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The two most popular and affordable residency Visas are the Pensionado Visa and the Friendly Nations Visa.
The Pensionado Visa is the most affordable Visa because the Panamanian government waives all their fees for all retirees (a $1050 savings). To qualify for the Pensionado Visa, you must plan to be retired in Panama. You’ll need to prove a lifetime income of $1000 a month for a single person or $1250 for a married couple. You will never be able to get a work in Panama. Which means you cannot sell any products or services in Panama. If you’re living in Panama but doing online work in another country you will not need a work permit.
The Friendly Nations Visa is ideal for those who are not retired and/or cannot prove a lifetime income, like Social Security or a Pension. The only income you will need to prove is putting $5,000 in a Panama bank account. For each additional dependent, you will need to add an extra $2,000 to the bank account. The Friendly Nations Visa allows you to get a work permit so you can sell products or services in Panama.
To get any Visa in Panama, you will need to provide a nationwide criminal report, like an FBI report. If married and applying together, you’ll also need a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
Why should you consider getting a Residency Visa?
If you plan to live in Panama, you can only stay five months then you need to leave for at least 30 days before you can come back. If you’re driving, you can only stay for 90 days, then you need to leave for at least 30 days before you can come back. To avoid this problem, you will need to get a residency Visa. Once you have a residency Visa, you can live in Panama as long as you want to.
But, you are not required to live in Panama full time. You only need to come back to Panama every two years and stay for a few days.
Five years after getting your permanent Visa and Cedula, you can apply for Panama citizenship and a Panama passport and it only cost $600!
Once you get your permanent Visa and if you meet the age requirements (55 for women and 60 for men), you will qualify for these discounts:
- 50% off on recreation and entertainment such as movies, theaters, sports, etc.
- 50% off hotels Monday through Thursday (30% off on weekends)
- 50% off passports
- 50% off movie theaters (about $2 with your discount)
- 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
- 25% off airfare
- 25% off restaurants (15% off fast food)
- 25% off electrical, telephone, and water service
- 20% off doctors and specialists
- 20% off prosthetics and other personal assistance devices
- 15% off hospitals and private clinics
- 15% off dental and optometry services
- 10% off prescription medications
- tax-free importation of household goods, up to $10,000
- tax-free importation of a vehicle, or tax-free purchase of a local vehicle
These discounts alone pay for the Visa within a few years!
Getting a Visa is an easy two to three step process.
The process always starts with talking to your attorney about which Visa is best for your needs. Your attorney will email you a list of documents you need to bring with you to Panama to apply for a Visa. Some of the documents will need to be authenticated. Yes, you do need to be in Panama to apply for a Visa. When you apply for a Visa, you will be issued a temporary Visa card which is good for six months. About three months later, your permanent Visa will be ready and requires another trip to Panama City to pick it up. About 30 days later you can get a Cedula. A Cedula is a national ID card. You are not required to get a Cedula but I highly recommend it because it will make your life so much easier when you live in Panama.
During the time between getting your temporary Visa and your permanent Visa, you are required to stay in Panama UNLESS you get a multi-entry Visa stamp in your passport. The multi-entry Visa stamp allows you to leave the country and come back any time while you are waiting for your permanent Visa. If you leave the country without a multi-entry Visa stamp then attempt to come back in to Panama, there is a $2,000 fine. So you definitely want to get the multi-entry Visa stamp if you plan to leave the country.
Seems pretty straight forward, right? Wrong!
Unfortunately, the prices that lawyers charge to get a Visa is not regulated in any way. Lawyers can charge whatever they think they can get away with.
Last month I received an email from someone asking if $1250 was a reasonable price to pay for a multi-entry Visa stamp. That’s what his attorney, who frequents the living overseas seminars, was asking. I told him NO WAY, a multi-entry Visa stamp is only $50 and my attorney charges $200 to help you get it. Big price difference!
That same over-priced attorney above charges $5,000 for one person to get a Pensionado Visa and $7500 for a couple. Our attorney charges $1100 for a Pensionado for one and $1700 for a couple. Our attorney only works with our Tour clients.
Last year someone came on my tour six months AFTER he got a Friendly Nations Visa. He was charged $15,000 for his Visa by a company who advertises all over the place! Yikes!!! The lawyer we use charges about $2100 for a Friendly Nations Visa for one and $2700 for a couple. You’ll also need to set up a corporation if you don’t own property in Panama. The corporation is an additional $1200 fee.
Another lady was told it would be $500 to get a work permit plus she would need to pay $500 every month to keep it. This is a total rip off! It cost $500 one time to get a work permit.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Going to the wrong lawyer to get your Visa can cost you a lot more than the cost of a Panama Relocation Tour!
During a Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll learn the BEST sources for getting an affordable Visa and getting it quickly, how to find a rental and not get a gringo price, how to save 30% on health insurance, how to save 90% on prescriptions, and much more.
During a Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll see a variety of towns by the beach and in the mountains. Well show you some rentals but there are absolutely no sales pitches! You will get to meet with expats who live in these areas every day. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make a smooth move to Panama without any hassles and without getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous lawyers.
Come see how you can live better for less in Panama! Join us for a 6-day, 5-night All-Inclusive Panama Relocation Tour to learn how to save money and avoid costly mistakes when you move to Panama.
We only have a few spots available for the June and July 2017 tours. SEE THE DATES AND REGISTER HERE. We require a $500 per person deposit to reserve your spot. The remainder is not due until 30 days before your tour. Or call our office at 972-496-4500.
P.S. See what some of our recent tour guests have to save about a Panama Relocation Tour:
THIS TOUR COULD VERY WELL SAVE YOU LITERALLY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, AND A LOT OF HEARTACHE, BY AVOIDING THE MISTAKES THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKE BY NOT BEING PREPARED
I recently participated in Jackie Lange’s Panama Relocation Tour. I would highly recommend that anyone who is considering relocating to Panama, to take one of Jackie’s Tours … the experience was not only very enlightening, but also a lot of fun. You will be interacting with people who share the same interests and objectives as you … that of checking out the various areas of Panama to see if it is somewhere you would like to live in or retire to. Jackie is very knowledgeable not only of the various places & climates of Panama, but of the ‘details’ of exactly what you need to learn about the country, the rules involved with living here, and what pitfalls to look out for.
Taking this tour will provide you with ‘invaluable’ information about the process of moving to Panama, and could very well save you literally tens of thousands of dollars, and a lot of heartache, by avoiding the mistakes that a lot of people make by not being properly prepared before jumping into something like this. You will visit a variety of locations, both by the beach, and in the mountains … and hear first hand from expats and locals who live in each location. They will pull no punches and provide you with both the pros and the cons of each area, to ensure that there are no ‘surprises’.
Jackie will introduce you to speakers who will talk to the group very frankly about their specific areas of expertise, and she will provide you with contacts to advise you in any area, legal, health care, etc. You can rest assured that you will not be given any ‘sales pitches’ … this is ‘not’ what the Tours are about … they are strictly about giving you ‘information’ and ‘experiences’!
Stephen Douglas Stenberg (Doug),
March 2017 Tour
Thank you Melissa and Jackie for the pleasure of experiencing a whole new world for 10 days with Panama Relocation Tours. Outrageously fantastic! Right from the start of the initial planning to arriving and enjoying our relocation tour everything was professionally handled and we were in the best possible hands. Not knowing what to expect we were somewhat apprehensive but once the adventure began that all went out the window. Cannot thank you enough…especially since we found our new home that first day out on the tour bus. The Beach!! This has been a lifelong dream and we are so excited to begin our new adventure. Thank you again.
Linda and Bruce
March 2017 Tour
One question that I get quite often from foreigners who are considering relocating to Panama is “How can I earn money when I get there?” For many, the options are limited because they don’t have a work permit, they are a Pensianado (retiree) and so they can’t work in Panama, or suitable jobs are just not available. One viable solution is to look to the internet for opportunities of earning income online.
Whether you are interested in a little side money or a way to support yourself and your family, the internet offers thousands of ways to generate revenue. In fact, the sky’s the limit in this virtual world and the options can become overwhelming pretty fast. I are going to share with you some of the proven techniques that have been shown to work over and over again for many people, most with no prior experience or internet skills required.
Some of the options you can look into are:
- Freelancing – If you can research topics online and write about them, you may be able to generate income by selling articles to others. No need for a website or specific knowledge, just a skill for writing.
- Self Publishing – Have more than just short articles to offer? Time to turn that idea you’ve had in your head for years into an Ebook and earn revenue with it.
- Affiliate Marketing – By posting a few ads and articles, even articles that other’s write, on a simple website, some people are making thousands of dollars per month by getting a commission every time someone comes to your website, clicks on something and makes a purchase. You don’t have to sell anything yourself, just be the platform!
- Authority Sites – If you know a lot, or have a passion to research, about a specific topic, you can create a website with information others are looking for. There are 2 billion people searching the internet at all times! There is a niche for everyone. Monetize the site with advertising sales, Adsense, and more.
- Amazon Product Sales – Yes, this is a whole opportunity in itself! You’ve all probably bought something from Amazon in the past; you can profit from selling almost any of the 1000’s of products there.
- Professional Sites – If you have knowledge about a specific topic, and the desire to create your own products, there are possibilities for generous earnings here. You can sell your products and services or study courses and even learn how to create and make money with membership sites.
Please keep in mind that none of these techniques are “get rich quick schemes”. Some of them take weeks, months, or even years to develop into substantial earnings. A lot depends on how much you are willing to commit to making it happen. The first thing you need to do is to decide what it is that you really want. What are your financial goals? How much time are you willing to commit to accomplish your goals? Success is not just about the money you can earn either. What kind of a lifestyle are you hoping to achieve?
This is just an overview of the possibilities available to help you choose the path that fits your lifestyle and personality best. It will be up to you to decide what’s right for you and what you’re willing to do to get there.
Request our FREE ebook with many more ideas for earning income: Fund Your Freedom
I may have just tasted the nectar of the Gods!
On a recent trip to Boquete, I asked a realtor friend where I could get a sample of the Geisha coffee that is grown in the area. I read that this particular coffee is so good that it sold at auction in 2010 for a record price of $170.20 per pound. The variety sold was from the plantation “Finca La Esmeralda” and was purchased by the Saza Coffee Company, who picked up all 20 available lots at that astronomical price. I just had to find out for myself what all the hype was about!
I was directed to the nearby Ruiz Coffee House, and on the way there I thought of my favorite Peaberry Kona coffee from Hawaii with its smooth and positively unbeatable taste. Growing up in Hawaii may have made me a bit biased going into this endeavor. I was sure the Geisha would be alright, but nothing could beat my long time favorite, and everyone knows Kona coffee is the best….right?
So, we pull up to this quaint little coffee shop and walk inside. Then came my first pleasant surprise – they offered me a “flight” of coffee. That’s right, just like you might get when sampling wines or beers. How cool is that? I chose a selection of 3 different flavors, including what they called the Gesha, and went out to the comfy little outdoor patio to prepare for the test. The coffee was brewed when ordered and served on a tray in 2 oz porcelain cups with a description of each coffee on a card under its cup.
I started with the boldest flavor. Dark and tasty, but it was nothing to write home about. The next flavor was equally nice but not anything special in my book. Then, I drank a bit of water to clear my palate, took a deep breath, and tasted the Gesha. It was absolutely smooth and mellow; not the least bit bitter. I personally like low acid and rather light coffees. I was taken aback for a moment. This was the BEST coffee I had ever tasted and it is grown right here in Panama. Why had I never heard of it? This coffee was so good that I was happy to pay $40 a pound to bring some home with me!
If you like a good cup of coffee, you must stop in Boquete on your next trip to Panama. There are many coffee-tasting tours available with experts that can educate you on the complexities of aroma and body. Or, just stop by Ruiz and order your own ‘flight’. I’d love to hear how you think Gesha stacks up with your current favorite cup o’ Joe.