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
KYC documents
Required Documentation
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)
KYC forms.

Duration & Costs

Total Costs of the Panama Friendly Nations Visa Process
Compared with most other residency programs, getting permanent residency through the Friendly Nations Visa is quite affordable. You need around 10.000$ in liquid funds, and the total costs not including flights and accommodations, are about 5000$.

1. Company Incorporation:

Time required for incorporation: 3-7 days
Setup costs for the first year: 1600 USD (government fees include).
Yearly costs after that: 1200 USD (government fees 360 USD).

If you are not planning to use your company, you can close it or sell it once the residency process has finished. This process will cost around the same amount as keeping it open for another year. One company is enough for two non-related people to get their residency. Do the process with a friend, and you can save half of the cost here. As an alternative to the company, you can use a Private Interest Foundation. The initial setup costs for that are 2500$.

2. Deportation Retainer: 800$. The Panamanian government actually wants you to pay security in case you commit crimes and need to be deported. I have to say, a brilliant idea.
3. Multiple Entry Visa, ID Documents, Translations etc.: ca. 600$
4. Banking service: 250$ (+50$ fiduciary)
5. Attorney Fees: 2000$


The cost per person for a family is considerably lower.

All in all, we are looking at an investment of a little over 5000$ for one person. The cost per person for a family is considerably lower.

You also need an additional 5000$ in liquid funds to make the bank deposit. You can immediately withdraw them again, once you have received your banking statement showing those funds.

You should add the costs for flights to and from Panama (most likely two times), as well as renting a hotel or Airbnb in the city.

Total Duration of the Panama Friendly Nations Visa Process
The process consists of two distinct phases.

The offsite phase, which you will do outside of Panama, most likely in your home country. And the on-site phase, during which you will have to visit Panama.

During the offsite phase, you will first collect the required documents. This can take anywhere from 7 to 30 days, depending on your country. Getting criminal records, and then getting them apostilled, is often the bottleneck.

Once all the documents are assembled, the lawyers will remotely open the company for you. This will take about 3-7 days.

You could already wire your banking deposit to an escrow account in Panama, to make things easier for the next phase.

For the on-site process you will come to Panama.

Between opening the bank account, depositing money, two visits to the National Migration Service (Servicio Nacional de Migración) and waiting for your Multiple Entry Visa, you should calculate about 10 to 14 days. How long it will exactly take varies, depending on how busy the migration services are. Your lawyer will be able to give you exact times.

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 panamenians talk inglish , 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.

The Friendly nations visa offers permanent residency within 3-6 months and offers the option of getting a work permit. The cost is around $5,000 USD all said and done in order to obtain permanent residency (not including the work permit).

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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Panama Friendly nations visa

Corporation $1800 --
Legal Fees $1800$1500
Notary and Translations Expenses (basic than be more depend the quantity of translations)$ depend $ depend$ depend
Government fees $1050$1050$250
Total $ 4650
$ 2550

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.


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