What’s Your Plan B: Safety Insurance

I first wrote this article in 2019, before Covid. The problems of the world were different then. There are even more problems now which should be a wake-up call to have a Plan B! I am making modifications to the article to reflect the situation now.

There are three kinds of people who come on a Panama Relocation Tour:

(1) Those who are ready to relocate to Panama and are looking for an affordable place to live for their next adventure,

(2) Those who are investigating places to retire later, and

(3)those who want to have a Plan B just in case they need to leave their country later.

Today, I will write about the Plan B group.

I have not watched the news in several years. Instead, I get my news from people from all over the world who email us or who come on a Panama Relocation Tour every month. Friends and family forward news articles to me too.

What I’ve learned about what’s really happening around the world is a bit scary, and it makes me ever so grateful that I live in Panama, where there’s peace and everyone just gets along.

Sadly, other countries are not so lucky. This is what tour clients were reporting in 2019:

In South Africa and Zimbabwe, people are afraid to go to a grocery store or walk down the street unless they have a gun or a bodyguard to protect themselves. It’s dangerous to let their children go to school. It’s even dangerous to stop at a red light.  South African farmers are murdered every day. This is still happening.

In Hong Kong, the protests are getting worse every day. Tour clients told me in 2019 that a major revolution is coming soon there. And now, in 2022, Hong Kong is under Chinese Communist rule. Some had a Plan B and got out!

In Nicaragua, the revolution has been going on for a few years, and the death count is rising. You don’t dare go out after dark.

In Venezuela, there is not much food on grocery store shelves, and it’s very hard to find any medicine. It’s getting worse every day. Now, it’s hard even to get permission to leave the country. Of course, the pandemic has made the situation even worse.

The United States has become a country divided by ideologies. Many I’ve talked to fear that it will get much worse.  Extreme violence, mass shootings, looting, tent cities, and riots have become the norm in some areas of the United States.   Now, there’s a problem with refugees flooding the southern border. I don’t think things will get better in the US in my lifetime – if ever – because it is so divided.

In most of Europe, tour clients report that the immigration/refugee problem has made locals feel unsafe living in their own country. Even ex-pats who have lived in Europe for many years don’t feel safe anymore, so they are exploring Panama as a Plan B.

Since the Ukraine war, energy costs have quadrupled in Europe, making it impossible for small businesses to survive.

Now, in September 2022, we’re dealing with the war in Ukraine, supply chain problems, energy problems in Europe and the US, food and water shortages, high inflation, and more.

What’s next? When the problem is at your back door, you may decide it’s time to escape. But where and how?

What will you do when your Social Security is not enough to pay your monthly expenses?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that things can change VERY quickly!

It’s a good idea to have legal residency in a different country so you have a place to go if necessary.  You should set it up before you need it!

Legal residency means you have a visa that allows you to live in the country as long as you want to. Unless you have legal residency in a different country you may not be able to stay for more than 30 days.

You can see why it’s important to have a legal residency in a different country that you can go to “just in case” things get bad where you live.

Live a stress-free life in Panama STRESS!

Despite the unrest in much of the world, some are not in a position to just sell everything and move to another country.

Perhaps they can’t afford to quit their job or sell their business. It may be impossible to sell their house, where much of their money is tied up.

Or maybe they don’t want to leave family and friends.  I’m sure everyone is hoping things will get better.. someday soon.

Whatever the reasons for wanting to go but not being able to go, it could cause a very stressful situation. Alcohol sales, high blood pressure, and anti-anxiety medications sales are at an all-time high worldwide because of the stress so many people are under.

So, what’s the solution?

You have health insurance just in case you have a major health problem and so a major medical bill does not bankrupt you.

You have house insurance just in case there is a fire or hurricane and your house is destroyed or damaged.

You have car insurance just in case you get into a wreck and your car is totaled.

What about safety insurance?

Maybe it’s time to get safety insurance in the form of a residency Visa in Panama so you know you have a safe place where you can move to “just in case” things get so bad where you are living now that you don’t feel safe living there anymore.  Panama offers many affordable residency Visa options.

Even if you don’t move to Panama any time soon, just knowing you have a residency Visa that allows you to live in Panama indefinitely will give you peace of mind.

When you get a residency Visa in Panama, you are not even required to live in Panama. Once you get a Visa, you just need to come back every two years for a few days to maintain your residency Visa.

Tourists in Panama can only stay for 30-180 days, depending on which country they are from. That’s why it’s important to actually apply for a residency Visa because you may need to, or want to, stay longer than 30 or 180 days.

While you’re in Panama, it might be a good idea to open a Panama bank account too. You’ll need to deposit $1000 initially to open the account. Then you can wire additional funds later. Ideally, you’ll keep enough money in a Panama bank account so that you can live comfortably for a year or two “just in case” it temporarily becomes impossible to wire money out of your country later.

To make you feel even more comfortable, as part of your “safety insurance” (Visa & bank account), it would be a good idea to get familiar with different areas in Panama. You should learn about the different microclimates, various price ranges, and which areas have the medical facilities you’ll need so that you know exactly where you can move to if the need arises.

With all these things, you’ll have your complete Plan B Safety Insurance.


During our 6-day, 7-night all-inclusive Panama Relocation Tours, we can help you with your entire “safety insurance” plan. We’ll show you around Panama, teach you about the pros and cons of each area, you’ll learn the prices in each area, learn how to get your pets into Panama, the best way to get health insurance in Panama (some with $0 monthly fee), learn how to start an online business, etc, AND after the tour, we will even help you get a residency visa. Some visas even come with a work permit. Then you will have your complete “safety insurance” in place.

We also offer INSTANT ACCESS to our new ONLINE  Complete Panama Relocation Guide.  With The Guide, you can learn all the things you need to know to set up your SAFE HAVEN in Panama.  You’ll get all our reliable contacts for immigration lawyers, honest real estate agents/property managers, learn how to get your pets to Panama, discover the best places to open a bank account in Panama, learn about the most popular places to live, and MUCH MORE.

You never know what the future holds and that’s why you get insurance, like safety insurance.  At the very least, get legal residency in a different country that you can flee to if things start heading in the wrong direction where you are now.   During the pandemic, many countries closed their borders to anyone who was not a citizen or a legal resident.

Hopefully, you never have a health problem.

Hopefully, you never have a house fire.

Hopefully, you’ll never be in a car accident.

But you protect yourself from these dangers with insurance… just in case.

You might never need to flee the country where you live now. But if you do, it will be comforting to know that you already have complete “safety insurance” in Panama.

If you do need to move to Panama, it could be for just a year or two until things settle down in your home country or it could be indefinitely. With “safety insurance” you’ll already have everything in place.

Panama has a completely different vibe.  There’s a live and let live attitude.  Everyone is so friendly.  In Panama fresh food is grown 365 days a year plus there is fish from two oceans so you have everything you need to safely survive (THRIVE) in Panama.  

A couple can live well in Panama on less than $2000 a month including rent.  With my house paid for, my expenses rarely go over $1000 a month.  Costs are significantly more affordable for health care, utilities, insurance, and other basic needs.

Having “Safety Insurance” will reduce stress because you’ll know that you already have a Visa, money in a bank in Panama, and know which town you will move to just in case the need arises.

(NOTE: I first wrote this article in August 2019, long before the pandemic or the intensified civil unrest. It’s scary that so many fears I had back then have come true in 2020. I made modifications to the article again in September 2022. It’s more important than ever to have a Plan B in place in Panama or somewhere other than where you live now.)

panama rental gorgona
Panama beach community

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. Mariana says

    Loved this blog post!

  2. Filomena Snyman says

    Good morning Jackie, we have booked a tour for April 2020 and are so looking forward to the tour. However, It has just dawned on us that we have not heard about Malaria in Panama. Could you please inform us about Malaria there in Panama.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Dustin Lange says

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there is no known malaria risk in any of the areas where the tour goes or in any of the areas we recommend for expats to live in. There is only a known risk in the less developed parts of the country which we do not go to. See this page for details.

      You can compare the CDC map to our tour map on this page.

  3. Filimena Snyman says

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. That’s great news.

  4. Thom says

    Jackie –
    This article may need updating with respect to banking. In Panama City for example, requirements for opening any bank account includes the documented verification of a bonafide address in Panama via utilities bill, rental lease, etc. Unless these requirements have been significantly loosened since January 2020 (my most recent visit) due to Covid-19 concerns

    • Jackie Lange says


      We have special relationships with banks that we can refer our clients to so they can open their account in about 1 hour and they do NOT need an address or utility bill. When we refer a client to a bank they know we have vetted then so they don’t have the requirements you had to go through. Another reason a Panama Relocation Tour makes your life EASIER in Panama!

  5. Sandra E Hanson says

    My husband and I are looking to move soon and we were told we need to get a friendly nations visa but no one has told us about the residency visa. Are they the same?
    We were told we need to put 5000 dollars in the bank not 1500.

    • Jackie Lange says

      There are a lot of difference residency Visas. A Friendly Nations Visa is one that is available

  6. mike Natera says

    Jackie your article on “plan B” is right on the money the situation world wide is definitely changing and getting unpredictable in all aspect. I will give you advised top priority in my agenda. Panama just moved to the top of my list as a safe heaven . JUST IN CASE!

    • Jackie Lange says

      It’s always good to have a Plan B set up well in advance of needing it!

  7. Renee L says

    As someone that is looking for a Plan B, how long would I have to stay in the country until I obtain my residency? As I understand it, it is not something that can be done from the US, correct?

    • Jackie Lange says

      It’s a two-part process to get a residency visa in Panama. For your temporary visa, you’ll need to be in Panama 7 days. About 2=3 months later, your permanent visa is ready. You only need to be in Panama 1 day for your permanent Visa. If you get a multi-entry stamp after getting your temporary visa, you can leave Panama while you’re waiting for your permanent visa.

  8. Renee L. says

    Wow! I thought I had to be in the country for several months and couldn’t leave while waiting for the permanent one. This changes everything! Thank you!

  9. Anthony Miller says

    I would Like more information

    • Jackie Lange says

      step 1 – determine if you qualify for a visa
      step 2 – check out Panama to see if you would like living there & where
      step 3 – get a visa
      step 4 – open a bank account and move some money into the account.

  10. Jena Martin says

    Hi Jackie, If we live in the US and have not retired yet so neither my husband or I have any guaranteed lifelong income coming in yet, are their visa options for us for our plan B?

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