If you want to emigrate to Panama, you can’t let a refugee boat drop you at the coast. Neither can you throw away your passport and tell the authorities that you do not remember which country you’re coming from or even claim to have fled a civil war region if you’re not from one. Also, you cannot pretend to be a minor if you’re in your 30s, and less, you should expect to to get a fully-equipped apartment with lots of bells and whistles. As a man, you won’t be able to enter Panama with several ladies and collect social security for everyone. Besides, you have no freedom of fools as far as rape and other crimes are concerned. As a woman, you cannot name several men as fathers of your child if you have been impregnated on the refugee boat. Such things are only possible in modern Germany, and other parts of Europe, from 2015 onwards.
In Panama, things are different. If you have entered the country illegally, you will leave almost as fast as you came in. Especially if you are from a country that does not belong to the so-called friendly nations of Panama.
Friendly Nations Visa – the visa for citizens of friendly nations.
Citizens of 50 friendly nations may obtain a residence permit in Panama without a major investment in the country. The application takes about six months and it’s a very big advantage that applicants do not have to stay in the country during this period. To this end, the intention to do business must be affirmed by establishing a Panamanian company which has three directors: President, Secretary and Treasurer. As a rule, the founder takes over the position of the president; secretary and treasurer are usually family members or friends. However, directorships may also be held by members of the law firm or other persons. The law firm charges an annual fee of $200 for taking over a director’s post. I am offering to take the position of secretary or treasurer free of charge for anyone who bought land at Finca Bayano. The secretary should be living in Panama, because important documents may have to be signed by both the president and the secretary. If the secretary is abroad, the signed document must be presented as an original with an Apostille, which can be very expensive and extremely cumbersome.
It is also possible to apply for a pensioner’s visa, which is easier and cheaper to obtain, however, it’s not recommendable to apply for this visa because it does not allow you to get a work permit.
Immediately, after the residence permit has been granted, a work permit can be applied for. As a rule, they are issued after three months. As soon as you have the permanent residency, you can also apply for a gun license, which takes at least one year.
Five years after the residence permit has been granted, the Panamanian citizenship may be applied for. Whoever marries a local can apply for the citizenship after three years already. The process of the application takes about one year.
Visitors arriving at the airport will receive a tourist visa which is valid for 180 days. If you wish to stay longer in Panama, you should leave the country for at least three days, just before your visa expires, in order to obtain another visa of the same length when you return to Panama. I recommend a trip to neighboring Costa Rica.
There is no compulsory vaccination in either Panama or Costa Rica.
The following statements may not be interpreted as legal advice and I do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of this document. Rules and laws may be changed at any time without prior notice. Before coming to Panama and getting the legal process started, legal advice from a Panamanian lawyer should be sought.
The foundation of the company is the only part of the process which may be started form outside Panama. For this purpose, $1,600 must be transferred to the lawyer’s account and some forms must be completed. The lawyer sends these forms by email. There is an annual fee of $514 for the company.
For the application of the residence permit, the following documents are required from the country of origin.
From Panama the following is needed:
Fees and Charges
|Application||US$||250||For Each Applicant**|
|Repatriation Fees||US$||800||For Each Applicant**|
|Diverse||US$||100||For Each Applicant**|
|Temporary Visa||US$||50||For Each Applicant**|
|Multiple Return Visa||US$||50||For Each Applicant**|
|Permanent Visa||US$||100||For Each Applicant**|
* One-off costs for an individual or a family.
** Costs for an individual or each individual family membe
To apply, 50% of all fees and costs must be paid.
Opening a bank account
A bank account must be opened in Panama if it does not yet exist. There must be at least $5,000 in the account. The account cannot be opened from abroad.
To open the account, the bank requires the following from the country of origin:
“To whom it may concern
This is to confirm that Mr/Mrs… has been our customer since… The relationship with Mr/Mrs… has always been satisfactory. His/Her account is of good standing”.
The bank’s email address and telephone number must be on the letterhead.
To open a bank account, the Bank requires the following documents from Panama:
You must pay $5,000 in cash to your own account. This money must remain in the account until the residence permit is issued – about four to six months. Afterwards the money is at your disposal.
* The application in the home country takes up to four weeks.
** The application in the home country takes a few days.
The tourist visa in Panama is valid for 180 days, but a foreign driver’s license is valid for only three months.
A stay of at least ten working days in Panama is recommended in order to be able to finalize the application of the residence permit.
“Timely” has always been an important term!
Once it concerns your “Survival Insurance” timely is vital!