Panama is known as the top tax haven in the world. The country offers a wide range of affordable and fast residency programs to different groups of people. The country has an amazing infrastructure and applies modern technologies in its medical facilities.
It’s recognized globally as the number one retirement havens and home for expats. Currently, this Central American country has a big community of thriving expatriates. Data indicates that more than 50,000 Americans have already acquired permanent residency in Panama. So, if you are looking for residency in this country, what are some of the programs that you can go for?
Residency and Retirement Programs in Panama
This is one of the most sought-after residency programs in the world. Panama residency has desirable options and there are 6 programs to choose from:
Pension or Retirement Residency
You don’t need to be a senior to apply for this program. The retirement residency is available to anyone above the age of 18 years as long as they have a lifetime pension or can pay an annuity minimum of $1,000 monthly. In case there are dependents, then each one of them will need $250 monthly.
Panama’s age requirement for a retirement visa is so low because they want people who will spend on their economy. The benefits of retirement visa or pensionados include:
- 15% off on your medical bills
- 25% off on energy bills per month
- 25 % off on air tickets
- 30-50% off on hotel stays
- 30% off on train, boat, and bus fares
- 50% off on entertainment including sporting events, concerts, and movie theaters.
Friendly Nations Visa
In case you are a citizen of one of the top 50 countries in the World, then you can apply for the Friendly Nations Visa. The main applicant needs to make a deposit of $5,000 and an additional $2,000 for every dependent.
Persons of Means Visa
The program is designed for those who want to hold a large amount of money here. Additionally, it could be for those who want to invest in real estate, simply make a bank deposit or a combination of both. You need to invest at least $300,000 in addition to $2,000 for each dependent.
Reforestation Investor Visa
You can apply for Panama residency if you want to massively invest in hardwoods such as teak in Panama. With this program, you need to invest at least $80,000 for the reforestation project. It should be noted that your project should be certified by the government. Additionally, the program requires at least five hectares of land that are titled.
Professional Employment Visa
Expats working in Panama under professional capacity can also apply for residency. By professional term, it means that the individual needs to have a college degree. The eligible candidates need to at least have two years of employment experience while located in this country.
The best thing about this country is that there are several red zones with various special versions of this type of residency visa. If you consider them, the processing costs will be significantly lower. Panama Pacifico is one of the best tax-free zones to apply for a professional employment visa.
Business Investor Visa
In case you are not from a friendly nation or a retiree, then you have an alternative to applying for a Business Investor Visa. However, this is quite a long process and you need to have a solid amount of money.
For instance, you need to have at least $160,000 in paid-in capital to set up a corporation. You will then be granted a temporary residency permit for your business. Once you have efficiently run your business for two years, then you will be eligible for the permanent residency status.
Note: once you have been granted residency, you don’t have to fully stay in Panama. You can just make this country your second home.
Panama has different residency programs hence they have different requirements. But generally, here is what the immigration department needs:
- A copy of birth certificate/ photo ID/driver’s license
- Three passport photos
- Copies of your passport and those of your dependents if any.
- A two-year authenticated criminal record
The Residency Application Process
Unlike most countries, the residency process is quite challenging here. That’s why it’s best to get a competent lawyer. They will handle the whole process making everything easier for you. But you will need to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 attorney fees depending on the services you choose.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Residency Permit in Panama?
It takes around 6 months to get a residency in Panama. The process is quite complicated. That’s why you need to start the application process once you are in this country. You might be forced to get a visa with a multi-entry option.