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Expats Retiring in Tonga

If you always wanted to live on a small island in the middle of a vast ocean, the Kingdom of Tonga might just be right for you. No crowds, no massive resorts, no traffic lights, and no stress … doesn’t it sound like paradise? Fiji lies some 650 miles to the northwest, the Cook Islands and Tahiti are distant to the east, and the Samoan islands are off to the north.

 

As Tonga is a very small kingdom and land belongs to the royalty and nobility, land is scarce. But you can lease land for a period of 99 years and the prices are very reasonable.

The climate of Tonga is tropical and you have the wet season from November to April and dry season from May to October. The average annual temperature is around 25° C (77° F). The dry season is cooler and free of cyclones.

 

The people there are friendly, gracious, helpful, and willing to share what they have. Food is plentiful and fresh, as it grows everywhere. If you want to buy imported Western goods though you have to be willing to spend time and money on those products, as they are not easily found and you will have to order them mostly overseas.

 

The Ministry of Health controls Tonga’s national health care system, which provides health care and medication free of charge for Tongans. Non-Tongans have to pay a fixed fee to receive healthcare. Tonga has 14 health care centres, which are staffed by one health officer and less than four nurses. Each centre supports around 7,200 people. The centres are supported by four hospitals. There are also a small number of private health care providers – these tend to be either traditional healers or private clinics run after hours by government doctors. Tongan hospitals tend to have limited outpatient and emergency facilities. There are no pharmaceutical manufacturers or wholesalers in Tonga – the country imports all of its pharmaceutical requirements.

 

There are about 680 kilometers of roads, 184 kilometers of which are paved. These serve most areas within the main islands, with transport provided by private vehicles and bus services. Royal Tongan Airlines provides international air services from Fua’amotu Airport, the only of the country’s 5 airports that has a paved runway. It also links the 3 island groups with regular domestic flights.

 

So if you like what you heard about Tonga so far and decide that this is the right place for you to retire you can do so through the “Assured Income Visa”. You need to have a regular income from a pension or other overseas source. The visa will let you stay in Tonga for a period of 2 years and can be renewed before it expires. This permit doesn’t allow foreigners to work, study or start a business in Tonga.

 

You will have to supply the following papers in order to obtain the Assured Income Visa:

  • 2 recent passport photos for all applicants
  • Valid passport (must be valid for the period for which the visa is to be issued)
  • A medical report issued within the past 6 months by a licensed doctor
  • Police Clearance issued in the past 3 months from the country/state of residence.
  • 2 character references including contact information
  • Evidence of income of at least TOP$10,000 per annum with supporting documents
  • USD$345 money order payable to Tonga Consulate General

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