Panama’s Pensionado, or also called Jubilado, discount are one of the many ways you can live better for less in Panama. These discounts are available to all Panamanians who meet certain age restrictions. If a female, they must be 55 and if a male, they must be 60.
Foreigners can take advantage of the discounts listed below if they have any Visa and meet the same age requirements as Panamanians OR if they get a Pensionado Visa.
Panama’s Pensionado Program’s Benefits
The discounts and advantages of the pensioner’s visa are quite numerous. Here they are in a nutshell:
- 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
- 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
- 25% off airfare
- 20% 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
There are many reasons to consider Panama as a place to relocate to. The Pensionado discounts are certainly one of them.
The Qualifications Required for the Pensionado Discounts
To qualify for the Pensionado discounts you can be any age but will need to qualify for the Pensionado visa. To qualify for a Pensionado visa you will need:
$1000 per month in lifetime income ( $1250 for a couple)
you can get one of the other Visas, like the Friendly Nations Visa, but you will need to meet the age requirements to qualify for the Pensionado discounts.
How to Get a Pensionado Visa?
The process of applying for and obtaining a Visa is a fairly easy. You will need to use a Panamanian attorney who will guide you through the whole process. To get your Visa it will take about 3 months, will cost about $1,500 and $2,000 depending on which attorney you use. During the Panama Relocation Tours you will meet a reliable and affordable Panamanian attorney who has helped many of our tour clients get their Visa quickly and easily.
Getting the Pensionado Discounts
You qualify for the discounts once you get your permanent Visa.
Although, if you have grey hair or no hair, you are usually given the Pensionado discount without asking at pharmacies.
At other places, you may need to ask for a discount or they will ask to see your permanent Visa card or Cedula (national ID card) to verify your age and qualification.
To get the 25% discount on utility bills, the utility will need to be in your name and you will need to show your Visa card when you apply for service. Keep in mind that your water bill is only $100 a YEAR which is probably much less than you pay now. I get 25% off my electric bill too. Because I live in an area where I don’t need air conditioning, my electric bill is usually less than $25 per month. If you live near the coast where you need air conditioning, the savings can really add up.
Every year I save about $600 on airfare using my Pensionado discount. You can get a discount on any airfare which originates in Panama but you will need to work with a travel agent. The travel agent will request a copy of your permanent Visa. You cannot get the Pensionado discounts with just a temporary Visa.
Within a few years, the Pensionado discounts could basically paid for the cost of getting a Visa!
IT ADDS UP – A LITTLE SAVINGS HERE AND A LITTLE SAVINGS THERE
Occasionally I have had trouble getting a discount at hotels. But being persistent will usually get me the discount.
Be aware that some expat-owned restaurants in Boquete play tricks by advertising their regular price, then their special price next to it to try to avoid giving the Pensionado discount. Other restaurants honor the Pensionado discounts. There are many different restaurants to go to so you can decide who you want to give your business to. Restaurants are only required to offer a Pensionado discount on your entree, not on your entire bill.
I never ask for a Pensionado discount when I go to a Mom & Pop-type restaurant where the whole meal is only $5.00. The meal is so affordable already. Be selective about asking for the Pensionado discount.
Who Pays for the Discounts?
These discounts come right off the profits for these businesses. They are not reimbursed by the government or anyone else. So, be selective when asking for Pensionado discounts.
ACODECO is Panama’s Consumer Advocate organization. If any establishment refuses to give a Pensionado discount to someone who is qualified and can prove it, then you can report them to ACODECO who will fine the company.