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How You Can Apply For Residency In El Salvador

5 min read

How You Can Apply For Residency In El Salvador

El Salvador has a tropical climate and is abundant in natural beauty and a rich variety of fauna. Its many beautiful beaches with amazing waves and national parks are worth visiting, and there are many other things to do.

A predominantly agrarian nation, El Salvador's economy has recently been modernizing, with a sizeable increase in the service sector.

Recently, El Salvador made headlines by making Bitcoin legal tender. The adoption of Bitcoin as the official currency was one of the measures that caught the attention of the entire world, especially investors, miners, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Undeniable is the fact that the country stood out and grew with its economic measures.

Today, El Salvador has reversed its previously negative scenario, becoming a great country to live in, visit, and invest in. It offers perfect incentives for those who want to explore and give this place a chance. 

In addition to beautiful beaches and enchanting landscapes, El Salvador has become a fertile land of opportunities for its citizens and those who wish to live there.

 

San Salvador city - Applying for residency in El Salvador involves a detailed process that begins with determining your eligibility under various types of residence programs offered to foreigners. Each program has specific regulations and benefits, so it’s crucial to study these carefully to choose one that aligns with your needs, whether for individual applicants or family members including spouses. The immigration office provides all necessary details and can offer advice on the required documents, such as copies of personal records and information on your current residence status. Approval of your application will depend on how well you meet the criteria and the completeness of your submission.  Once you've selected the appropriate type of residency and gathered your documentation, the next step involves submitting your application to the local immigration office and possibly attending an interview. During this interview, you'll discuss your reasons for applying and provide further details on your background. After the interview, the duration of the approval process can vary, so it’s beneficial to have access to assistance from legal companies or individuals who specialize in immigration law. Upon approval, you will receive your residence permit, which will include the terms for renewal. Understanding these rules is key to maintaining your residency in El Salvador and taking full advantage of the advantages it offers.

San Salvador city

Temporary Residency

If you are attracted to El Salvador, well, many of us are for several compelling reasons. The affordable cost of living is a significant draw, especially for expats and retirees looking to maximize their savings. The country's breathtaking natural attractions, such as top surfing beaches, scenic volcanoes, and tranquil lakes, offer endless outdoor activities in a stunning setting. 

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

  • Temporary Residency With Work Authorization;

  • Temporary Residency Investor;

  • Temporary Residency Business;

  • Temporary Residency Commercial Representative;

  • Temporary Residency Pensioner;

  • Temporary Residency Rentier;

  • Temporary Residency to Accompany;

  • Temporary Residency Student;

  • Temporary Residency Shareholder;

  • Temporary Residency Individual Traders;

  • Cooperating Temporary Residency (this is for NGO employees who are doing work in cooperation with the Government of El Salvador);

  • Temporary Residency Victims of Trafficking;

  • Temporary Residency for Humanitarian Reasons;

  • Temporary Residency Religious Reasons.

To apply for temporary residency, you must have many 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.

 

El Salvador has become a safe place to live. It was the country that changed drastically for the better in a very short time. - Applying for residency in El Salvador involves a detailed process that begins with determining your eligibility under various types of residence programs offered to foreigners. Each program has specific regulations and benefits, so it’s crucial to study these carefully to choose one that aligns with your needs, whether for individual applicants or family members including spouses. The immigration office provides all necessary details and can offer advice on the required documents, such as copies of personal records and information on your current residence status. Approval of your application will depend on how well you meet the criteria and the completeness of your submission.  Once you've selected the appropriate type of residency and gathered your documentation, the next step involves submitting your application to the local immigration office and possibly attending an interview. During this interview, you'll discuss your reasons for applying and provide further details on your background. After the interview, the duration of the approval process can vary, so it’s beneficial to have access to assistance from legal companies or individuals who specialize in immigration law. Upon approval, you will receive your residence permit, which will include the terms for renewal. Understanding these rules is key to maintaining your residency in El Salvador and taking full advantage of the advantages it offers.

El Salvador has become a safe place to live. In a very short time, the country has changed drastically for the better.

Temporary Residency Pensioner

Instead of a fixed monetary amount, the system in El Salvador is based on multiples of the minimum salary (monthly minimum wage). So, to qualify for the pensioner temporary residency, you need to have a salary of three minimum wages in the commerce and services sector. 

Currently, that equals $365 USD, so you need a monthly pension of $1095 USD to qualify for this. This residency permit does not allow you to take part in any employed work except for working for the government or teaching. 

The application fee varies a lot; let’s take a look:

  • Central American Temporary Resident $70.00 USD. Up to one year;

  • Central American Temporary Resident $130.00 USD. Up to two years;

  • Non-Central American Temporary Resident $140.00 USD. Up to one year;

  • Non-Central American Temporary Resident $260.00 USD. Up to two years.

 

Temporary Residency 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 obtained for one year at the cost of $140 USD for non-Central American temporary residents and $70 USD for Central American temporary residents.

 

Temporary Residency Investor

Principals or general managers of a company that has an active investment in the country according to what is established in Article 11 of the Investment Law, where four thousand current minimum monthly wages are required at the date of their transfer to El Salvador, and Articles 90 and 109 item 1) of the Special Law on Migration and Aliens.

 

Related content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency

 

permanent residency in el Salvador

After residing in El Salvador for three years as a temporary resident, you can apply for numerous categories, including 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, proof of income, and criminal record checks. You will also need documentation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs demonstrating 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 USD for non-Central American permanent residents and $135 USD for Central American permanent residents (both up to one year).

 

Lagoon on the active Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador - Applying for residency in El Salvador involves a detailed process that begins with determining your eligibility under various types of residence programs offered to foreigners. Each program has specific regulations and benefits, so it’s crucial to study these carefully to choose one that aligns with your needs, whether for individual applicants or family members including spouses. The immigration office provides all necessary details and can offer advice on the required documents, such as copies of personal records and information on your current residence status. Approval of your application will depend on how well you meet the criteria and the completeness of your submission.  Once you've selected the appropriate type of residency and gathered your documentation, the next step involves submitting your application to the local immigration office and possibly attending an interview. During this interview, you'll discuss your reasons for applying and provide further details on your background. After the interview, the duration of the approval process can vary, so it’s beneficial to have access to assistance from legal companies or individuals who specialize in immigration law. Upon approval, you will receive your residence permit, which will include the terms for renewal. Understanding these rules is key to maintaining your residency in El Salvador and taking full advantage of the advantages it offers.

Lagoon on the active Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador

path to citizenship

Perhaps you are so drawn to El Salvador's opportunities, such as its tropical climate, natural beauty, rich culture, and resilient and welcoming people, that becoming a citizen of this country starts to sound like a great idea to you.

After five years of residency in El Salvador, you can apply for citizenship and a secondary passport. However, there are some requirements; let’s take a look:

  • The application is as per the attached model, containing all required data and signed by the applicant (valid for three months);

  • The original birth certificate must be legible and in good condition. If naturalized, a certificate from the competent authority of the country or the respective embassy or consulate is also required;

  • Current Police Clearance from the National Civil Police of El Salvador;

  • Current Criminal Record Certificate from El Salvador;

  • Photocopy of the current passport of all used pages and present the original for verification;

  • Photocopy of the current Unique Identity Document of the spouse if Salvadoran or the current residency card if a foreign person;

  • Marriage certificate or record to demonstrate marital status;

  • Birth certificate of the spouse;

  • Certification issued by the embassy or consulate of the applicant's country of origin stating that the country allows dual nationality;

  • Copy of the permanent resident card.

 

Related content: How To Get Your Residency In Honduras Today

 

Monument to the Divine Savior of the World in San Salvador - Applying for residency in El Salvador involves a detailed process that begins with determining your eligibility under various types of residence programs offered to foreigners. Each program has specific regulations and benefits, so it’s crucial to study these carefully to choose one that aligns with your needs, whether for individual applicants or family members including spouses. The immigration office provides all necessary details and can offer advice on the required documents, such as copies of personal records and information on your current residence status. Approval of your application will depend on how well you meet the criteria and the completeness of your submission.  Once you've selected the appropriate type of residency and gathered your documentation, the next step involves submitting your application to the local immigration office and possibly attending an interview. During this interview, you'll discuss your reasons for applying and provide further details on your background. After the interview, the duration of the approval process can vary, so it’s beneficial to have access to assistance from legal companies or individuals who specialize in immigration law. Upon approval, you will receive your residence permit, which will include the terms for renewal. Understanding these rules is key to maintaining your residency in El Salvador and taking full advantage of the advantages it offers.

Monument to the Divine Savior of the World in San Salvador

Why should I choose El Salvador?

El Salvador is a great place to reside if you are considering 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. 

El Salvador offers diverse destinations, each infused with its own unique charm. From the bustling streets of Suchitoto to the serene peaks of the Santa Ana volcano and the beaches like El Cuco, the country promises an unending assortment of experiences.

Food enthusiasts can revel in the vibrant culinary scene, sampling authentically prepared and richly flavoured national dishes like pupusas and tamales. The landscape is dotted with bars and restaurants that showcase the nation's rich gastronomic heritage.

Adding to El Salvador's allure is its community's warm and welcoming nature, making it particularly appealing for expats seeking a new home. The country's perennial sunshine ensures that activities can be enjoyed year-round, unhindered by seasonal changes.

Economically, the adoption of Bitcoin marks a revolutionary shift, making El Salvador a frontrunner in the global acceptance of digital currencies. This has simplified transactions through various user-friendly payment options and increased financial inclusivity, allowing more people to participate in the economy and attracting international investors and tourists, boosting local and international trade and spurring economic growth.

 

El Tazumal Mayan Ruins in El Salvador - Applying for residency in El Salvador involves a detailed process that begins with determining your eligibility under various types of residence programs offered to foreigners. Each program has specific regulations and benefits, so it’s crucial to study these carefully to choose one that aligns with your needs, whether for individual applicants or family members including spouses. The immigration office provides all necessary details and can offer advice on the required documents, such as copies of personal records and information on your current residence status. Approval of your application will depend on how well you meet the criteria and the completeness of your submission.  Once you've selected the appropriate type of residency and gathered your documentation, the next step involves submitting your application to the local immigration office and possibly attending an interview. During this interview, you'll discuss your reasons for applying and provide further details on your background. After the interview, the duration of the approval process can vary, so it’s beneficial to have access to assistance from legal companies or individuals who specialize in immigration law. Upon approval, you will receive your residence permit, which will include the terms for renewal. Understanding these rules is key to maintaining your residency in El Salvador and taking full advantage of the advantages it offers.

El Tazumal Mayan Ruins in El Salvador

CONCLUSION

El Salvador offers you and your family a wide range of entry possibilities, opening doors to a world where new adventures and opportunities await at every corner. Whether you start with a temporary visa to dip your toes into the vibrant life here or dive straight into permanent residency, the journey is flexible and tailored to your comfort level. Before pursuing citizenship, you can explore the country at your own pace, soaking in the rich culture, stunning landscapes, and its people's welcoming spirit.

No matter how you enter El Salvador, each path promises a unique and enriching experience that can transform how you view the world. As you immerse yourself in the community, you’ll find that the bonds you form and the memories you create will last a lifetime. El Salvador isn’t just a place to live; it’s a place to become a part of—a vibrant community eager to embrace you and offer you a new home filled with warmth and opportunity.

 

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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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