Retiring in Nepal

Hello everyone,

Why did you choose to retire in Nepal? What are the advantages compared with your home country?

What were your main considerations when deciding to move? For example, taxes, ease of transferring your pension, etc..

Are there any specific formalities you had to go through as a retiree moving to Nepal (for example, is there a particular retirement visa)?

What is Nepal's healthcare like? Have you had any good or bad experiences dealing with healthcare professionals?

Do you have any tips for other retirees in Nepal?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Nepal sort of chose me, but I love it here and cannot see myself living anywhere else.That may change in the future, but Nepal has all I need in a retirement home. Shortly after I got to Nepal, one night I got finished with dinner late and on a tiny little street in the big city of Kathmandu on my way back from dinner I saw 4 young, Asian men with masks covering their faces walking right up to me. My heart stopped. "Namaste," each one greeted me as they walked by. That's the moment I knew Nepal was home. The people are so friendly, that's the number 1 reason to love Nepal.

I got one sinus infection after the other while living in Kathmandu that first year. When an earthquake rocked Kathmandu in 2011 I left the city and the sinus infections stopped. I got excellent care each time I had to see a doctor, but you need to know where to go. I've written several blog posts about health care in Nepal.

The advantages of being here instead of the US are way too numerable to go into detail, but here is the biggest reason. I felt like a tiny fish in a huge ocean in the US; in Nepal I feel like a bigger fish in a small pond. My dollar or energy helps a lot more people even if I didn't do social work. One example is that the people next door to me never had enough money to hook up to the electric grid. I run a wire outside my window and the increase in my electric expense isn't even noticeable and the family has electricity.

This is probably the last place on the planet where a person can live well for under $1,000 a month. It's a peaceful, tolerant society with pretty decent weather throughout the year. It seldom gets above 29 deg. or below the temperature where frost is on the ground, but it does get a bit nippy from about Dec. to the middle of Feb. in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. Monsoon is quite nice with an all-night rain or raining throughout the day, but seldom both. It's not nearly as bad as S. Florida in the summertime.

If anyone would like more details about moving to Nepal, please IM me. I'm happy to help anyone.

I'd love to be able to choose Nepal as a place to leisurely retire in, if I knew for sure the authorities would grant me a type of long-term visa, enabling me to lead a simple, non-business, retired lifestyle, and this for the rest of my life. Long before I appeared on the scene, this other Expat contributor, Erinerin, was expressing the same wish on your pages back in 2012 when he wrote on this residential visa open topic "I don't want to spend thousands of dollars investing in a company if it isn't necessary" ..."I just want to spend my own money" ...and "not work"....and be in Nepal "strictly as a consumer".
Who wants to invest?
For his part on this question of visa, Stanjee added he did not want to marry a nepalese woman if that was the only way to stay on in the country.
So what is the solution or options because being able to stay in Nepal over the long term seems quite complicated according to everything I have read here, on Expat. And who knows, maybe even more so, for the foreign fully retired older couples as they would be in the age bracket of, say, 65-85, who too might want "to come to Nepal for life"?
In terms of numbers, for information, Investopedia reveals that already half a million american retirees are living outside of their country.
But as I see it, the question is not so much what retirees want, but rather what countries will offer them visas to enable them to enjoy a place they can call "home" and to live in the comfort of that home if not for a consecutive period of 12 months at a time, at least for a minimum period of 6-9 months, year in and year out, as I think most retirees would expect. But what is the reality of things visa-wise in Nepal?
Without any doubt, easy to obtain visa type for short term stays of trekkers, climbers, and other visitors whole short-term visits are by definition necessarily limited to 150 days (max.) in Nepal, in any one 12 months' period.
But how will the older retirees of, say 65+, regard this 5 months rule if they happen to choose "Nepal for life" to quote the authorities?
Let's turn to the next option.
Again, if older couples choose to retire in Nepal - in the majority of cases surely - it is to find and enjoy a leisurely slower pace of well earned retirement life and lifestyle and NOT to start a second career with having to create a new business here as is required by current legislation/criteria, regulating this type of visa. After consulting it is hard to imagine that too many people of 65+ who are already retired would be ready to fork up $100,000.00 to set up a new business and in a country which they may not even know, and at their age, is that not so?
NOT a viable solution for most of us, or among the people I know anyway, so let us examine the only possible remaining 3rd alternative, hopefully better adapted to the older generation of retirees?
Independent of what other contributors have already said here on these pages in the past and to 2014, all pointing to how very difficult it may be to successfully obtain this RV,  expats/retirees will most definitely wish to consult and read for themselves the very helpful official guidelines and other quite detailed information on this type of visa, which now conveniently appears on the net, put out by authorities. This way expats will be provided with reliable and solid information and thus better able to decide and map out their long-term retirement strategy if they elect to stay in this country, as the case may be?
After reading and assimilating that official information,  if expats/retirees should be interested to either consult or even complete an APPLICATION FOR RESIDENTIAL VISA, they will be able to read the full text of the letter/document they will now be expected to file and submit ONLINE addressed to Immigration:
starting with the paragraph where the applicant will be writing:  "I am interested on spending the rest of my life in Nepal. So, I would like to request you for Residential Visa".  etc.
Scroll down to four (4)  REASONS FOR VISA
where applicants applicants who have already invested....."At least one million USD in Nepal" can so indicate,  by simply checking the appropriate box #3.
Only documents required are Recommendation letter from the concerned Diplomatic Mission in Nepal, bank statement/showing balance of 20,000.00 USD and passport
After press/submit, no indication is provided as to how long the process might take? Through my nepalese lawyer, all I know is that the process can take some time. I have heard about one film-maker who'd spent like 15 years in Nepal, who did file an application for this type of residential visa but that was at least 18 months ago and my understanding is that tired of waiting for the reply that never came, this person gave up. The retiree in question is now in the process of building a retirement home in the Algarve region of Portugal, a country where formalities are reported to be very simple and non-residents can easily purchase property in their name.
Through a consular official in Ktm, I have heard that there were only 18 RV granted in total and in circulation, so assuming that number to be correct and up to date, it explains a lot of things.
Personally, I do not consider myself to be among the "rich and wealthy", so not being in that league, unfortunately, I don't think I would qualify and for that reason, I will not file a RV application.
Being here for short visits is fine with me now, and we'll see if who knows, regulations change by the time I am ready for retirement?  I would very much like to .....but that is a different kettle of fish!

Such good information! Just today, i began researching nepal as a place to retire. I may be texting you later if I become serious about pokhara. I have stayed in banepa before but have not been to pokhara.  Thank you! Linda

How do you find the pollution in KTM ?

I am looking at both KTM and Pokhara to live. Pokhara is a short drive to the start of the hike to the Annauprna Sanctuary and even then onto the Circuit. You can do Helambu then Langtang from KTM so both cities have hiking options close by.

That very same question, of how bad the pollution in Kathmandu really is, is dealt with in an article you will find in the Kathmandu Post (April 3, 2017) where they write that "...The situation is very bad. Our pollution Index is 5 times higher than the World Health Organization's Guidelines 2017, which are based on the impact of a city's pollution on human health"
To consult statistical data comparing the pollution index of Kathmandu with some other 269 cities around the world, click on:   
You will see that Kathmandu is currently the 5th most polluted city on the planet, in their Pollution Index, Mid-year 2017
Out of interest, I looked up Australia to compare. At the bottom of the list, in excellent positions, are Perth no. 239, Adelaide 252 and Brisbane 254.  (out of total of 269 as previously stated)
Congrats to Australia! My God, what a joy, clean air!

I live in the Kathmandu Valley, outside the city. I'm in Changunarayan and it's excellent air. You can choose from many villages that surround the Kathmandu Valley and it's really nice with a cool breeze and lovely views.  I think Kathmandu is better than it was even last year. They've taken the 20+ year cars off the road. I got a small, portable oxygen tank for the ride in and out of Kathmandu, but only need it for just a short time. It only costs 300 rupee/$3 to have it refilled and it really helps me to have more energy. It's so nice living in Nepal that I don't mind the pollution for a day. Well, yes, I mind, but I love living here and I have good, clean air and good, organic vegetables.

IBeadwindow, I live in Changunarayan and it's really nice. Clean air, nice views,  a genuine Newari community. I have no health issues, but I bought a small, portable oxygen tank for when I go into Kathmandu. I take a mini van in at 10 am so I miss the worst of it and try to leave by 3:30 pm. Huffing oxygen gives a person a lot more energy and with everything else being so affordable I decided to splurge at 12,000 NRs. but the refills are only 300 NRs.

Look for a nice, culturally rich community in the surrounding hills like Pharphing, Shivapuri, Changunarayan, etc. There is some building going on in this village and they are building some nice multi family homes. If you check them out now you can get them to do the finish out like you want. Make a day trip to Changunarayan and drop by the Star View Guest House for a cup of organic coffee on our rooftop terrace,  no charge.

Kathmandu is like any other capital city, but it sits at the base of a valley. It's great for day trips, but not to live in.

Hi Dennis, I have been to Nepal a few times and fell in love with the country, its people and of course the Himalayas. You mentioned that you retired in Kathmandu. Could you message me, please?  I have some questions in regards to obtaining and keeping a long-term visa. I would like to retire there myself. Thank you!

I am very interested in moving to Nepal. I knew after my first visit that Nepal was my calling, for many different reasons. My second visit just intensified this feeling. Now I am seriously thinking of living there long-term. However, the posts about obtaining long-term visas are a bit discouraging. If I live there on a tourist visa I have to leave after 5 months. At that rate, I will not be able to travel back and forth and live in two different places. Any suggestions?


For security reasons please do not post any personal contact details on the open forum, use the message system for this.

Are retirement VISA's actually obtainable for Nepal? Looking at the requirements ($20,000 in Nepali bank and $20,000 receipts per year), they are not a problem.

I was planning on getting a student VISA. However, I got sick (Montezuma's Revenge) again today and the idea of going downtown every day for class looks less and less attractive. I am learning Nepali at home. I already know the alphabet and lots of words I use when I go out in public. So, I don't really need classes. There is a ton of stuff on the internet, including all the Peace Corps and State Department lessons.

Anyway, has anyone here actually got a Residential Retirement VISA?

Do you just fill out the form and show up at the VISA office like when we extend our tourist VISA for 30 days?

Do we go to the same office or a different office?

How long does the process take? I have about 2.5 months left on this year's tourist VISA time (5 months).

With Nepal's Balance of Payments hurting them with a decrease in Remittances, I am hoping they will be a little more helpful and accepting.

Antone know what a character certificate is? Can I just get letters of recommendation from local Nepalis? I have been here 7 months.

A character cirtificate is a proof of moral and ethical certification that we get after leaving schools and universities. Why do you need it?

The authorities make the obtention of a residential visa sound very simple, on the net. Don't be deceived. In truth, the whole process takes a very long time and only a very few foreigners ever successfully manage to get that kind of visa. I would not be surprised if there were less than 20 residential visas outstanding and issued to foreigners in the entire country of Nepal at any given point in time. Many are called, but few are chosen. Immigration is just the start of it. That type of visa - after it has been processed by them by immigration officers - requires the formal written approval of Home Ministry.
Hate to sound so negative, but I think your chances for obtaining that type visa in 2 1/2 months are absolutely zilch.
P.S. No way, either, even if you wanted to, you could get a R.V. on your own without the help of a lawyer. But that's another story, and I'll spare you the details. I don't want to go there, if you see what i mean.

Keep those skids well greased, man!

I have spent quite a bit of time in Nepal over the last 4 years usually about 2 months a year.

My wife is a doctor from Nepal with houses in Kathmandu and Chitwan.

We have been supporting slum children there. Almost 200 now that we are educating with the vast majority of them being in c h  i t w a n.

We are planning on moving not later then my 58th birthday in 3 years actually 2 months less than that but are unsure about what type of Visa I can get?

If I have to Pony up $20,000 or something more than that I could but I'm hoping that there is a Visa for foreigners who marry Nepalese women?

My wife will have to give up her green card here and take our chances on a visitor's visa in the future. But we plan on making our life there for good with yearly visits back to the states to see family.

We are currently living in Sandy Utah and have several businesses and a number of rentals. But would like to move somewhere more rural probably close to Pokhara. Any information you can give me on visas or other things that I might want to be aware of would be very much appreciated.

The marriage visa is $245 a year for multiple entry for one year. If your spouse dies before you do you have 5 years to take Nepali citizenship. They don't do dual, so you'd have to give up US citizenship or go back or take another kind of visa. You won't be able to claim ownership for any of the income because you still cannot work; I guess that means for money.

It will be wonderful to have you come here to settle. I think it's great for the economy. I think it's worth all that and more to live here in this peaceful culture.

Sounds wonderful thank you. I would put any business interests in my wife's name and in our family business there so that would be perfect for us I think.

Thanks for your reply!


Hi there.
I am 64 and looking for my next home.
I have been trekking in Nepal and loved it.
I will still have to work - which I can do virtually or locally if I can find the opportunities (Training, coaching, mentoring, consulting).
Please advise.
Thank you
PS - maybe you can email me ***

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should not cost you 245$ is more like 120-- maybe she touched the wrong key.....your wife us Nepali so should be no problem. The immigration dept got cleaned up so no bribe v
necessary anymore...You will get what's called a non- ,tourist visa, good for a year. I suggest a good indoor air cleaner for KTM and good respirator for outside in KTM.  Pokhara not so bad ....Sawyer water filter and....... ENJOY

Well, that's what they got me for, about $245, multiple entry, but I was surprised that it wasn't $180 altogether. So, I guess Nepal is still a unique, experiential experience. The visa says $180 then +60 in real small print. But I only gave the money to the cashier-no bribe.

No typo on the marriage visa.

I too am interested in learning how to obtain a long term visa..everything I have read and researched is a bit disheartening..any information you can pass along would be greatly appreciated

If you are American then you can get a 5 year visa if you study Nepali there..

how does one go about enlisting the language course and a particular institute?  Before arriving or can convert a tourist visa into a student visa?  Yes I am an American

First you come on a tourist visa and then you need to apply at the University. It's an easy proceedure.

you can join bishwa vasa campus in academic language courses

The thread initiated by Priscilla here is about "Retiring in Nepal"
And in reading remarks made to date, I can't help but notice that remarkably little information (if any) has been provided here so far on her questions, and in particular:
- advantages compared to home country            Answer?
- What's Nepal's healthcare like                             Answer?
- Healthcare professionals                                     Answer?  read for the elderly
Personally, I'd be most interested to hear what others have to say about these major considerations - (and not only learning or not learning nepali) - Priscilla is right.
One last thing. Apart from this one contributor, Loisw, who was clear in mentioning being retired at age 64, others seem to have completely overlooked the all-important age factor   
To me, the age at which a person might consider retiring to Nepal, is a MAJOR point. What I am trying to say is that retiring to Nepal at 64 is one thing - assuming the person still enjoys complete autonomy and mobility, ability, keen to go trekking etc... But, let's be realistic, considering retiring to Nepal at 74 might not be quite as simple, As for retiring in one's eighties, in Nepal country where winters are long and cold...with no central heating..and healthcare for the elderly may not be adequate....well..dunno?..I just wonder?..let's hear from you all, with comments, age factored into the equation. Be interested.

I'm 65 and in excellent health, on a pension much too small to expect my kids to put up with me (although I'm sure they would). I just had my blood work-up done here in Nepal for under $30. If a tourist gets really ill the Nepali doctor will likely refer you to India for a no-risk referral commission rather than create a national incident of having a patient die from infection. That being said, there are many medical things you can safely and cheaply do in Nepal. However, a person can fly to Dubai where the rich politicians from the US go to have the serious stuff done. Most medical insurance can pay for international medical care.

We had a guest a couple years ago, a 70-year-old woman from the US. She was immune compromised and continued to get herself sick, not diarrhea. She complained a lot and was really too old to travel. However, we had an Italian man in his 80's pass through who didn't even speak much English, at all. He had a great time and still sends me pictures every month or so.

It's hard for Americans from the US because we have learned to rely on government regulations, customer service, warranties. For example, if you buy something in Ktm with a warranty and it breaks you will have to pay $10-15 and the part that broke may not even be covered by warranty. You have to find the corporate headquarters and take a number. There will likely be at least 20 people ahead of you. There are hundreds of things like this. You have to roll with each and every absurdity and smile. Sometimes smiling is harder than on other days.

If people do not say about you that you are 'young at heart' you might not like Nepal because nothing works on the first try and most things never seem to work, at all. If you tend to 'should' on people you also might become a bit frustrated in Nepal. The land of 'Should' is a land far away from Nepal. But if people say you are young at heart and you realize there are many right ways to do things and the people of Nepal got by just fine before we tourists started bringing all our plastic trash and INGOs to rescue them, well then you will probably fall in love with this amazing place.

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