Want to Relocate to Panama?

Jon Hanna May 21, 2020

As millions of people have been confined to their homes for prolonged periods of time due to the unprecedented sweep of Corona virus to every corner of the globe, many have begun to “re-evaluate” their lives, their jobs, their careers, their goals, and ultimately, focusing on the least common denominator, which is “what is it that makes them happy”. 

Unfortunately, many people have taken up careers and jobs they hate doing, they live in places they don’t want to be, and they are now realizing that with the internet technology that now exists, they can do their jobs or businesses from anywhere in the world without being confined to the boring place they are currently living, and they are asking themselves, “what is stopping me from relocating to a place that makes me happy where I can do the things I want to be doing, enjoying tropical weather, and living an exciting life?” 

Panama is one of those unique places that many people are thinking about relocating to because this little country wedged between the Caribbean and Pacific oceans offers such an amazing lifestyle for so many reasons (unfortunately we don’t have space to list them all in this article), and there are so many benefits of living here, from the flight connectivity (Hub of the Americas), the Panama Canal, the great tropical warm weather, the vibrant city, the beautiful beaches, islands, & mountains, the quaint villages and beach towns, the great food, the inexpensive lifestyle with affordable house keepers, the low taxes, the great surfing, fishing & scuba diving, and the list goes on and on and on. 

If you are thinking about relocating to Panama, Panama Realtor has partnered with POLS Attorneys, Panama’s leading immigration law firm, to provide our clients with the best of the best immigration services for anyone thinking about relocating to Panama and obtaining permanent residency status. POLS has processed literally thousands of residencies in Panama for people from all over the world for the last 20 years.

In a nutshell, here is a brief summary of a few of the most popular Panama residency options available:

Pensionado

The Pensionado residency program is specifically for “pensioners”, or those who receive a permanent lifetime pension / retirement income from Social Security, or a government pension, or any major company or financial institution (insurance company for example), with a minimum of US$1000 per month (add US$200 per dependent). The processing time is only 3 to 4 months and gives you permanent residency status, plus the option of becoming a full fledged naturalized citizen with a passport (requires 5 years of permanent residency and having lived in Panama for at least 6 months per year). All you need to provide is a letter certifying your lifetime pension, and a clean criminal history record – both duly apostiled in your country. The legal fees are about $1500 per person, plus expenses and government fees of around $1000. 

Friendly Nations

The Friendly Nations residency program applies to any citizen of any country on the list of the 50 friendly nations to Panama, which includes all of North America (USA, Canada & Mexico), all of Western Europe, Australia / NZ, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Israel, Dubai, UAE, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and several other countries. The requirements are the following:

  1. Hold citizenship & passport from one of the friendly nations;
  2. Provide a clean criminal history record from your home country (apostiled);
  3. Set up a Panama Corporation (cost: US$1500);
  4. Open a personal bank account at a bank in Panama and deposit a minimum of US$5000.

The time frame is about 3 to 6 months total to get permanent residency status. You also have the option of becoming a full fledged naturalized citizen with a passport (requires 5 years of permanent residency and having lived in Panama for at least 6 months per year). The legal fees are approximately US$2000 per person, plus expenses & government fees of about $1500. 

Reforestation Investor

The Reforestation Investor residency program is for those individuals who are not citizens of the friendly nations (program mentioned above) to Panama. To qualify for the Reforestation Investment residency program, you must invest US$80,000 in a qualified reforestation project and have a clean criminal history record from your home country (apostiled). We recommend a project in the central provinces of Panama that offers a turn-key, passive organic farming investment whereby you purchase 2 titled hectares of land fully planted with mango, lime, or avocado trees, complete with high tech irrigation systems, bio fertilizers, and this includes maintenance, harvest, distribution, sales, and annual reports from the farm management company.

Basically, you own title to the land, and you sign a share-cropping agreement with the farm management company (very experienced group from the USA that uses Israeli organic farming technology) for a 15 year term. The farm management company handles everything from A to Z, prepping the land, installing the irrigation systems, planting the trees, maintenance, harvesting, distribution and sales of the fruit. The investor receives an annual report and a wire transfer for an easy 16% Internal Rate of Return (IRR). The returns begin once the trees begin producing fruit, which takes approximately 4 to 5 years. The residency process begins with a 2 year temporary residency, and takes approximately 2.5 years total to receive permanent residency status. Optionally you can elect to become a naturalized citizen with a right to a Panama passport once you have completed 5 years of permanent residency and have lived in Panama for at least 6 months per year. The legal fees for the Reforestation Investor residency program are around $2000 per person, plus expenses and government fees of another $2000.

Self Economic Solvency

The Self Economic Solvency residency program is also for those individuals who are not citizens of the friendly nations (program mentioned above) to Panama. To qualify, you need to invest US$300,000 in either a 3 year time deposit (Certificate of deposit – CD) with a Panamanian bank, or you can optionally buy any titled real estate in Panama for US$300,000 (without any financing or bank mortgage), or you can divide the investment in partly real estate and partly a bank time deposit. Currently (as of May 2020), the banks in Panama are offering time deposits with annual interest rates of around 3 to 4%. The banks in Panama are very liquid, and highly stable banks, many with an international presence.

The real estate market is at an all time, 10 year low right now, so it is a great time to invest, as it is expected that the real estate market will rebound once the country is back in full swing after the Corona virus pandemic has passed. Once you make the $300,000 investment in the bank CD and/or real estate in Panama, then you just need to provide a clean criminal history record (apostiled) to process your residency.  The residency process begins with a 2 year temporary residency, and takes approximately 2.5 years total to receive permanent residency status. Optionally you can elect to become a naturalized citizen with a right to a Panama passport once you have completed 5 years of permanent residency and have lived in Panama for at least 6 months per year. The legal fees for the Reforestation Investor residency program are around $2000 per person, plus expenses and government fees of another $2000.

If you have any questions, POLS Attorneys offers a free consultation. Feel free to visit their website at www.pols.com.pa or contact them directly at info@pols.com.pa or call or whatsapp + (507) 6605-0867.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *