Roatan Residency or Tourist Visa?
The decision to apply for residency or tourist visa in Honduras depends entirely upon your personal circumstances. To start, if you’re only coming to Roatan for vacation and you are from the U.S. or Canada, you may enter Honduras without completing a visa application ahead of time. You will be granted a tourist visa of up to 90 days at the airport. Keep in mind that you must have a valid passport that does not expire within six months of your travel date. At the end of your tourist visa timeframe, you are required to leave the country for a minimum of 72 hours prior to re-entering.
It is possible to extend your tourist visa. The immigration office in Coxen Hole can grant a 30-day extension on top of your original 90 days, for a fee. This may come in handy if you plan to own a vacation home in Roatan in which you plan to snowbird, coming for only a few months during the winter. You could stay for up to three months on a regular tourist visa, but should you decide to stay for a fourth month, a simple visa extension would allow you to do so without having to worry about applying for residency.
Similarly, if you plan to own a vacation home in Roatan strictly to visit occasionally and perhaps rent out the remainder of the year, then you likely do not need to worry about applying for Honduran residency.
However, if you plan to make your home in Roatan your permanent residence, you absolutely should apply for residency. If you are retiring and plan to move full-time to Roatan, you may qualify for a retiree residency visa if you can prove a minimum pension of $1,500/month.
Alternatively, if you have income back home of a minimum $2,500/month in the form of interest or investments, for example, then you could qualify for the rentista residency visa.
An additional issue to consider is the amount of property you wish to purchase, as only residents may purchase more than 3,000 square meters (approximately 0.72 acres) or more than one property at a time on the island. Should you wish to purchase more than one property, or an amount of land greater than the 3,000 square meters, you will need to create a corporation in order to do so. You can gain your residency via the corporation should you wish to live in Honduras permanently.
Keep in mind that if you are in the process of applying for your residency, you may pay to extend your visa as needed while you wait.
Gaining your residency in Honduras does not require you to give up your citizenship elsewhere – even if you eventually become a Honduran citizen, you can still maintain a second citizenship. If you apply for residency in Honduras, you will be granted a 5-year visa, which must be renewed annually. At the end of that 5-year period, you can apply for permanent residency. Permanent residency must be renewed every 5 years.
Residency, or tourist visa? Each person’s situation can be different, so it is best to consult with an attorney before making any decisions. All residency applications must be filed by a Honduran attorney.