Lots of people have no problem in looking for reasons to retire in Bali. The local people are warm and friendly, the Hindu religion is intriguing, the Balinese culture is fascinating and the weather is balmy all year round!
However, from an outsider’s point of view, retirement to Bali may seem a complex process. But if you do your research and plan ahead, you’ll soon find the easy life is at your fingertips.
If you’re 55 years or over, you can live in Bali long term, enter and exit Indonesia as often as you like, and even open a local bank account. Once you’ve arrived in Bali on a social visa, there are steps you need to take to ensure a smooth process to gaining your retirement visa.
This is a very basic rundown, so be sure to investigate your situation thoroughly. (Or for a complete rundown of which Bali visa is more suitable for you, see the article in the June issue of International Living Australia magazine.
1.Before you make the move, test the waters first. It’s no secret that a short holiday escape is a different experience to living life in a different country. Aim for a stay of at least three months, live amongst the locals, eat local foods and get a true feel of Bali life. That’s long enough to ensure the weather conditions suit and enough time to start building a network. Other expats are the key to helping you adjust and cope with your new life.
2. Explore the different regions. To quote Sir Richard Branson: “Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it. Think what’s the most amazing way to do it.” There’s a real diversity to Bali that should be explored, so list your priorities in life and then choose the area you feel suits you the most.
3. Look for housing. There are many quality housing options in Bali – whether it be a studio-style kos, an apartment or a modern, Western-style villa. Searching can be time-consuming though, so consider hiring a local agent to help you with your quest. To gain your retirement visa, you must show proof that you are living in Bali. A lease agreement should always be signed and this is all you need as verification.
4. How are you going to get around? An international driver’s licence will allow you to drive in Bali and you can rent a car from around $250 per month or hire a scooter for as little as $60 a month. Be sure you have the correct licence and insurance to cover you. Alternatively, use the many taxis and drivers available to you.
5. Sign up for medical insurance. The Indonesian government likes to know you can look after yourself should the need arise. Your cover can be in the guise of personal insurance or travel insurance, but be sure to research what will suit your personal needs best.
6. Hire a maid, gardener, private chef or domestic helper of some kind. The law requires you, as a long-term resident of Bali, to employ a local. This could be a housekeeper for as little as $27 per week or a gardener for as little as $15 per week.
7. Obviously, you’ll need to ensure you have enough money to support yourself, and you should plan your budget accordingly. You need to provide proof of an income–the minimum is US$1,500 (AU$2,070) per month. Enough to cover your living expenses while living in Bali.
8. Ensure you have a passport with more than 18 months of validity.
9. You can do all of the application yourself, but you’ll find it much easier if you engage a reputable agent. They will ensure your paperwork is complete and help avoid unnecessary visits to the immigration office. Speak to other expats for recommendations.
10. You may hear stories about people gaining their retirement visas, or any visa for that matter, without meeting all of the necessary criteria. To be safe and to ensure the validity of your visa, go through the proper procedures.