Retirement Abroad

Retirement abroad requires careful planning. Here are some important steps to take before you go.


Check Visa and Residency Requirements

  • Laws on immigration and residency are very different from country to country.
  • Read our Country Information pages. They will explain if you need a visa to visit or live in a certain country.
  • Read our information on dual nationality if relevant to you. 

Know the Local Laws

  • Seek professional legal advice before settling abroad.
  • Find out if your trust, will, and powers of attorney will work in your destination. They may or may not be enforceable there.
  • Check the U.S. embassy website for a list of local English-speaking lawyers.
  • Review local traffic laws. Also, review the license requirements if you want to drive.
  • Find out what rights and responsibilities you will have as a foreign resident.
  • Become familiar with the local laws for obtaining a work permit if you plan to work.

Prepare Your Finances

  • Expect exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Consider whether you should open a local bank account.

Research Medical Care and Costs

  • Medicare is the U.S. government health plan for people aged 65 and over. Medicare does NOT cover health care overseas.
  • We highly recommend that you get health insurance. It should cover private medical and dental treatment. It should also cover medical evacuation to the United States just in case.
  • Many countries have national health systems. Investigate eligibility, availability, and quality beforehand.
  • The environment at your destination may affect your health. This is especially true if you are sensitive to altitude, air pollution, humidity, or other conditions. For more tips related to health issues, visit our Health Website.
  • Find more health information here: CDC Travelers’ Health.

Understand Your Social Security Benefits


Pay Your Taxes

  • Leaving the United States does NOT exempt U.S. citizens from their U.S. tax obligations.
  • You must file annually with the IRS. This is even if you move all your assets to a foreign country.
  • If you retire abroad, you must also obey the tax laws of your new country. The United States has tax treaties with many countries. These treaties address double taxation. You still have to file a return. Consult with a tax advisor that specializes in foreign residency.
  • For more information, see Tax information for residents and U.S. citizens living abroad.

Beware of Scams

  • Beware of romance, friendship or financial scams.
  • Scammers operate primarily via the Internet, email, and phone. 
  • For more information, please review our information on International Financial Scams.

Prepare for Emergencies

  • Ensure that your U.S. passport is valid in case you need to travel back to the United States quickly.  You can renew your passport at any U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Leave emergency contact information and a copy of your passport's biographic data page with your family. Also leave it with trusted friends.
  • Always carry emergency contact information with you. This should be contact information for your loved ones. Also write it in the emergency contact section of your passport.
  • Know the contact info for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Give it to your family and friends.
  • Emergencies can happen overseas. These could include unrest or natural disasters. If there is an emergency, contact your family and friends as soon as possible. This will prevent worry.

Stay Connected

  • Enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. We will alert you with important information. This includes safety conditions in the country you are in.
  • By enrolling, we can contact you in an emergency. They can also contact your family or friends, according to your wishes.
Last Updated: March 4, 2024