$5000 Friendly Nation Visa Option

You can’t just move to Panama, there are immigration rules for living in Panama!

Tourists can visit Panama for 30-180 days depending on which country they are from. But to live in Panama full time, you need to get a residency visa. Panama offers many different visa programs.

The most affordable visa is the Pensionado Visa. To qualify, you need to be collecting $1000USD per month in lifetime income plus an additional $250 for a spouse. It’s also the most affordable visa to get because most government fees are waived. A single person can get this visa for about $1200 – $1500 depending on which immigration attorney you are using. Of course, some lawyers charge twice as much as our lawyers.

If you don’t qualify for the Pensionado Visa, then the Friendly Nations Visa is an option. To qualify for the visa, you either need to

  1. Buy real estate worth at least $200,000 ( you can try to get a bank loan)
  2. Deposit $200,000 into a 3-year CD at a Panama bank, or (maybe SELF DIRECTED IRA)
  3. Get a job in Panama, and present a Labor Contract to apply for a visa. (VERY DIFFICULT)

None of those options sounds very friendly!

There’s also a Reforestation Visa that requires an $80,000 investment, Yikes!

The last time I had a full-time job working for someone else was 1980. After being a stay-at-home Mom for 12 years, I’ve been self-employed ever since. I could not imagine getting a job working for someone else.

It used to be easier to get a Friendly Nations Visa!

Prior to August 2021, the Friendly Nations Visa allowed you to just set up a corporation and deposit $5,000 into a Panama bank account. Unfortunately, that option is no longer available.

But there’s a solution and it only cost $5000!

I’ve been working closely with one of our immigration lawyers and immigration to create a way that you can get the Friendly Nations Visa for a total cost of less than $5,000.

There are strict rules for you to qualify and our attorney will make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed so you qualify. We’ve already helped many people get a visa this way!

Here’s the secret…

Instead of getting a job working for someone else, you can set up a Panama company with a SPECIAL corporation, get a business license, then the company can give you a Labor Contract so you can apply for a visa. You’ll also need a work permit. Our attorney has the entire process approved by immigration.

Unlike the old Friendly Nations Visa, this corporation will actually need to be in business. And you actually need to be paid a salary of at least $1000 per month plus you’ll need to be registered with Social Security.

The total cost for the special corporation, business license, work permit, attorney fees, is a little less than $5,000 with our immigration attorney.

That’s a lot better than spending $200,000 on real estate! We advise that it’s better to wait to buy real estate until you have lived in Panama for at least a year anyway! That gives you time to make sure you like living in Panama, like the area you have selected, and that you get more familiar with market prices.

Like all Friendly Nations Visa, you will get a temporary visa that is good for two years, then you can convert it to a Permanent Visa. A Permanent visa is an indefinite visa.

Once you get your temporary visa, you can get a Panama driver’s license too.

Most immigration lawyers don’t have a clue how to do this. Some have even sent me an email asking me how to do it. I did hear about an attorney in Panama City who is charging $8000 for this process.

And I heard about a lawyer who charges $14,000 to do this but says you do not actually need to work. THIS IS ILLEGAL and we would never ever recommend that you do something that is illegal.

You need to do this the right way, the legal way.

So I recommend that you only work with the immigration lawyers we recommend who have already set this up for others so we know it works and it’s already approved by immigration. Plus their fee is a lot more affordable!

You should also know that there will be annual renewal fees for the corporation and reporting requirements. Your attorney can give you more details.


I also recommend that you VISIT PANAMA first to make sure you like Panama before you even start the process of getting this Friendly Nations Visa. You don’t want to spend a lot of money to get a visa then discover that Panama is not right for you or for the kind of business you want to do.

You could join us for an all-inclusive 6-day Panama Relocation Tour or a Private Tour or get information about doing a DIY self-guided tour in our Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

Get the Complete Panama Relocation Guide for the step-by-step details for this new visa option and our recommendations for an immigration lawyer.

The Complete Panama Relocation Guide has all the other information you need to know to have a smooth move to Panama.

When you move to Panama, you’ll need to know a lot more than just how to get this visa and our immigration attorney contact. You’ll need information about different areas to help you decide where to live, how to find a rental, what to AVOID when renting or buying, where to get health insurance (and save 40%), how to buy a car, how to get a driver’s license, how to get your pets to Panama, checklists for moving to Panama, and so much more. The Complete Panama Relocation Guide has all the information plus so much more.


If you have an existing business or job, your employer could hire your Panama company to perform tasks, then your Panama company would hire you.

If you don’t already have a business that you could move to Panama, here are some ideas:

Your Panama company could hire you to manage your rental portfolio or other investments in your country.

One of my side businesses is to buy and sell domain names. I make about $1000 a month with very little work doing this. Your Panama company could hire you to manage your domain portfolio and advertise them on auction websites.

You could write eBooks to sell on Amazon. It’s a fast and easy business to set up and you don’t need any inventory. You can even hire editors in Fiverr to help write the book and hire people to design a book cover.

Before I moved to Panama, I’d buy old beat-up houses, fix them up then sell them or keep them as a rental. That would be a good business in Panama if you have some working capital. Getting bank financing is difficult but you may be able to buy with seller financing.

To qualify for this Friendly Nations Visa, your business can be an online business or a regular business in Panama.

To give you ideas for Online Business opportunities that take very little start-up costs, get my FREE ebook Fund Your Freedom Overseas.

This free eBook does not have information about this new visa option or any attorney contact information. But it will give you ideas of ways you can make money in Panama.

You’ll learn about 3 websites that have millions of freelance job opportunities right now. You’ll be amazed at all the jobs available as a one-off job, part-time, or even contract full-time jobs available to freelancers. You can do data entry, sales, and marketing, IT work, customer support, etc etc.

The Fund Your Freedom Overseas eBook will give you plenty of business ideas for this Friendly Nations Visa option and you’ll learn ways to make money when you move to Panama.

You can set your own hours!

The great thing about an Online Business is that you can start it before you even move to Panama. If you decide to move to Mexico for a while, you can take your business with you if it’s an online business. You can run an online business from anywhere that you have an internet connection.


If you are not selling products or services IN Panama, you may not owe taxes in Panama. Consult with a Panamanian CPA about your personal situation. We have recommendations for Panamanian CPAs in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

BONUS for United States citizens

If you’re a US citizen and you live overseas full time, you can earn up to $112,000 per year per person and not pay taxes in the United States. You still need to file a tax return and report your worldwide income but you can exclude $112,000 of active earned income if you qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

If you’re not selling products or services IN Panama, you may not owe taxes in Panama either.


If you do not qualify for a Pensionado Visa and do not want to spend $200,000 on real estate, then this Friendly Nations Visa option is ideal for you.

See details, including immigration attorney contact, in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

WATCH THE LIVESTREAM About this Friendly Nations Visa Option

YouTube video

The Friendly Nations Visa is ONLY Available For People Who Are From 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. Micheal Conner says

    Hello, I don’t see the attorney name for the Friendly Nations Visa. Thanks

    • Jackie Lange says

      Any Panama immigration attorney can help you with a Friendly Nations Visa.

      Our attorney only works with our clients who have purchased the Complete Panama Relocation Guide or who came on a Panama Relocation Tours. https://panamarelocationtours.com/guide

  2. Tamiko Fox-Lunn says

    Hey I am interested in the Friendly Nations Visa, I am a Bahamas citizen, why isn’t The Bahamas included on the list when our currency is pegged to the USA dollar and our economy is more robust than some of the countries on the list?

    Is there any way for me to receive the FNV as a Bahamian citizen?

    Many Thanks

  3. Onita M.E. says


    I am considering Panama as a option for living abroad, but I work remotely for a company in the United States. I am not sure which VISA category (if any) would cover employed people.

    • Jackie Lange says

      If you want to get a permanent visa, the Friendly Nations visa would be ideal. There is also a remote worker visa but it is temporary, or 9 months with the possibility to renew for another 9 months.

      • Onita M.E. says

        Thank you. This is extremely helpful.

  4. Arlette says

    Hey Jackie, I am interested in the Friendly Nations Visa, I am a Rwandan citizen, and international expat. Which visa options are available for African countries ?

    Can I still participate in the Panama Relocation Tours? thanks

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Arlette. Unfortunately, citizens or Rwanda do not qualify for the Friendly Nations Visa. If you have a pension of at least $1,000USD per month, you would qualify for the Pensionado Visa. You also need an authorized visa to visit Panama unless she qualifies for the visa waiver.


  5. Randy says

    Jackie, can you change the nature of your work if it’s not panning out? For example if you started a special corp. on writing ebooks and that idea wasn’t getting 1000 per month, can you change in mid-stream to say… handyman? Or, would that require going back to the lawyer and costing another 5k. If you fall short the 1st month of 1k are you disqualified , or is your work permit revoked, or does it have to show an average of 1k per month at the end of the year?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Yes, you can change the nature of your work. Or give a broad job description that covers a lot of things

  6. Ross says

    Does it take 6 months with your process? I arrived in Panama already but only have 90 days as a tourist

    • Jackie Lange says

      It takes about 1 week for the process of getting a temporary visa. Once you get a temporary visa, you are automatically given an extra 6 months in Panama.

  7. Sheryl says

    Hello Jackie Lange, when is the best time to apply for a Pensionado visa? Example, do you start before you move there or after? If you have an online business and make under $112,000 a year, where do you file for the exclusion, in the US before you leave or in Panama?
    Thank you kindly

  8. Colin Simpier says

    Could I set up a corporation and manage my own personal stock portfolio to qualify for the friendly Nations Visa? And also the dividends that I bring in every month will that qualify as active earned income for the foreign earned income exclusion?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Colin. YES, you can do that to qualify for the Friendly Nations Visa

  9. Tanya Hurst says

    The $5000 Friendly Nations Visa option is only available with the lawyers and immigration through Panama Relocation Tours?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Tanya, you may be able to find other immigration lawyers who offer that service but they will probably charge much more. We negotiated a discount for our clients.

  10. Lauren Smith says

    If I have a husband and 13 yr old, how do I get their FNV as dependents with this specific path? Is it $5000 for each of them?

    Thank you!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Lauren. Thanks for your interest in the Friendly Nations Visa. There is an additional fee of about $1000 for each dependent you add.

  11. Rocio says

    Hi Jackie, is this avenue for residency still valid? If I purchase the online guide, will it provide the contact for the specific lawyer that can process this residency? Thank you, Rocio.

    • Dustin Lange says

      Hi Rocio, Yes, it is still valid and, yes, you will find contact information for two lawyers in The Guide who can process this residency.

      • Rocio says

        Thank you, Dustin!

  12. Sam says

    If we apply for a $5000 Friendly Nations visa how long does it take to get the temporary visa. And after how long are we eligible for a permanent residency? After getting the permanent residency visa, can we shut down the business if we have other sources of income like the 401K to not continue to maintain paper work and yearly filings?

    Once we get the permanent residency what are the requirements to maintain it as per current laws?

    • Jackie Lange says

      HI Sam. It takes about 10 days to get your temporary visa. After two years, you can apply for the permanent visa.

      Instead of this visa, you may want to invest in a 3-year CD at a Panama bank. If you have a self-directed 401k, you can sent a letter of direction to invest in the CD in Panama.

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