Residence in Panama on the ‘Economic Investor’ Program

Acquiring legal and tax residence in Panama is an attractive option to consider for various reasons. The Economic Investor immigration program, in particular, allows obtaining a Panamanian residence permit in exchange for an investment. After a few years, you will become eligible to apply for citizenship of Panama by naturalization.

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Acquiring residence in Panama is easier than you might have thought!

Wealthy people from countries where taxes are high often look for opportunities to change their tax residence and relocate to a country whose Government is a bit less stingy. Tax havens are a thing of the past these days but there are still some opportunities to lessen your tax burden that you may want to consider.

Offshore Pro Group will be happy to help you acquire legal and tax residence in Panama on the Economic Investor program. The country lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and it offers some interesting tax planning opportunities.

If you apply for our services, you will have the following documents within three to four months:

  • A Panamanian immigrant card and a multiple entry visa both valid for six months;
  • A temporary residence permit valid for two years.

After two years, you will acquire:

  • A permanent residence permit in Panama.

Our company has a back office in Panama and our experts there speak English, Spanish, and Russian. We also have our own database of elite real estate on sale in Panama. We will be delighted to help you find a nice house or apartment in Panama where you can invest (see below).

We also work in close cooperation with a Panamanian lawyer who is highly knowledgeable about the immigration-related legislation. He will act on your behalf when filing the documents for residence in Panama and he will make sure that all the procedures are performed in strict accordance with the law.

If you acquire a legal residence permit on the Economic Investor program and visit Panama frequently over the next five years, you can qualify for full citizenship of the country. The Panamanian passport ranks rather high in the passport index and it gives visa-free access to a considerable number of national states.

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The Economic Investor immigration program

The Panamanian Economic Investor program allows foreigners regardless of their nationality or religion to acquire the right of abode in Panama in exchange for investments. The investments shall come from foreign countries.

The program offers three investment options that you can choose from:

Option №1

The first investment option is purchasing some real estate in Panama. The property that you buy shall cost not less than 300,000 USD. Another essential condition is that the piece of real estate shall be in personal possession of the applicant for Panamanian residence. That is to say, the property cannot belong to a trust or a company in Panama. Besides, the property cannot be purchased on a mortgage.

Option №2

The second investment option is putting not less than 300,000 USD in a state bank of Panama. You have to open a three-year fixed-term account to qualify for residence in Panama.

Please bear in mind that the interest that you will earn on the deposit is not taxable in Panama. You can withdraw the interest on your deposit and put it in any other bank that you want, invest it, or simply spend it.

If you terminate the fixed-term agreement with the bank, your agreement with the Panamanian immigration authorities will become void and all your privileges including the residence permit will disappear. That means that you should commit yourself to the three-year agreement. When the period expires, you are free to withdraw part of the money or just the whole sum while keeping the residence permit. The Panamanian Government will be satisfied when it uses your money for three years.

Option №3

The third investment option is a combination of the first two. You can put part if the required investment amount in real estate and the other part in the bank. The essential condition is that the total investment amount shall be not less than 300,000 USD.

You should also be aware that you can include your family members in the application for Panamanian residence on the Economic Investor program. It is allowed not matter which of the investment options you choose.

If you are acquiring residence permits for your dependent family members (spouse and children) an additional investment of 2,000 USD per each dependent shall be made. This is less than 1% of the total required investment amount.

Why should you acquire residence in Panama?

Panama is developing at a faster pace than most other Latin American countries. The economy has been steadily growing for nearly twenty years and the tendency is going to continue in the future with all likelihood.

Panama offers some fantastic business opportunities and investment options. The Government is working hard to make the business climate in Panama comfortable thus attracting foreign investors.

Panama is not a tax-free country, of course, but taxes are lower there in comparison to all western countries. Foreign entrepreneurs will find a number of tax incentives in Panama.

What makes Panama especially attractive for foreigners is the territorial taxation system that is applied in the country. Under this system, only the incomes made on the territory of Panama are taxed. If a foreign national living in Panama derives income from abroad, the income is not taxable in Panama.

The service sector of the Panamanian economy generates the largest portion of income to the state budget. The sector depends on foreign investments and the Government of the country does its best to attract capital from abroad. For instance, you can find several Free Economic Zones in Panama where the taxation conditions are especially attractive. Other sorts of tax incentives are also available in the country.

The following two factors contribute to alluring foreigners to Panama:

  • Free circulation of the American dollar in the country and lack of currency control; and
  • Efficiency of the Panamanian laws protecting the property of foreign investors.

In addition to being attractive from the economic point of view, Panama is a beautiful country with a tropical climate. The country lies rather close to the equator and the temperature there does not change very much throughout the year. Yes, it can be quite hot in the lowlands in the summer but the mountain regions of the country offer perfectly comfortable temperatures all around the year.

Unlike some other tropical countries, Panama does not suffer from hurricanes or tsunamis. A unique feature that Panama boasts is the opportunity to swim in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the same day! And the lavishness of the local flora and the abundance of fauna is beyond description.

Personal presence in Panama is required to obtain residence in the country

Those foreign investors who choose options 1 or 3 have to visit Panama to apply for legal residence in the country. Your personal presence is required for purchasing property in particular. The process can be extended over two weeks and sometimes more. Here is the visit schedule:

  1. You should plan to spend from 5 to 15 days in Panama on your first visit. You will leave the country with a temporary residence permit and a multiple entry visa if you are able to meet all the requirements.
  2. You should plan to spend from 2 to 3 days in Panama on your second visit that you have to pay in two or three months (but not more). You will leave the country with a 2-year residence permit.
  3. You will have to pay the third visit to Panama 23 months after your first visit. You should plan to stay in the country for 5 to 8 days. This visit is required to extend your residence permit and to launch the process of acquiring a permanent residence permit.
  4. You will have to pay the fourth visit to Panama 27 months after your first visit. You should plan to stay in the country for 2 to 3 days. You will leave the country with a permanent residence permit.  

How to preserve your permanent resident status in Panama

You do not have to live in Panama permanently to preserve your residence permit. If you would like to acquire tax residence in Panama, you have to spend the best part of the calendar year on the territory of the country.

Paying regular visits to Panama is important if you are planning to apply for full citizenship of the country at a later point in time. You will have to show that you have established ‘close ties’ with Panama to qualify for citizenship.

Documents that need to be supplied when applying for residence in Panama

  • You will have to bring a police clearance from your home country or the country of your permanent residence. This requirement applies to all adult family members if a family application for Panamanian residence is filed.

Please note that the police clearance needs to be not more than three months old.

  • If you are bringing a police clearance from a country that is not the country of your citizenship, you have to bring the documents confirming the legality of your stay in the country such as a permanent residence permit, for example. The documents need to be notarized and apostilled.

Please note that all the police records that you supply have to be legalized by the Panamanian embassy or consulate in the country of issuance.

  • You will have to supply copies of all pages of your passport and a second ID such as a driving license, for example. All copies have to be notarized in Panama.
  • Five passport-size photographs that should preferably be taken in Panama.

Married applicants/ applicants with children need to supply the following additional documents:

  • Marriage certificate;
  • Children’s birth certificate.
  • If you are applying for residence in Panama with an adult dependent child (above the age of 18), you have to bring a document that confirms that the child is not married. If your child is planning to enroll in a Panamanian university, education certificates from his or her home country will be required. The Panamanian university where you apply will have to authenticate the education certificates.  
  • Adult applicants for residence in Panama do not have to bring their birth certificates. However, it would be a good idea to have them at hand, in case the immigration authorities in the country are confused about the names of the family members.

Please note that all the above-mentioned documents have to be legalized at the Panamanian embassy or consulate in the country of issuance.

Application documents to be acquired in Panama

For those applying for Panamanian residence by investment in real estate

1. Property ownership certificate that you will have to acquire from the State Register in Panama. The certificate shall have your personal name as the property owner and it shall confirm that the value of the property is at least 300,000 USD. You will also have to obtain a document that confirms that the property is free of any incumbencies (mortgage, pledge, court order, etc.).

For those making a bank deposit to qualify for legal residence in Panama

2. A bank statement from an authorized Panamanian bank confirming that you have made a three-year fixed-term deposit there and that the deposit amount is at least 300,000 USD.

  • An account statement with the bank stamp needs to be attached.

For those making a combined investment to qualify for residence in Panama

3. If you choose to combine the two investment options, you will have to bring both the property ownership certificate and the bank statement. The value of the property added to the sum of money that you have in the bank has to amount to at least 300,000 USD.

Please note that in case you are applying for legal residence in Panama with dependent family members, an additional investment of 2,000 USD is due per each dependent family member. This requirement applies whichever investment option you choose.

  • You will also have to supply a document confirming the legality of the sources of investment capital. Besides, you will have to acquire a bank statement that confirms that the money has come from a foreign country. This requirement is vitally important.

Please note that Offshore Pro Group will be happy to assist you in opening a bank account in Panama. The cost of the service will depend on the bank that you will choose.

Offshore Pro Group has been in close cooperation with Scotiabank in particular. The bank offers VIP services to its clients. If you would like to set up an account with this bank, you will have to supply a letter of recommendation from your bank (addressed to Scotiabank) and a document confirming the legality of the sources of your income. A tax declaration for the previous year can serve this purpose, for instance.

  • In addition to the documents listed above, you will have to supply receipts from a Panamanian bank confirming payment of the application processing fee of 1,050 USD (per each applicant). The fee is smaller for children below the age of 12.
  • Health certificates (for all applicants) obtained from a Panamanian medical institution. We will be happy to help you acquire the health certificates.
  • A Power of Attorney authorizing the Panamanian lawyer to file the application for residence on your behalf.
  • Completed application forms (standard).
  • Please mind that all the application documents that you supply shall be signed by the main applicant.
  • A Letter of Guarantee from the main applicant guaranteeing financial support to all dependent family members.
  • A confirmation of address in Panama.
  • Please mind that all the application documents that have to be translated into Spanish shall be translated by a sworn Panamanian translator only. The translator’s fee will depend on the amount of translation to be done.

Please note that you will have to submit the same documents when extending your two-year residence permit with the exception of the police clearance and the application processing fee receipt. However, if you have made an income in Panama over the two years, you will have to supply the documents that confirm payment of taxes.

The procedure of acquiring a Panamanian legal residence permit on the Economic Investor program

If you would like to apply to the Economic Investor program and acquire legal residence in Panama, we will gladly assist you in the matter. Please send a service request to info@offshore-pro.info.

You can pay the service fee with your credit card, by a bank transfer or by using a payment system such as PayPal, Western Union, and so on.

The service fee will depend on the number of applicants to the Panamanian Economic Investor program:

  • Single applicant – 18000 USD
  • Married couple – 24,000 USD
  • An additional fee of 3,000 USD is due for every additional family member.

Please note that you will have to pay 50% when signing a service agreement with Offshore Pro Group while the rest of the sum will be due on your arrival to Panama.

Apply for legal residence in Panama now

Panama is rapidly developing and its economic growth is amazing even for well-developed countries. If the tendencies continue for a bit longer, Panama may cease to require foreign direct investments and the local Government may consider terminating the Economic Investor program.  

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Use the opportunity while it is available! Write to us to info@offshore-pro.info and we will help you open a bank account in Panama and establish legal residence in the country!

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