Retirement Immigration – Pensionado Panama

Retirement - Pensionado Panama

Retirement - Pensionado Panama


Retirees earning a minimum of USD 1000 per month (or equivalency in a different currency) can qualify for the Pensionado Program. This program grants permanent residency in Panama and has amazing perks and discounts.

Minimum Pension Needed

The applicant must prove they are earning a minimum of USD 1000 a month to qualify for the Pensionado Visa. For each dependent, such as spouse or children, an additional USD 250 each is required.

Retirement - Pensionado Panama

It is very important the documents are delivered the way the immigration office request .

Paperwork Required For Dependents

For Spouses:

  • Apostilled marriage certificate (must be recently issued as under Panamanian Law, marriage certificates are only valid for 6 months)
  • Apostilled national police background certificate

For children:

  • Child’s apostilled unabridged birth certificate (must be recently issued as under Panamanian Law, birth certificates are only valid for 6 months)
Apostille Service

An apostille is simply legalizing a document for international use. For example, South Africans can apostille their documents at DIRCO (located in Pretoria) and United States citizens can apostille their documents at the Secretary of State.

In some countries, such as Canada, apostille services are unavailable. Documents must then be authenticated at the nearest Panamanian Consulate in said country. In some cases, the documents must be notarized first. It would be best to contact the Panamanian Consulate in said country directly for further instruction. Authenticated documents require an additional step at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Panama City.(We take care of that)

Benefits of having a Pensionado Visa in Panama

Below, we will show you a summary of some of the benefits of having a Pensioner Visa in Panama:

  • Exemption for one time from the obligatory payment of tax for the purchase of household items up to the figure of $ 10,000 US Dollars.
  • On the other hand, for those foreigners with residence in our country and who have 55 (women) or 60 (men), they can request the discounts that by Law are entitled, such as:
    • 50% discount on cinemas, recreation, events, Cultural and sports.
    • 30% discount on transport (buses, trains, boats)
    • 25% discount on airline tickets, whether for national or international airlines
    • 50% discount on hotels, motels, and pensions from Monday to Thursday and 30% from Friday to Sunday.
    • 25% discount in restaurants
    • 15% discount in fast-food restaurants, whether national or international franchises
    • 15% discount on private medical clinics and hospital services.
    • 10% discount on prescription drugs
    • Discounts on medical services, as follows: 20% discount on medical bills from general practitioners or specialists; 15% discount for dental services; 15% discount on optometry services
    • Discounts on premiums payable to insurance companies for health insurance
    • 20% discount on technical and professional services.
    • 20% discount on prostheses and all assistive devices and accessories.
    • 50% discount on expenses and closing bank fees for personal or commercial loans.
    • Exemption from payment of the Special Interest Compensation Fund.

Tax Exemptions: If you qualify to become a Pensioner Visa holder, you will be entitled to:

  • Be exempt from paying taxes (only once) on the importation of household goods up to a maximum value of $10,000 US Dollars
  • 100% exemption in the payment of import taxes on vehicles every two (2) years.

Retirees or people with lifetime pensions may qualify for the Panama Pensionado Visa. Our office has a team of immigration lawyers who have extensive experience in the process of Pensioner Visa procedures.

The Panama Pensionado Visa allows foreigners to obtain a

Residence in Panama under the condition of having a guaranteed pension income for life. According to the National Migration Service of Panama, there is no minimum or maximum age to qualify under this modality, it will only be necessary to deliver a series of documents listed below.

The applicant's lifetime pension income shall be a minimum of One Thousand ($1,000) U.S. Dollars per month. If your monthly lifetime pension income is less than One Thousand ($1,000) U.S. Dollars, but greater than Seven Hundred Fifty ($750) U.S. Dollars, you will be able to invest in the Real Estate business by purchasing a property of at least One Hundred Thousand ($100,000) U.S. Dollars, which reduces the monthly lifetime income requirement to a minimum of Seven Hundred And Fifty ($750) U.S. Dollars.

The pension income of the Pensioner Visa applicant must be proven and a letter issued by the government institution or private company that pays the pension or retirement rent must be delivered. This letter must be notarized and authenticated by the nearest Panamanian Consulate you have or it may be apostilled.


Below, we inform you of the basic requirements to apply for a Pensionado Visa:

Article 201.4 states:

"Article 201. (4): In the case of a pension or retirement of a private company, the following must be provided, in addition to the requirements established in this Article:

  • Letter from a foreign pension, trust, mutual fund, insurance or banking management company certifying that it manages funds for the company or applicant.
  • Certification of existence and validity of the company that grants the pension and administers the fund.
  • Copy of the Proof of Payment or Statement of Account of the bank.

Paragraph: To apply for this permit, the spouses may choose to credit the amounts established in this article, with the amount of pension of both."

This means that if in a marriage, both receive a pension that when added together reach the figure of One Thousand ($ 1,000) US Dollars, both can opt for the Pensionado Visa in Panama.

This is important because this way applicants can use the annuity issued by the Bank, or the Insurance company, or even any private company to satisfy the requirement to qualify for the Pensionado Visa.

Similarly, the law establishes the following aspects in the case of dependents:

"Article 202. In the case of dependent children, their leave will be temporary until they reach twenty-five (25) years of age as long as they prove that they are doing complete studies, however they will not be entitled to permanence or pensioner status. Except for those dependent children who suffer from a proven profound disability."

This means that if your dependent child does not attend University full-time after reaching the age of 18, then the Pensioner Visa will be cancelled. Also, this means that dependent children will not be able to use the Pensionado Visa to obtain Permanent Residence. They must apply under another visa modality to obtain permanent residence.

On the other hand, the law establishes that the applicant must additionally receive the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty ($250) US Dollars monthly for each dependent, which can be satisfied if that amount is received in the monthly payment of his pension, or if a letter or bank reference issued by a local bank in Panama is delivered where the income of that amount is verified through a monthly deposit.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that the law does not discriminate age, so anyone regardless of age, who receives a monthly payment for a lifetime pension, complying with the previously detailed requirements, may apply for obtaining the Pension Visa in Panama.


Retirement - Pensionado Panama

Procedures to follow to apply for a Pensionado Visa:

Foreigners who receive some type of retirement or pension from a foreign government, an international agency or private company, who enter Panama for the purpose of living and who can demonstrate that they have the resources and economic means to cover their expenses and those of their dependents, will be able to apply for the Pensioner Visa application. The monthly income or pension may not be less than One Thousand ($1,000) U.S. Dollars and must be guaranteed for life.

Note: If the applicant can prove that he has acquired real estate properties in Panama in a personal capacity, and said property has a registered value of at least One Hundred Thousand ($100,000) US Dollars, the monthly income required for a lifetime pension may be reduced to Seven Hundred And Fifty ($750) US Dollars.

In addition to the basic requirements mentioned in Article 28 of the Decree Law, the applicant must submit the following documents:

  1. Letter of Certification issued by the Foreign Government, International Agency, or Private Company, confirming that the person receives a monthly pension of at least One Thousand ($1,000) US Dollars or its equivalent in foreign currency, and that the pension will be for life.  Note: In the case of spouses, if both have a pension, they may apply to the Life of Pensioners provided that their combined income reaches the sum of One Thousand ($1,000) US Dollars per month or the equivalent in foreign currency and it is guaranteed that the income will be for life.
  2. If the applicant has dependents, he/she must pay an additional fee for each dependent in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty ($250) U.S. Dollars to the Immigration Service.  Note: In the event that dependents are children, their residence permit will be temporary until they reach the age of 25, provided that it is proven that they are studying full-time. However, they will not have the right to the continuity of the Pension Visa, except for those cases of dependent children suffering from some type of demonstrated physical or mental disability.
  3. Certificate of Public Registry of Property on any property acquired in a personal capacity by the applicant for the Pension Visa.
  4. If the pension received corresponds to a private company, the applicant must submit the following documents:
  • Letter from the foreign private party that administers the pension funds, either the trust, mutual fund, insurance or bank; certifying that the funds exist and that the payment of the annuity or pension is guaranteed to the applicant for life.
  • Certification of existence and operability of the entity that offers the payment of the pension and that administers the funds.
  • Proof of payment of the pension, such as some type of receipt or a copy of the Bank Statements.
  1. If the pension letter comes from a private company, then the applicant must also deliver a certificate issued by the Government authority, in which it is ensured that the company that pays the pension maintains an excellent reputation and is duly registered. This document must come in "original", "official", "recent" and "authenticated" (Please review the explanation of each of these terms below). The private company that administers the annuity or payment of the pension, must also issue a letter certifying that it will be responsible for managing the administration of the pension fund and the monthly payment.
  2. Copy of the proof of payment of the pension (In this case the receipts of pension payments or bank statements where the deposits for this concept are reflected) of the company or entity that makes the payment to the applicant must be delivered. This document must be "authenticated" (Please review the explanation given below this term)
  3. Police record or letter of criminal record issued by the authorities of the country where you had residence in the last five (5) years. This document must come in "original", "official", "updated" and "authenticated" (Please review the explanation of each of these terms below).
  4. Marriage Certificate (For spouse processing – If applicable), and / or Birth Certificate (For children under 18 years – If applicable). This document must come in "original", "official", "updated" and "authenticated" (Please review the explanation of each of these terms below).

Procedure to apply for Residency in Panama.

The procedure to be followed by any person wishing to apply for a Residence Permit (Visa) in Panama, in any of its modalities, will be as follows:

  1. Passport Registration with the National Migration Service in Panama.
  2. Submit the Residence Application with all the documents requested from the National Migration Service in Panama, with the proof of payment of the fees for government procedures and payment for repatriation. (Deportation – If applicable)
  3. The National Migration Service issues the Provisional Card and the Multiple Entry Visa (Valid between 3 months and 1 year)
  4. The National Migration Service issues in favor of the applicant, the Temporary Residence Permit (Panamanian Visa) and the Permanent Residence Card of Pensionado.

Passport Registration

You will be required to visit Panama to register and stamp your passport at the National Migration Service

Note: Applicants will not be able to attend wearing shorts, t-shirts or sandals.

The requirements to be submitted are:

  1. Two (2) passport-size photographs of the applicant and dependents (If applicable).
  2. Complete the Immigration registration form (our law firm will be able to provide this form to our clients, who only have to complete and sign it)
  3. Original passport and a photocopy of the passport (The original passport will be returned to the applicant immediately, once it is registered).

Documents required for processing at the National Migration Service

Documents that the client must deliver (Applicant and Dependents – If Applicable)

  • Photocopy of the Applicant's Valid Passport (And dependents – If Applicable), including the page showing the photograph, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.) and all other pages of the passport. This must be delivered after registration of the passport at the Panama Immigration Office.

Please note that the Passport must be valid for at least six (6) months from the date the application is made at the Immigration Office.

  • Six (6) passport-size photographs of the applicant and dependents (If Applicable)
  • Certificate of good health, which must be issued by a Panamanian Hospital or Clinic, duly signed by a Doctor licensed in Panama, which must indicate that both the applicant and the dependents (If applicable), do not have any contagious disease and are in good physical and mental condition. THIS MEDICAL CHECK-UP SHOULD BE PERFORMED DURING YOUR INITIAL VISIT TO PANAMA.

Documents that the client must provide (Only for Applicant)

Proof of your status as a pensioner:

  1. If the pension received corresponds to a government or social security agency: The client must deliver a certification issued by the corresponding government entity that pays the retirement or pension for life to the applicant, in which he must state that he receives a monthly income for this concept, of at least One Thousand ($ 1,000) US Dollars. This document must be "original", "official", "recent" and "authenticated" (Please review the explanation of each of these terms below) IMPORTANT NOTE: If the pension income certification document issued by the Government or by the Social Security office does not specify that the payment is for a "PENSION" and is for "ALL LIFE",  then the applicant must provide a signed Affidavit stating that the payment is in concept of a "retirement pension" and that it is for "LIFE". This Affidavit must be authenticated by a Notary Public and with apostille of the Secretary of State if it is issued in the United States, or if it is made in Panama, it can be authenticated through the office of the U.S. consulate in Panama.
  2. If the pension paid comes from a Private Company: The client must deliver a letter on letterhead from the company that pays the retirement or pension to the applicant, signed by a representative of the company and who has all information and contact details for the purposes of the corresponding verification, and must certify that the person receives a monthly pension for life in the amount of at least One Thousand ($1,000) US Dollars. This document must be "Original", "Official", "Recent" and "Authenticated" (Please review the explanation of each of these terms below)

IMPORTANT: Clients must send in advance all the required documents via mail before their first visit or they can bring them with them during their first visit.

Clients must download, fill out and complete the "Affiliation" form of the National Migration Service, and the "Background Information Application", (Our Law Firm may provide these forms). Please send us via fax or email these two formats prior to your visit to perform the respective review.

Documents that our law firm will provide you

  • Special Power of Attorney signed by the applicant and his/her dependents (If Applicable), authorizing our law firm to process Immigration documents and applications.
  • Duly signed Letter of Responsibility, in which the applicant assumes full responsibility for his dependents (If Applicable)
  • Immigration Declaration Form, to be completed and signed by the applicant and his/her dependents (If Applicable)

Note: To carry out the authentication process at Panamanian Consulates, please contact us and we will gladly give you details about the location closest to you.

All documents submitted in a language other than Spanish must be translated in Panama by an official Panamanian certified translator.

To process the application at the National Migration Service, the passport of the applicant and the dependents (If Applicable), must be valid for more than 6 months before its expiration date.

Meaning of the Terms

  • Original: Document issued in original, not photocopy.
  • Official: Issued directly by the respective Institution or Company, it may not be downloaded from the Internet or printed by another external source.
  • Recent: With recent issue date; not older than Six (06) months.
  • Authenticated: Notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate closest to you (or Apostille)

The offices of the National Migration Service will not allow the visit of people wearing shorts, t-shirts or sandals, nor will they receive payments with bills of the denominations of 50 Dollars or 100 Dollars, it will only accept denomination bills of 20 Dollars or less.

Please note that any person wishing to apply for the Panama Visa must be present at the time of filing the application with the Panama Immigration Office.

Once your Visa is approved, please plan to visit Panama for at least 2 weeks, as the National Immigration Service offices may hold your passport for a few days (approximately 5 business days), while they insert the official stamps and information into your passport.


Retirement - Pensionado Panama


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