Aug 20, 2019

A special offer: a private island in the Pacific Ocean and Panama residency

Your own tropical island. Can you imagine that? Is it only a dream that can never come true? Well, in Panama this dream can become the reality. Purchasing a small island near the Pacific coast will automatically make you eligible for legal residence in Panama and in five years’ time, you can apply for the full citizenship of the country.

A private island in the ocean is an extravagant piece of real property to have indeed. To be certain, this is not what every wealthy person has. If you surf the web for a ‘private island for sale’, you will find that there are very many offers and their list is growing.

However, far from every nice-looking island will sell without some strict conditions accompanying the deal. Many states have regulatory requirements when it comes to purchasing their land. These requirements are often especially strict when it is a foreigner wanting to buy land in the country.

In Italy, for example, all islands are the property of the Republic and they cannot be purchased at all. In Thailand and other Asian countries, most islands are privately owned but foreign nationals are not allowed to purchase them. You can rent an island there but you can never become its rightful owner.

A little paradise not far away from the capital of Panama

Offshore Pro Group invites you to become the owner of an exotic tropical island near Panama. The island is located less that in 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Panama City. Getting there will take you one hour if you take a motorboat and fifteen minutes if you use a helicopter. 

No-one currently lives on this island and there are no residential buildings nor support structures. The island has the following important advantage: it has an Official Land Registry Title Deed. This means that all the documents are in good order and the island can be safely legally purchased.

Sometimes the buyer in Panama may face the situation when such a deed is available only in the oral communication with the seller. When it comes to proprietorship document inspection, it may turn out that the land is the property of the state and cannot be actually sold. In other cases, some complicated additional registration procedures are required before the property becomes ‘clean’, that is, legally sellable.

Another fact of reality to be borne in mind is that some Panamanian islands (of which there are about one hundred in total) are under UNESCO protection as ‘world natural heritage sites’. For this reason, the land you buy in Panama must have proper documents by all means.

We assure the prospective buyer that the island we are offering is privately owned and it can be sold without any legal restrictions. Besides, foreign investors are welcomed in Panama.

A special note: Our company representatives have been residing in Panama for a long time. Together with a Panamanian lawyer, they have meticulously checked all the proprietorship documents for the island and ascertained the existence of the land registry title deed in the State Registry. We have also confirmed with the state authorities that a construction permit can be easily obtained in case the new owner wants to erect buildings on the island. 

The island for sale is uninhabited. Its total area is 72 hectares (almost 178 acres) and it is one of the Pearl Islands found in the eastern part of the Panama Bay in the Pacific Ocean. This region is most popular with the tourists coming to Panama. It offers the best opportunities for deep-water fishing and ecotourism.

House and infrastructure construction projects have already been started on a few neighboring islands. This has brought about improvement in the transportation between the islands and Panama City. The number of ferries going back and forth is slowly growing. 

The selling price of the island is US$ 13.5 million.

Smooth hillsides covered with wild tropical vegetation are to be found on the island. The highest point on the island is located at 100 meters (110 yards) above the sea level and climbing there you will find some fantastic views of the Pearl Islands archipelago.

The island boasts twelve beaches each of which is 200 meters (219 yards) or more in length. White sand prevails on the beaches. Besides, there is one bay that cuts deeply into the shore. Your yacht can safely wharf in this bay.

Geological explorations on the island have shown that there is fresh water underground even though no actual drilling for water has been made so far. In any case, the topographic investigations suggest that there are necessary conditions for building micro dams to collect rainwater on the island. In Panama as well as other Latin American countries collecting rainwater for household use is a wide-spread practice.

The advantages that real property owners can obtain in Panama

Panama is one of very few states that guarantee legal protection of foreign-owned property in the country. In addition, the Government of Panama has created a comfortable business environment in order to attract foreign businesses. Purchase of real estate in Panama grants the foreigner the right of abode.

If all you have heard about Panama is the “Panama Papers” publications, your view of the country will be wrong. That scandal most likely was initiated by those groups of people who are unhappy with the capital flowing out of large economies to small offshore jurisdictions. The “Paradise Papers” scandal that followed the one mentioned above served the same purpose even though Panama was not among the countries accused of money laundering in those publications.

The world financial authorities are doing their best to combat the money outflow to offshore zones and they apply sanctions and threaten international banks and corporations in other ways in order to stop or lessen this outflow.

Small countries do not have the resources to fight against the huge US and EU state machines and most of them choose to submit to the stricter transparency requirements. Panama is one of the countries that have adapted their legislations to these requirements. Recent inspections by the EU and OECD representatives have established that the Panamanian laws are in keeping with all the international standards and the country deserves no reprimands anymore. Thus, Panama has been scratched from the ‘grey list’, which makes it a country that complies with all the international rules.

Today the rates of Panama economic growth are among the best ones not only in Latin America but in the whole world. The inflow of foreign investments to Panama continues as the Government introduces different stimulating programs and promotes favorable conditions for foreign businesses.

The most attractive factor about Panama for foreign investors is its territorial taxation system. In Panama, incomes derived from abroad are not taxed. This policy equally covers Panamanian citizens and legal foreign residents.

Panama is one of the countries that protect foreigners’ assets very effectively. The Panamanian judicial authorities will not take into consideration any verdicts issued against Panama legal residents in foreign jurisdictions.

The American dollar is an official currency in use in Panama. Besides, the ‘freedom of capital’ principle has been applied in the country for many years. This means that there are no restrictions whatsoever as to the investment into, and disinvestment from, Panama.

The banking sector of the Panamanian economy deserves special attention. The volume of financial operations that banks in Panama conduct is comparable to that in Switzerland, Hong Kong or Singapore. To become a client of a Panamanian bank you will have to undergo security and credibility checks that are much more serious than with many European or US banks.

Anyone who has a bank account in Panama has his or her financial assets well-protected and also can use the international financial resources that are accessible via Panamanian banks.

Another factor that makes Panama an attractive country to live in is the level of medical services provided there. Most Panamanian medical doctors attended US and Canadian medical schools. This means and they are top-class specialists speaking fluent English. Besides, the ratio of the quality of medical attendance in Panama to its price is very attractive. Americans, Canadians and Western Europeans often come to Panama for medical examinations and treatment. These ‘medical tourists’ report that in this country they can have medical services of the same quality as at home but at a much lower cost.

The attractive price-quality ratio can be found not only in the sphere of medicine in Panama. As a matter of fact, the country has living standards as high as those in the United States or European Union. At the same time, most goods and services cost approximately half of what they cost in the so-called ‘well-developed countries’. When you come to Panama from one of such countries, you begin to appreciate the local quality of life and the local prices right at the Tocumen international airport in Panama City.

And of course, the most enticing thing about Panama is its climate and its nature. The summertime is very long in this countriy: it lasts for 365 days a year. The temperature never goes below 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) and it never goes above 32 Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit). There are numerous endless sandy beaches along both the Pacific and the Atlantic shores. The wild tropical vegetation is absolutely gorgeous and the mountain views are breath-taking.

Malta and Cyprus in Europe as well as the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East also invite immigrants. But it would be much less expensive to relocate to Panama than to these countries while finding the same quality of life there.

Panama immigration programs providing for the right of abode in the country

We believe that a private island near Panama shores is a very interesting proposition. However, you do not have to invest thirteen and a half million dollars to become a legal resident of Panama. The Republic of Panama has a number of government programs that allow acquiring Panamanian residence by foreign nationals.

It has to be noted that the state visa programs do not have the status of laws. They are aimed at attracting qualified personnel and investment capital from abroad while Panama needs both of these. As the country is rapidly developing, it is reasonable to assume that the day will come when Panama turns into a well-develop country. Then it is not going to need excessive foreign assistance any longer and the immigration requirements are expected to become tougher. Some immigration programs will inevitably close down.

Thus, if you are thinking of relocating to Panama, we suggest that you hurry up while the attractive offers that Panama makes are still in force.

Of the multiple immigration programs that the Panamanian Government currently offers, the following three look most inviting.

Economic Investor visa program

You can obtain legal residency in Panama within three to four months since the date of application on the condition that you bring US$ 300,000 or more to the country as investment capital.

The immigration program specifies three ways to make this investment.

  • First, you can make a bank deposit of US$ 300,000 or more. It will have to be a fixed-term three-year deposit in an authorized bank in Panama. On submission of the bank statement confirming this deposit to the immigration authorities you will be issued with a two-year temporary residence permit. After two years you will be granted permanent residency in Panama.

You cannot cancel the agreement with the bank prior to its expiry date. (Well, you can but you will lose the residence permit automatically.) However, you can use the interest on the deposit by directing it to a separate account and after the three-year term expires, you can have your money back. Unlike some other countries, Panama does not charge any ‘immigration fees’. All the money you invest in Panama is fully retrievable after a certain time.

  • Second, you can buy a piece of real property in Panama such as a residence accommodation, for example, that costs US$ 300,000 or more. In this case you will also qualify for legal residence in Panama on the conditions described above. You have to preserve the ownership of the real estate in order to keep the residence permit.
  • Third, you can purchase a less expensive piece of property and put in the bank whatever is short of US$ 300,000. The abovementioned conditions apply with this method of investment too.

It is important to bear in mind that you will have to invest more than US$ 300,000 in order to immigrate to Panama on the Business Investor visa. If you are moving to Panama with your family, you will have to put an additional US$ 2,000 in the bank per every dependent. (With most immigration programs dependents include spouses, children, and parents.) Besides, you will also have to pay the state registration duties and cover the costs of legal services.

In any case, the Panamanian Economic Investor visa program requires considerably less investment than the ‘residence for investment’ possibility that other countries offer. For example, relocating to Malta on such a program would require a US$ 1,000,000 investment, and obtaining a resident permit in Cyprus would cost around US$ 2,000,000.

Friendly Nations visa program

Of all the national states in the world, Panama has selected fifty countries with which the Republic has especially warm relationships. These are the countries that are close to Panama in economic, political, social, and cultural terms. The list of Panama’s friendly nations includes the following states:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Chile, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Canada, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Singapore, the United States of America, Taiwan, Uruguay, France, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa, South Korea and Japan.

Citizens of these countries can immigrate to Panama on simplest terms and acquire a permanent residence permit in the fastest way.

The first condition that has to be met when immigrating to Panama on a Friendly Nations visa is having US$ 5,000 in a bank account. The second essential condition is being involved in some sort of economic activity in the country. That means that you have to find an employment in Panama of open a business there.

Both of these tasks are quite performable in Panama. Like any other developing country, Panama experiences lack of qualified personnel. So if you are a skilled professional and you speak Spanish (the official language in the country), you should be able to find a job without much trouble. As far as a private business is concerned, establishing one is easy in Panama. Besides, the country welcomes foreign entrepreneurs and offers a secure business environment. The Friendly Nations visa program does not specify the amount of investment you have to make into your business, so even a small business will suffice to qualify for residency.

As an alternative of involvement into the Panamanian economy, you can buy a residential accommodation that costs at least US$ 100,000. In this case, you will not have to look for a job or establish a business company in Panama and yet qualify for residence in the country. Thus, US$ 105,000 plus government duties and legal fees will allow you to settle in Panama if you are a lucky citizen of one of the fifty aforementioned countries.

Pensionado visa program

This program is aimed at attracting wealthy pensioners to Panama first and foremost. But who is a wealthy pensioner in Panama? How much should his or her state pension be to make him or her classify as wealthy? It is only US$ 1,000 per month. The applicant for the Pensionado visa has to submit to the Panamanian immigration authorities conclusive evidence of the fact that he or she has a guaranteed lifetime monthly subvention of US$ 1,000 or more. If he or she can, no further investment is required to obtain a permanent residence permit in Panama.

There are two interesting variations that the Pensionado immigration program has. First, if a married couple wants to spend their retirement years in Panama, they will have to demonstrate that their combined monthly income amounts to US$ 1,000.

Second, if the retiree applicant to the Pensionado visa program purchases a residential accommodation worth US$ 100,000 or more, his or her guaranteed monthly subvention has to come up to US$ 750 only.

A state pension will constitute a stable lifetime monthly income and this is where the immigration program name comes from. Retired persons from North America and Western Europe will usually have pensions of the amount sufficient for living in Panama. Besides, pensioned people from hard currency countries will usually have no trouble at all proving to the Panama authorities that their state pensions are over US$ 1,000. The immigration authorities in Panama are well aware of the social security systems that well-developed countries have. This is especially true for the USA and Canada, closer neighbors to Panama.

At the same time, a state pension is not the only source of stable income that will count. Not only elderly people, but also anyone over the age 18 is actually eligible to apply for the Pensionado visa on the condition that he or she can prove having a sufficient guaranteed lifetime subvention. By investing into Funds, Trusts, and securities, many people will have earned their own ‘pensions’ before they reach the retirement age. If they are able to satisfy the Panamanian immigration authorities that theirs is a stable inalienable lifetime income, they will find that they can afford much more for their money in Panama than at home.

However, if the immigrant’s income is in a soft currency, he or she will find it very difficult to immigrate to Panama on the Pensionado visa. If this is the case, there are other immigration programs to apply to.

All of the visa programs describe above will lead to full citizenship of Panama after five years of permanent residence in the country. (The Pansionado visa did not until recently but now it does.)

There are some nuances, however. What does it take to retain a Panamanian permanent residence permit once you obtain one? Not much, as a matter of fact. While many other countries require that the legal foreign resident physically spend a certain amount of time on the country’s territory (183 days usually) in order to retain the permit, Panama legislation does not have any specific requirements as to this matter. As things stand now, the authorities do not register how much time the holder of the permanent residence permit is actually present in Panama. According to many Panamanian lawyers, it is enough to visit the country once every two years staying there for a week or two in order to keep the permanent resident status. The physical presence requirements are certainly much stricter in any other (civilized) country.

The matter becomes more complicated if you are thinking of acquiring full citizenship of Panama after five years of residence. Panamanian citizenship is not granted by default to anyone who has lived in the country for five years (or rather, has held the residence permit for five years). In an interview with the immigration authorities the applicant for citizenship will have to show that he or she has developed close ‘ties’ with Panama over the years.

What will count as ties with Panama? Well, if you have married a Panamanian native and got kids with him or her, the problem is solved for you! However, if you are an adult immigrant who has arrived to Panama with your family, you will have to show that you have some economic interest in Panama, first of all. Real property, a business company or two, an investment project you participate in, a top position in a Panamanian company – such things will serve as evidence of your economic interests in the country.

Even though proving strong economic ties with Panama will suffice to acquire citizenship of the country in most cases, it would not hurt to show that you have developed some social bonds with Panama too. Learning Spanish is very much advisable in this perspective. Participation in different social groups or projects would also be a very good idea. In any event, going to Panama on holidays for a couple of weeks a year will certainly not render you qualified for Panamanian citizenship.

If we have aroused your interest in relocating to Panama, please request a free consultation with our specialists via e-mail [email protected]. We will gladly answer your queries and offer the best routes that you can take in order to ultimately find yourself legally residing in the warm and sunny Panama.