Tourists can visit Panama for 30-180 days, depending on which country they are from. But to live in Panama full-time, you must get a residency visa.
Panama offers many different visa programs.
The most popular is the Pensionado visa which requires $ 1000 USD in lifetime income plus $250 for your spouse. This visa is ideal for retirees.
If you don’t qualify for a Pensionado Visa, a Friendly Nations Visa is your best option. To qualify, you must be from one of the Friends Nations (see list below), then you need to meet one of these four requirements:
1. Get a job at a Panamanian company. Learn more about getting a job in this article.
2. Purchase real estate worth at least $200,000. This must be titled real estate. It cannot be Right of Possession (ROP)real estate. You can finance the real estate purchase, but financing will take at least 90 days. Most banks want 20-30% down. Plus, you need a life insurance policy naming the bank as beneficiary, and all loans must be paid off by the time you turn 70. Learn more about buying real estate in this article.
3. Deposit $200,000 into a 3-year CD earning 3.5% interest at a Panama bank. Your immigration attorney will help you set up the correct account. Read this article about the safety of Panama’s banks.
4. Set up a Panama company that issues you a labor contract and a work permit. You must show income for at least nine months and pay into Panama’s Social Security. This costs about $5000 for one person. You can add legal dependents for an additional fee. See details about the $5000 visa option here.
After applying for a Friendly Nations Visa, you will receive a two-year temporary visa. After two years, if you continue to meet the qualifications listed above, you can apply for your permanent residency visa.
With any of these Friendly Nations Visa options, you can get a work permit so that you can work in Panama selling products or services.
When you get a Friendly Nations Visa, there is no requirement to live in Panama but you must come back for a few days every two years.
Once you get your permanent visa, you can still get the Pensionado (also called Jubilado) discounts if you meet the age requirements of 55 for women and 60 for men. Learn more about all the Pensionado discounts available to you in Panama.
The Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide recommends eight affordable and reliable immigration lawyers who can help you get a Friendly Nations Visa. If you’re buying real estate to qualify, we have a list of dependable agents throughout Panama in the Online Guide too. You’ll also get this information if you come on an all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tour.
The Friendly Nations Visa is only available for those who have a passport from one of these countries:
United States of America