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Panama Permanent Residence

Panama Permanent Residence

Panama offers great conditions for investment, as well as good general living conditions for those who are considering obtaining Panama permanent residence.

With a welcoming visa policy, allowing foreign nationals from many countries to enter the country without a visa for a limited time, as well as attractive business options, given the fact that there are no restrictions on nationality when one wishes to open a company in Panama, there are many reasons why individuals choose to relocate to this country.

Our immigration lawyers in Panama invite those interested to read this article in order to find out more about the Panama residency requirements in 2023.

The individual’s particular situation is important when submitting this application and, with our help, you can make sure that you are able to submit all of the documents the government is asking for.

 Quick Facts  
  Temporary residence permit types

Employment
Investment
Study
Family reunification

Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.)

Starting at 2 months; 6 months in some cases

Temporary residence permit validity 

 1 or 2 years, in some cases
Documents for obtaining temporary residence 

Application form and personal documents
Proof of investment (as applicable)
Proof of employment (as applicable)
Other personal documents attesting's one status

Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register) Yes
Dependents can join the temporary permit holder
(Yes/No)

Yes. Conditions for the type of investment apply

Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence

2 years, in some cases for investors 

Documents for obtaining permanent residence Proof of lawfull temporary citizenship
Proof of making and maintaining the investment for the minimum time (if applicable)
Application for and applicant's documents
Naturalization requirements Proof of having lawfully lived in the country
Proof of adequate language, culture and history knowledge
Interview 
Citizenship after permanent residence Yes, under certain conditions

General entry conditions

Obtaining Panama permanent residence is possible after having lived in the country under a temporary residence permit. Investors who are interested in Panama company formation can be pleased to know that the country encourages foreign investments and, for this purpose, foreign nationals have access to a number of attractive options if they wish to start a business or make an investment in the country.

The first step, in order to meet the general Panama residency requirements in 2023, is to enter the country lawfully, with a visa, if this applies in your case. The general entry conditions are listed below by our experts:

  • – Valid passport: the travel document, the passport, needs to have a minimum validity of three months;
  • – Maximum stay: foreign nationals from countries that are subject to visa entry requirements are permitted to remain in Panama for 30 days under a simple visa;
  • – Exemption: the Migration Office can accept the situation in which the individual is exempt from the visa requirement, under Executive Decree no. 521, if the individual presented a valid US permanent residence card; our team can give you more details;
  • – Countries without a visa requirement: foreign nationals of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the EU Member States, Vietnam and other countries are allowed to enter Panama without a visa and remain for 6 months; an extension can be obtained from the Office of Immigration in some cases; please keep in mind that this is different from obtaining Panama permanent residence;

Given the fact that entering the country under a simple visa (or without one, as may be the case), allows the foreign national to remain in Panama for a limited period, those who wish to relocate will need assistance for obtaining residency in Panama.

You can read below more about the programs that are in place for those who are ready to make a minimum investment or, in general, to those who are able to show that they have the financial means to remain in the country for long-term purposes such as immigration to Panama.

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Investment programs leading to Panama permanent residence

Relocating to Panama is attractive not only because investors can easily open a company in Panama, but also because they can enjoy a good qualify of life. The government encourages investments, and business formation, as well as moving to the country for retirement purposes.

If you are interested in acquiring residency in Panama, one of the routes presented below can be of interest:

  1. Forest investor: for a foreign national who invests, either personally or through a legal entity, a minimum amount of 100,000 Balboas in reforestation or forestry plantation activities; when this amount is of 350,000 Balboas (approximately 351,566 USD), the investor can opt for automatic Panama permanent residence; all the forest investments need to be approved by the Ministry of Environment;
  2. Company investment: when the minimum stock capital investment per applicant is 160,000 Balboas; the permit is valid for 2 years, and after this time the holder can apply for permanent residence; when the applicant also brings his family, the amount increased by 2,000 Balboas per family member;
  3. Time deposit investment: when the minimum investment of 300,000 Balboas and for which the funds must be proven to come from a fixed term deposit abroad; the same conditions for dependents apply, also subject to permanent residency after 2 years;
  4. Real estate investment: with a minimum amount of 300,000 Balboas; the same conditions are in place for the validity of the permit and for reuniting with family members.

Certain specific conditions apply in the case of immovable property investment. When the real estate is in the name of a private interest foundation, the foreigner will be able to request the residence permit as long as he demonstrates that the founder and he or his and he or his dependents are the beneficiaries.

When the applicant can prove that he has paid the net amount of three hundred thousand Balboas for a real estate property, but the selected property’s value is higher, the difference  

may be financed through a mortgage loan from a local bank.

A provisional permanent residence permit can be awarded to those who have invested in the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Area. In this case, the investment needs to be of at least 250,000 Balboas and special conditions apply to the type of investment (in terms of the capital of the companies to which this investment is directed towards).

When you apply for one of these programs, you should also keep in mind that, in addition to the minimum investment, the applicant also needs to pay a fee; for the visa immigration processing. Two fees apply, one to the National Treasury (of approximately USD 250) and one to the National Immigration Service (of approximately USD 800). Do keep in mind that these fees can be subject to change.

Our team can give you more details about these if this is a preferred route for immigration to Panama.

We invite you to watch a short video about obtaining residence in Panama in 2023:

Other options for permanent residency in Panama

Apart from the investment options presented above, foreign nationals also have the option to relocate to Panama under the person of means visa, or the private income retiree visa.

When a temporary resident in Panama submits a request for permanent residency as a retired individual, he is asked to provide proof of a monthly income from a foreign government/international organization or private company of at least 1,000 Balboas (the equivalent in a foreign currency). Spouses may be able to combine their monthly incomes to meet the minimum income amount for this type of residence permit. Our team can give you complete information on the requirements to prove the minimum monthly income, as well as those for bringing dependents into Panama (including dependent children under the age of 25 years or children with permanent disabilities). The retirement residencepermit is a permanent one and does not required an extension.

Some of the most important documents requested for all permanent residency applications include the following:

  • – Photographs;
  • – Passport copy (notarized or authenticated);
  • – Criminal record certificate;
  • – Health certificate;
  • – Proof of fee payments to the National Treasury and the National Immigration Service;
  • – For the dependents joining the applicant: proof of relationship and of domicile and a certificate of unmarried status and certified education in the case of dependents over 18 years of age.

Our team can give you complete details about the required application documents, both the ones requested in all cases, as well as the permit-specific documents (such as those attesting to the real estate purpose, or other types of investments).

Acquiring permanent residence status is often the last step after which a foreign national can apply for citizenship in Panama. This application is of interest to those who change their citizenship, as dual citizenship is not permitted by this country. The naturalization process is one based both on the length of stay, but also other matters such as language knowledge. Our team can give you more details. 

Contact us if you wish to know more about how to obtain Panama permanent residence and the available options in 2023.

Our specialists offer complete services for immigration to Panama. If you are just starting to consider this option, perhaps for retirement purposes, or regardless of your ultimate purpose of stay, you can rely on our team for complete information. We not only assist those interested in obtaining permanent residence, we also guide those who will remain in the country for short-term purposes. Our immigration lawyers in Panama will answer all your questions.