4 Ways to Get a Friendly Nations Visa

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.

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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.

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The Friendly Nations Visa is only available for those who have a passport from one of these countries:

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Great Britain
Hong Kong
New Zealand
San Marino
South Africa
South Korea
United States of America

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Anton says

    I am a South African citizen and I would like to secure Permanent Residency for myself and my wife. I trade CFD (metals and forex) online and I already have a offshore bank account, but would not mind to open another account in Panama, if this was a necessary requirement?

    I understand there are different types of company formations through which I may trade, but first need to confirm if online trading would be categorized as “foreign income” and not locally sourced income? So I may be interested in the “offshore IBC” company formation, if it is necessary that I incorporate a new company in Panama?

    So I have heard that the Friendly Nations Visa does no longer exist? Perhaps then I can opt for the Agricultural Investor Visa of $60,000 OR the Forestation Investor Visa of $40,000 (over 5-year period to qualify).
    Or maybe I would qualify for a “nomad digital visa” ?

    Would I need a “registered address for an office” in Panama for the company registration?
    What are the “annual maintenance fees” for the company?
    Do I need to complete “annual tax filing” for the company? And what are the fees if I outsource this?

  2. Janet Villalon says

    Hi Jackie, I hope you are well. I love your article. Just bought a place in Bajo Boquete for close to 300k. We did use an attorney but were shocked by the 1600. USD fee because we own several farms and homes in Colombia and never had an attorney to buy.

    Is it legally required to have an attorney to do the Friendly Nations Visa process? I am fluent in Spanish and have gotten visa in several countries already.

    Background info: I am Mexican and my partner of 28 years is a US citizen. He says he does not need a visa at this time because he can stay for 6 months already? We have 25 dogs in Colombia so its not like we are are going to be here full time anyway. My passport being Mexican only gives 3 months at a time in Panama so I would like to get the FNV for the recent purchase which is in my name anyway.

    I an the COO of a US company so following the process to do this is no big leap. While I understand its advised to have consul my question is to legality only. Thanks for any help!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Janet. You must use a Panama immigration lawyer for the Friendly Nations Visa. Your partner needs a visa if he wants to be able to drive in Panama. He/she can only driver for the first 90 days in Panama with their foreign license. To get a Panama driver’s license, you must get a Panama residency visa.

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