If you are looking for a country from which you would like to get a permanent residence permit and tax residency, then we advise you to pay close attention to Panama. This country offers foreign visa applicants the easiest and simplest conditions. The state especially welcomes businessmen and investors, who are ready to invest their capital in the country’s economy.
As a kind of bonus for investors, Panama offers a unique territorial taxation system. The advantage of the Panamanian tax policy is that all income received abroad is exempt from taxation. Only in the case of profits within the country, individuals or corporations are liable for tax deductions to the budget of Panama.SKIP to the ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE ➝
The Republic of Panama is located at the junction of the two American continents and has access to two oceans – the Pacific and the Atlantic. In Panama, these two oceans are connected by the well-known Panama Canal, which is used by most countries of the world to shorten the sea route from Asia to America. The area at the entrance to the canal, including the Atlantic Ocean shore, is the Free Economic Zone of International Trade, which is considered the second in the world by volume after the zone in Hong Kong. All enterprises and businesses operating in this zone are exempt from state customs duties and VAT.
Panama does not have its own armed forces or the central bank. Among all Latin American countries, Panama is considered the safest country for visa applicants. The American dollar is the official currency that circulates freely in Panama. It is used alongside with the national currency balboa and accepted “at par” (a rate of 1:1). This means that the travelers don’t have to worry about exchanging money at the airport or dealing with fluctuating exchange rates, which makes Panama a hassle-free destination for visitors who use US dollars. Thanks to its natural resources, the country is fully self-sufficient in fresh water, food and electricity.
Panama stands out among the other Latin American states because of its high rates of economic development, high quality of medical care and education. In terms of economic freedom, Panama is ranked 66th in the world. The state does not restrict the amount of foreign capital brought into the country by a foreign visa applicant, and also does not prevent withdrawal of funds abroad.
Panama’s Human Development Index value for 2019 was 0.815, which placed the country in the very high human development category, positioning it at number 57 out of the 189 countries and territories, for which HDI compiled by the UN. Between 1990 and 2019, Panama’s HDI value increased by 20.7%, from 0.675 to 0.815, which indicates the notable improvements in the following main indicators evaluated for the index:
- Life expectancy: fertility and health care;
- Education: the availability of education, the terms of secondary and higher education;
- GNI: material well-being and the level of purchasing power of the population.
It is interesting to note that GNI per capita in Panama grew by around 184% between the years of 1990 and 2019.
According to economic indicators for 2019, the population of Panama was 4.24 million people, GDP amounted to 66,79 billion dollars (the growth of about 3%), unemployment was 4.7%, inflation – 0.36%, industrial production growth was around 5.3%. These figures show Panama as the most competitive country in Latin America. Even though Panama’s economic growth rate has declined slightly over the past couple of years, the country has continued to show steady growth in general prosperity and quality of life for over a decade. Many international experts have compared Panama’s increasing economic progress to the development of the economy in Singapore 35 years ago. Like Singapore, Panama still has a chance of becoming one of the richest countries in the world in the near future.
Thus, if the business of the visa applicant is related to commercial activities, Internet business or international offshore activities, then Panama is always ready to accept them, and will provide reliable protection for the applicant and their assets. In order to attract visa applicants, the Panamanian government has developed many different visa programs, providing both temporary residence with a special passport, and visas for permanent residence.
Why Are Our Experts Trustworthy?
Our company Offshore Pro Group employs highly qualified specialists in the field of international legislation and specifically in tax law. Over the years, we have supported dozens of visa applicants in obtaining tax residency and economic citizenship in various countries of the world, including Panama.
For those who value their time, our team provides a first-class service that can satisfy the most demanding applicants for Panamanian visas and permanent residence. Our VIP service can be organized both individually and for all members of a family. Our service begins literally from the moment visa applicants arrive at the airport in Panama, where they are welcomed by an interpreter.
Our VIP package also includes:
- Opening a bank account;
- Assistance in buying or renting real estate;
- Organizing direct links with brokers and financial managers;
- Translating your documents into Spanish in the shortest possible time and prompt delivery;
- Accounting services and support.
While the visa applicant is waiting for a permanent resident card for Panama, our specialists will take over the entire burden of the corresponding paperwork. During this time, you can get to know Panama and enjoy the Panamanian way of life.
If you are looking for a safe and comfortable country for relocation or thinking about securing your assets, Panama can offer some excellent opportunities for that. Contact us for a free consultation on getting Panamanian permanent residence and citizenship seasoned expert in corporate law, international business, immigration services and bank products.
FREE EXPERT CONSULTATION
on how to choose the jurisdiction
and the economic residence
or citizenship programs.
on how to choose the jurisdiction and the economic residence or citizenship programs.
Residence by Investment
Panamanian migration legislation offers about 52 types of visas that give the right to a foreigner to obtain a residence permit, permanent residence, and eventually, Panamanian citizenship. Panama Visa Programs have the following benefits for visa applicants:
- Opportunity to become a tax resident of Panama;
- Obtaining the right to use the benefits of bilateral government agreements in order to avoid double taxation concluded by Panama with a number of countries;
- Obtaining a permanent residence permit in Panama;
- Possibility of naturalization in the country after five years of permanent residence and obtaining a civil passport.
However, it should be noted that not all Panamanian migration programs allow visa applicants to eventually obtain permanent residence, let alone citizenship.
Rentier Visa (Rentista Retirado)
This type of visa allows a foreigner to receive the right of temporary residence in Panama for 5 years and obtain a special passport. This passport is not a civil passport, as it indicates the original country of citizenship of the passport holder. This special passport is no different in appearance from a regular national Panamanian passport, and allows visa-free entry to 128 countries of the world for the visa holder. This type of passport is quite useful for citizens of those countries that do not recognize a second citizenship.
Key Requirements for the Rentier Visa:
Panama’s Rentista Retirado visa grants an indefinite residency permit to applicants immediately upon approval, usually within two to three months. To get this permit, a foreign visa applicant must open a term deposit at the National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panamá) or Caja de Ahorro – both government-owned banks. The deposit is opened for a period of at least five years without the right to use it as collateral or receive other credit services from banks. Early termination of the deposit agreement automatically cancels the passport. The deposit must generate interest income of at least USD $850 monthly. As of today, the size of the term deposit must be at least USD $370,000.
A Certificate of Deposit (CD) is received to confirm the operation. The deposit must be the ONLY source of the interest income. The interest will constitute net of taxes; there must be no liabilities or mortgage payments for at least five years.
The requirements for this visa include:
- Application and notarized Power of Attorney;
- Five passport-size photos;
- Background check;
- Sworn declaration of the applicant’s personal background;
- Notarized photocopy of applicant’s passport;
- Certificate of good health confirming the applicant’s good physical and mental health condition, and the absence of any contagious diseases. This certificate has to be issued by a local Panamanian doctor;
- Bank Certificate from Banco Nacional or Caja de Ahorros indicating the total amount of funds on the deposit, the interest rate, duration, and confirming the absence of liabilities;
- Authenticated copy of the bank’s CD.
An applicant for a Rentier visa to Panama can obtain a temporary residence permit for their spouse or include dependents (children and parents) in the application. If the application includes dependents, the applicant needs to submit the following documents:
- Letter of the applicant’s accountability for the dependents;
- Proof of family ties between the applicant and each dependent;
- Proof of address – applicant and dependent must reside at the same address;
- If the dependent is 18 years old or more, single status and student status certificate are required.
In addition, once every two years the owner of a special passport has the right to duty-free import of a car into Panama. After the expiration of the five-year period, if the deposit agreement is renewed, the visa applicant may extend the validity of the passport for another 5 years. Regardless of the time of residence, this visa does not allow you to obtain citizenship.
Investor (Self Solvency) Visa
This visa program can be implemented by the applicant for a visa and a residence permit in one of three options:
- Opening a fixed-term deposit in the National Bank of Panama in the amount of USD $300,000 (depending on the number of applicants). In this case, the banking agreement for the deposit must be issued for at least 3 years;
- Investment in real estate, the value of which must be at least USD $300,000;
- Joint investment: purchasing real estate and opening a bank term deposit, with the total value of USD $300,000.
Investor visa applicants receive the following benefits:
- Obtaining a temporary residence permit (TRP) in Panama for the period of 2 (two) years;
- After obtaining a residence permit, the applicant is entitled to receive permanent resident status for the period of 2 (two) years;
- It’s possible to include the applicant’s spouse and dependents (children or parents) in the application; they are also eligible for permanent residency;
- After 5 years of residing in the country in the status of permanent resident, the applicant becomes eligible for Panamanian citizenship.
Please note: in addition to the above-mentioned minimum investment amount, state fees and other procedural fees are charged.
The applicant must prove that all funds come from abroad. There are special requirements to the document package needed in each of the options above. Please contact our experts at email@example.com for a concise consultation on the specific requirements and options that may be preferable in your unique situation.
Friendly Nations Visa
The Friendly Nations Visa can be requested by the citizens who have a passport of one of the 50 states that fall under the scope of Panama’s “friendly countries”, including the following:
- Austria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Canada, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco , New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Singapore, United States of America, Taiwan, Uruguay, France, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Chile, Switzerland, Sweden , Estonia, South Africa, South Korea, and Japan.
Please note: those who would like to obtain residency with the Friendly Nations visa should pay attention to the fact that this visa program does not directly apply to citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan or other CIS countries.
If the visa applicant intends to obtain residence with a Friendly Nations visa for his entire family (wife/husband and children), then the main visa applicant must be the family member (spouse) who has a second civil passport of one from the 50 countries listed above. In other words, it is the holder of the second passport that will be considered the main applicant; their spouse will be regarded as the dependent applicant, and the children and other family members – as dependents.
This program first grants a provisional residency permit valid for 2 years, after which the applicant can apply for and obtain a permanent residency permit. Thus, it typically takes three years to obtain permanent residency with this type of visa.
After two years, the foreign applicant may apply for permanent residency. This process may take up to 6 months. After receiving approval, the visa holder receives a permanent residency permit in replacement of the provisional residency permit.
Following are the requirements and the lists of documents for provisional and permanent residency.
- Five passport-size photos;
- Passport and another ID, for example, a driver’s license or a state ID;
- Proof of economic capacity, can be one of the following:
- Employment contract in Panama between the applicant and a Panamanian company;
- Real Estate Ownership: The applicant must own property in Panama with a registered value of at least USD $200,000;
- Certificate of Deposit: Deposit in a national bank in Panama with the total value of at least USD $200,000. The certificate must state the title, value and the term of the deposit, which must be free of financial liabilities for at least 3 years;
- Health certificate issued by a Panamanian doctor within the last 90 days prior to submitting the application;
- Clean criminal record from the country of citizenship, or country of residence for the last two years (in this case, proof of residence permit is required). The criminal check must be national, so for the U.S. citizens for example, it must come from the FBI;
- Sworn declaration;
- Repatriation fee in the form of a Certified Check for USD $800.00 to the National Immigration Service;
- Application fee – USD $250.00 in the form of a Certified Check to the National Treasury.
Permanent Residency Requirements
- A valid provisional residency permit;
- The applicant should have had provisional residency for at least 2 years.
All documents issued outside Panama must be apostilled (by your local state bodies) or authenticated at the Panamanian Consulate in your country.
The process takes about 4-5 months after the documents are submitted. When the approval is granted, and the permanent residency resolution is issued, the applicant has 3 months to come to Panama and get their picture I.D. card at the Immigration office. One business day is required for this procedure.
Please contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org for a detailed consultation about the requirements you should meet and the documents you might need in your specific situation.
Business Investor Visa
This visa program can be used by foreigners who wish to start a business in Panama.
- The applicant must use their personal funds in business. The size of the authorized capital investment must be at least USD $160,000 (depending on the number of applicants). If the investor has a company already operating in Panama, they can use the shares of that corporation as investment contribution; the dollar equivalent of this share must be at least USD $160,000.
- In addition, the applicant must officially employ 5 Panamanian citizens, providing them with wages and social security.
- The declared capitals must be free from various types of collateral and fully paid.
Please note: state fees and other procedural fees apply in addition to the minimum investment amount stated above.
Advantages of this visa type:
- Holder of this type of visa receives a temporary residence permit (TRP) in Panama for the period of 2 years;
- After obtaining a residence permit, the applicant is entitled to receive permanent resident status for a period of 2 years;
- All dependent applicants (spouse) and the main applicant’s dependents (children and parents) are eligible for residency as well;
- After 5 years of holding the status of permanent resident, the investor becomes eligible for Panamanian citizenship.
To find out more about the necessary documents and requirements for receiving this type of visa, please contact our experts at email@example.com for an individual consultation.
Reforestation Visa Program
This government program is aimed at attracting investors and visa applicants who are ready to invest their capital in the restoration of Panama’s forests in order to develop the country’s agriculture. Long-term investments can also be made in other agricultural activities. The Panamanian National Environmental Authority (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, or ANAM) is responsible for the control and supervision of the implementation of this visa by investment.
- An investment of at least USD $80,000 for the purchase of agricultural land with a total area of at least 5 hectares. Ownership can be issued to both an individual and a legal entity.
Please note: state fees and other procedural and legal fees apply in addition to the minimum investment amount stated above.
Panama offers two different processes to obtain residency for people who invest in a reforestation project, an Express Process and a Regular Process.
As we said above, foreigners who make the appropriate investment are automatically eligible for permanent residence. In order to keep the permanent residence, the investment must be made for at least 5 consecutive years.
Permanent Residency Requirements
An applicant wishing to obtain Panamanian residency by Reforestation investment program must:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Provide proof of identity, such as passport, national ID, birth and marriage certificates (if applicable);
- Present proof of funds along with proof of direct investment into an approved forestry program. The investment has to be further maintained for up to 8 years;
- Have a clean criminal record.
Applicants who wish to obtain Panamanian permanent residency through the regular reforestation visa program must invest USD $100,000 in the following form:
- USD $90,000 for the land; the area of the land plot depends on the chosen project;
- USD $10,000 for maintenance and management over the period of up to 8 years.
Key Advantages of the Reforestation Program
The program offers the following opportunities and advantages:
- The applicant is granted the right of temporary residence in the country for 2 years;
- When investing more than USD $80,000 in a land plot with an area of at least 5 hectares, the applicant receives a permit for permanent residence for 2 years;
- After five years of permanent residence, the applicant may apply for Panamanian citizenship.
- The applicant can also include dependents (spouse, children, parents) in the program for obtaining a permanent residency permit. If the investor plans to do so, he must increase the investment accordingly: by USD $2,000 for each dependent;
- A company or a corporation can also be used as a form of investment. In this case, the application for Panamanian residency can include any number of applicants, as long as each applicant invests USD $100,000 in a reforestation project.
So, if you have made your choice, we would like to offer you to fill out a questionnaire, which will help our specialists to choose the most suitable Panamanian visa program for you. This can dramatically reduce the time you could spend listening to information about the visa options you are not interested in. Complete and accurate answers to the questionnaire will allow us to offer you the right action strategy, making sure you avoid unnecessary expenses and even possible fines. After we analyze the questionnaire, our experts will contact you to discuss how we can best help you. Your full and precise answers will allow us to customize our services to best suit your needs.
An Offshore Bank Account
Opening a personal or corporate bank account in Panama may follow different purposes and involve costs, financial capabilities, account maintenance requirements, and so on. For example, it may be useful to open a personal account if you are planning to do business in the country, intend to diversify assets and protect them.
You should understand that opening an offshore account will cost more than a bank account in your home country. However, the security, confidentiality, and asset protection level of an offshore account is much higher than that of a regular bank account in your home country. Alongside with the wider opportunities offered by a foreign account, there are higher maintenance requirements, which mainly affect the following:
- The amount of the minimum deposit paid by the visa applicant wishing to open an account;
- The amount of minimum balance on the balance sheet;
- The cost of service and the level of commission for transactions and other banking products.
Registration of a Business
In the case of setting up a business in Panama or moving an existing business to Panama from another jurisdiction, there are a number of issues that require a bit of extra scrutiny. The specific character of the business, the area of the applicant’s activity, the geography (within Panama or in the international space) can really make a difference. If you will pay taxes on the income received within Panama or as a result of international activities, your tax in Panama will be 0%. Therefore, without knowing all these details, it is impossible to figure out the best solution.
The choice of business structure in Panama depends on the interests of the applicant. For example, to do business in Panama, the most popular choice is a Panamanian corporation (legal entity). If your main goal is to protect family assets and transfer them to your heirs, if you are interested in tax planning or considering an investment in real estate, a Private Fund will be the best form of business. Both a Panamanian corporation and a Private Foundation can be registered in Panama in just a few days. In addition, registration can be carried out remotely in advance, even before you relocate to Panama.
It is important to note that when a corporation is opened in order to obtain residency in Panama, opening a corporate account may be a problem, especially if you are planning to use it for doing business in the future. The point is, in connection with international transparency requirements, most banks in Panama provide the opportunity to open an account only to the country’s residents. Our experts are ready to discuss this and all the other issues with you directly during your personal consultation. Requesting our specialists’ assistance will definitely allow you to avoid the hassle and expenses connected with possible refusals from Panamanian banks. We will make sure your strategic plan regarding Panama suits your individual needs and situation perfectly!
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