Professional Residency Visa

Panama offers a visa program for foreigners who have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD in any profession that is not a protected profession for Panamanians only.

You do not need to show that you have a lifetime income from a pension, like the Pensionado Visa. (You can hold off on collecting Social Security or your retirement pension.)

You do not need
to buy $200,000 in real estate or invest in a 3-year CD, like the Friendly Nations Visa.

Simply having a university degree, which is not a protected profession in Panama, can open the door to a permanent residency visa in Panama.

What’s The Catch?

THE CATCH is that your degree must not be in a protected profession for Panamanians only (see the list below). The other CATCH is that your degree can take six months to be approved. You cannot apply for a visa until your degree is approved.

You could relax on the beach much sooner than you thought if you qualify for the Professional Residency Visa.

You must use a Panama immigration lawyer to get this visa. Initially, you must submit:

*Two copies of the diploma duly authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate or apostille.
*Two copies of the record of grades corresponding to the subjects
studied, authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate or apostille.
*Two copies of your Passport
*Certificate check of $500.00 to Universidad de Panamá
*Study Plan or Program of the Subjects of the college career university you graduated from, authenticated by the Panamanian consulate or apostille.
*Two ID photos

Once the homologation process is approved, you can apply for a residency visa. You will also need a national criminal report when you apply for the visa.

There are no age restrictions for the Professional Residency Visa

You can get a work permit with the Professional Residency Visa.

There is no requirement to get a job or work in your profession in Panama.

Your spouse and minor children can qualify as your dependent with this visa. (there will be an additional fee for their visa)

You will initially be issued a two-year temporary visa. After two years, your attorney can help you apply for a permanent visa.

Once you get your permanent visa, you can still take advantage of the Pensionado (Jubilado) discounts if you meet the age requirements of 55 for women and 60 for men.

In addition to the attorney fees, a fee of $1250 must be paid to immigration for this visa.

This is an overview of some of the protected professions. If your degree is in one of these professions, you will not qualify:

  • Accounting
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Barbering and Cosmetology
  • Chemical Laboratory Technicians
  • Chemistry
  • Chiropractors
  • Computer Science
  • Dental assistant
  • Economy
  • Engineer
  • Engineering and Architecture
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical radiology
  • Medicine/Doctor
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Odontology (Dentists)
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Professor
  • Psychology
  • Public Relations
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Speech Therapy, therapists and similar
  • Veterinary

CLICK HERE to see a more detailed list of Protected Professions.

If you are unsure if your degree falls in the category of a Panama-protected profession, you will need to contact a Panama immigration lawyer to find out.

The Online Panama Relocation Guide lists affordable and reliable immigration lawyers who can help you get a Professional Residency Visa. It also has recommendations for honest real estate agents, insurance agents, and all the other information you need for a hassle-free move to Panama!

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. Wayne says

    Wow! After looking at the extended list seems like only Basket Weaving and Management (my degree) apply…

    • Cyndi says

      My degree is also in Management…looks like we can both get a professional visa

  2. Alex says

    Do I qualify for Professional Residency Visa with my Master Degree in Mathematics (MMath) ?

    No programming, no computer science, no engineering, no any license – just simple matematics.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Alex, it appears that you would qualify. The best way to know for sure it to contact one of the immigration lawyers we recommend in the Online Guide

  3. Donna Perkett says

    Is an MBA considered “economy”?

    • Cris says

      I would like to know if having an MBA would qualify for this visa?

      It’s not economics or accounting…

      I have an bachelor’s of Commerce and my Master’s of Business Administration

      If they do this would be an amazing opportunity!

  4. Wesley Robin says

    What about my liberal arts, English Literature degree (BA, University of Denver)? I work as an insurance adjuster and have numerous insurance designations such as the CPCU (chartered property casualty underwriter). Thanks

    • Michelle says

      Hi Wesley,

      Did you ever get an answer about a Liberal Arts degree?

      • Jackie Lange says

        You need to contact an immigration lawyer to ask if your degree is acceptable.

  5. Grace says

    I am 58 and not planning to begin SS payments for many years out yet. Do I need to get a job (in an unprotected field) to justify my ability to support myself with this visa option?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Grace, there is NO requirement to work in your profession in Panama or to work at all in Panama when you get the Professional Residency Visa.

  6. Scott Kramer says

    Hello Jackie
    I just read through the extended list of professional degrees that are protected. I didn’t see my degree listed and would like to know if I could be considered. How do I contact an immigration lawyer in Panama?
    Thank you in advance.

  7. Nancy Stitt says

    I read through the entire list of “detailed protected professions”. It appears pretty inclusive of all USA degrees. Maybe: theology or philosophy or languages(french, english, spainish, russion, ukranian, itaian e.g.) other than that appears most degrees are covered.

  8. Robert J. Gieser says

    Well I guess that Police Science, and or Criminology will fit but at age 77, I am not working in this field.

    • Jackie Lange says

      hi Robert, you do not currently need to be working in this field. You only need to have the degree.

  9. Alex says

    Looks like Master Degree in Mathematics qualify.

  10. Jeryl Good says

    It looks like they need teachers, just like every other nation right now. I wonder how it is to teach there? Do they have consequences for bad behavior there or not?

  11. Mike Simone says

    That’s interesting. My wife and I have post graduate degrees in protected professions but our undergaduate degrees are not. I suspect all we would have to do is go through the process with our bachelor’s degee to qualify.

    • Jackie Lange says

      It’s great that you qualify! To verify or get started with the process, contact the immigration lawyers we recommend in the Online Guide

  12. T. Warrior says

    Peace and Wellness. Thank you for the update. Promising news. I have a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology.

    Question, Does my Bachelorette in Criminal Justice override my Minor in Psychology? Thank you for any information you can provide.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello T. Warrior. You could apply with the Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

  13. Laurence says

    With this kind of Visa, how is it possible to work ? I do work remotly for clients in Europe as a translator. I’ll have to open a company ? What about taxes with clients outside of Panama ?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Laurence. With the Professional Visa, you can get a work permit to work in Panama. For remote work, you do not need a work permit. Panama has a territorial taxing system. You are only taxed if you sell products or services “IN” Panama. So, the money you earn from your remote clients will not be taxed in Panama. You do not have to open a company in Panama.

      • Laurence Benoit says

        Thank you very much for your reply. Do you know what the attorney could charge for this visa all included ?

        • Jackie Lange says

          Hello Laurence

          Every attorney has different fees. You can expect to pay about $2000 in lawyer fees plus an extra $2500 in government fees.

  14. Mary Kathryn Valentine says

    I have a BA in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management and an Associates in Applied Science for Registered Nursing. Could I teach either subjects and gain one of the professional visas?

    My husband has over 35 years in heavy duty truck parts purchasing as an agent. No college degree. Any prospects for this field?

    • Jackie Lange says

      HI Mary, You’d need to talk to an immigration attorney to verify. But I believe your BA in hotel management would qualify. Foreigners cannot do anything to do with nursing since it’s a protected profession.
      For you to be able to teach in Panama, you’d need to be fluent in Spanish.

      it’s not easy for a foreigner to get a job in Panama in any field. See this article –

  15. Robin says

    Hi Jackie,
    My husband has a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice but I have a degree in a protected profession. Can I get a visa as a dependent on his visa? Thank you.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Robin, Yes, you can ge4t a visa as his dependent. That’s great news!

  16. Vanessa Robertson says

    Hi Jackie,

    I just found out about this visa, yay! I have a BA in Theatre and a MS in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and am currently working on a BA in Graphic Design. I carefully scanned the list and it looks like both of my degrees (and the future Graphic Design degree) are in the safe zone and would qualify me right?
    Also, how many months of those 2 years for this visa would I need to remain in Panama? I want to start working on my exit strategy and prepare for launch! Thank you so much!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Vanessa. Thanks for your interest in the Professional Visa. There is no requirement to live in Panama once you get a visa, even the temporary visa. You are only required to come back to Panama for at least one day every two years. Looks like your degree would qualify. We have a list of affordable immigration lawyers who can help you get this visa in our Online Panama Relocation Guide.

      • Vanessa Robertson says

        Thank you so much! Love everything you do and your endless generosity of information and time!

        • Jackie Lange says

          Vanessa, You’re very welcome. I love sharing information about moving to Panama!

  17. Brandy says

    I have a degree in marine transportation. It is not an engineering degree. I see on the list marine transportation engineering. Am I safe to pursue this visa?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Brandy, you would need to talk to a Panama immigration lawyer to see if that degree is acceptable.

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