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.
Charles F. G. M Ooms says
Thanks a lot very useful information. As because of Covd-19 we are not progressing wirh our application and are still in Europe waiting for the country to reopen, could you advise if it would be recommendable to start the process of aplicaiton for the reitrement visa by mailing the oridinal apostiled docs in Spainsh to a lawoffice? Or do you need to be in physically the country?
Jackie Lange says
because the documents you need to get a Visa are time sensitive, it would be better to wait until Panama’s borders open to start gathering the documents and the application process.
[email protected] says
Ola! Are the tours currently on hold until the borders reopen? I’ve made up my mind to retire there. I would like to take the tour next summer 2021. I teach school so want to get through the year, then will need to quarantine I’m sure if I’m even allowed to come in to Panama. Since I have all summer off it would seem to be a good time for the tour. Thanks so much.
Jackie Lange says
Panama’s borders open October 12th. But our tours are on hold until we determine that it is safe to do a tour again and that we can reserve hotels and restaurants. We are probably going to start doing private tours before we start doing group tours again.
A question on obtaining travel benefits via the Pensionado program:
In the above article, it states: “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.”
Are the pensionado discounts “only” available through travel agents? Or can one work directly with the airlines, particularly the Panama-Based airlines?
And, am I correct in assuming that one must work with a Panamanian travel agency only, to receive the pensionado discounts? I don’t imagine a US travel agency would know a thing about them.
Many thanks for your help. The Guide is an INVALUABLE resource! Wish we had discovered much, much earlier — it would have saved us LOTS of money on residency.
Jackie Lange says
the travel agent needs to be a travel agent in Panama
The airlines will not work with you unless you are calling from Panama, on a Panama cell phone, and calling their Panama office — usually ONLY in Spanish.
You’ll have to fax (not email) a copy of the front and back on your credit card, front and back of your visa or cedula.
It’s much easier to use a Panama travel agent.
Rafael Chavez-Alcorta says
Due to contractual obligations and debts of my business, I could not retire until the end of 2024. We currently live in Phoenix AZ, but of Latin American descent (fluent Spanish)
We have done a lot of research and Panama (Boquete and surroundings) is first on the list.
My question is how far in advance it would be necessary to obtain the online guide to start all the paperwork and if the guide provides the same information that would be obtained by doing the tour.
Jackie Lange says
Thanks for your interest in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide. It does contain the same information that you’d get on a tour minus actually seeing the various areas, seeing rentals, and meeting expats who live in the area. We keep the Guide updated often, so you can buy it now so you can start learning immediately. If there are changes to the information, you’ll get an email with details.