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 monthly for a single person or $1250 for a married couple. You will never be able to work in Panama or get a work permit.
To get any Visa in Panama, you must 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 for 180 days and then 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 return to Panama every two years to maintain your visa.
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 apply 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 move to Panama to apply for a Visa. This will save you thousands of dollars.
About three months after applying for your Penaionado Visa, your permanent Visa will be ready and will require a trip to Panama to pick it up.
Then, you can apply for your Cedula in 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 add up in expenses.
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.
The Multi-Entry is a QR code on the back of your temporary visa 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. The multi-entry QR Code only costs $50. I recommend getting the multi-entry code even if you are already living in Panama because you don’t know when a situation might come up that requires you to leave Panama for an emergency.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? WRONG!
Unfortunately, the prices that lawyers charge to get a Visa are not regulated in any way. Lawyers can charge whatever they think they can get away with.
A Pensionado Visa will cost between $1,000 to $5,000 in attorney fees, depending on which attorney you use.
You need always to ask what the fees include. Some lawyers quote a low price upfront and then add extra fees for translations, government fees, Visa cards, 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 to 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 Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide.
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 of getting a residency Visa.
The immigration lawyers we work with all charge affordable fees and have an excellent reputation.
We work with nine immigration lawyers. The average fee for one person to get a Pensionado Visa is $1250. The average fee for a couple to get a Pensionado Visa is $1600. Some of our immigration lawyers charge as little as $800 in legal fees to get a visa. And some offer a military veteran discount (with proof of DD214 or VA card). There are legal fees ( lawyer fees) plus other fees when getting a visa. See these fees that one of our immigration lawyers charges:
Pensionado visa married couple:
LEGAL fees: $1,615.00 IMMIGRATION fees: $210.00 (in the beginning of the process when you come the first time), $200.00 (when the visa is approved). NOTARY fees: Approximately $85.00 TRANSLATION: it will depend on the amount of pages in the documents. The translator charges $12.00 per page. AUTHENTICATION of documents: it will depend if you do the documents with an apostille or authenticated in the panamanian consulate. If you apostille we can use it as it is, if you authenticated in the panamanian consulate we have to do a second authentication in Panama City, that would be $50.00 per document. MEDICAL certificate: $25.00 each
Pensionado visa one applicant:
LEGAL fees: $1,115.00 IMMIGRATION fees: $105.00 (in the beginning of the process when you come the first time), $100.00 (when the visa is approved). NOTARY fees: Approximately $60.00 TRANSLATION: it will depend on the amount of pages in the documents. The translator charges $12.00 per page. AUTHENTICATION of documents: it will depend if you do the documents with an apostille or authenticated in the Panamanian consulate. If you apostille, we can use it as it is, if you authenticated in the Panamanian consulate, we have to do a second authentication in Panama City, that would be $50.00 per document. MEDICAL certificate: $25.00 each
The E-cedula processing is a separate fee. Most lawyers charge $300 for one person and $350 for a couple. The tribunal electoral charges a fee of $100.00, $50.00 if the person complies with retirement age. There are instructions in the Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide for you to get a Cedula by yourself instead of hiring someone to help you.
BEWARE of Gringo Pricing
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 exact over-priced attorney above charges $5,000 for one person to get a Pensionado Visa and $7500 for a couple. Our attorney charges $1200 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 everywhere! Yikes!!! The lawyers we use charge attorney fees of between $1700 to $2600 for a Friendly Nations Visa.
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.
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 or the Complete Panama Relocation Guide (only $595)!
Even buying health insurance using the wrong insurance agent can easily cost you an extra $4000 per year for a couple.
And, 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 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. We will 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 $250 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 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) with 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:
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.