Since 2012, the Friendly Nations Visa has made it easy to get a permanent residency Visa for those who did not qualify for a Pensionado Visa. But that’s about to change drastically.
Some major changes are taking place to Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa program that may impact your ability to move to Panama if you do not have a pension or Social Security that is at least $1000 a month in lifetime income plus $250 for each dependent.
If you are already working with an immigration lawyer in Panama, please contact them for more information about the new Friendly Nation Visa rules which go into effect in August 2021.
If you are not yet working with an immigration lawyer, it’s too late to apply for the old Friendly Nations Visa but there are other visa options.
Pensionado (Retiree) Visa Program
These changes do not affect the Pensionado Visa program. If you are planning to retire in Panama (not work or start a business) and you have at least $1,000 USD per month in lifetime income (social security, pension, military retirement, etc) these changes do not affect you. [+$250 per month per dependent]
NEW Changes to Friendly Nations Visa Effective August 5, 2021
Effective August 5, 2021, you can qualify for a Friendly Nations Visa by meeting any one of the following requirements:
-Get employment at a Panamanian company ( could be your company)
-Purchase real estate worth at least $200,000 (can be financed) It takes about 90 days to get financing. This must be titled real estate. It cannot be ROP real estate.
-Deposit $200,000 into a 3-year CD earning 3.5% interest at a Panama bank
You can finance the purchase of real estate but it will take at least 90 days to get financing. 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.
So, the new Friendly Nations Visa rules are not so friendly.
After applying for a Friendly Nations Visa, you will receive a temporary visa for 2 years. After 2 years, if you continue to meet the qualifications listed above, you can request a permanent residency visa.
Other Visa Options
The Pensionado Visa is the best visa in Panama. But if you don’t qualify for that visa, and don’t want to get the Friendly Nations Visa, these are some other visa options.
What You Can Do – Application in Process
Ready to get a Visa in Panama? Purchase our Complete Panama Relocation Guide. The guide is available online and includes all of the same information we share during our tours about how to make a smooth move to Panama. It even contains all of our trusted contacts for immigration, real estate, insurance, and more.