Panama Residency Visas
Due to the increasing number of foreigners visiting Panama seeking residency, the Panamanian government recently updated its immigration and visa laws. Law 20 of 2008 created new mechanisms through which visitors could obtain temporary or permanent residency. Under Panamanian immigration laws, there are several different kinds of visas that authorize an alien either to visit or reside in Panama, as long as she/he meets the requirements established under the law.
Pensioned Retirement Visa (Pensionado Visa)The Panama Pensionado Visa program allows foreigners to obtain legal residency in Panama under the condition that they are retired and have a monthly pension. According to the Panama Immigration Department, there is no minimum or maximum age required to qualify (you only need to meet the requirements and be able to provide the proper documentation).
The applicants’ retirement income (or pension income) must be at least US$1,000 per month. However, if you purchase real estate in Panama with a value of at least $100,000 the monthly income requirement is reduced to $750.
In Panama, qualified pensionados or retirees are entitled to many benefits in the form of discounts on a wide range of products and services, as illustrated in the list below.
- 50 percent off admission to recreational or entertainment activities such as theaters, movies, sports, etc.
- 30 percent discount on bus, boat, and train fares.
- 25 percent discount on airline tickets.
- 25 percent discount at some restaurants.
- 50 percent off hotels (Mon – Thurs) and 30 percent (Sat – Sun).
- 10 percent off prescription drugs.
- 20 percent discount on medical consultations.
- 15 percent discount on dental and eye exams.
- and more…
As a pensionado, you are also entitled to a one-time duty-free importation of household goods (up to $10,000) and an exemption every two years on duties for the importation or local purchase of a car.
Panama pensionado law stipulates that anyone entering the country as a qualified pensioner is guaranteed that status for as long as they reside in Panama.
To qualify under the pensionado program you must show proof of receiving a minimum pension of $750 and invest at least $100,000 in property in Panama or you must have a pension of at least $1,000 per month (no real estate requirement).
If you are not a retiree you can also apply for one of the other Panama Residency Visa programs described below.
Private Income Retiree Visa (Rentista Retirado): This visa is designed for those who are not employed and do not have a monthly pension but have a lump sum which will yield at least $750.00 per month when deposited in a 5 year Certificate of Deposit in a Panamanian bank. Depending on the interest rates are when you apply, you’ll need about $200,000.
Self Economic Solvency Visa (Solvencia economica propia) This is a two year program designed for those who wish to live in Panama and are not employed nor starting a business, but living from their own income. It involves a $200,000 investment in the country. You can (1) open a one-year certificate of deposit in any local bank with a minimum of $200,000.00, (2) purchase a property valued at $200,000, or (3) purchase a $80,000 property and open a $120,000 certificate of deposit. At the end of the second year the visa is granted permanently.