A relative of mine who is a non-EU citizen is about to retire with considerable savings. He would like to settle down somewhere within Europe (the Schengen area).

Do any Schengen countries allow people to simply live indefinitely without having a local job/business? My relative can buy local health insurance as well as show a proof of funds. However he would prefer not to buy expensive (100k+ euros) real estate.

  • France has a long-stay visitor's visa, though it looks like your relative will need a lease to obtain one without buying property.
    – phoog
    Aug 28, 2016 at 15:39
  • @phoog excellent option. A lease is not an issue since one would need to live somewhere anyway. Any idea if that visa is indefinitely extendable? Aug 28, 2016 at 15:55
  • I think you get a right of permanent residence after 5 years but I am not sure.
    – phoog
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:12
  • @JonathanReez Since it's been mentioned two times already, I am not sure it's worth the trouble of writing an answer but the French residence title for visitors is indeed renewable (as long as you meet the conditions). Official source with some details (in French). Main requirement is having about €15k (that's 12 times the minimum wage) and credibly arguing you won't be working.
    – Gala
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:30
  • 1
    Incidentally, if you are willing to live in a cheap area outside of the main towns, you can a get a really nice house for less than €100k in France. Many retirees from abroad do that (e.g. in the southwest). But owning real estate is by no means mandatory to reside in France as a retiree, you just need to establish you will have some form of accommodation (could even be a family member vouching you will live with them).
    – Gala
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


Yes, he can, depending on the country, and without investing in a business or property. Retirees have a certain advantage, as they're not going to work (or allowed to) and their income will support the local economy. Spain, for example, has a retirement visa scheme. For France, you have to apply for the carte de sejour from your home country before relocating. Italy has an elective residency visa for foreign retirees. Generally, you have to prove financial means (significant is an advantage) and medical insurance coverage and, in some cases, a rental agreement. There may have additional requirements, such as a health exam or criminal background check. Once established as a resident, the expat retiree may become eligible to access the country's national health plan, such as in France and Italy.

And a suggestion, have your relative outline his requirements, such as cost of living (including cost and availability of rentals), ease of access (major airports, need for a car, ground transportation), local expat community, healthcare facilities, climate, language. In my own planning, I found it easiest to search 'country' and 'retiree visa.'

  • For France, you would typically get a long-stay visa (VLS-TS) from abroad and only once in France apply for a carte de séjour.
    – Gala
    Aug 28, 2016 at 16:29

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