My wife and I have this plan: retire, sell our home, and travel abroad indefinitely. We'll have no permanent physical residence. We are US citizens, and our legal residence and domicile will be in Florida, where we'll have driver's licenses and voter registration. We'll have an address at a mail-handling service. We'll also use the home address of a relative in Florida for some things that prohibit using a mail-handling address.

We'll stay in each country or visa area (eg: Schengen) for several months at a time on tourist visas, rarely returning to the US. I assumed that showing sufficient funds, proof of lodging in the host country, and an onward or return ticket would allow us entry into the various popular tourist destinations around the world.

However, this question has me wondering, because the OP is a US citizen and was denied entry to Canada partly because the OP "couldn't provide proof of permanent residency in the USA", such as utility bills. Presumably Canada was worried that the OP would not leave after entering. How big a deal for US citizens is a lack of permanent residence when attempting to enter foreign countries (not just Canada) on a tourist visa, intending to stay for several months? And even if we maintain a permanent residence in the US, would other countries have a problem if we almost never go back to our home country?

I'd like general answers, but if the question is too broad, then assume we are entering the Schengen area.

  • 2
    Generally, you would only be allowed 90 days in the entire Schengen area in a 180 day period. Have you considered applying for a long-term visa? For example, if you bought property in Portugal, you could qualify for a residence visa eventually making you eligible for citizenship.
    – user58558
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 7:22
  • Our plan is to keep traveling around the world on tourist visas, not to become residents somewhere outside the US.
    – FlanMan
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 16:34
  • 4
    Please do not vote to close this as an expat question because OP wants to become an eternal traveller, not a resident in country/area X.
    – Jan
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 5:58
  • That guy attracted the Canadian border service's attention by bringing in boxes of ammunition, which aren't allowed. Commented May 2, 2018 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


Entry as a tourist is never guaranteed, the officers in most countries are supposed to deny entry if they have reason to believe that you're pretending to be a tourist but actually planning to overstay and/or work. Many factors can increase or decrease the officers' suspicion about whether you are really a tourist.

The other question you mentioned had several factors which caused enough suspicion among the officers to jeopardize his tourist entry to Canada:

  • He was carrying marijuana and ammunition (although he declared the ammunition)
  • He was driving a car packed full of his belongings
  • He is of working age and works "from anywhere" but doesn't have formal authorization to work in any other country

On the other hand, it sounds like you have several factors which would reduce suspicion and make it clear that you are tourists, doing tourist activities and staying within the time limits for tourists:

  • You are retired and you have enough money to travel the world without working. (Be sure to have proof of this.)
  • You have a history of touring many other countries and never overstaying as a tourist.
  • You always buy your tickets at least one destination ahead, so every time you cross immigration, you already have onward tickets to the next destination.
  • Although you're selling your house, you maintain your primary ties to your country of citizenship, such as health insurance, bank accounts, and taxes. Bonus if you have family in your home country that you visit as well. If you have no permanent residence in any other country, by default your permanent residence is in your country of citizenship.

Given these factors, I would be surprised if you have any trouble entering as a tourist in most countries.

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