Immigration Legislation Panama

LEGISLATION CONCERNING IMMIGRATION IN PANAMA

The following are some step-by-step instructions to help you obtain your immigration visa.

To apply for a visa, we need to register our passport with the National Direction of Migration first. In Spanish, this is called "filiación" (basically - sign-up). To do this, our assistant always comes with our clients to the Immigration Department. A client who arrives early in the morning can get this done in about two hours.

For registration, the following documents are required:

Passport original

A copy of the front page of the passport (the page with the photo, general information, and the signature).

Fill in the immigration form (we will assist with this)

Two (2) passport-sized photos.

Types visas:

MACRO BUSINESS INVESTOR VISA:

Who can apply for this visa?

Each person who could invest a minimum of US$160.000.00 should be a shareholder and director of the company. If the petitioner does not fulfill this requirement, the visa will be cancelled.

The company should have a payroll of 5 Panamanian employees per each petitioner, working full time and the salary can't be under the minimum salary established by law.

The company and all of its workers must be registered with the Social Security Administration.

Dependant allowed?

Only spouses and children under 18 or 25 if they are students are eligible. For each dependent, it is required that they submit a solvency certificate and a second sum of $2.000.00

Upon receiving this visa, you will be granted temporary residence for 2 years, after which you can apply for permanent residence. Citizenship may be applied for after 5 years as a permanent resident.

VISA TO RETIREMENT PENSION APPLICANTS

Who can apply for this visa?

This visa may be requested by foreigners who receive a retirement pension from a foreign government, international organization or private company. These foreigners come to Panama with a view to residing here and have sufficient means to cover all their expenses, as well as those of their dependents.

The monthly income or pension can be no less than One Thousand Dollars (US$1,000.00) per month and must be "for life". Where the applicant can prove that they have purchased a property in their personal name in Panama for at least One Hundred Thousand Dollars (US$100,000.00), then the pension may be for Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars (US$750.00).

This visa will give you permanent residency immediately. Nationality can be obtained after 5 years of permanent residence.

Dependant allowed?

Yes, only husband, wife or children under 18 years or up to 25 years old if they are students. For each dependent, $250.00 must be provided as proof of solvency.

OWN ECONOMY SOLVENCE

Who can apply for this visa?

Foreigners doing a minimum investment of US $ 300,000.00. Migration allows some of the following options for how the possession of the U$300,000.00 can be proved:

Please note that there are 3 variations of this visa:

US$300,000 in a time deposit in a local bank in Panama for 3 years.

US$300,000 in real estate property in Panama.

Part of the $300,000.00 will be deposited in a property in Panama in the name of the applicant PLUS the rest in a time deposit in a local bank in Panama.

Title to the property and the term deposit must be in the name of the petitioner, and cannot be in the name of a corporation, foundation, relative, or organization. When it can be demonstrated that the foreigner is the founder and he or his dependents are the beneficiaries, it is permitted for the property or term deposit to be registered in the name of a Panamanian Foundation of Private Interest. The certificate of Public Record will have to show the designation of the founder and of the beneficiary.

Is financing allowed?

A foreigner who buys a property for over $300,000.00 should demonstrate that he paid $300,000.00 for the property. The balance can be financed with a mortgage with a local bank.

Dependents allowed? Yes. Only the spouse/husband, parents, and children under the age of 18 are considered dependents. In most cases, the dependent does not have to prove directly his economic solvency. The principal petitioner must demonstrate an additional solvency of US$2,000.00 for each dependent.

You can apply for permanent residency after you have had a temporary visa for 2 years. The right to apply for nationality is available after 5 years of permanent residency.

FORESTAL INVESTOR VISA

Who can apply for this visa?

People who could make an investment in their personal name or in the name of a corporation duly authorized by the National Authority of the Environment in Panama of at least (20) hectares with a minimum investment of (US$80,000.00).

Dependant allowed?

It is only for spouses, children, or students under the age of 18 or 25 if they are students. For each dependent, they must demonstrate solvency of an additional sum of US$2.000.00

After you have held the visa for 2 years, you may apply to become a permanent resident. Nationality is granted after 5 years of permanent residence.

PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR ITALIANS

Every Italian has the opportunity to apply for Panamanian residence. The fundamental requirements are:

Italian passport.

Own economy and solvency.

Free a Criminal Record.

Dependant allowed?

Yes, only husbands, wives, and children under the age of 18 or 25 if they are students.

This visa will give you permanent residency immediately. If you have permanent residence for 5 years, you can apply for nationality.

RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR WORKERS IN THE 10%

For this visa, foreigners who will work for a Panamanian company can apply.

In order for the company to hire a foreigner, they must have the 10% that the Law requires. This 10% means that for a company to employ a foreign worker, they must first hire 10 Panamanians.

Dependant allowed?

You may bring your spouse, children under 18 or students under 25, but only if they are married or parents.

Work permit mandatory: YES

You can apply for permanent residence after 2 years with this visa. Nationality can be applied for after 5 years of permanent residence.

VISA FOR SPECIAL TEMPORARY VISITOR:

This Visa is granted only to foreigners that come to Panama on a temporary basis as Executives or Representatives of Foreign Companies, with positions at the Directive-Operative Level, with affiliate offices in Panama, whose Main Office is located outside Panama and makes only "off shore" operations (operations that take effect only outside Panama). The whole salary of the applicant must come from abroad.

This visa will give you temporary residence for 1 year, and can be renewed up to 7 times.

RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR WORKERS IN THE MARRAKESH

Foreigners who plan to work in Panama can apply for this visa.

An absolutely necessary requirement for the company to be able to hire a foreigner is that at least 3 Panamanians must work for the company. In addition, 1 foreigner may be hired.

Dependant allowed?

Only the husband, wife, or children under 18 or 25 if they are students are eligible.

Work permit mandatory

This visa will give you temporary residence for 1 year, and can be renewed up to 7 times.

RETIREE VISA

Who can apply for this visa?

Anyone can ask for this permission who is retired from life and earning a minimum rent of the thousand balboas (B/.850,00) monthly originating of interests on a term fixed deposit in the National Bank of Panama or the Savings bank (Banco Nacional de Panamá o Caja de Ahorros), free of liens or guarantees of any nature, that will be by a minimum period of five (5) years. Retirement of a fixed term at any time after spending five (5) years will result in the loss of rights that the law grants.

Dependent allowed?

Yes, but only if they are under 18 years old, or 25 if they are students. For each dependent, you should show solvency of at least $2.000.00

This visa will give you temporary residence for 5 years, and can be renewed every year for 5 years. This visa will grant you a special Panamanian passport.

FRIENDLY COUNTRIES VISA

Who can apply for this visa?

This visa may be requested by foreigners with the nationality of one of the following countries:

United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Republic of Germany; Republic of Argentina, Commonwealth of Australia, South Korea, Republic of Austria, Federal Republic of Brazil, Kingdom of Belgium, Canada, Kingdom of Spain; United States of America; Republic of Slovak, Republic of French, Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, State of Japan; Kingdom of Norway, Czech Republic, Swiss Confederation, Republic of Singapore; Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Republic of Chile, Kingdom of Sweden, Republic of Poland, Hungary, Hellenic Republic (Greece), Portuguese Republic, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Estonia, Republic of Lithuania, Latvia, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Malta, Republic of Serbia, Republic of Montenegro, State of Israel, Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of South Africa, New Zealand, Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Principality of Liechtenstein; Principality of Monaco, Principality of Andorra; Marino Most Serene Republic,  and Mexico.

This visa will give you permanent residency immediately. When you have had permanent residence for 5 years, you can apply for nationality.

SEM VISA

This visa is granted to foreigners that work in companies that have a SEM license.

Dependant allowed?

YES, only spouses, children, or students under the age of 18 or 25.

Your visa will grant you temporary residency for 5 years or for the length of your contract. For foreigners, permanent residence is possible after 5 years.