STAYING LONG-TERM IN ASEAN

Love ASEAN and want to stay long-term but find the rules too strict when it comes to owning properties? How about obtaining permanent residency or even citizenship then?

For foreigners, there are clearly some restrictions to buying property in ASEAN; however once you are a permanent resident, the road to owning a property becomes much easier for almost all the countries. You don’t have full citizens’ rights yet but you are given more privileges than a foreigner. Rules on becoming a permanent resident or on getting a long-term visa vary greatly between ASEAN countries. The easiest countries to get your long-term visa in ASEAN are Malaysia and the Philippines. It is anticipated that as ASEAN opens up further, there will be more relaxation of the rules on permanent residency.

MALAYSIA

malaysia2Foreigners can either obtain a permanent visa or choose the Malaysian residency programme, called Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H).

Foreigners below may apply at the Malaysian Immigration Department for permanent residency:

• Foreigners with five years of continuous residency in Malaysia with a legal Entry Permit;

• Foreigners married to a Malaysian citizen for 10 years.

Foreigners can also apply for a retirement visa, better known as MM2H. This visa is available for at least 10 years which can be extended, provided the foreigners fulfill medical and financial requirements of the programme, including an offshore income of RM10,000 per month and minimum liquid assets of RM500,000 for applicants under 50 years old and RM350,000 for applicants over 50.

However, being in the MM2H programme does not entitle you to relaxation on the rules for foreign ownership of property in Malaysia. The rules that apply to foreigners will still apply to you except the floor price in some states are lower. And you may get a higher margin of financing at up to 80%.

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