Dec 17, 2018


If you are looking to change your residence, Panama would be a very good choice. In Panama, you can acquire residence with minimal effort. Businesspersons and investors are more than welcome to become residents of Panama.

Panama offers a unique territorial taxation system. The main advantage of the Panamanian tax policy is that no incomes gained from business operation abroad are subject to taxation. Only the domestic income will be taxed in Panama.

The Republic of Panama is located between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and it links two American continents. The well-known Panama Canal, in its turn, connects the two oceans. This route is often used by ships as a shortcut from Asia to America and back. The channel entrance has a Free Trade Zone used by international trade companies. In size, it is second only to Hong Kong Free Trade Zone. All enterprises and businesses operating in this area are exempt from customs duties and VAT.

Panama is considered the safest country in South America. The US dollar is an official currency that circulates freely in Panama. The national currency is the balboa but it is practically not used. Panama is abundant in fresh water, food, and electricity supply.

Among the Latin American states, Panama stands out for its high rates of economic development, quality medical care and education. In terms of economic freedom, Panama is ranked 66th in the world. This country does not restrict foreign capital entering into the country, and also does not prevent the withdrawal of capital towards other countries.

According to the Human Development Index, among 185 states in the UN, Panama consistently ranked 60th in the world in 2017 and 2018. This index ranks countries based on the ratio of three main indicators:

Life expectancy: fertility and health care.

Education: accessibility of education, the quality of secondary and higher education.

GDP: economic well-being and purchasing power of the population.

According to the statistics of 2017, the population of Panama was 4.1 million people, the GDP growth was 5.4%, the unemployment rate was 6.1%, the inflation rate was 0.9%, and industrial production growth was 6.3%. These figures indicate that Panama is the most competitive country in Latin America. Despite the fact that over the past few years the growth rate of the Panama economy has slightly declined, it still shows a steady growth. Many international experts have noticed that the economic progress of Panama is very similar to economic progress of Singapore some 35 years ago. Panama, like Singapore, will most likely become one of the richest countries in the world in the near future.

If your business is related to commercial activities, internet commerce or to some offshore international activities, Panama is welcoming you. We will help you see that your rights and your assets are well protected. In order to attract foreigners to their country, the Government has developed many different visa programs that provide for both temporary residence and for permanent residence.

Why do you need our assistance in acquiring permanent residence in Panama?

Offshore Pro Group has highly qualified specialists on the staff in the field of international tax law. For many years, we have been assisting our clients with tax residency change and economic citizenship in various countries of the world. Panama is one of these countries. Our VIP services can be provided individually or to a group of people such as members of your family, for example.

The VIP package also includes:

Organization of your arrival to Panama.

Opening a bank account there.

Assistance in purchase of real estate.

Connection with brokers and financial managers.

Translation of documents into Spanish and their prompt delivery.

Accounting services and support.

Our specialists will take care of your paperwork during your stay in Panama. You can use this time to enjoy the local lifestyle.

Residence for investment in Panama

Panamanian immigration legislation has 52 types of visas that give foreigners the right to obtain a temporary residence permit, permanent residence, and/ or full citizenship. Panamanian visa programs have the following advantages:

  • The opportunity to become a tax resident of Panama.
  • This gives you the right to use the advantages of bilateral state agreements (Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements) signed between Panama and other countries.
  • The opportunity to become a resident of Panama.
  • The possibility of naturalization in the country after five years of permanent residency and acquisition of citizenship.

Please keep in mind that not all Panamanian migration programs provide for the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and citizenship. Here are some of the most popular Panama immigration programs:

Rentier Visa

This type of Visa provides a foreigner with the right to temporarily reside in Panama for 5 years and acquire a special passport. This passport is not a Panama citizen’s passport, as it indicates the country of citizenship of the passport holder. This special passport does not look much different from a usual national Panamanian passport and allows visa-free entry to 128 countries of the world. Such passport will be useful for citizens of those countries that do not recognize second citizenship.

Basic requirements for a rentier visa:

A foreign applicant is supposed to open a fixed-term deposit with the National Bank of Panama for the period of at least five years without the right to use it as a pledge to receive a loan against.  Early termination of the deposit agreement automatically cancels the visa.

The fixed-term deposit should bring a stable income from the interest in the amount of not less than US$ 850 per month. To date, the size of the deposit will have to be at least US$ 370,000.

The applicant can receive a temporary residence permit for his spouse as well as dependents (children and parents). In addition, the owner of the passport has the right to import a car every two years duty free. Upon expiry of the five-year period, the applicant can extend the validity of the passport for another 5 years. Regardless of the time of residence, this visa does not allow obtaining citizenship.

Economic Investor Visa

With this program the foreigner can apply for residence permit using one of the three options described below:

  1. Opening a fixed-term account with the National Bank of Panama in the amount of US$ 300,000. The minimum term of the account is three years.
  2. Investment in real estate, the value of which shall be at least US$ 300 000.
  3. Joint investment in real estate and opening of a bank account. The total amount of investment shall reach US$ 300,000.

Economic investor visa applicants receive the following benefits:

They can obtain a temporary residence permit in Panama for a period of two years that will be exchanged for a permanent residence permit after the two years expire.

All dependent applicants (spouse, children, and parents) are eligible for residency as well.

After five years of residence in the status of “permanent resident”, the foreigner has the right to apply for full citizenship of Panama.

Please note that in addition to the abovementioned minimum investment amount, state fees and other procedural fees have to be taken into account.

Friendly Nations Visa

Panama lists the following countries as its friendly nations:

Austria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, 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, United States of America, Taiwan, Uruguay, France, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Chile, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia, South Africa, South Korea and Japan.

Citizens of these national states receive the easiest and the fastest access to Panama with minimal investment requirements.

If the applicant intends to obtain residence with a Friendly Nations visa for his of her entire family (spouse and children), only the primary applicant has to come from a friendly country.

Business Investor Visa

This visa program is an ideal solution for foreigners looking to start a business in Panama.

Mandatory requirements:

The investor (applicant) shall use his or her personal funds for business establishment and his/ her authorized capital shall be at least US$ 160,000. If the investor has an existing Panamanian company, he or she can use the shares of the corporation as an investment contribution (the shares issued in the applicant’s name shall be worth US$ 160,000 minimum).

In addition, the applicant is obliged to officially hire five Panamanian citizens, providing them with wages and social guarantees.

Please note that in addition to the abovementioned minimum investment amount, taxes and other procedural fees are due.

Benefits of this program:

The Business Investor obtains a temporary residence permit in Panama for a period of 2 two years. When the time expires, the applicant is entitled to obtain a permanent resident status.

All dependent applicants (spouse, children and parents) are also eligible for residency.

After 5 (five) years of residence with the permanent resident status, the foreigner has the right to apply for citizenship of Panama.

Reforestation Visa

This visa program has been made to attract investors who are willing to invest their capital in the state reforestation project in Panama. Long-term investments can also be made in other types of agricultural activities. Investors are monitored by the Panama National Agency of Environmental Protection (ANAM).

Basic requirements:

Investment shall be made of at least US$ 80,000 into the purchase of agricultural land of at least five hectares in size. A physical or a legal entity can be the proprietor of the land.

Please note that in addition to the abovementioned minimum investment amount, state duties and other procedural and legal charges are also due.

Benefits of the Reforestation Program:

Temporary residence permit is granted to the applicant for two years. After that he or she will be issued a permanent residence permit.

After five years of permanent residence, the applicant can apply for citizenship of Panama.

If there are dependents (spouse, children, parents), the applicant can also include them in the application form thus obtaining permanent residence permits for them as well.

We invite you to fill in the questionnaire that you can find below. This will help us select the best visa option for you. There are many different points in Panama legislation related to the requirements any foreign immigrant has to fulfill. Opening a bank account is one of such requirements.

A bank account in Panama

If you are immigrating to Panama on the Friendly Nations visa, you will have to set up a personal account with a Panamanian bank. If you intend to do business in the country, you will have to open a corporate bank account for your company. The procedure of setting up a bank account in Panama involves a considerable amount of red tape but we can help you with that as we have vast experience in opening accounts for our clients in the banks all around the world.

You have to be prepared however, that the cost of establishing a bank account in a foreign jurisdiction is going to be higher than that in your home country. In addition, due to the wide spectra of possibilities that a foreign account open for you, there are stricter requirements on the part of the compliance department related to:

Minimum deposit needed to open an account.

Minimum balance on the account.

The cost for the service, transaction fees, and other banking services.

The structure of your business (for corporate accounts).

Weather you wish to organize your business in Panama or transfer an existing business to Panama from another jurisdiction, there is a number of issues that require a subtle approach. This concerns the nature of the business, your goals and other important details. Your tax optimization depends on where you make your profit: if you make it internationally, your tax will be 0% in Panama. We need to understand your goals and objectives so we can offer you the best solutions.

The choice of business structure also depends on your goals. If you are an entrepreneur, we can say that a Panamanian corporation is the most popular legal business entity to establish. If your main goal is to protect family assets and transfer them to your heirs or you wish to invest in real estate and optimize your taxes, then the Private Foundation will be the best Panamanian structure. Both Panamanian Corporation and Private Foundation can be registered in Panama in just a few days. Actually, you can have them registered in Panama before you come to the country.

It has to be noted that due to the international “transparency” requirements, the majority of Panamanian banks will open corporate accounts only for legal residents of the country. We can provide you with a consultation on this topic, so that you do not have to waste time and do not expose yourself to risks and bureaucracy involved in opening a bank account abroad.

Free consultation on obtaining residence in Panama: the Questionnaire

If you are interested in relocating to Panama, please fill out the questionnaire below. Your answers will allow us to assist you in the endeavor in the most efficient way.