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Moving to Panama

BOA Travel Blog | Comments Off on Moving to Panama
Moving to Panama

Are you looking to move to Panama?


Retirees, investors, second-home seekers, and professionals are the new-style immigrants to Panama. The latest trend to seek retirement or a second-home abroad seems to be growing worldwide, especially amongst North Americans and Europeans. “International Living:, the renowned magazine and recognized expert for promoting U.S. Expatriate lifestyles publishes a Global Retirement Index where Panama ranked as number one for six consecutive years. In the 2013 Index, it ranks as number two. Making the most of their money is a usual concern for retirees, and with the U.S dollar being Panama’s currency, adjustment to living here is easy. The cost of living is reasonable and is much less than in the States and Europe.

Reasons for moving to Panama:

(According to Panama Offshore Legal Services law firm)

  • To have a “safe haven” in the event of any type of unrest.

  • To be in a “tax friendly” country where foreign earned income and interest income is not taxed.

  • Frivolous law suits are not recognized by courts in Panama and assets can be truly protected.

  • Business can be started economically and without heavy restrictions, regulations, or punitive taxes.

  • Real estate in Panama is still affordable for purchasing homes in the city, or land at the beaches, mountains, or lakes

  • Retirement in Panama

How to move to Panama:

  • Retiree (Pensionado) Visa: Having a lifetime, minimum monthly $1,000 foreign government or private entity pension (additional $100/month per spouse and dependents) qualifies for a Pensionado visa. There is not minimum or maximum age requirement. Alternatively, a person who buys a $100,000 property and can show a pension of $750 will also qualify for this visa. If a couple both receive pensions the some of which is $1,000 they also qualify. The benefits include a one-time exemption from duties when importing household goods (up to $10,000) and a tax-exempt car. In addition, a Pensionado is able to get discounts in restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, and many other products and services in Panama. You will receive permanent residency within three months, but you will not be able to become a Panamanian citizen.

  • Self-Economic Solvency Visa: This type of visa allows anyone with a minimum of $300,000 to obtain permanent residency and become a full Panamanian citizen. There are three options available:

    • (1) Purchase a minimum value of $300,000 real property in your personal name.

    • (2) Purchase a three year $300,000 CD at a Panamanian bank.

    • (3) A combination of the above – a Panamanian bank CD plus real estate purchase with both totaling $300,000.

  • Business Investor Visa: The Panama Business Investor Visa requires an investment of $160,000 in a new business, or a new corporation. Three temporary two-year resident visas will be issued before permanent residency is acquired.

  • Reforestation Investor Visa: Panama Reforestation Large Investment Visa requires a minimum $80,000 investment plus the purchase of 5 hectares in a Panama government certified reforestation project. This visa can lead to permanent residency after two years and eventual Panama citizenship.

  • Agricultural Visa: For this visa a foreigners must invest a minimum of $60,000 in a Panama agribusiness or a Panama aquaculture business. Investors will have temporary resident status for six years, renewable every two years.

  • Short Stay Visa: This visa is designed for those who need to stay up to 9 months in order to visit relatives, have medical attentions, etc. It requires payment of $100 to the National Services of Immigration for migratory services plus guaranteed deposit of $500. Other documentation is required depending on the reason for seeking the visa. It is best to consult a lawyer on this. Conditions for stays of longer than 90 days to complete business transactions are more stringent.

  • Friendly Nations Visa: Panama has designated 47 Friendly Nations who do not need visas to enter the country and two, in addition, can be granted fast resident visas. The formal wording of this permanent residency visa is for “citizens of friendly nations with professional and economic ties with the Republic of Panama”. This means that the citizens of these 47 countries must establish a processional or economic relationship with Panama, which can be accomplished by starting a new business, or purchasing an existing business, or being hired to work to a Panama company.

  • Other visas: Tax-Free Processing Zone Visa, Student Visa, Specialist Worker Visa, Domestic Worker Visa.

More Information:

“Living in Panama” from the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama ( can be a useful guide.

American Society of Panama (

Information provided by the Focus Panama Vacation Guide