For people who want to become full-fledged citizens of Panama, obtaining a permanent residency visa is the first step. Don’t worry; the process is not that difficult or complicated. If you want to become a permanent resident of Panama, you can have several options as a foreign national. And as you’ll see for yourself soon enough, Panama is one of the most hospitable countries in the region — always ready to receive well-intentioned people with open arms.
Now that we’ve established that living in Panama is a worthy goal, we’ll look at all of the options available to you on the road to becoming a permanent resident!
#1. Friendly Nations
One of the ways to obtain a permanent residency visa in Panama depends on your home country. Based on its diplomatic ties with nations around the world, Panama maintains a list of friendly states, usually about fifty of them. Citizens of these countries can conduct professional and financial business activities more easily; if you want to want to transport everything you need across the world and move to Panama to do business there, you’ll be fast-tracked for the friendly nationals visa program.
Suppose you originate from one of the friendly countries. In that case, you will be able to buy an existing Panama business and run it, or start your own company that will be mainly situated and run from here. You can also work for any company that’s registered in Panama or conducts business there.
You get a temporary friendly nations visa first, but if you maintain it for a minimum of three years, you can obtain a permanent residency visa in Panama. And best of all, this type of visa does not limit your traveling abilities. You can leave Panama whenever you want and come back.
#2. Economic Solvency Visa
Panama also offers permanent residency visas to wealthy foreign nationals to provide a long-term boost to the local economy. You can obtain a residency visa in Panama through this program if you’re willing to invest a minimum of $300,000 in local real estate. If you want to bring along any dependents, such as family members, it will cost you an additional $2,000 for each individual.
The property that you’ll be buying can be held in your name or a local private interest foundation registered in Panama; you cannot put the title in the name of a corporation or a trust. Also, if you are a primary applicant who’s bringing along family members, you need to provide proof of your financial ability to sustain your family in Panama.
There is a second option besides real estate — you can make a bank time deposit in a savings account with a three-year withdrawal limit. Of course, you need to do so in a local bank. The dollar amounts are the same as for the real estate investment option, and only the primary applicant can hold the certificate of deposit.
Finally, you can combine these two options. If you invest in both real estate and a bank CD, the combined amount of cash and equity value needs to be $300,000. The additional $2,000 cost for dependants stands here as well.
#3. Business Investor Visa
There is another permanent residency visa that’s available to businesspeople who want to invest in local companies. If you invest in a local company worth at least $150,000 in capital, you’ll be able to apply for such a residency permit. You are then eligible as a shareholder or an official of a local Panama corporation. Those who want to bring dependants must also pay $2,000.
#4. Reforestation Visa
Here, we’ve got one of the most lucrative ways to obtain a permanent residency visa that also leads to full-fledged citizenship. Not only is this one of the cheaper ways to do it, but it also pays off the most in the long run.
Panama has plenty of teakwood plantations that represent an incredibly wise investment opportunity. If you invest just $80,000 into one of those, you will be able to buy 5 hectares of prime teakwood land. Of course, if you want to be eligible for the accompanying visa, the project you’ll be investing in must be certified by the government. As per usual, the cost for additional dependents is $2,000 per person.
However, we should point out that this type of reforestation investment is one of the best long-term investments you can make. The average return on investment for Panama reforestations has been higher than 20% in the previous 20 years.
#5. Retiree Visa
Panama welcomes retirees from all over the world with their Panama retirement visa. This is a permanent residency permit available to anyone who receives a monthly pension of at least $1,000 in value. If you want to bring dependants along, the required monthly amount goes up by $250 for each person; unless you’re a married couple, in which case you can combine your pensions to meet the requirements.
If you have sizable enough savings but a lower pension, you can lower the minimal amount to $750 by purchasing real estate that’s at least $100,000 in value. It also doesn’t matter if your pension is paid out by a private fund, an insurance company, a corporation, a government, etc. You should also know that people with this visa get huge discounts on local travel fares, theaters, restaurants, pharmacies, and a host of other amenities.
There are plenty of ways to obtain a permanent residency visa in Panama. Though most methods include some monetary investment, these are rarely too big for someone looking to relocate overseas, especially if you want to start a business venture or enjoy your golden senior years.
Author bio: John Tarly is a freelance author and foreign investment expert. When he’s not working with companies like fourwinds-ksa.com, he enjoys traveling the world and experiencing new cultures first-hand.