Panama Residency Programs

Panama Residency Programs

Effective Alternatives for Obtaining Panama Residency

The Panama government created a number of immigrant visa residency programs to promote tourism and investment in the country. Each of these programs provides special benefits for foreign residents and retirees who are planning to obtain temporary or permanent residency, citizenship, or special Panama passports.

The following is a list of the main migration programs in Panama.

1. Qualified Investor Visa (new visa program)

To encourage and reactivate Panama’s economy, the National Government, through Executive Decree No. 22, dated October 15, 2020, created within the category of Permanent Resident for Economic Reasons, a new visa known as Qualified Investor Visa, for those foreigners who can contribute to the development of investments in the Republic of Panama.

To demonstrate the purpose of establishing residence under this category, the interested party will have the following investment alternatives in Panama:

1. To invest in the purchase of a real estate property for a minimum amount of three hundred thousand dollars (US$300,000.00), this amount must come from abroad and the property must be free of encumbrances.  Please note that as of October 15, 2022, this minimum investment requirement will be increased to five hundred thousand dollars (US$500,000) for the purchase of a real estate property in the Republic of Panama, free of encumbrances.

2.To invest the sum of five hundred thousand dollars (US$500,000.00), through a Securities House with a license approved by the Superintendence of the Securities Market of Panama, and with the commitment of the investment for a period of five (5) years.

3. To invest in a Time Deposit in the amount of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars (US$750,000.00), for a period of five (5) years, in any Bank with a general license, authorized to operate in the national territory.

The investment can be made personally, (in your name, as a natural person), or through a corporation, where you are the holder of 100% of the shares of the corporation, or through a Panamanian Private Interest Foundation if the investor is the ultimate beneficiary of such foundation. The invested funds must come from banks outside the Panamanian territory.

Key Benefits:
The process is expeditious; it only takes one (1) month to approve the permanent residency.   In addition, it has the advantage that the investor is not required to be present in Panama for the attorney to file the visa application.  The application may be submitted through a special power of attorney duly authenticated by Apostille or authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate in the country where the investor granted such power of attorney. Subsequently the visa applicant will have to come to Panama to be issued a permanent residence card with his/her photograph.

  1. Panama Friendly Nations Visa (updated)

    The Government of Panama, by means of Executive Decree Nº179 of May 7, 2021, modified some requirements to obtain Permanent Residence in Panama, under the category of Citizens of Friendly Nations.

Among the relevant changes, it is established that the applicant will initially be granted a Temporary Residence Permit for a term of two (2) years.  After two (2) years, applicants who meet the requirements will be able to apply for Permanent Residence.

This residence permit can be requested for working reasons as employee of a Panamanian company or for investment reasons as owner of a real estate in Panama, for a value of at least US$200,000.00.

This Executive Decree shall enter into force as of August 20, 2021.

Approximately 40 residency countries are eligible for Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa.

These are the countries on the Friendly Nations Visa list:

Great Britain, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Republic of Korea, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, USA, Slovakia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay, Chile, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus, Malta, Serbia, Montenegro, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Taiwan, Costa Rica.

(Italy is not on the list due to the fact it already has a bilateral immigration treaty with Panama with simplified requirements).

Key Benefits:

  • Streamlined process if the applicant has one of the nationalities
  • Spouse and children under 25 can qualify as dependents
  1. Retiree Visa

In order to qualify for this type of visa, the interested party must establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) in the National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panama), for a period of at least 5 years. The deposited amount must generate monthly interest of at least US$2000, which would be considered the retiree’s monthly income.

Key Benefits:

  • Permanent residence after 15 years of applying for the provisional residence permit
  • A special Panama Passport (this does not mean Panamanian citizenship)
  • Tax exemptions and discounts in diverse services offered in Panama
  1. Pensioned Tourist Visa

The interested party must be pensioned or retired by a foreign government, private company or international organization. The applicant must receive a monthly income or pension of at least US$1000 and an additional US$250 for each dependent in order to qualify for this visa.

Key Benefits:

  • Permanent residence once the person applies
  • Tax exemptions and discounts in diverse services offered in Panama
  1. Self-Economic Solvency Visa

The interested party must choose one of the following three alternatives in order to apply for this visa:

  1. Time Deposit: Establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) of at least US$300,000 in a Panama local Bank for a minimum period of 3 years.
  2. Real Estate Investment: Purchase real estate property in Panama without financing. The property must be purchased under its personal name, for a minimum value of US$300,000. Then, you must submit proof of economic solvency to cover its daily living expenses.
  3. Time Deposit + Real Estate Investment: Purchase real estate property in Panama without financing and establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) in a Panama local Bank, for a minimum period of 3 years, both equivalent to a minimum of US$300,000.

Key Benefits:

  • Permanent residence after 1 year of applying for the provisional residence permit
  • Right to the official Panamanian identification card
  • Option of applying for the Panamanian Nationality after 5 years of having the permanent residency
  1. Business Investor Visa

Designed for those who wish to establish a real physical business in Panama. This visa program requires an investment of a minimum amount of US$150,000. The business must also hire a minimum of 3 permanent Panamanian employees.

Note: Some businesses and professions are limited to Panamanians only.

Key Benefits:

  • Permanent residence after 4 years of applying for the provisional residence permit
  • Right to the official Panamanian identification card
  • Option of applying for the Panamanian Nationality after 5 years of having the permanent residency

General Requirements for Visa Applications

  • All visa applications must be made through a Panamanian lawyer or law firm.
  • There is no age limit required for applying for any of these visas, save for the minimum legal age of 18 years. Young people under 18 years will qualify for a visa as dependents of their parents.
  • All foreign documents to be presented to the authorities in Panama must be certified by a Notary, and in addition by a Panamanian consulate or Apostille.
  • All documents must be recent (within three months of visa application) and passports must have at least one year for expiration.
  • Dependents: Bring a marriage certificate. If your children under 18 are to be covered by your visa, you’ll need to bring recent birth certificates.
  • All visa applications require the applicant to obtain a health certificate and HIV test in Panama.

Panama Immigration Inquires

For cost information or further information about the different visa alternatives and retiring in Panama, contact us and speak with one of our experienced lawyers. One of our Panama visa immigration lawyers will get back to you as soon as possible in order to guide you through the requirements and process to gain Panama residency.

Retiree Visa.

Requires for the interested party to establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) in the National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panama), for a period of at least 5 years, for an amount that would generate a monthly interest of at least US$2000 approx. Said amount would be considered the retirees monthly income.

Pensioned Tourist Visa.

The interested party shall be pensioned or retired by a foreign government, private company or international organization. It is required for the applicant to receive a monthly income or pension of at least US$1000 and an additional US$250 for each dependent.

Self-Economic Solvency Visa.

The interested party must choose one of the three next alternatives in order to apply for this visa:

 

  1. Time Deposit: To establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) in a Panama local Bank, for a minimum period of 3 years, for minimum amount of US$300,000.
  2. Real Estate Investment: To purchase real estate property in Panama without financing. Must be under its personal name, for a minimum value of US$300,000 and submit proof of economic solvency to cover its daily living expenses.
  3. Time Deposit + Real Estate Investment: To purchase real estate property in Panama without financing. Must be under its name, and to establish a Time Deposit (Term Deposit) in a Panama local Bank, for a minimum period of 3 years, both equivalent to a minimum of US$300,000.

Business Investor Visa.

Designed for those who wish to establish a real physical business in Panama. This visa program requires an investment of a minimum amount of US$150,000. There must be a minimum of 3, permanent Panamanian employees hired. Note: Some businesses and professions are limited to Panamanians only.

General Requirements for Visa applications.

  • All visa applications must be made through a Panamanian lawyer or law firm.
  • There is no age limit required for applying for any of these visas, save for the minimum legal age of 18 years. Young people under 18 years will qualify for a visa as dependents of their parents.
  • All foreign documents to be presented to the authorities in Panama must be certified by a Notary, and in addition by a Panamanian consulate or Apostille.
  • All documents must be recent (within three months of visa application) and passports must have at least one year for expiration.
  • Dependents: Bring a marriage certificate. If your children under 18 are to be covered by your visa, you’ll need to bring recent birth certificates.
  • All visa applications require for the applicant to obtain a health certificate and HIV test in Panama.

Panama Immigration inquires?

For cost information or further information about the different visa alternatives and retiring in Panama, kindly contact us at mp@matapitti.com. One of our Panama visa immigration lawyers will get back to you as soon as possible in order to guide you through the requirements and process to gain Panama residency.