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker scheme. This scheme is the easiest way to obtain permanent residency in Singapore, which will allow you to change jobs and travel in and out of Singapore freely, along with some other financial benefits.
The waiting time before applying for permanent residence may be one of the shortest in Belize. Prior to applying for permanent residency in Belize, you only have to have been legally residing in the country for one year. Within this year, you are allowed to leave the country for up to 14 days total and you must get a new tourist visa stamp every 30 days. You also have to prove financial stability, which is generally done by providing bank statements that show savings and regular income. After applying for permanent residency, you are allowed to travel out of Belize for more than 14 days a year, which is quite convenient since approval of your application could take from a few months to a few years. During this time, you are still required to get your passport stamped every 30 days.