If you’re like many of our clients, you’re probably wondering about the permanent resident visa programs in Panama. You’re probably wondering, “Is it easy to get residency in Panama?”. Or, “How do I apply for a panama residency?”. Or, “How much does permanent residency in Panama cost and what are the requirements?”.
For some, permanent residency is the main reason they’re investing in the country. For others it’s just an added bonus. Whatever your goals, Panama offers a variety of pathways to permanent residency and others for temporary residency.
Of the ten permanent residency visa programs that Panama currently offers, six of them require making some sort of investment in the country.
Here’s a summary of the Panama permanent residency visa programs currently available that offer a pathway to permanent residency in Panama. Please note that these programs can and do change over time. To make sure you have the most accurate information, please talk to an immigration attorney. We work with several great ones and we’re happy to share their contact information with you.
Of the ten permanent residency visa programs that Panama currently offers, six of them require making some sort of investment in the country. We’ll describe those first and then the other four. In general terms, the more you invest in the country the faster you will achieve permanent residency. Some of these visas allow you to gain permanent residency in as little as a month. Others offer a provisional visa for two years and then the permanent visa is available.
REFORESTATION INVESTOR VISA
This visa has an “express” version and a “regular” version. Both require an investment in a reforestation project that has been certified by Panama’s Environmental Ministry. The “express” version requires a $350,000 investment. It offers immediate permanent residency and can be processed in 30 days. The “regular” version requires a $100,000 investment and offers the 2-year provisional visa first and then the permanent visa. In both cases you are required to maintain the investment for at least 5 years.
BUSINESS INVESTOR VISA
This visa requires a minimum investment of $160,000 in a new or existing Panamanian business. The business must hire at least 5 full-time Panamanian employees and pay them benefits, social security, etc. The investor gets a 2-year provisional visa first, then the permanent visa.
FRIENDLY NATIONS VISA
This visa requires the investor to be from one of the roughly 50 countries that Panama considers “friendly nations”. The investor can either be employed by a Panamanian company or make an investment of at least $200,000 in a company, a fixed-time deposit (CD), or in real estate in the country. The investor gets a 2-year provisional visa first, then the permanent visa.
SELF ECONOMIC SOLVENCY VISA
There are three options to take advantage of this visa. Each offers the investor a provisional visa first and then a permanent visa.
- A real estate investment of at least $300,000
- A fixed-time deposit (CD) of $300,000 or more for at least 3 years in a Panamanian bank
- Combine these two options to make a minimum investment of $300,000
QUALIFIED INVESTOR VISA
Created in October, 2020; this visa was created to offer a streamlined process to investors who want to take advantage of one of the following options. The main benefits over the similar Self Economic Solvency Visa are the 30-day processing period to gain permanent residency and that the investor does not have to physically travel to Panama to apply.
- A real estate investment of at least $500,000 ($300k until October, 2022)
- An investment of at least $500,000 in a pre-construction real estate project with a signed purchase and sale contract
- An investment of at least $500,000 in the Panamanian Stock Market through a qualified and licensed Panamanian brokerage firm that is held for at least 5 years
- A fixed-term deposit (CD) of at least $750,000 for at least 3 years in a Panamanian bank
BUSINESS INVESTOR VISA
This visa requires a minimum $160,000 investment in the capital stock of a Panamanian business. The foreigner can be a shareholder and/or an officer. This visa requires that the investor actively participate in the running of the business and that the business generates full-time employment with benefits for at least 5 Panamanians. An additional $2,000 must be invested or each dependent.
The other common visas do not require investments. They are:
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 for this visa. The annuity or pension must pay an additional $250 per month for each dependent. The annuity or pension can be paid by a private company, the military, government agencies, corporations, a bank, an insurance company, or a trust. This visa also gives discounts from movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, concerts, and domestic airlines, along with many other products and services.
PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT VISA
Foreigners hired by a Panamanian company in a “professional” capacity, i.e. paying social security taxes, holding a college degree, and in applicable cases a professional license, can become a permanent resident after two years of being a temporary resident.
MARRIED TO A PANAMANIAN CITIZEN VISA
Just like it sounds, marriage to a Panamanian offers a path to residency. The marriage must be registered with Panama’s Civil Registry. A provisional 2-year visa is granted first, then the permanent visa.
PARENTS OF A 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.
Remember, these Panama residency visa programs can and do change over time so speak with an immigration attorney who can guide you through the process based on your specific needs. And if you need help getting started don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.