The one-year temporary permit issued to foreigners while they complete the process for residency was cut to six months. Effective January 10. This shouldn’t be a big negative as immigration issues are usually resolved within six months for all types of applicants.
A previous measure, which allowed visitors with a multiple-entry EU visa or EU residency to also use it to enter Panama was scrapped. The measures will not affect European citizens, who are able to enter Panama without visas for short stays. It also doesn’t affect visitors from the US, Canada or the UK at all.
In March 2017 the government announced stricter enforcement of entry under tourist visas. Visitors entering Panama on tourist visas will need to leave the country for at least 30 days before re-entering again.
1. Panama’s Retiree Pensionado Program
2. Panama Friendly Nations Visa
3. Professional Employment Visa
4. Economic Self Solvency Visa
In a bid to attract wealthy foreigners, Panama offers three options to those who can put down US $300,000 in cash. You need to invest that money in either real estate or have a certificate of deposit held with a local bank for three years. Or you can have a combination of the two that results in a total US$300,000 investment.
5. Business Investor Visa
A US$160,000 minimum investment in the capital stock of a Panamanian corporation can buy you a Business Investor Visa. Provided that the business employs at least 5 local employees. The foreigner can be a shareholder and/or an officer.
For the three visas above, an additional US$2,000 is required for each dependent.
6. Reforestation Investor Visa
7. Tourist Visa
Tourist visas tightened at the end of 2016 for visitors from the EU. And again in March 2017 for citizens from all countries. The first move scrapped a previous measure which allowed those with a multiple-entry EU visa or EU residency to also use it to enter Panama.
8. Parents of Children Born in Panama Visa
The parents of a child born in Panama who is over five years old are eligible to apply.
9. Marry a Panamanian
The route I went, with no regrets. Hopefully, she feels the same way.
We’d encourage you to talk to an attorney, particularly if it concerns Panamanian businesses or investment requirements. We hope this is a helpful guide as you chart your own path to Panamanian residency. As always, we’d love to hear from you about your thoughts and experiences.