Friendly Nations Visa requirements
Proving Financial Solvency
To prove financial solvency, it is enough to deposit $5,000 into a Panamanian bank account in your name. For each family member that is also applying for residency, you will have to add $2,000.
To open the bank account, you will have to show funds and financial statements as well.
These are the documents need to open a bank account:
Secondary identification document (National ID, driver’s license)
Two (2) bank references
Two (2) personal references
Financial report / tax return
Proof of business / earnings
To apply for the residence, you will need the following documents:
Secondary identification document (National ID, driver’s license)
Clean criminal record with apostille for Panama
Six (6) passport photos
Medical certificate (done in Panama through law firm)
Proof of housing or hotel stay
Bank reference (to open company)
The cost per person for a family is considerably lower.
NEW UPDATE: The government of Panama just passed a new law (Executive Decree 197 of the 7th of May 2021) that changes the requirements for the Friendly Nations residency program.
Beginning on the 5th of August 2021, Panama’s Friendly Nations residency program will grant a 2 year temporary residency permit, and then the applicant may apply for permanent residency.
The economic activity requirement is now limited to two options:
- Be employed in Panama by a legal Panama Corporation with a formal labor contract, and a work permit.
- Purchase a real estate property with a minimum value of US$200,000 (bank financing is permitted).
Please note that those who already submitted their applications for residency under the Friendly Nations program and are in process, or those who submit their applications before the 5th of August 2021, they will enter under the previous Friendly Nations law requirements. However, those who have not applied by the 5th of August 2021 will be required to comply with the new requirements.
The Onsite Process
Our lawyer will receive the documents you have prepared and answer questions you might have about the process, the city, or your stay in Panama. Then you will schedule the banking appointments as well as the visits at migration.
Open Your Bank Account
The first step will be to open your local bank account. Our law firm will have arrangements with several different banks, and choose the best one for your particular situation.
They will bring you to your appointment, a guide you through the process. With your prepared documents, you will have no difficulties getting your account set up.
Once the bank account has been opened, you need to deposit the 5000$ (+2000$ for each family member) into your account. You should have already sent the money to Panama, to speed up this process.
When the money has been fully deposited, you will print out a bank statement, showing that the funds are in your account. The second you hold this piece of paper in your hands, you are already free to withdraw the money again.
The next stop will take you to National Migration Service, or “Servicio Nacional de Migración”. Since there are quite long lines, a paralegal will pick a number for you, and call you when your turn is about 30-60 minutes away.
The list is long, and it’s different for everyone, so let’s start with the basics and move our way up. When South Africans choose to emigrate and expatriate to a new country to become full-time residents, they typically choose Panama. This is understandable due to the country’s history, many South Africans’ cultural roots, language most Panamanians talk English , and familiarity.
South Africans need a country with a stable economy, investment opportunity, a welcoming culture/society, and a legal residency process that’s both efficient and economical. Here is where Panama fits in perfectly. Panama truly fits the bill when it comes to all of the aforementioned, and then some. With an economy that’s been in steady growth mode for a decade, the regions best banking, multi-sector investment opportunities, and a streamlined residency process, it’s no wonder why people from South Africa are starting to catch on to all of the benefits Panama has to offer them.
A variety of residency visas for all types of purposes, lifestyles, and at an incredible price
Panama currently has eight different visa options available for foreigners, that could include many of the potential demographics of South Africans heading abroad. These visas are:
1. Panama’s Pensioner (Retiree) Visa:
Anyone over 18 years of age with a lifetime pension or annuity paying a minimum of $1,000 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.
2. Friendly Nations Visa:
Citizens from any of the 50 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.
Learn more about the Friendly Nations Visa.
3. 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.
4. 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.
The requirements to apply for this residence are as follow:
- Five passport size photos
- Letter from a Bank in Panama certifying deposits for at least USD $5,000.00
- Passport and second id, such as driver’s license or state ID
- In terms of economic capacity:
- Own a titled property in Panama, free of liens, in the applicant’s name or through his corporation or foundation; or
- Own a Panamanian Corporation in the form of an IBC or
- Have been hired by a Panamanian company, for which proper documentation will be required
- Criminal background check from country of citizenship, or from country of residence for the last two years (in this case evidence of residence permit is required). Also, the criminal check must be nationwide, so for the USA for example, it must be from the FBI
- USD $800.00 by certified check issued to Servicio Nacional de Migración, for repatriation fees
- Health certificate issued by a local doctor, within the last 90 days prior to file the application
- Sworn declaration
If the applicant is applying with his or her spouse, the application must include Marriage Certificate (valid only for 6 months). The spouse must also present all requirements above, except for economic and financial solvency documents.
Likewise, if the application includes dependent children, the birth certificate for each child must be included in the application.
All documents originated abroad must be either apostilled (at the Secretary of State Office), or authenticated at the Panamanian Consulate in your country.
If you have the intention to apply for a residence in Panama please Contact Us
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5. 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.
6.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.
7. Married to a Panama Citizen Visa:
This must be a valid marriage (not a sham) to a Panama citizen can apply for a permanent visa.
8. Parents of Child Born in Panama Visa:
The parents of a child born in Panama who is over five years old can apply for this permanent visa. The parents of future children born in Panama can apply for this permanent visa after the child’s fifth birthday.