Panama’s residency permit has become one of the worlds most sought after. With its relatively affordable and fast residency programs, it has become even more attractive for foreigners. Not to mention, there is no need to reside in Panama after the residency has been granted. Also, excellent infrastructure, world-class medical facilities, vibrant expat communities, glorious weather conditions, and low living costs make it one of the most desirable second home locations. And the fact that the Panama government provides quick residency for investors, including their families for a slight increase in investment makes this country all the more appealing. There are eight such programs, and below you will find information for the most attractive ones, whether you want to relocate or obtain a second residency.
1. The Friendly Nations Visa
Citizens from most European countries, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, the USA, some Central and South American countries are all eligible to apply for this visa. It is granted within two months, and all you need to do is make a bank deposit of $5000 and establish professional or economic ties to Panama. You will do so by registering your corporation in Panama. If you are applying with your family members, the investment rises by $2000 for each dependent. Your whole family will receive permanent residency, and you will be eligible for citizenship after only five years. The moment your residency is granted, you can dissolve your company and withdraw the money. You don’t even have to be in the country after you have submitted your residency case. You can come back after a couple of months to take your permit and come back again after two years to renew it.
There are some additional costs, though. Expenses for obtaining this permit can go up to $3000-5000, and there may be additional fees if you are also applying for a work permit or starting a company. If you plan to start your business in Panama, you will probably want to find some office space. If you decide to purchase real estate, you will also be eligible for the Person of Means Visa, which will be discussed in more detail later.
2. Pensionado Program, i.e. the Retirement Visa
Everyone over the age of 18 is eligible. The only requirement is that you receive monthly payments of a minimum of $1000. If there are dependents, an additional $250 is required. Married couples can combine their annuities to meet the minimal requirement. If you purchase real estate of at least $100.000, the monthly pension minimum drops to $750. The pension can come from the government, military, bank, insurance company, a private company, a Trust – it doesn’t matter. The other documentation you will need to provide is the health certificate and crime-free record. You will not have the right to citizenship, but you will be protected in case regulations change.
Pensioner status in Panama comes with quite a few benefits, the greatest of which is the discounts. Card-carrying pensioners have a right to discounts in pharmacies, restaurants, hotels, public transport, some services in hospitals and private clinics, electricity, and water bills. They even get a discount on mortgage interest rates and property tax freeze on Panamanian real estate. So what are you waiting for? Contact Los Angeles Transfer and Storage, book the moving date, pack your bags, and hit the road.
3. Person of Means Visa (POM)
The Person of Means visa is valid for one year upon the purchase of real estate for a minimum of $300.000, a bank deposit of the same amount, or a combination of the two amounting to the said sum. You will receive permanent residency from the second year and become eligible for citizenship after five years. If you decide to make Panama and your newly acquired house your permanent place of residence, just provide proof that you can finance your living costs, and you’re good.
4. Panama Reforestation Investor Visa
Reforestation Investor Visa is an option for you if you are neither a pensioner nor a citizen of a friendly country. You will be granted permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. All you need is $80.000, an additional $2000 per dependent, and competent and reliable assistance to help you relocate. You have to invest the money in a minimum of five hectares of Panamanian land to become a part of the government certified reforestation program or a forest plantation. Not only is this a quick and relatively affordable way to obtain Panamanian residency, but it is also a fantastic investment opportunity for those looking to expand their portfolios.
The Panama reforestation projects have already reestablished some critical habitats, helped remove ocelots from the endangered species list, and people have even spotted Central American spider monkeys, which are still endangered. If you are looking to invest, buying land here is a perfect opportunity that will benefit you and the environment. Moreover, given that it is reversing the migration from rural to urban areas, local communities are starting to benefit from alternative income sources.
The latest announcements
The government has announced a new program intended to revive the economy by attracting investors who will boost different economic sectors like real estate and construction. The requirement is to purchase a $500,000 home or an investment of the same amount through a local stock house. The investor needs to invest in real estate at least $300,000 within the first 24 months, after which time the amount jumps to $500,000. They must maintain all the investments for five years. The government will grant permanent residency within 30 days, and for the first time, qualified investors can apply remotely, through a lawyer.
If you have set your mind to changing scenery and starting a new life in an exotic new location, Panama is the right choice. With diverse expat communities, there is no doubt you will quickly find your crowd. The fantastic climate and lush nature will also make the transition easier. It has it all – tropical rainforests, breathtaking beaches on one side, and modern cities filled with skyscrapers on the other. And since the Panama government provides quick residency for investors, the time is right to take the plunge and get to know the country that emerged from the sea.