South America

Home / South America

Settle in Peru

Peru provides an interesting option for people seeking a second residency in South America. Between its beautiful coastline, awe-inspiring Andean highlands, and fascinating rainforests, Peru is filled with stunning views and plenty of outdoor adventures to be had. It also offers plenty of amenities for a remarkably low cost of living. Getting residency in Peru, however, can sometimes challenge our definition of easy. While becoming a Peruvian resident isn’t actually all that difficult, navigating the process can be hard thanks to all of the misinformation that abounds on the internet.

That’s why my research team and I have spent plenty of time on the ground here to give you the real deal on how to get a Peruvian residency. We want you to know the difference between what’s technically true and what actually happens when you apply to become a Peruvian resident. In general, there are three ways to become a Peruvian resident – investment, Rentista, and retirement.


Most of the misinformation about Peruvian residency comes into play with the Peruvian Investor Visa. If you perform a cursory search on the internet, then becoming a Peruvian resident by investment seems easy. Based on what all of these random blogs have to say, all you need to do is invest $30,000 into a Peruvian business.

Seems easy enough, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not correct. Based on my and my team’s on-the-ground research in Peru, you actually need to invest five times as much money – $150,000 – in order to even be considered for Peruvian residency by investment.

In addition, you’ll also need to create five jobs along with your investment, and in your application, you will need to outline those five jobs in a business plan. Therefore, while obtaining residency by investment in Peru is similar to getting residency by investment in other countries, you need to know the real facts before digging into the process. Otherwise, you might end up flushing $30,000 down the drain.

Settle in Argentina

Argentina also presents an interesting option for people seeking second residency and citizenship in South America. The country has a bit of a fiery history to the point where some call it the Thailand of Latin America. However, despite its political instability, Argentina has emerged as a powerful regional player with a strong passport and a growing economy. Argentina is also a large country, which is one of the reasons why I like it. There’s a lot of regional diversity, so like Mexico, it’s a lot easier to find somewhere that you would actually like to live in the country. It’s also relatively simple to get residency there, and in some cases, you may be able to become an Argentine citizen in as little as two years.


Like most countries on this list, you can become a resident of Argentina if you can prove that you earn a minimum monthly income of $2,000 or more. While you may be able to qualify if that income is from employment or self-employment, the Argentine government tends to favor applicants with non-salary income sources. Additionally, this income will need to be deposited into an Argentine bank account. You can also become an Argentine resident through a retiree visa meant for older persons with a pension or other guaranteed income of above $2,000 per month. Once you have obtained temporary residency through either of these means, you can then apply for permanent residency in two years.

Settle in Colombia

Thanks to its stunning scenery, growing economy, and openness to foreigners, Colombia has become an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads, investors, and Nomad Capitalists alike. Living in Colombia is incredibly cheap, which can make it an ideal place for people who are just starting to build their businesses. However, taxes can be quite high for domiciled residents, so you should keep that in mind if you’re looking for somewhere to live permanently.

As a result of this new influx of foreigners, Colombia has overhauled and renamed its residency programs. For our purposes, there are two primary options for Colombian residency: the fast track and the slow track. It’s worth taking into account that the prices for each option are indexed to the national minimum wage, and are set in Colombian pesos. So, the minimum required investment sum in US dollars can and will change.


To get immediate permanent residency in Colombia, you can invest $170,000 in real estate or a corporation. This can be an individual investment, or you can make it in conjunction with someone else. While this option will give you immediate permanent residency, the application can be more difficult to complete. However, it does give you the option to apply for citizenship in five years. Plus, you only need to spend one day in the country every two years to maintain your resident status.

Settle in Chile

With its stunning mountains and low cost of living, Chile is certainly an attractive option for getting an easy second residency in South America. In fact, it has one of the highest standards of living in Latin America, and it’s even part of the US visa waiver program. This makes it an attractive alternative for US citizens who are looking to renounce but want to go back to the US on occasion. Before we dive too deep into Chile’s residency programs, however, keep in mind that the targets are constantly moving in the world of second residency and citizenship. Due to all of the madness with Venezuelans fleeing their home country, the Chilean Parliament has discussed tightening its immigration rules, so we’ll do our best to keep this article updated with any changes to Chilean immigration law.


Unlike just about every other country on this list, Chile has no formal minimum requirement to establish residency. Depending on where you’re from or what your income is, this could be a good thing or a bad thing for you. If you’re from a country like the US or Australia, then this certainly works in your favor. However, if you’re from somewhere like Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, this may end up working against you. Unfortunately, since immigration decisions are often left to officials’ discretion here, nationality does play a role in immigration decisions. Additionally, while there’s no formal minimum income requirement in Chile, you should probably be making at least $1,500 per month to apply for residency. But again, whether this will be sufficient is up to immigration officials’ discretion. Because the immigration process in Chile is so reliant on the discretion of immigration officials, I highly recommend hiring a local lawyer to help you through the process.

Settle in Brazil

Finally, we have Brazil – a large, diverse country with plenty of natural beauty to offer. One of the largest benefits of living in Brazil is its diversity. Unlike places like Chile or Uruguay, which tend to discriminate against Asians and Arabs, literally, anyone can be Brazilian. Brazil also offers plenty of excellent living options to residents. You can enjoy the big city life in Rio or Sao Paulo, or you can relax in one of Brazil’s many developed resort towns.

The problem with Brazil, however, is that the country is incredibly bureaucratic – even by South American standards. Simply opening a business bank account can take months to be approved. Brazil also primarily speaks Portuguese, which can be a bit more difficult to learn than Spanish. Therefore, getting a second residency and citizenship there is easy in the sense that the process is well-established, but in many cases, you might need legal help to navigate through the system.


Brazil’s economy is on the rise, making it an excellent place to think about investing, and if you’re willing to invest roughly $160,000 in real estate, a Brazilian business, or government bonds, then you can also get permanent residency in Brazil. The great thing about Brazilian residency by investment is that the process for applying is relatively smooth – by Brazilian standards, that is. You’ll need to deal with some degree of red tape, of course. However, your family will be able to apply with you, and once you receive your permanent residence “Yellow Card,” you will effectively be treated as a Brazilian citizen.

Settle in Ecuador

Ecuador is yet another up-and-coming Latin American country that offers relatively simple options for obtaining residency. One of the most appealing aspects of Ecuador is its astronomically low cost of living. Like Nicaragua, you can have a full-service maid, cook, and even driver for a fraction of the cost you would pay at home. Ecuador is also one of the safest countries in Latin America and it’s relatively well-connected to the rest of the world. It also offers potential immigrants plenty of residence options and a path to citizenship, making it an excellent option for those looking for a great second residency in Latin America.


The most common way to get an Ecuadorian residence permit is by obtaining residency by investment. To be eligible for this permit, you will need to be able to invest around $40,000 into an Ecuadorian bank, company (or business that you start yourself), or into qualifying real estate or land. Once you have made your investment, you may then apply for a two-year temporary residence permit. To do so, you will need to enter the country on a tourist visa and provide documentation of your investment as well as standard documents like a police report from your country of residence and an apostilled copy of your birth certificate. One of the largest benefits of getting residence by investment in Ecuador is the fact that there is no physical presence requirement for maintaining your residency. However, you will likely need to stay in the country for the majority of the year if you wish to apply for citizenship.

Settle in Paraguay

Paraguay is an attractive option for second residency and citizenship for many reasons. It’s part of the Mercosur trading bloc, which gives you access to numerous South American countries; it isn’t a part of CRS, and it’s one of the fastest places to get citizenship in the world. In fact, if I had a nickel for every comment and email that I’ve received about Paraguayan residency and citizenship, I’d likely have enough money to establish residency there with that alone. However, while Paraguayan residency seems easy on paper, the letter of the law doesn’t always reflect reality in this part of the world. Legal services in Paraguay are also poor, so we recommend using a trusted source for legal recommendations in Paraguay. Let’s take a closer look at how getting residency and citizenship in Paraguay actually works.


The reason why Paraguayan residency appeals to so many foreigners is that the process for obtaining it is cheap and simple. To be eligible to become a resident of Paraguay, you simply need to be able to deposit $5,200 in a Paraguayan bank account or buy an equivalent amount in real estate. From there, the process for obtaining and maintaining your residency is rather simple. You fill out the required forms and provide required documentation, and you should be all set with your residence permit. The largest benefit of Paraguayan residency is the fact that its physical presence requirements are minimal. Even if you’re only there for a handful of days, you should still be able to easily renew your residence permit when you need to.

Settle in Uruguay

Like Paraguay, Uruguay is another highly desired second passport among the global citizen community. Uruguay has close ties with Europe, which means that its living standards are higher than some of its neighbors, and its passport is quite powerful, too. It’s even under consideration for ESTA, which means easier access to the US if you plan to renounce.

It’s also among the tax-friendlier countries on this list, making it an even more attractive option for second residency and citizenship. However, while there’s a lot to love about Uruguay, the residency and citizenship processes there can be convoluted at times – despite what some bloggers may have you think. So, without further ado, here’s the real scoop on getting residency and citizenship in Uruguay.

The easiest part of the process of getting citizenship in Uruguay is establishing residency. Like many Latin American countries, Uruguay allows you to apply for residency if you meet a minimum monthly income threshold. While the country does not specify an amount, it’s generally a bit higher than its neighbors due to the slightly elevated cost of living there. If you meet that requirement, then establishing residency is rather simple. You’ll fill out all of the paperwork and provide all the required documents, and you should be able to get your residence permit rather easily.

However, there’s a catch – to maintain your residence permit, you’ll be expected to move there. In fact, I’ve had clients tell me that Uruguayan officials expected them to stay for 9-10 months during their first year. Unlike countries like Panama, which only want you to stay there for a day or two out of the year, Uruguay expects its residents to actually live there. This might not be the worst thing in the world if you love Uruguay, but if you’re globally mobile and need to do business in other parts of the world, then this might be a major hindrance.

Ashish Dua
Consulting Corporation

Management Consultant – International Settlement

Any questions regarding settling abroad