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Panamá offers a lot of opportunity for those looking to start a new life, create a business, escape to a remote island, or retire somewhere where money goes further. There are a number of visas and residency options available, and each have their requirements and unique process. Through our trusted legal teams based in Santiago, and Panama City we are happy to facilitate immigration services, & visa/residency applications.
Please browse the information found below, and reach out to us if you have any questions regarding current visa & residency options, or wish to get started right away!
Panamá prides itself on being a neutral country, and on friendly terms with practically the entire world. And hey, just about every country in the world places high importance on being friends with Panama because after all, the Panama Canal is a crucial part of the global trade puzzle. With all of that in mind, Panamá has a long list of countries around the world whose citizens can apply for a residency program called the Friendly Nation Visa which allows you permanent residency, as long as you renew your application whenever necessary.
Countries permitted to apply for the FNV are as follows:
The application process for the FNV begins with filing the initial application with the immigration office for a Temporary Residency Permit. Keep in mind that throughout the duration of the entire visa application process, you will be assisted by an attorney, or law firm who will handle practically all of the paperwork and back-and-forth with the government departments, only calling on you to fill out a few forms, sign a few documents, and show up to appointments which mark progress along the path to residency.
Expect approximately 3 – 6 months to finalize the initial application and receive a provisional residency permit. Once the provisional residency permit is issued, it is valid for 2 years, during which the applicant must maintain the requirements mentioned in the next section below.
After two years, the holder may apply for permanent residency through this same program. This may also take up to 6 months but once the application is approved, the provisional residency permit is replaced by a permanent residency permit.Congrats!
Requirements which need to be met for the FNV are relatively simple. As of the date of publishing of this guidebook, the current requirements are as follows:
To obtain Permanent Residency, the applicant must have held the provisional residency for at least 2 years and still be able to meet the same requirements as the provisional permit. An additional application for permanent residency will be completed at this time, with assistance from your attorney/chosen law firm.
Including Dependents: If the applicant wants to include his/her spouse, a marriage certificate (valid for 6 months only) and all the requirements listed above must be presented. If the application includes dependent children, you must include the birth certificate for each of them, along with the above mentioned requirements.
Also referred to as the pensionado visa this program was implemented by the government in the 80’s to drive up the market for foreigners looking to invest and retire in Panama, whether that meant purchasing an already built home/condo or buying land and building a home. The program has worked quite well, and Panama has become the home to many people from around the world who wish to live their days in a beautiful tropical location where their money goes much further.
The requirements for the retirement visa are pretty straight forward. First of all, you must show that through a pension, retirement fund, or any other form of continuous monthly post-retirement income derived from a government or private company, you are receiving at least $1,000 USD (or the equivalent in any other foreign currency) per month and will continue to receive said funds for the remainder of your life. Once you have this requirement sorted out, the rest is standard.
The general requirements to apply for the Retirement Visa are:
Note: If the applicant is applying with his or her spouse, an additional US $250.00 in the monthly income is required. The spouse must also present all of the above mentioned requirements except the declaration of income letter. Joint income is also allowed, in which case both spouses must present their declaration of income letters.
Additionally, the Marriage Certificate (valid only for 6 months) must also be added to the application.
All documents originated abroad must be either apostilled (at the Secretary of State Office), or authenticated at the Panamanian Consulate in your home country.
There are certain benefits which you will receive as a retired resident in Panama, which you would not receive through the country’s other residency programs!
In regards to timeline, most retirement visa applications can be submitted, approved, and completed at around the 6 month mark when working with a qualified and experienced attorney/firm.
The qualified investor visa is quickly becoming popular, as it can be acquired merely through a $500,000 investment into real estate / securities, or with a $750,000 time deposit investment in a local bank. Any option chosen is required to be held for a minimum of 5 years.
This program grants immediate permanent residency status plus right to opt for Panamanian nationality & passport after 5 years.
Note: Should the investment be made into real estate, the property must be Titled. Right of Possession properties do not apply in this scenario.
This visa is meant for those who wish to live full or part time in Panama off of their own accumulated and/or ongoing wealth. If you want to hold a large amount of cash in Panama, or you want to buy a property here, this might be a great option for you.
There are two ways to prove to the government that you are financially self-sufficient, don’t need an annuity or a retirement plan, and will bring value to the country’s economy:
Note: It’s possible to combine these two options. For example, buy a home for $200,000 and open a CD for $100,000.
The visa is granted provisionally for 1 year, and upon renewal becomes permanent!
Interested in another type of visa or residency program?
Don’t hesitate to reach out and inquire about other visa/residency opportunities available in Panamá!