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Retiring abroad:advantages, disadvantages, precautions to take

Retiring abroad:advantages, disadvantages, precautions to take

Going to settle abroad at the time of retirement tempts more and more French people to often benefit from a milder climate, but also to have a higher purchasing power. Almost a million retirees have already taken the plunge.

These departures are also facilitated by the development of means of communication which make it possible to remain in almost physical contact at all times with loved ones in France, by the ever-increasing number of low-cost flights and by the incentive policies of certain countries, in particular in tax matters, to attract retirees to their homes.

But moving abroad at the time of retirement is a real change of life which requires preparation well in advance to have every chance of succeeding and which has consequences in tax, legal and social matters in particular

What are the consequences of moving abroad for retirement?

Moving abroad to spend your retirement is most of the time motivated by the desire to join a country with a milder climate or one that you know well for having stayed there often, especially during your holidays. . Many retirees thus leave to live in Spain, Portugal, Italy or Morocco. But, for retirees who are faced with a drop in income, their motivation may also be driven by the desire to maintain, or even increase, their purchasing power once they retire.

It is for this purpose, among other things, that some retirees go to live in countries in Africa, Southeast Asia or Latin America where the cost of living is lower than in France. Whatever the motivations, retiring abroad has consequences in a number of areas.

Retirement pension

Moving abroad when you retire does not prevent you from receiving the pensions due to you. Some pension plans require you to provide them with a "certificate of existence" or "proof of existence" to pay your pension. These documents are to be completed by the competent local authorities of the country where you reside, either the town hall, the embassy or the consulate, as proof of your real establishment in their country.

On the other hand, certain allowances allocated to seniors can no longer be paid. These are solidarity allowances which aim to guarantee a minimum of resources to people whose income is low, such as the solidarity allowance for the elderly (Aspas) and the supplementary disability allowance (ASI).


Several cases arise with regard to your taxes. You continue to pay them in France if you live there for more than 183 days a year or if your household and your economic interests are located in France. If you do not meet any of these conditions, your taxation will depend on the tax treaty signed between France and your adopted country.

Social contributions

When you move abroad to spend your retirement there and you are no longer domiciled in France for tax purposes, the Generalized social contribution (CSG), the contribution to the reduction of social debt CRDS and the additional solidarity contribution for autonomy (Casa) are no longer deducted from your pension. On the other hand, a health insurance contribution of 3.2% may be deducted from your basic pension and 4.2% from your supplementary pension. For retired craftsmen, traders and liberal professions, this contribution is 7.1%. It is deducted from their basic pension only.

Health insurance

Coverage of medical care for pensioners of the social security system who settle abroad depends on their country of residence. If you plan to live your retirement in Europe in a Member State of the European Union/European Economic Area (see the list on the website) or in Switzerland, you must inform of your departure and your new address at abroad your health insurance fund and your pension fund. The latter will provide you with an "S1" form which will allow you to transfer your rights to health insurance in your host country.

You will thus benefit from the coverage of your medical care according to the legislation and formalities in force in this country. During your stays in France, your health expenses will continue to be covered by the French health insurance scheme using your vital card, which you will keep. Please note:medical costs are very expensive in some countries compared to France. It is advisable in this case to take out an assistance or insurance contract to guarantee the reimbursement of the costs incurred and medical repatriation in the event of illness abroad if necessary or to join the Caisse des Français de l' foreigner (CFE).

If you are moving to a country outside the European Union for your retirement, health insurance no longer covers your health costs. However, "Certain States (outside the EU/EEA) have signed a social security agreement with France to allow retirees affiliated to the French scheme and residing on their territory to be able to have their health in their place of residence" as indicated by the Health Insurance.

You will find all the answers concerning the social protection of pensioners living abroad on the website of the Center for European and International Social Security Liaison (Cleiss).

What precautions should be taken before moving abroad for retirement?

Leaving your roots, your family, your friends, to go live abroad when you retire is not a trivial decision to be taken lightly. It is not the same to live in a foreign country while on vacation than throughout the year. The ideal is to be able to settle there first for a few months to understand daily life. It is also necessary to start learning the language in non-French-speaking countries, if this is not already the case. It is also necessary to make sure to create a friendly network to integrate more easily in your new country of residence.

Prepare very early for your departure abroad for your retirement. You must have the guarantee, for example, that you will be well protected in terms of health in your new country of residence and take steps to cover yourself as much as possible against these hazards.

Buying, building or renting your home abroad to live your retirement there is not as simple as it seems. You must first be familiar with the legislation and guarantees in force in the country you wish to join to avoid major surprises once there.