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Retirement in Bali

There are many reasons why Bali entices people to move permanently to the paradise island.

Whether it’s the culture, the people, the sunset, the beaches, or anything in between. The pros of retiring in Bali really outweighs the cons, mainly because foreign currencies are worth a lot on the island and there are so many things to do there.

However, making the final decision shouldn’t be rushed based on that fact alone, because you must take your personal needs and preferences into account in the first place. Once you’ve determined that Bali does have what you need, then it’s time to move on towards the prerequisites.

There are several factors that you should contemplate before deciding to retire in Bali, so you can make an informed decision on that matter and plan your next move. Here are the 3 important aspects that you must understand first:

1.   The Obligation

Applying for a retirement visa is quite simple: you need to be 55 years old or more, have health and life insurance, and submit the necessary paperwork. This visa is valid for 1 year and can be extended to a maximum of 5 years, after which you are eligible to apply for a permanent stay permit with similar requirements. Added benefits of having a retirement visa are the ability to open a local bank account, obtain a local driver’s license, and enjoy special discounts on various shops and restaurants; although you will not be able to enrol in BPJS Kesehatan (the state healthcare) unless you have obtained Indonesian citizenship.

In terms of finances, you need to prove that you have a pension fund of at least US$1,520 per month or a lump sum of US$18,270 to cover living expenses alone.  As for your place of residence, you must rent a property that costs over US$380 a month for at least one year, although it is possible to bypass this requirement if you are married to a local and prove that you live in a home registered under your spouse’s name. In addition, you are forbidden to work both in Bali or remotely and must employ one Indonesian domestic helper at your new home.

While the process is relatively straightforward, it is highly recommended to apply through a licensed agent that will also act as your sponsor. However, citizens of Afghanistan, Guinea, Israel, North Korea, Cameroon, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, or Somalia are not allowed to apply for a retirement visa altogether.

Contact BVR Legal for any and all services related to visas, Ketas or Retirement visa, to assist you in a smoother and more carefree process.

2.   The Location

If you’ve been on the island for a while, then you might already figure out where exactly you want to retire. Whether you like busy regions like Seminyak or prefer a tranquil village such as Pererenan, it is imperative to test the area’s long-term suitability before deciding to settle there. Spending a short holiday is obviously not the same as retiring, thus you should take some time to familiarize yourself with the region.  Consulting with locals and other expats is a quick way to obtain information, as they can provide helpful tips and reliable insights based on real-life experience rather than hearsay.

When browsing for a place to live, make sure that you look for a property that meets the specified criteria for a retirement visa as previously stated. Your lifestyle should be factored in as well because even if you have everything in your home, you will have to venture outside now and then to get refreshments or routine check-ups. While most regions have convenience stores or clinics readily available, you might have to drive a little bit if you choose to stay in slightly secluded regions such as Tegallalang. Umalas and Pererenan, in particular, are two of the most popular destinations for expats because they provide a peaceful ambiance without sacrificing accessibility and are very close to tourist destinations such as Canggu and Petitenget.

Browsing through the extensive range of houses, apartments, and villas on your own will take a lot of time, thus you should seek the help of a reputable real estate agent to make the search much easier. Foreigners are not allowed to own any property under their name at the time of this writing, hence your choice is limited to short or long-term rentals. Having a certified agent will quicken your search significantly since they can offer properties that match your criteria, and provide alternatives in the case that you don’t find what you’re looking for. Once you’ve picked a suitable property and signed a lease agreement, you must present the agreement as part of the visa application to verify that you have a place to reside in Bali.

3.   The Decision

Many foreign travellers instantly feel enamoured on their very first visit to Bali, and it has led to the influx of immigrants moving into certain parts of the island. Lately, regions such as Canggu have become a melting pot of people with various backgrounds and aspirations due to the rapid development that has occurred in it. Such development resulted in the ready availability of chic amenities, making the area highly favourable among foreigners with distinctive lifestyles. For instance, neighborhoods such as Berawa are becoming popular among digital nomads because of the numerous cafés and coworking spaces with high-speed internet that enable them to work remotely from Bali. Hence, retiring with an alternative lifestyle won’t be troublesome as long as you pick the right neighborhood to live in.

Although there’s no problem in maintaining your preferred habits, it won’t hurt to try new things such as living the local way. Start with shopping for groceries at a traditional market in the morning, where you’ll be able to haggle for fresh products. Try out the numerous kinds of local delicacies by eating out at warungs that will cost you around a dollar, significantly cheaper than dining in restaurants. While speaking English is certainly helpful, you’ll be surprised by how useful it is to learn a little bit of Bahasa Indonesia or Bali as locals will be a lot more welcoming in conversations or trades.

Retiring in Bali will certainly be worthwhile no matter what expectations you might have. Therefore, it is best to prepare your savings and look for the right home from now on.

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