Becoming a Panamanian Resident - July 2022
Increasing numbers of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and knowledge workers are relocating to Panama, drawn by its political stability, high growth economy, and strategic location with excellent connectivity to Central, South and North American markets.
When you add its “all-time-summer” climate and high quality of life you can see why it’s also a preferred destination for retirees, with Panama recently named the number one place to retire in International Living Magazine’s 2022 Annual Global Retirement Index.
Panama operates a number of easily understandable and efficiently operated temporary and permanent residency schemes, all of which offer the right to live and study in Panama. Panama operates a territorial tax regime, meaning that income sourced outside of Panama is not taxed in Panama.
The Digital Nomad Visa
Introduced in response to changes in working patterns triggered by the global pandemic, Panama’s digital nomad visa allows remote workers from abroad to reside in Panama for an initial nine months, with the option to extend this for another nine. Panama’s position as an international logistics centre means that it has excellent internet connectivity, with one of the highest average download speeds in Latin America.
Applicants for the digital nomad visa need to:
- Have valid health insurance for the duration of their stay in Panama.
- Show proof of existence of the foreign company they work for, in the place where it is registered.
- Provide a letter issued by the legal representative of the company detailing the applicant’s position and functions, monthly income and remote work modality, with a commitment to assume the expenses of return or repatriation if this becomes necessary. Self-employed applicants must provide a sworn declaration instead of the letter, with additional supporting documentation.
Panama offers several options to obtain permanent residency, with the possibility of subsequently becoming a Panamanian citizen. The two easiest ways to obtain permanent residency are to apply through the ‘Friendly Nations’ scheme or as a Qualified Investor.
- The ‘Friendly Nations’ scheme offers residency to citizens of qualifying nations, of which there are currently 50, if they make a real estate investment of USD200,000.
- A Qualified Investor can obtain residency through one of three investment routes:
- A real estate investment of USD300,000 (until 15 October 2022, after which the amount will increase to USD500,000); or
- A stock exchange investment of USD500,000; or
- A fixed-term banking deposit of USD750,000.
Qualified Investor applications are processed within 30 days, with it taking between four and six months under the Friendly Nations scheme.
How We Can Help
Our specialist Panama relocations team can help with all aspects relocating to Panama, including:
- Visa and residency applications
- Finding and purchasing or renting property
- Completing immigration service requirements
- Complying with local tax obligations