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How You Can Apply For Residency In El Salvador

3 min read

How You Can Apply For Residency In El Salvador

El Salvador has a tropical climate and is abundant in natural beauty with a rich variety of fauna. There are many beautiful beaches with amazing waves and national parks that you can visit and many other things toy can do.

El Salvador is also known as the “land of the volcanoes” and is subject to frequent seismic activity.

A predominately agrarian nation, the economy of El Salvador has been modernizing as of late with a sizeable increase in the service sector.

Recently El Salvador made headlines by making Bitcoin legal tender. The government of El Salvador has also launched their own cryptocurrency known as the Salvadoran Crypto Initiative



Map of El Salvador

Temporary Residency

Foreigners who want to stay more than ninety days in El Salvador need to apply for temporary residency. The government of El Salvador recognizes many different forms of temporary residency, varying based on the activities one would be carrying out while residing in El Salvador. They are as follows:

  • Temporary Residence With Work Authorization
  • Temporary Residence Investor
  • Temporary Residence Business
  • Temporary Residence Commercial Representative
  • Temporary Residence Pensioner
  • Temporary Residence Rentier
  • Temporary Residence to Accompany
  • Temporary Residence Student
  • Temporary Residence Shareholder
  • Temporary Residence Individual Traders
  • Cooperating Temporary Residence (this is for NGO employees who are doing work in cooperation with the Government of El Salvador)
  • Temporary Residence Victims of Trafficking
  • Temporary Residence for Humanitarian Reasons
  • Temporary Residence Religious Reasons

In order to apply for temporary residency, you will need to have a number of different documents translated into Spanish and apostilled. These documents are:

  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Signed application form
  • Clean criminal record check from your home country
  • Clean criminal record check from El Salvador if you have been there for more than three months or have entered El Salvador twice in the last year
  • Documentation concerning your purpose of entry


Temporary Residence Pensioner

Instead of a fixed monetary amount, the system in El Salvador is based on multiples of the minimum salary (monthly minimum wage). So in order to qualify for the pensioner temporary residence, you need to have a salary of three minimum wages in the commerce and services sector. At the moment, that equals $365 USD, so to qualify for this you need a pension of $1095 per month. This residence permit does not allow you to take part in any employed work except for working for the government or teaching. The application fee is either $140 USD in the case of a one-year permit or $260 USD, if the permit is for two years. The permit can be renewed when it expires.


Temporary Residence Rentista

The rentista permit is designed for 'people of means' who wish to reside in El Salvador. Because they are not allowed to work (except for the government or to teach), they must demonstrate an income of at least four minimum wages or $1460 USD per month from foreign sources. This might be revenue from a business in another country or regularly scheduled transfer payments out of retirement savings. The rentista residency permit can only be gotten for one year at the cost of $140 USD.


Temporary Residence Investor

To qualify for this permit, you must either be the president, legal counsel, or board member for a commercial company legally established in El Salvador or the owner or manager of a company with an active investment of $4000 USD minimum sales are required.


You can read this article where we look at all of the immigration schemes worldwide, it’s called: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency


permanent residence in el Salvador

After residing in El Salvador for three years as a temporary resident, you can apply for permanent residency as a pensioner or rentista. The application process for permanent residency is similar to that of temporary residency. You must submit your application form, your proof of income and your criminal record checks. You will also need documentation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which demonstrates that you have been residing in El Salvador as a legal temporary resident for the last three years. The permanent residency application fee is $345.



Volcano in Cerro Verde, National Park in El Salvador

path to citizenship

After five years of residency in El Salvador, one can apply for citizenship and a secondary passport. There are some requirements, you must be 18 years of age, you must swear a loyalty oath, you cannot have any criminal history or be involved in any criminal proceedings, and you must not be a citizen of a nation that El Salvador is at war with. Interestingly enough, after five years of absence from El Salvador, it is possible to lose citizenship that has been conferred through naturalization. It is also important to note that foreigners are prohibited from engaging in any political activities within El Salvador.

Related content: How To Get Your Residency in Honduras Today

Why should I choose El Salvador?

El Salvador is a great place to reside if you are looking at the cost of living. The cost of living in San Salvador is more than half of the cost of living in New York City, and you can probably lower these costs even further by looking at other cities in El Salvador, as prices can vary from city to city. 

There are many places to tour, like cities, mountains, beaches, and many bars and restaurants to try their national foods. The people and community tend to be very welcoming of foreigners, and many expats have found it easy to make friends and be accepted. The weather there is fantastic as most of the year is warm with beach-worthy weather.


El Salvador offers you and your family a wide range of entry possibilities. You can choose to go on a temporary visa to see if you like the country first and slowly work your way to citizenship. It doesn't matter how you choose to enter El Salvador. It promises you a unique and great experience. 


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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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