Panama immigration programs
Processing services requires Panamanian lawyers, we are specialists in immigration law.
Here is a list with a short explanation of every Panama immigration visa that grants permanent residency:
Panama Friendly Nations Visa. Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa. Panama Business Investor Visa. Panama Reforestation Investor Visa.
Panama Retired or Pensioned Program. Marry a Panama Citizen , Top Reasons to Relocate to Panama: Low Cost of Living .
Panama’s cost of living is significantly lower compared to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere according to a recent , Global Cost of Living survey conducted by The Economist.
Growing & Stable Economy - Panama has a strong economy which wasn’t hurt by the worldwide economic crisis.
In fact, Panama’s economy has grown at an average of 8% (GDP) over the past five years.
Panama’s immigration laws are amongst the most liberal
Safe haven for foreign investments – Article 44 of Panama’s Constitution protects real estate private ownership and private investments. The Civil Code of Panama guarantees equal application of the law for citizens and foreigners including leases and commercial contracts.
Panama even has a Foreign Investor Protection Law (Law 54 of 1998) providing equal rights for all foreigners in all business matters of trade, industry, importing and exporting.
Panama guarantees that foreigners can dispose of their investment profits as they see fit including repatriating their investment funds and profits to other countries with the unimpeded right to commercialize their production in Panama. This is a great incentive for foreigners looking to relocate to Panama
Panama’s Pensioner (Retiree) Visa: Anyone over 18 years of age with a lifetime pension or annuity paying a minimum of $1,400 USD per month qualifies. Another $250 must be paid per month by the annuity or pension for each dependent. The annuity or pension can be paid by a private company, military, government agencies, corporations, a bank, an insurance company, or a Trust. This Panama visa provides several discounts from movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, concerts, and domestic airlines along with other products or services.
Friendly Nations Visa: Citizens from any of the 48 nations considered “friendly” to Panama can move here with their immediate family and acquire a faster permanent residency visa than any other Panama visa. To qualify, the friendly citizen can either buy an existing Panama business or create a new business here or be employed in a professional capacity for a Panama professional services company. The 48 friendly nations are: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Marino, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom (Great Britain & Northern Ireland).
Professional Employment Visa: Foreigners working for a Panama company in a “professional” capacity paying social security taxes and holding a college degree and a professional license (if required by his or her country) can become a permanent resident after two years of being a temporary resident. The term “professional” is not limited to the definition in Panama’s Constitution or the laws defining a professional for citizens.
Panama’s Reforestation Investor Visa: A minimum investment of US$80,000 in a reforestation project certified by the government including purchasing a minimum of five hectares of titled land with an additional investment of $2,000 for each dependent.
Panama’s Business Investor Visa: A minimum US$160,000 investment in capital stock of a Panama corporation. The foreigner can be a shareholder and/or an officer. An additional $2,000 must be invested or each dependent.
Panama’s Self Economic Solvency Visa: Three options exist to qualify for this visa created to attract wealthy foreigners:
- Minimum US$300,000 investment of equity in any Panama real estate with an additional $2,000 USD for each dependent.
- Minimum US$300,000 investment in a 3 year Panama bank CD. An additional $2,000 deposit is required for each dependent.
- Combining the first 2 options by investing in both a Panama bank CD and Panama real estate where the cash and equity total a minimum of US$300,000 (or foreign currency equivalent). An additional $2,000 USD must be invested for each dependent.
Immigration Visas in Panama
This note outlines the main characteristics of the immigration system in Panama. For those seeking to retire, invest or work in a politically stable, secure environment, Panama offers an attractive solution through a variety of immigration visas.
For the past decade, the Panamanian Government has been updating and enhancing the immigration system through the introduction of new visa options. These have been specifically designed to promote and further expand foreign investment in Panama to compliment the growing local economy and allow foreign investors, migrating retirees and foreign workers (and their families) to obtain temporary or permanent residency, work permits and, in some cases, Panamanian citizenship.
Many foreign investors and multinational companies have already seized the opportunity to participate in a plethora of industries including reforestation, manufacturing, distribution, financial services, IT and software development and call centres.
The Types of Visas available in Panama
Subject to any restrictions from your home jurisdiction, it is possible to visit Panama on an extendable 180 day tourist visa, noting that the recipient would not be permitted to work.
Friendly Nations Visa
The nationals of more than 45 countries are eligible for this visa based on the understanding that these countries maintain friendly economic, professional, and investment relations with Panama. Some of the core friendly nations included in the list are: Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, United States, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Uruguay, Switzerland, Chile and Sweden.
This visa has several requirements that must be satisfied, with arguably the most important being the need to establish either a professional or economic relationship in Panama. This can be achieved by establishing a new corporation or business, or by acquiring an existing Panamanian corporation or business. Alternatively, an individual may satisfy the requirement simply by being an employee of a Panamanian corporation or business. Proof of economic solvency of the individual and any dependents will need to be clearly demonstrated on the visa application.
Panama retiree/pensioner Visa
This visa applies to foreigners who receive income from a retirement scheme or pension from a foreign government, international organization or private company that wish to move to Panama to retire. The retiree must be able to demonstrate that he has sufficient financial resources to cover living expenses in Panama. Income or monthly pension of less than US$1,000.00 would not be deemed acceptable by the local authorities.
Professional Employment Visa
A foreign national may apply for this visa provided that their profession is not limited by the Constitution or by law to Panamanian nationals by birth or naturalization. Two of the main requirements are to provide proofof a university bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree and employment with a local Panamanian company or business.
Panama self-economic solvency visa
The foreigner must invest a minimum of US$ 300,000.00 in Panama either by investing in Panamanian real estate or through a deposit with a local bank account. It is possible to do a combination of the two.
Macro Business Investor Visa
The foreigner shall invest a minimum of US$160,000.00 in a Panamanian company or business and must be a shareholder and a director. The company must have a Commercial Operation Permit, have at least five (5) Panamanian employees working full time (with the related salaries not falling below the minimum salary established by the Labor Law).
Panama’s reforestation investor visa
A foreigner may seek permanent residency as a ‘forest’ investor. The foreigner may invest personally or through a corporation whose main activities shall be reforestation, forest plantation activities or other activities authorized by the National Environmental Authority in Panama. Furthermore, there must be a minimum investment of US$80,000 and in an area not less than five (5) hectares.
Other type of visas
There are other circumstances which enable foreign investors or workers to apply for a permanent residency visa in Panama, such as:
- Investors establishing call centers;
- Investors in the cinematographic and audio-visual industry;
- Investors in economic areas of Panama Pacifico and export processing zones; and
- Employed of the Panama Canal Authority.
Documents and requirements
Panama immigration law has not yet been codified. There are different laws and decrees that regulate the different types of visas. Some laws allow permanent residence after a specified period of time as a temporary resident. This is determined according to each particular circumstance or size/type of investment.
Since the majority of the Panamanian immigration laws and regulations have been adopted at different times and for diverse purposes, there is no uniformity with regard to approach, requirements and the documentation needed to make an application. Therefore it is recommended that experienced local advice be sought prior to commencing any visa application.
Advantages of living in Panama
Strong and Growing Economy Panama enjoys a good macroeconomic environment, which is consistently growing and developing. Panama’s currency is pegged to the US Dollar and enjoys low inflation. Many multinationals and international banks have established operations in Panama including Procter and Gamble, Caterpillar, Cemex, Dell, DHL Express, Samsung and Phillips.
Stability and Security Panama is regarded as one of the safest countries in Latin America. It is a Republic and has an established democratic system.
Climate Panama enjoys a temperate climate with warm weather all year round.
Territorial Tax System Panama is known for applying the territorial principle of taxation, which means that no taxes are levied on foreign source of income, capital gains, inheritance taxes. This can be attractive for foreign persons and companies moving to Panama. Panama has entered into Double Taxation Treaties with Mexico, United
Kingdom, Barbados, Qatar, Spain, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Singapore, France, South Korea, Portugal and Ireland.
Multicultural Panama is an open and cosmopolitan society that welcomes foreign residents and visitors alike.
Tourism Panama is witnessing a significant increase in the number of tourists per year. Tourists can enjoy the vibrant Panama City, the peaceful Caribbean and Atlantic coasts, or the beauty of rainforests and associated wildlife.
Strategic Geographical Position Panama connects North and South America and because of its privileged geographical position the country has been the location and passageway of goods and individuals from all over the world for more than 100 years. Currently US$5 billion is being spent on expanding the famous Panama Canal.
Affordability Various recent studies have rated Panama as one of the up and coming places to live in the World. This is determined upon geographical location, standard of health care, availability of and goods and services and the cost of living.
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