If you are not quite happy with the government or the tax authorities of your home country, why not consider changing your domicile? There are states in the world that are more sympathetic to their citizens and legal residents than some other states. If you move to Panama in particular, you will find peace of mind there as well as financial security.
Why immigrate to Panama?
Panama is small country on a narrow strait connecting North and South Americas. The population of the country is a little over four million people. However, Panama has a strategic position on the world map. The Panama Canal allows cargo ships to travel a much shorter distance on their way from Asia to America and back. For that reason the ship owners do not mind paying for the passage through the Canal, and these payments bring a considerable portion of the overall income to the Panama state budget.
Panama borders upon Costa Rica in the west and Columbia in the east. It is washed by the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, which makes its total shoreline long indeed, about 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles). Sandy beaches make up a large part of the coastline.
The reasons why many people move to Panama from other countries are the attractive investment opportunities, beautiful tropical nature and mild climate, a comfortable lifestyle, and advanced infrastructure, especially in the country’s capital – Panama City.
Attractiveness of Panama for business people
A number of foreigners come to Panama in order to launch or participate in different investment projects or to do international business from the country. Panama offers a welcoming business environment and beneficial conditions including protection of foreigners’ rights and assets in the country.
Here are main benefits that attract businesses to Panama:
- First and foremost, the territorial taxation system in Panama provides for absence of taxes on international incomes.
- There are Free Trade Zones in the country offering preferential taxation to resident business companies.
- The political and economic situation in Panama has been stable for many years. The GDP grows by 5% to 6% annually.
- The US dollar is the main currency in Panama. (The country does have a national currency – the balboa – but it is practically out of use.)
- There are no currency restrictions and neither limitations for investment or disinvestment of capital.
- The country’s legislation equally protects the rights of the citizens and the foreign residents. The judicial authorities do not acknowledge any court decisions made in other jurisdictions. The corporate secrets and financial information confidentiality are well protected in Panama. Unauthorized disclosure of such information will entail serious fine and even incarceration.
- Panama is a large financial center of Latin America. Nearly a hundred international banks have set up branch offices in Panama City. Many of them have a good reputation and high capitalization.
- Establishment of a business company in the country allows acquiring Panamanian legal residency and citizenship with time.
Panama living standards
Another reason why people relocate to Panama is the quality of life in the country. Immigrants can live better for less in Panama than they can in their home countries, especially the wealthier ones.
Panama has living standards as high as the US, Great Britain, or any other well-developed country. At the same time, the cost of living in Panama is significantly lower.
This does not mean that you will live like a king in Panama for a song. However, if you pursue a moderate but still comfortable lifestyle, an income of US$ 1,000 to US$ 1,200 a month will be sufficient to easily sustain one person. If the immigrant has a larger income, he or she can afford living in a luxury apartment in Panama City and dine in most expensive restaurants.
Historically, the United States have had great influence on Panama. American citizens constitute the largest part of foreigners residing in Panama. US retirees love spending their golden years in this country as they can afford much more luxury in Panama with their state pensions than they can at home.
Representatives of the middle class in Panama make around US$ 1,200 per month. The majority of the population, however, lives on US$ 500 to US$ 600 a month.
The capital of the country – Panama City
The capital of the country is naturally the biggest and the most populated city in Panama. More than half of the entire population of the country lives in Panama City. This is not surprising as most economic activities are conducted in the city and its suburbs, and the place also has the best infrastructure in Panama.
The Panamanian capital with its high-rise buildings is often compared to Hong Kong, Miami, Singapore, and Dubai. Residing in Panama City will suit wealthier immigrants as it offers quite a number of ways to spend money.
These are the city districts that are most popular with foreign residents of Panama capital: the newest district of Punta Pacifica, the “old city”, Casco Viejo district where old buildings are being actively renovated, and also such districts as Costa Del Este, Clayton, El Cangrejo, Obarrio and San Francisco.
Almost all the districts mentioned above are located in the downtown area of Panama City where the major action is. Plenty of restaurants, entertainment facilities, nightclubs, bank offices, commercial and business centers can be found in these districts. One exception is the quieter Clayton district located a bit off the main avenues away from the city noise in a green zone with wild tropical vegetation.
The cost of residing in Panama City will depend on the location (downtown or uptown) and the size of the residential accommodation that you choose in the first place. For instance, renting an apartment in the fancy Punta Pacifica district will cost somewhere between US$ 1,200 and US$ 2,500 per month. You will have to have another two to three thousand dollars of a monthly income in order to live in Panama City carefree.
The temperature in the city very seldom goes below 23° Celsius (73° Fahrenheit) or above 32° С (90° F). The water temperature in the Panama Bay is between 27 and 29 degrees centigrade (80° and 84° F) all the year round.
Many foreigners also choose to reside closer to the beaches on the Pacific Ocean finding accommodations in such cities as Coronado or Nueva Gorgona.
Towns in the mountain areas
Those who find that the climate is a bit too hot and wet in Panama lowlands, often reside in small towns higher in the mountains. The climate is cooler there and it feels more like an everlasting spring there rather than eternal summer. These are the towns such as Boquete, El Valle de Anton, Volcan, Cerro Punta and Santa Fe.
Boquete in particular has the largest expat community of US natives. There are as many American pensioners residing in Boquete as there are native Panamanians. Many cultural and entertainment events take place in this town on a regular basis.
Boquete is only a small town and you can get from the center to the outskirts on foot. However, many American immigrants like driving cars around the place. The practical need of having a car in Boquete is the possibility to drive to Panama City, which does not take too long.
A large number of retirees come to stay in these little towns in the mountains because the cost of living there is a bit lower than that in Panama City. The cost of living even lower than in Boquete can be found in some lesser known places in the mountains where few immigrants live.
Again, your lifestyle will determine how much money you will have to spend on your daily needs. If you buy locally produced food (of which there is plenty) and Panama-made clothing and household goods, you will have to spend several times less than if you buy imported food items in the supermarket.
Every person determines the lifestyle that he or she wants to have. The cost of living in Boquete is between US$ 1,100 and US$ 2,500 per month. Renting an apartment or a house will cost anywhere between US$ 400 and US$ 4,000 per month. Much depends on the size, the quality, and the comfort of the place you choose for living.
There is another issue that has to be taken into consideration, namely, the electricity bills. Few immigrants residing in the cooler mountain areas use air conditioners and for this reason their electricity bills are smaller than those living in Panama City have to pay. As a means of economizing on electricity, many residents of Panama City install ceiling fans in addition to air conditioners. When it is not too hot, the air conditioning can be turned off and the more economical ceiling fan turned on.
However, the lowest cost of living in Panama is found in the Caribbean region of the country close to the Costa Rican border. Such cities as Bocas del Toro, Penonomé, Las Tablas, Cerro Azul and others are located in this region. The prices are lower because these are considered remote areas of Panama and the infrastructure there is not as advanced as it is in the capital.
These cities are of great cultural and historical importance and in addition to that, they have absolutely marvelous nature around them. At the same time, unlike Panama City, they do not have large hospitals, big supermarkets, and fancy entertainment facilities. Besides, the climate in the Caribbean part of Panama is wetter. It rains there more often than in other parts of the country. Rain may fall even in the summertime, which is untypical of the rest of Panama.
An apartment in Santa Maria Court
In Panama, you can find a luxurious apartment that will live up to all your expectations and will have the quality that you are used to.
Investment into Panamanian real estate makes the foreigner eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit straight away. If you purchase a house or an apartment in Panama now, you will pay the property tax in accordance with the new law that came into effect at the beginning of 2019.
The new law sets the tax exempt worth of real property at US$ 120,000 while the old version had it at US$ 30,000.
Our company offers to clients only the best exclusive pieces of real estate on sale in Panama. We have a representative in Panama City who acts as an on-site real estate agent and who can choose the best of the best.
Santa Maria Court is a gated condominium consisting of two high-rise buildings: the Western Tower of 16 stories and the Eastern Tower of 17 stories. The buildings sit in the Costa Del Este district of Panama City.
When erecting these Towers, the developers had in mind the most demanding and wealthy customers who want to live in comfort without having to worry about their daily routines.
Round-the-clock concierge service and security surveillance are available in Santa Maria Court. On the premises of the condominium you can find a movie theater, a fitness hall, a swimming pool, a public area, a covered parking lot, and an 18-hole golf course. The golf course is considered the best one within the limits of Panama City.
The total area of the apartment is 1,456 square meters (1741 sq. yards). It is a duplex apartment (it has two levels) equipped with a centralized air conditioning system. The floors are made of marble and the double-pane windows of plastic. The apartment has the following rooms:
- Five bedrooms.
- Five bathrooms.
- A living room.
- A study.
- A dining room.
- A spacious kitchen equipped with elite Italian-made kitchen appliances.
- Utility area.
- Three storage rooms.
- Two laundry rooms with a washing machine and a draining rack.
- Two balconies with the view of the golf course.
- A governess room with a separate bathroom.
You can inquire about the price of the apartment by writing to us to email@example.com. You have to be prepared, however, that the price of this apartment is going to be considerably lower than the price of a similar apartment in the capital of any civilized country. By ‘similar apartment’ here we mean the degrees of comfort and luxury only but purchasing the apartment that we offer you will also be able to enjoy the fantastic tropical nature of Panama. Let us be frank: living in a luxury apartment and simultaneously enjoying tropical nature is a combination rarely to be found anywhere else in the world.
What should you do in order to acquire residence in Panama?
To obtain the status of a legal resident in Panama you will have to apply for one of many visa programs that the Panamanian Government has in place for immigrants.
All these programs have one underlying principle. In order to qualify for permanent residency in Panama the foreign national has to invest a certain sum of money into the country. Some visa programs will have some additional requirements as well. Besides, some but not all such programs will lead to full Panamanian citizenship after several years of living in the country as a legal resident.
Below please find brief descriptions of four most convenient and thus most popular Panama immigration programs. You can read more about each of them if you follow the corresponding hyperlinks.
If you are lucky to be a citizen of one of the fifty countries that Panama lists as its friendly nations, you can use the Friendly Nations visa program. This program requires that you deposit US$ 5,000 in a Panamanian bank plus do one of the following:
- Find an employment in Panama
- Open a business in the country (even a small business will do)
- Purchase real estate in Panama that is worth minimum US$ 100,000.
You can find the list of Panama friendly nations if you click on this link.
If you are a business person with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, you can use the Business Investor visa program. This program requires that the applicant establish a business company in Panama hiring five local people to the jobs. The total business investment has to amount to US$ 160,000.
Please follow this link to read more about the Business Investor immigration program.
If you are quite wealthy but not a millionaire yet, you can apply for the Economic Investor visa program. With this program you are supposed to bring US$ 300,000 to Panama. You can put the money into a fixed-term bank account or buy real property worth that much or more. You can also spend part of the three hundred thousand on purchasing a house or an apartment and put the remaining part in the bank. There are no serious additional requirements with this program.
Please follow this link to find out more about the Economic Investor immigration program.
If you are a retired citizen of a hard currency country, your best choice will be the Pensionado visa program. This immigration program does not require any initial investment at all. You will only have to prove to the Panama immigration authorities that you are able to sustain yourself while living in the country. That is, you will have to submit conclusive evidence of the fact that you have a guaranteed lifetime income of US$ 1,000 per month or more such as a state pension, for example.
However, if you buy real property in Panama that costs US$ 100,000 or more, a stable monthly income of US$ 750 will suffice to qualify for a Pensionado visa.
You can read more about this immigration program if you follow this link.
As soon as you fulfill the essential conditions of the program of your choice, you can launch the process of acquiring permanent residence permit in Panama. Purchase of real estate in the country counts towards the required investment with more than one Panama immigration programs.
If you are interested in relocating to Panama, please request a free consultation with us to learn more about the immigration requirements and procedures.
We will be happy to guide you through the whole process starting with the purchase of the most suitable house or apartment and finishing with receiving the legal resident ID. We provide only the best quality counseling services.
According to the Panamanian legislation, a foreign applicant for any immigration program shall have a Panama native lawyer who will act as his or her representative in all governmental and financial agencies. We have lawyers in Panama City working for us and they have all the necessary knowledge and experience to assist you in becoming a permanent resident of Panama.
Please write to us to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have decided that you want to move to Panama or if you want to ask us any questions about immigrating to this beautiful country. Our managers will reply your message promptly.