The two most popular and affordable residency Visas are the Pensionado Visa and the Friendly Nations Visa.
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. Which 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.
The Friendly Nations Visa is ideal for those who are not retired and/or cannot prove a lifetime income, like Social Security or a Pension. The only income you will need to prove is putting $5,000 in a Panama bank account. For each additional dependent, you will need to add an extra $2,000 to the bank account. The Friendly Nations Visa allows you to get a work permit so you can sell products or services in Panama.
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.
Why should you consider getting a Residency Visa?
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 cost $600!
Once you get your permanent Pensionado Visa or a Friendly Nations Visa and you meet the age requirements (55 for women and 60 for men), 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!
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.
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 you get your temporary Visa, your permanent Visa will be ready and requires a trip to Panama City to pick it up. 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.
During the time between getting your temporary Visa and your permanent Visa, you are required to stay in Panama UNLESS you get a multi-entry Visa stamp in your passport. The multi-entry Visa stamp 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 Visa stamp then attempt to come back in to Panama, there is a $2,000 fine. So you definitely want to get the multi-entry Visa stamp if you plan to leave the country. There is no extra fee to get your multi-entry stamp with our attorney. I recommend getting the multi-entry stamp 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 straight forward, 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.
A Friendly Nations Visa will cost $1500 to $15,000 in attorney fees depending on which attorney you use.
You need to always ask what the fees include. Some lawyers quote a low price up front 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 Tours. 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, 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! Our attorney only works with our Tour clients. You can see how the cost of the tour 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 who 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 $1400 fee however, for our tour clients I can usually find a corporation for sale for less than $500. (more savings)
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.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW!
Going to the wrong lawyer to get your Visa can cost you a lot more than the cost of a Panama Relocation Tour! Even buying health insurance at the wrong place can easily cost you an extra $4000 per year for a couple.
During a Panama Relocation Tour, 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.
Come see how you can live better for less in Panama! Join us for a 6-day, 7-night All-Inclusive Panama Relocation Tour to learn how to save money and avoid costly mistakes when you move to Panama.
We have limited space available for each tour. SEE THE DATES AND REGISTER HERE. We require a $500 per person deposit to reserve your spot. The remainder is not due until 30 days before your tour. If you have questions, email [email protected]
P.S. See what some of our recent tour guests have to save about a Panama Relocation Tour:
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’!
Stephen Douglas Stenberg (Doug),
March 2017 Tour
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.
Linda and Bruce
March 2017 Tour