Overview of Immigration Procedure
The steps to immigrate to Panama can differ based on the visa type or immigration scheme selected. However, several common stages need to be undertaken:
- Appoint a Legal Representative: It's mandatory to have a lawyer manage all immigration procedures in Panama. This is due to the stipulation in Panamanian law that only qualified lawyers are allowed to submit immigration applications.
- Compile Necessary Documents: The documents required may differ depending on the visa category, but usually include items such as a passport, birth certificate, police clearance, and medical examination.
- Lawyer Submits Application: Your lawyer will forward your application to the immigration office. You are required to be present in Panama during the application submission as the Immigration office will capture your photograph for the temporary residency ID.
- Application Fee Payment: The fee for a Panama visa application differs according to the visa type.
- Visa Processing Wait Time: The processing duration for a Panama visa varies, generally spanning a few weeks to 6 months until approval.
A few additional points to note include:
• A Panamanian lawyer is necessary for most immigration procedures.
• Principal applicants need to be at least 18 years old.
• Children under 18 apply for a visa as dependents of their parents.
• Foreign documents submitted for the Panama immigration process must be in Spanish and authenticated by the apostille or a Panamanian consulate.
• All submitted documents should be current, and passports should have at least one year of validity.
• All visa applications require a health certificate obtained in Panama.
Benefits of Immigrating to Panama
- Economic Advancements: The nation's rapidly progressing economy offers a plethora of business and employment prospects. Serving as a regional business hub, Panama has a robust financial services sector and one of the highest GDP growth rates in Latin America.
- Tax Perks: Panama operates a territorial tax system, taxing individuals and businesses only on income from Panamanian sources. Income from foreign sources is typically exempt from Panamanian income taxes, which can benefit international businesspersons or retirees with foreign income.
- Residency Rewards: Residents might qualify for various incentives and perks. For instance, pensioners and retirees might get discounts on entertainment, healthcare, education, transportation, among other things.
- Strategic Positioning: The country's geographic location provides easy accessibility to North and South America, making it an ideal base for global travel and business. The modern infrastructure, including the Panama Canal and Tocumen International Airport, ensures easy connectivity.
- Living Standards: Panama offers a high standard of living, with a pleasant climate, stunning natural landscapes, and a diverse culture. A stable political system, a relatively low crime rate compared to some neighboring countries, and a robust healthcare system also contribute to the quality of life.
- Inclusive Culture: Panama is known for its welcoming and diverse society. Expats are generally treated with respect, and there is a vibrant sense of community.