Giving answer to those frequently asked questions...

Frequently asked Questions

General Questions

We think it can be. Many countries in SE Asia offer longer term retirement visas and are actively seeking international retirees to relocate to their country. As such they make moving to their country open and accessible.

That said, there are some unique issues to confront when moving to a different country, however the team at Retire to Asia can assist you with these. 

Generally, SE Asia has very good levels of health care. For major ailments, the private health system may be preferable over the public hospital system. To access the world class private health system, you would need to either pay a premium or have international private health cover. 

For the same comparable lifestyle, Absolutely! In our experience it can be between 35% to 50% cheaper. With these savings, you can choose to save or to increase the range and quality of your retirement lifestyle options.

Where do we begin?

A warmer climate, to experience a different way of life, more affordable, a central hub for regional and international travel, being part of a vibrant community that respects the older generations and much more. 

No, it’s entirely up to you. Whether you spend only part of each year in SE Asia, a few years or the rest of your life, it is completely up to you.
Expatriate communities are some of the most open, welcoming, and inclusive that you will find anywhere. Depending on which activities you wish to pursue, you will always find new people to meet and make friends with.

Financial Issues

Age Pension

Yes, you can. The trick comes in applying for the age pension. You must reside in Australia, 2 years before applying and receiving your age pension. For most people this is between age 65 to 67. After being subject to the income and assets test to work out your eligibility, this assessed amount is paid to your nominated bank account irrespective of where now live. A pro-rated amount of full age pension may apply if you have been a citizen less than 35 years.
Yes, it will be less as the allowances for things such as utilities bills, cost of living and rental assistances etc do not apply. This reduces your payments to the standard rate only. In practice this should only marginally reduce your payment. These rates are indexed by inflation twice a year, March, and September.


That will normally be the same as if you were still a resident in Australia dependant upon the Double Tax Agreement (DTA) with your new country. If your new country treats overseas income differently then you may pay more or less tax depending upon what the DTA deems.
Yes, they can. If you are overseas for more than 2 years, they can be treated as non-complying funds which means they lose their generous taxation concessions on the income, tax status and taxable assets of the fund. There are ways that you can rectify this, but they can be complex therefore professional advice should be sought from your financial planner or accountant.

Retirement Visa’s

Technically no, practically yes. Whilst you are not meant to, it is possible to leave the country for a few days (often referred to as a Visa run) and return to “restart” your new visa’s usually 30, 60 or 90-day timeframe again.

After a period, the local immigration officials may pick up on this, so the practice usually will have a finite time frame for you. It is best to try and qualify for the longer 6 to 12 months, 5-to-10-year visas on offer in the individual countries. 

Assume this will not be a quick process. If all your paperwork is in order, and this can be a big if at times, generally allow 4 to 6 weeks for it to be processed and granted.

Health insurance and Covid 19 cover?

Current practice to apply for all visa’s, including holiday 30, 60 or 90 day temporary visa’s, requires that you have some form of minimum level cover for Covid-19 as part of your health cover. We do not see this requirement being waived any time soon.
In our experience it can be up to 30% cheaper to source your international health coverage from the same insurance provider in the SE region than the Australian office. We can assist you in this regard as we have a carefully selected panel of brokers within SE Asia that can put this in place for you. No harm in getting a quote from them to see if there is a saving for you.

Tax Residency Issues

If you retain your Australian tax residency your home will always be capital gains tax (CGT) free as long as you do not claim another principal residence. If you become a non-Australian tax resident, your CGT free period will be up to 6 years once becoming a non-Australian tax resident.

Above 6 years CGT tax may be payable on a pro-rated basis e.g. If you own your home for 20 years and a non-Australian tax resident for 8 years, then only 2/20 th of the growth is taxable. This area can become complex and given the potential size of any future tax liability, we strongly recommend that you seek professional advice on this. 

In our experience it can be up to 30% cheaper to source your international health coverage from the same insurance provider in the SE region than the Australian office. We can assist you in this regard as we have a carefully selected panel of brokers within SE Asia that can put this in place for you. No harm in getting a quote from them to see if there is a saving for you.

Property Information

In most countries you can as a foreigner own 100% of a property without a land component. This means that you are restricted to apartments and condominiums where there is no land component. If you wish to buy a house a local citizen generally must own at least a 51% controlling stake in the property, which is a course of action we suggest you do not pursue.

In some countries there are specific exemptions e.g., Philippines you can own land as long as it is used for medical (nursing or retirement home) or educational purposes. It pays to check whether you can qualify for a specific exemption.

Most countries will allow longer term leases upon land, if you wish to own a villa or house. 

Apartments and condominiums that do not have a land component can generally be 100% foreign owned freehold.

Financial Issues

Estate Planning

As SE Asia is a different legal jurisdiction, you will need to get new legal documents drawn up there to cover any assets purchased in that country which may include Enduring power of attorneys and medical powers of attorney whilst living overseas. For Australian held assets, these should remain covered by your existing Will.

We suggest it is best to seek legal advice in this area. 

Generally, yes these instructions to the trustee of your Australian super fund will remain valid.

Driver’s Licence

Generally not. You can be fined if you do not have a valid international or local driver’s licence. This will be at the discretion of the traffic police.

It is best you to either get an International Driver’s licence which are valid for 12 months from date of issue, before you leave home or eventually get a local licence. 

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

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