Panama Passport and Residency
The Panamanian government has created several laws which enable foreigners to obtain legal Panama passports and residency. Most of these laws have been created to promote foreign investment in the country which benefits the local environment or local economy of the Republic of Panama.
Below we have listed several immigration programs which offer permanent residency leading to passports, as well as several that are designed as work visas only. Also there are two different opportunities for an immediate passport.
Panama Passport / Residency Benefits
Obtaining a second passport in Panama is useful for those who wish to:
- Expatriate from their country and give up their current passport because of onerous tax requirements that cannot be escaped from even by relocating abroad (i.e. USA citizens).
- Have a passport that provides for visa-free travel to over 80 countries.
- Have a passport from a small neutral country that does not have any enemies and therefore unlikely to be perceived individually as one in any type of potential hostile international situation.
- Desire to escape an increasingly authoritarian political climate in their home state.
- Have a second home overseas in a tropical country where they can live at or visit where natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, violent earthquakes and serious droughts are rare or unheard of.
- Have a "safe haven" to escape to in the event of war or any type of civil unrest that may threaten their family or their assets.
- Live and retire in Panama with its excellent health facilities and diverse tropical city, mountain or beach lifestyle options.
- Relocate to a tropical, stable, safe country where it is very economical to live in comparison with most other developed countries such as the US, Canada, Europe, etc.
- Relocate to a country that is almost entirely agricultural self-sufficient with benign and ideal growing conditions for a very wide variety of fruits, vegetables etc.and unlikely to ever face food shortages.
- Relocate to a more "tax friendly" country where foreign earned income, capital gains, and interest income is not taxed.
- Relocate to a country where frivolous lawsuits are not recognized by courts, and assets can be truly protected through a corporate shield, without the risks of "piercing the corporate veil".
- Relocate to a country where one can begin business operations economically, and without heavy restrictions, regulations, or taxes that hinder the growth of the business.
- Relocate to a country where the economy is booming and many business opportunities exist for entrepreneurs
- Relocate to a country where real estate is still affordable for purchasing homes in the city or land at the beaches, mountains, lakes, etc.
- Wish to purchase a yacht in Panama and have Panama be the “base” for the yacht while otherwise living aboard and sailing the yacht to wherever they desire. The purchase of the yacht in most instances would be sufficient to qualify for residency leading to citizenship (more details).
For more in depth detail, click on each of the visa categories:
Do I need to travel to Panama in order to obtain my visa or passport?
Yes, you will need to travel to Panama to obtain your visa or passport. For the visa you will need to be present for the filing of the application, then you receive an interim card lasting 3 months and within that time the visa will be issued. You need to be in Panama when the visa is issued and you should preferably be in Panama from the filing of the application to the issuance of the visa. If you decide to travel outside Panama before your visa is granted, you will want to obtain a multiple entry permit. For either passport or visa issuance you will need to appear in person again for photos immediately prior to the passport or visa issuance.
What if I don't wish to relocate to Panama?
We recommend that if you obtain a visa to reside in Panama, and you wish to live overseas, that you make plans to visit Panama at least once a year (legally you may be away up to two years). In any case, you must obtain a multiple entry permit valid for up to two years before leaving. We may assist you on obtaining this permit. Of course once you have a Panama passport you can choose to live anywhere and do not have to return to Panama if you don’t wish to except when the passport needs to be renewed. Passports are valid for 10 years and can be renewed at any Panama consulate, although for faster processing most prefer to come to Panama to renew passports.
What if I wish to travel outside of Panama?
Once you obtain a visa in Panama, even if you decide to live here permanently, but you wish to travel often, we recommend obtaining a Multiple Entry Permit. This will not be necessary once you have been issued with a Panama passport.
Panama is becoming increasingly popular as a “Plan B” option for those alarmed at the current global economic unrest or alarmed at the increasing authoritarian tendencies in their own countries (i.e. Venezuela, Russia, U.S.A. etc.). Many international investors and companies find Panama to be an excellent location for investing in reforestation, manufacturing plants, assembly plants, and distribution facilities for import/export, e-commerce, call centers, and a variety of other business activities. Many times, investors find that legal residency qualification is just an "extra benefit" to the investments that they are making in Panama.
If you are interested in relocating to Panama, or obtaining a Panama passport, please contact us for a personal consultation.