Obtaining a Pensionado Visa in Panama
Here’s some great advice from a fellow Expat on obtaining your pensionado visa in Panama:
The criminal background check can be from either your town, city, county or state, they don’t care as long as it comes up clean.
· If you can keep up with the attorneys as they run around Panama, then you’re healthy.
· All Apostilling will take time and some fees. Sec of State best place for us so we went there. As she said, plan for someone screwing something up and delaying you a day and you will be good. You know, standard government stuff – any government.
· We did fill out the Panama Immigration papers the very first day we met with the Attorney early before the shuffle began, that helped.
· Be mentally prepared to completely surrender you Marriage License. They keep it for good and you have to pay to have them retrieve it, after you are approved.
· Be prepared to surrender your passports overnight to the attorney for processing. They take it to a notary and have it copied and whatever else… Don’t worry, by the time they ask for it, you have seen immigration at least once and you will feel you trust them by then.
· If you can, get your 6 passport quality and size photos before you go, that will save you 1-2 hours in shuffling around getting to a place that looks and feels like a Walgreens. Farmacia Arrocha is a good bet, and they are all over town. Although it won’t be cheaper, it will save you time and stress.
· Buy your lawyer or the person shuffling you around lunch, they will appreciate it and you will all have to eat somewhere along the trek.
· Wear comfortable clothes the two days you are going to need to do this. It gets good and hot there and proper attire is advised but make sure that men have long pants on. Also carry a couple liters of water with you. Stopping to get some will only slow you down. Hydrate a lot, it is hot in Panama…
· Don’t be insulted on the quality of the temp card picture they will be giving you. A US DMV picture is more flattering and the ID cards you had in High School looks more official than the temp and from what I have seen, the permanent card does.
· Your Apostilled award letter can also be from any agency administering the pension or disability funds. Pensions by other than governmental agencies need to run through some additional financial solvency and validation hoops before they are accepted.
· After the final approval, you get and email or call from your attorney and they will need to send in the temp IDs and an additional fee of 100 dollars for each of you for them to provide you the final papers and then get back to Panama and get your pictures taken again and the final cards made and that’s it. Indefinite Residency is yours. Not sure about the 100 dollars going to just the fees, that’s what we are going to be charged. Optionally, you could just go back to Panama with your temp cards in hand , pay your fees and then surrender them …
· Bring cash, it makes things go the fastest. Plenty of ATMs in various places along the way if you feel insecure about carrying cash.
About the Author
Kent Davis, founder and head broker at Panama Equity real estate, has been widely quoted in publications such as Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The Miami Herald and the Financial Times for his unabashed views on the Panama real estate market. Panama Equity is regarded as one of the most active real estate agencies in Panama and Kent’s articles, reports, and market research projects have been syndicated by press agencies including Bloomberg and the Associated Press. Connect with the Author via: Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+