What Does It Cost to Get a Residency Visa in Panama?

The most popular and affordable residency Visas is the Pensionado Visa for retirees.

The Pensionado Visa is the most affordable Visa because the Panamanian government waives all their fees for all retirees (a $1050 savings).  To qualify for the Pensionado Visa, you must plan to be retired in Panama.  You’ll need to prove a lifetime income of $1000 a month for a single person or $1250 for a married couple.  You will never be able to work in Panama or get a work permit.   This means you cannot sell any products or services in Panama unless you hire someone else to sell your products for you.  If you’re living in Panama but doing online work in another country you will not need a work permit.

To get any Visa in Panama, you will need to provide a nationwide criminal report, like an FBI report.  If married and applying together, you’ll also need a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

Are you thinking about moving to Panama? Check out our guide to living in Panama and learn more about our relocation tours

Why should you consider getting a Residency Visa?  

panama national id card

If you plan to live in Panama, you can only stay six months then you need to leave for at least 30 days before you can come back.  If you’re driving, you can only stay for 90 days, then you need to leave before you can come back.  To avoid this problem, you will need to get a residency Visa.  Once you have a residency visa, you can live in Panama as long as you want to.

However, you are not required to live in Panama full time.  You only need to come back to Panama every two years and stay for a few days.

Five years after getting your permanent Visa and Cedula, you can apply for Panama citizenship and a Panama passport and it only costs $600!

Once you get your permanent Pensionado Visa, regardless of your age, you will qualify for these discounts:

  • 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
  • 50% off movie theaters (about $2 with your discount)
  • 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
  • 25% off airfare
  • 25% 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

These discounts alone pay for the Visa within a few years!

If you get a visa other than the Pensionado Visa, you will still get the discounts once you have your permanent visa and you meet the age requirements of 55 for women or 60 for men.

Getting a Visa is an easy three-step process.

The process always starts with talking to your attorney about which Visa is best for your needs. Your attorney will email you a list of documents you need to bring with you to Panama to apply for a Visa. Some of the documents will need to be authenticated.  

Yes, you do need to be in Panama to apply for a Visa. 

For the temporary Visa, you can start the process at immigration offices throughout Panama instead of Panama City.  Initially, you will be issued a temporary/processing Visa card which is good for six months if you are applying for a Pensionado Visa.

Many other visas, like the Friendly Nations Visa, require that you have a temporary visa for two years before you can apply for a permanent Visa.

To reduce your expenses with multiple trips to Panama, plus hotel & eating out expenses, you may want to wait until you actually move to Panama to apply for a Visa.   This will save you a lot of money.

About three months after applying for your Penaionado Visa, your permanent Visa will be ready and will require a trip to Panama City to pick it up.  

Then, about 30 days later you can get a Cedula and it will require another trip to Panama City.   A Cedula is a national ID card.  You are not required to get a Cedula but I highly recommend it because it will make your life so much easier when you live in Panama.  If you are not already living in Panama, all these trips to Panama can really add up in expenses.

Panama multi-entry Visa Stamp

During the time between getting your temporary Pensionado Visa and your permanent Visa, you are required to stay in Panama UNLESS you get a multi-entry Visa stamp. Previously the stamp went in your passport but now, there is a QR code on the back of your temporary card. The multi-entry QR Code allows you to leave the country and come back any time while you are waiting for your permanent Visa.  If you leave the country without a multi-entry code, there is a $2,000 fine.  So you definitely want to get the multi-entry QR Code if you plan to leave the country. It only costs $50 for the multi-entry QR Code.  I recommend getting the multi-entry code even if you are already living in Panama because you just don’t know when a situation might come up which requires you to leave Panama for an emergency.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  WRONG! 

Unfortunately, the prices that lawyers charge to get a Visa is not regulated in any way.  Lawyers can charge whatever they think they can get away with.

A Pensionado Visa will cost between $1000 to $5000 in attorney fees depending on which attorney you use.

You need to always ask what the fees include.  Some lawyers quote a low price upfront then add on extra fees for translations, government fees, Visa card, multi-entry stamps, etc.   Always get an itemized list of what ALL the costs will be to get a residency Visa and ask if there will be any additional fees so you can avoid surprise expenses.

Save Time and Money! We have negotiated special low rates with several immigration lawyers throughout Panama.  These rates are available for everyone who comes on a Panama Relocation Tour or who purchases the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.  If you get your residency Visa at one of the immigration offices outside of Panama City, it will reduce the time it takes to get a Visa too.

During your Panama Relocation Tour or in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide, we’ll teach you other simple things you can do to reduce the time and costs for getting a residency Visa.

The immigration lawyers we work with all charge affordable fees and have an excellent reputation.

Last month I received an email from someone asking if $1250 was a reasonable price to pay for a multi-entry Visa stamp.  That’s what his attorney, who frequents the living overseas seminars, was asking.  I told him NO WAY, a multi-entry Visa stamp is only $50 and the lawyers don’t charge anything extra to help you get it. Big price difference!

That same over-priced attorney above charges $5,000 for one person to get a Pensionado Visa and $7500 for a couple.  Our attorney charges $1500 for a Pensionado.  Big difference! 

You can see how the cost of the tour or the Complete Panama Relocation Guide can actually save you money!

Last year someone came on my tour six months AFTER he got a Friendly Nations Visa.  He was charged $15,000 for his Visa plus corporation fees by a company that advertises all over the place!  Yikes!!! The lawyers we use charge attorney fees of between $1700 to $2600 for a Friendly Nations Visa.  You’ll also need to set up a corporation if you don’t own property in Panama.  The corporation is an additional $1200 fee.

Another lady was told by her attorney that it would be $500 to get a work permit plus she would need to pay $500 every month to keep it.  This is a total rip off!  It cost $500 to get a work permit which is good for 3 years then there is a $250 renewal fee for another three years.

It’s a shame that some lawyers are so dishonest in Panama.  But you won’t have to worry about picking the wrong attorney if you come on a Panama Relocation Tour or get the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.


Going to the wrong lawyer to get your Visa can cost you a lot more than the cost of a Panama Relocation Tour or the Complete Panama Relocation Guide (only $595)!  Even buying health insurance at the wrong place can easily cost you an extra $4000 per year for a couple. Or working with the wrong real estate company could cost you an extra $100,000 when buying a house.


Hopefully, you can see why coming on a Panama Relocation Tour and getting our verified contact list can actually SAVE you money and help you avoid these costly mistakes!

During a Panama Relocation Tour and in our Complete Panama Relocation Guide,  you’ll learn the BEST sources for getting an affordable Visa and getting it quickly, how to find a rental and not get a gringo price, how to save 30% on health insurance, how to save on prescriptions, and much more.

During a Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll see a variety of towns by the beach and in the mountains.  Well show you some rentals but there are absolutely no sales pitches!  You will get to meet with expats who live in these areas every day.   You’ll learn everything you need to know to make a smooth move to Panama without any hassles and without getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous lawyers.

We also offer Private Tours for only $200 per tour per day for a couple. There are only 1-2 people on the tour plus the private tour guide.  These Private Tours are for specific areas that you are most interested in.

Come see how you can live better for less in Panama! Join us for a 6-day, 7-night All-Inclusive Panama Relocation Tour or a Private Tour to learn how to save money and avoid costly mistakes when you move to Panama. OR, get our Complete Panama Relocation Guide (for only $595) that has all the same information you’d get on a tour.

See what some of our recent tour guests have to save about a Panama Relocation Tour:

Stephen Douglas Stenberg (Doug) Alberta, Canada
This tour could very well save you literally tens of thousands of dollars, and a lot of heartache, by avoiding the mistakes that a lot of people make by not being prepared

I recently participated in Jackie Lange’s Panama Relocation Tour. I would highly recommend that anyone who is considering relocating to Panama, to take one of Jackie’s Tours … the experience was not only very enlightening, but also a lot of fun. You will be interacting with people who share the same interests and objectives as you … that of checking out the various areas of Panama to see if it is somewhere you would like to live in or retire to. Jackie is very knowledgeable not only of the various places & climates of Panama, but of the ‘details’ of exactly what you need to learn about the country, the rules involved with living here, and what pitfalls to look out for.

Taking this tour will provide you with ‘invaluable’ information about the process of moving to Panama, and could very well save you literally tens of thousands of dollars, and a lot of heartache, by avoiding the mistakes that a lot of people make by not being properly prepared before jumping into something like this. You will visit a variety of locations, both by the beach, and in the mountains … and hear first hand from expats and locals who live in each location. They will pull no punches and provide you with both the pros and the cons of each area, to ensure that there are no ‘surprises’.

Jackie will introduce you to speakers who will talk to the group very frankly about their specific areas of expertise, and she will provide you with contacts to advise you in any area, legal, health care, etc. You can rest assured that you will not be given any ‘sales pitches’ … this is ‘not’ what the Tours are about … they are strictly about giving you ‘information’ and ‘experiences’!

Thank you Melissa and Jackie for the pleasure of experiencing a whole new world for 10 days with Panama Relocation Tours. Outrageously fantastic! Right from the start of the initial planning to arriving and enjoying our relocation tour everything was professionally handled and we were in the best possible hands. Not knowing what to expect we were somewhat apprehensive but once the adventure began that all went out the window. Cannot thank you enough…especially since we found our new home that first day out on the tour bus. The Beach!! This has been a lifelong dream and we are so excited to begin our new adventure. Thank you again.

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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. Vicki says

    Even if you get a Friendly Country Visa, if you are not Panamanian retail is not allow. The part about you can sell any products, I think could be misleading.

    • Jackie Lange says


      Many foreigners own retail businesses in Panama. If you have a corporation with a Panamanian as an officer then you can own a retail store. There is almost always a way. A good attorney will know how to legally accomplish owning a retail store.

    • Tony hall says

      Hi this to Can you recommend an immigration attorney without going on the tour

      • Jackie Lange says

        Sure,Tony. We have recommendations for 8 super affordable immigration lawyers plus all the other information you will need to know about moving to Panama in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide. The average charge for our lawyers is $1100 for a visa. https://panamarelocationtours.com/guide

  2. Virgil Bowe says

    Hi Jackie, my wife and I have been coming to Panama for the last three years . This year due to the covid -19. We might still be able to come depending on the out come in the next few month. we are still looking forward to coming in November. Our plan is to retire there in the next 21/2 years. So we really need to put some things in order now. We also review your Panama relocation tour. We Would love to take it, due to my research it would save us a lot of money and time. I do have a question? I’ve not that your focus is in the Boquete and David area for living . We was wondering if you also deal in the Panama City area. We would love to relocate just out side the city. I think we will book our tour for last November 2022, it may sound some ways of, but time goes fast. We also had the opportunity to listen to your conference call the last few weekend very informative. Love it.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Virgil

      We visit a variety of different places during the tour includes places close to Panama City, beach communities in and near Coronado, the Azuero Peninsula, Santiago area, David, Boquete and Volcan.

  3. mary jefferson says

    how do i get a tour and how much does it cost

  4. James Crowe says

    Do you cover the Chitre / Los Tablas areas?

    • Jackie Lange says

      YES, we go to Las Tablas and Chitre during a Panama Relocation Tour. We also offer private tours in that area.

  5. James Crowe says

    One other question; Do we need a visa to enter Panama as tourists?

    • Jackie Lange says

      You only need a passport to enter Panama from most countries including the US or Canada.

  6. Rich Clark says

    I am glad i came across Panama Relocation Tours, i have read a lot of valuable information about Panama. I am single and retired and thinking about moving to Panama. I would like to take the tour in early 2022. I am in the process of selling my home now. I am thinking about a 2 bedroom 2 bath condo on the beach. I will continue to read the valuable information you put out.

      • Jairo vargas says

        Hello jackie,me and my wife planning to move to boquete from Florida and buy a property, what We need to buy a property?we are an American citizens also we speak Spanish please let me know thank you

        • Jackie Lange says

          Hello. There is NO requirement to buy real estate in Panama. To get a Pensionado visa, you only need to prove $1000 in lifetime income plus $250 for a dependent. ($1250 for a couple). If you got a different visa, there are many other alternatives to buying real estate. We STRONGLY advise that you wait at least a year after moving to Panama before you even consider buying real estate.


    Good Morning Jackie,
    Since I Live in the DC; Maryland; and Virginia Area for NOW; should I SEEK this “Nationwide Criminal Report / FBI Report in Order to Obtain My Pensionado VISA; or should I Wait until I get to Panama to “Request The Report”? Please Advise!! Thank You So Graciously!!

    Deborah J Bullock
    (301) 281 3856

    • Jackie Lange says

      You should not get the FBI report until you are a few months away from moving to Panama. The report needs to be fresh when you apply for a visa. We have a way you can get your report in less than an hour – the details are in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide https://panamarelocationtours.com/guide

      It also has information about reliable immigration lawyers, honest real estate agents, moving household goods fast and cheap, bring pets into Panama, where to get health insurance, finding a rental, buying a car, and so much more. The Complete Panama Relocation Guide will help you avoid costly mistakes.

  8. Marty Contratto says

    My wife and I were thinking of retiring before 62 and moving to Panama. However we just recently read that a purchased lifetime annuity may not qualify for the $1,000 a month income requirement. Can you tell me if that’s true? If Social Security, pension, or large investment in Panama are the only options then we’re out of luck I think. Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Unfortunately, purchasing a lifetime annuity will not qualify for a Pensionado visa. You’ll need Social Security income or pension from a job. If Panama does not work out, check out Mexico where you can qualify based on monthly income OR the amount in your savings account See details at https://mexicorelocationguide.com/

  9. Cindy Sindelar says

    My husband and I are looking into a trip in 2022 to determine when, where, how we would navigate a move to Panama.

  10. Cindy Sindelar says

    My husband and I are looking into a trip in 2022 to determine when, where, how we would navigate a move to Panama. We currently live on a large ranch with several dogs, so we need to streamline our lives before we relocate.

  11. David Stout says

    Is it true that foreigners cannot own property within a certain distance of the costa rican border?

    • Jackie Lange says

      It’s true. 10km rule.

  12. Roger says

    Question instead of a comment.
    I have misdemeanor convictions on my record from teen years (now 67). Will misdemeanor convictions preclude a pensinado visa?

    • Jackie Lange says

      You can still get a Pensionado visa if you have a misdemeanor charge but you will have to go through a special process called a Bueno Visto prior to applying for a visa

  13. mildred toria says

    Hi, i want to apply for a transit visa for panama what is the price?

    • Jackie Lange says

      There is no “transit visa”. If you are just passing through Panama to a different country, there is usually no fee for a visa.

  14. Nelly mclean says

    I want to move all of my house hold goods to panama how much would this cost ,I’m coming from the United states

    • Jackie Lange says

      It will cost about $15,000 to $20,000 to move all your household goods to Panama.

  15. Joseph Colello says

    Hi Jackie!
    What month is the right month to take the relocation tour due to the wet/dry season?

  16. Laurie W says

    Hi Jackie, I’m considering a relocation tour but need to make sure I would be able to afford the WHOLE moving process and was wondering how much it costs to get my Lil 4lb Chihuahua abroad? Also this is embarrassing but need to know if a 10 yr ago felony that’s expunged a deal breaker to get a visa. If 8ts not then I’ll ask the other 2 questions so we’re not wasting wasting everyone’s time. Thank you for yours, make your day a great one! Laurie

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Laurie. Thanks for your interest in Panama Relocation Tours. This article has information about the total cost to relocate to Panama. https://panamarelocationtours.com/what-does-it-cost-to-move-to-panama
      As far as your felony – I’d suggest that you get a copy of your FBI report ( or national criminal report), then send it to an immigration attorney. If the felony still shows up, your chance of getting a visa are low.

  17. John Tapsell says

    Hi Jackie my wife and myself have been checking out Panama for retirement we are permanent residents
    In South Africa we just need a little insight from yourself on entry requirements for us both as we have British Passports also vehicle info we have a Hummer which we have owned from new also a lot of household furniture etc along with two German shepherd dogs which we would want to bring with us along with a 10 metre fifth wheel caravan is all this possible

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi John, thanks for your interest in Panama Relocation Tours! The requirements for getting a visa are the same regardless of which country you are from. If you’re retired, you’ll need to show at least $1000 USD pre month in lifetime pension income (add $250 for your spouse). You’ll also need your national criminal report. If you’re not retired, you can get the friendly nations visa which required a $200,000 USD investment in real estate or a 3-year CD at a Panama bank. You can bring all your things with you but it will cost a lot of $$ to bring household goods. Our Complete Panama Relocation Guide has all the details about getting a visa, bringing your dogs, household goods and car. https://panamarelocationtours.com/guide

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