How to Move to and Retire in Fiji: The Complete Guide

Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Check our disclaimer for more info. (* = affiliate link)

If you are thinking of moving to a tropical country like Fiji, it is likely that you already have the picture of an idyllic setting in mind with vast tropical lands that stretch down to the sea and a warm climate all year round. But it is always a good idea to look a little deeper and analyze every aspect of living there before you make the final call.

To be able to move to and retire in Fiji, you will need a permanent residency status to live there for a prolonged period, and you will also want to purchase a piece of freehold land. The cost of living will vary depending on the island you choose to live and retire in.

This article will discuss how you can apply for a permanent residence permit in Fiji and understand key safety and security issues. You will also learn about the food and culture you will experience, be a part of it while you are there, understand the process of buying land in Fiji, and finally, about the cost of living in Fiji.

Finding Accommodation in Fiji

One of the first things you will need when you decide to move to Fiji long term is finding the accommodation suitable for your taste and needs. You will also need to zero down on the city where you want to live. These decisions may seem to be draining initially, but once you have pinned down the city you want to live in, it will make things much easier for you as you move onto other aspects of integrating into the society.

Finding a home in Fiji is no easy feat, and the prices are a tad bit on the steep side. If you are looking for a relatively spacious house that is also modern and in a good neighborhood, be prepared to shell out a premium for such accommodations.

You could also check for available listings online on Facebook or go the more traditional route and seek out the help of a real estate agent who is more likely to know more about what kind of houses are available that match your preferences.

How to Move to and Retire in Fiji: The Complete Guide

Choosing a Place to Settle

Suva is the economic hub of Fiji, and naturally, prices here are way higher than the rest of Fiji. Also, it rains a lot in Suva, so if you do not like the idea of a daily downpour, perhaps looking at other places apart from Suva will make more sense. 

Suppose you do not need to live in any one particular locality or island. In that case, you can consider other places like Nadi and Veti Levu, which are very interesting places to live with the locals and integrate with the society there.

Nadi is the tourism hub of Fiji, and prices here are a little lesser than in Suva. However, Nadi is a tourist destination; you may thirst for the quiet and idyllic tropical paradise you envisioned before moving to Fiji. 

For this, you may want to consider shifting your home base to Lautoka – a place near Nadi, but much less touristy, and life has set its own pace here, which is very different from city life. Moving to Lautoka will also increase your chances of integrating with the locals there.

Another option, Veti Levu, the main island in Fiji, will give you the true and authentic island life experience. You will find yourself in close proximity to your neighbors and the traditional Fijian way of life in this place. You are more likely to feel a distinct disconnect with the chaos of city life as walks on the beach, snorkeling, and scuba-diving become a more dominant way of life. 

Languages Spoken in Fiji

In the Fiji Islands, you will see three main languages being spoken. They are:

  • Fijian
  • English
  • Fijian Hindi

You will be able to make do by knowing English alone, though if you are planning to live there long term and wish to integrate into the society, it will be a good idea to invest some time and learn Fijian, the native language. 

Even though it is not necessary, it will open many doors for you. You will have the advantage of understanding the nuances of their culture through their language.

Even though the book, Lonely Planet Fiji, is a travel guide, you will find additional information here about the country that will help you decide which region will suit you best for settling down long term.

Making Friends in Fiji

Fijians are very friendly and open people. They are very sociable, and you will find it fairly easy to break into the local circle. If you attend an event or a group activity class where there are locals present, more often than not, you will find that the locals will make sure to extend an invite to you for the next activity or event.

The expat community, too, is very welcoming in Fiji. Also, because there are many expats as well living in Fiji, you may just as easily meet other expats like yourself who are keen on making friends as they are in the same boat as you. Many local expats have found life partners in Fiji and had kids, and settled down in this island nation.    

Finding a Job in Fiji

Fiji has a huge influx of many world-renowned developmental organizations from the UN to myriads of NGOs. You could consider applying for and working for these embassies, or if you are into marine biology and conservation, there are plenty of opportunities in that field. There are some who even work as scuba instructors. There are also hospitality and tourism jobs that you can look for while in Fiji.

It is vital to have a job if you are living in Fiji indefinitely. The only other alternative is to have a huge amount piled up in savings that you can live off.

Applying for a Permanent Residency Permit

If you plan to move and retire in Fiji, it does not make much sense to go rushing to the immigration office every few months to renew your visa. It would be taxing not just on your time but also your money. Instead, by applying for a permanent residency permit, you are almost eliminating the hassle completely.

The Fiji government grants permanent residence permits to Fiji non-citizens who desire to live on that island for an extended period. 

To apply for this permit, you will need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Police Report
  • Medical Report
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • A formal request letter for a permanent residence permit 

In addition to the above list, there are a few additional documents such as bank statement and proof of previous residence permit that may be requested on a case to case basis. The cost of applying for this permit is around $452 as of October 2020.

After you submit the application to the immigration office, the Fiji Immigration Department will review the application. If everything is found to be satisfactory, they will approve the permit, and it will take up to three working days after that for your permanent residence card to be ready. 

The immigration office will notify you on the day of collection, and you are required to collect your permit by going to the immigration office in-person.

Cost of Living in Fiji

The cost of living in Fiji is relatively low, except for the house rent. If you can manage the rent, most of everything else is very affordable in Fiji. For instance, if you were to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the capital city, it would easily cost $3,000 FJD ($1,405 USD), but a pile of tomatoes will cost as little as $3 FJD ($1.41 USD).

Groceries for the week for one person could be between $10 FJD to $15 FJD ($ 4.5 – $7 USD). A meal at a restaurant will cost around $50 FJD ($23.4 USD).

Transportation in Fiji is also reasonable, with an average 4-hour bus ride in an air-conditioned bus coming up to $15 FJD ($7 USD). A taxi ride for 10 minutes will cost almost half of the amount of the four-hour bus ride.

Buying Land in Fiji

How to Move to and Retire in Fiji: The Complete Guide

One way to mitigate the cost of living long term in Fiji is to own a piece of land and build your house on it. Buying land is not easy. Most of the land is either leased by the crown or reserved for the natives of Fiji. Only about 8% of the total land is classified as freehold land.

Expats can only purchase freehold lands, and once bought, it grants them the same rights over the land as it would in their home country. They can pass on the land to their children and grandchildren in the future.

One can also lease a piece of land from the crown, but that is as good as a lease, and after a limited time, you will be required to return the land back to the crown. The other category of land, which is reserved for natives, cannot be bought or leased by expats at all.

Given all these options, purchasing from a freehold land is the best option, and it vests the same rights on you as a landowner as you would expect in your home country.

Driving in Fiji

This is perhaps one of the greatest concerns that expats have in Fiji. The road conditions are considered one of the greatest dangers as driving in Fiji can be a bit rash. There are many who drive extremely fast and try and overtake in unusual and unsafe ways. Many taxis may not even have a functioning seat belt in the back seat, which can be quite unsafe for the passenger.

There is no beating around the bush – driving around in Fiji will seem difficult and dangerous. Seeing someone overtake you at a breakneck speed on a two-lane road is not the most comforting way to drive. But, hopefully, with time, you will get used to it, or on a lighter note, learn to look at it as an adventure. Nonetheless, it is important to always be careful when driving on Fiji roads.

How Safe Is Fiji?

There are incidents of thefts that are being reported quite frequently in Fiji. Petty thefts and even break-ins are, unfortunately, quite common in Fiji. Therefore, many invest in a good home security system here. Windows, too, are mostly barred, and there are security guards who keep watch on the property.

In the capital city of Suva, walking around by yourself during the daytime is quite all right, but many expats advise against walking alone at night. This is no different than most cities in the world where you would want to err on the side of caution.

If you are outside the main city, then the rural Fijian life takes over, which is, for the most part, safer than the main city areas. If you choose to live in a village, the chances are that the village people will treat you more like a family than an outsider.

Another thing to bear in mind is not to show any expensive items that you may be wearing in your person. Remember that petty theft is a common thing in Fiji, and if you wear something that dazzles, there are chances of untoward incidents happening.

As a woman, if you feel that the taxi driver in your cab ride home is getting unnecessarily curious about your personal life, let them know that someone is waiting for you at home.

There is also a bit of catcalling in Fiji, but less than what is seen in most major cities in some parts of the world. If you ignore the catcalls and keep on walking, it should be all right.

Dressing Up in Fiji

Fiji has a very conservative culture, and it is recommended that you cover your shoulders and knees and avoid wearing sunglasses and hats. There are a few resorts that are meant for tourists only. Here you can dress up as you would back home.

In the capital city, you will see a lot more international clothes style. However, it is always better to watch what the others are wearing and then follow suit rather than get embarrassed for assuming what is and is not permitted and finding yourself stand out in the crowd, and not in a good way.

You will need to be especially mindful in the village where tourists do not frequent as much, and their local, conservative way of dressing up is more prevalent.

Crime Rate in Fiji

Theft is one of the most common forms of crime in Fiji. Expats also occasionally complain of robbery and home break-ins. That is why security guards are employed to keep a watch on the property, and there are high fences surrounding many properties, and the windows are barred. When looking for accommodation in Fiji, take these things into consideration and look for a well-guarded property that cannot be broken into easily.

Being a victim of petty theft is more likely if you seem to be an easy target. Avoid being out till late in the night, and if you have to, always be on your guard. Do not carry unnecessary cash or wear flashy jewelry. Keep your phone close to you at all times to avoid it from being stolen.

Violence against foreign women is quite low, but it does happen in secluded areas. Avoid being in such secluded places or walking through them if you are alone. The rate of domestic violence and sexual assault in Fiji is quite high, and these crimes are mostly committed by the family members of the victim.

Fijian Food

Fijians use a lot of coconut in their cooking. Being in a tropical region, most of their food is made from locally available fresh ingredients, though they also import some food from overseas, which are sold in the market at a mark-up.

There is also a lot of carbohydrates in Fijian food. They eat a lot of root vegetables like cassava that are steamed and cooked in coconut cream. Rourou, a spinach-like vegetable, is also quite common in their diet.

They also consume a lot of fish. If you wish to try some Fijian delicacy, look up this recipe for an authentic Fijian dish – the Ika Vakalolo:


To move to a new place is a huge life decision, and one must be flexible to accommodate a few surprises here and there. Not all these surprises may be pleasant per se, but with the right attitude and open-mindedness, you will easily be able to adapt to this beautiful tropical country of Fiji. 

In Fiji, people are friendly, and there is a pervading sense of community in everything they do. Also, moving to and retiring in Fiji will be a wonderful experience if you enjoy the tropical climate. 



Hey there, my name is Anja, I’ve seen and supported my mom’s incredible transformation in her fifties. Seeing how my mom “awakened” and took full control over her life really impressed me. I got inspired and started dreaming about how we could inspire more people, especially women, to open up and create a second life for themselves. That’s how the idea of came to life…

Recent Posts