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Licensed Activities in Panama

Licensed Activities in Panama

Several types of business activities, among which the ones in the financial sector, are licensed activities in Panama. Banks, insurance and reinsurance companies, as well as others, must obtain an operating license or an authorization, as applicable, from the relevant authorities.

Our Panama company formation agents can provide investors with complete information on the activities that require approvals and licenses as well as those that are exempt from this procedure. In this article, we will list the most important financial activities that are licensed and we will also mention the authority that is responsible for the issuance of the license.

Investors who cannot be present during the entire Panama offshore company formation procedure, which will also include the submission of the application for the said license, can reach out to one of our agents. A member of our team, based on a power of attorney, can apply for the permits. 

Activities that require approvals and licenses in Panama

As in other jurisdictions, financial and banking activities in Panama are subject to approvals and licenses. We list some of these below:

  • – Operating licenses: banks and trust companies are to obtain licenses from the Superintendency of Banks.
  • – Authorizations: insurance and reinsurance companies, insurance and reinsurance brokers need to obtain an authorization from the Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance.
  • – Licenses for brokers: securities brokers apply for their specific license with the National Securities Commission. 
  • – Others: product registration and approval are obtained from the National Authority of Food (for new imports).

As seen above, two main business sectors that require licensing and the financial one as well as the one involving food products and beverages. For this second category, apart from having to obtain permission for new products, all food and beverages sold in bottles, cans or other types of packaging must be registered with the Ministry of Public Health. 

A financial services license in Panama is mandatory for businesses that perform certain types of activities, however, companies will also need to comply with other requirements, such as having a local registered office. There is no mandatory requirement for a minimum capital in most cases. An exemption does apply to leasing services. 

Our Panama incorporation specialists can provide investors with more details about the specific requirements set forth by the authorities.

We not only assist business owners interested in assistance for licensing purposes. We are also able to answer questions bout how to obtain citizenship in Panama. This is possible for those foreign nationals who have been living in the country for at least five years. The minimum number of years is lower in case of those married to a Panamanian national or those who have Panamanian children. 

If you are not yet ready to apply for citizenship, but are just starting to consider your options for residency in Panama, our team will give you detailed information about the current residency programmes, your option to retire to the country or become a resident based on an investment made in Panama. You can reach out to us as needed.

The notice of operation in Panama

Another type of permit, called the “notice of operation” is also to be obtained by companies, partnerships, and individuals in Panama that wish to engage in commercial or industrial activities. This is mandatory for most investors who wish to open a company in Panama, most notably those who will engage in commercial and industrial activities. The notice is applied by following the following steps:

  1. the request form: the applicant fills in a form that includes the name of the company as well as the activities of the business, among other details.
  2. declaration: the request form is accompanied by a sworn declaration, which is attached to the form.
  3. fee: the application is made based on a fee of 15 USD for natural persons and 55 USD for companies.
  4. others: other fees may be applicable depending on the type of activity; there are two types of activities: commercial and industrial. 

Some types of activities in Panama are exempt from the notice of the operation. These include companies engaged in agricultural or handicraft activities as well as those companies that produce homemade goods and have no more than five employees. Free trade zone companies are also exempt from this notice of operation and so are non-profits organizations, for example, those involved in charity work. 

Our team of Panama company formation agents can assist investors who need to apply for the notice of operation. We can also help in Panama bank account opening. 

Panama is a preferred location to establish an offshore company and the financial services sector is particularly attractive to investors. The overall business regime, as well as the fact that companies are exempt from corporate taxes, make Panama an attractive investment destination. Below, we look at some of the statistics for foreign investments in Panama:

  • – inward foreign direct investment in 2018: 5,549 million USD;
  • – inward foreign direct investment in 2017: 4,569 million USD;
  • – inward foreign direct investment in 2016: 4,866 million USD.

Our multi-service firm can also answer questions about other matters, such as immigration to Panama. Our specialists can guide foreign investors who wish to enter the country in order to apply for a license for an already existing business that they own (partially or fully), or who wish to remain in the country for the purpose of starting a new company. We provide personalized information and advice.

Contact our Panama company formation agents for complete information about the licensed activities and assistance for obtaining these licenses.