Jul 22, 2019

Three easiest ways to acquire residency in Panama with the “Economic Investor” visa

Establishing residence in Panama can mark the beginning of a new stage in your life. The “Economic Investor” immigration program allows citizens of all countries to move to Panama and live a life of ease in a country with a perfect climate and safe business environment.

Panama is a relatively small Central American country known for its exotic nature and fantastic beaches along both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts. North Americans love coming here for holidays and many of them choose to stay here forever. Travelling to Panama from Europe will take a bit longer but no distance is too long to be covered in the modern world.

Apart from its natural wonders, Panama already is a developed country demonstrating steady economic growth over some twenty recent years, as well as a favorable political and social climate. Today, the country also enjoys high standings with the international business and finances.

Panama’s banking sector is the strongest in the whole of Latin America. The number of international banks with branch offices in Panama City and other Panamanian locations has been steadily growing and now nearly a hundred banks from all over the globe work in the country. Banks in Panama have a higher level of capitalization than some US or European banks do. In addition, they provide a higher level of confidentiality of their clients’ financial information. While banks in some other parts of the world cannot afford it today, commercial and financial secretes are effectively protected by the Panamanian legislation.

Panama provides valuable services to international businesses hosting foreign companies on its territory. The country welcomes foreign investments and uses territorial taxation system, which makes it especially attractive to international corporations. If a foreign citizen establishes a business company in Panama while deriving profit from international markets, this profit is not taxed. The same is true for the income derived from dividends, interest, or securities. Only the income obtained by a physical or a legal entity within the Panamanian geographical borders is taxable in this country.

The rate of development that Panama shows at the moment is often compared to that of Hong Kong and Singapore in their booming times. The inflow of foreigners to Panama has been steadily growing over the recent years. This is telling of the comfortable living and business environment that the country offers. At the same time, the cost of living in Panama is comparatively low. Goods and services here are considerably less expensive here than those in Europe or the USA.

Large states are naturally annoyed by the fact that capital is flowing out of their jurisdictions to a small remote country. This was the reason for the “Panama Papers” scandal occurrence when Panama was accused of allowing its companies to engage in unfair financial operations. This mudslinging on the part of the economically strong states was based on ungrounded conjectures and false accusations of unlawful business activities that a previously unknown group of journalists had invented. No facts confirming these accusations were actually provided in those publications.

This is exactly the reason why the “Panama Papers” scandal has had little effect. Foreign investments keep flowing into Panama and international businesses continue to increase their presence in the country.

The construction sector is developing at an especially fast pace in Panama greatly contributing to the growth of the country GDP. Construction of residential houses is one of the highest priorities with the Panamanian Government. The prices are still very affordable and the building quality is high – a combination rarely found in other world countries. Besides living accommodations, commercial buildings have also been actively erected in Panama. The demand for this type of real property is high with the investors from the US, Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

The capital of the country is a modern megalopolis. Panama City boasts a huge number of restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, and trade and business centers.

The health care system in Panama is considered one of the best in the region.

The recent years have also seen a remarkable decrease in the crime rates in the country, which has made Panama one of the safest states in Latin America to live in.

Acquiring residence in Panama is easy

It is very nice of the Panamanian authorities to grant visa-free attendance of the country to citizens of many world states. This fact provides for an easy opportunity to visit Panama and make a closer acquaintance with it before making the decision to move there for good. The Government welcomes wealthy foreigners and offers some alluring conditions to those who are willing to invest in Panama.

Countries that try to attract foreign investors eventually grow satisfied with their numbers and dismantle their tempting ‘residence for investment’ programs. Naturally, the immigration programs that Panama offers now will not last forever either. This is why you will be well advised to grab this chance of finding a free and happy place to live straight away!

There are several immigration programs that the Panamanian Government has designed and one of them will certainly suit you. Offshore Pro Group will be happy to assist you in obtaining Panama residence. We have skilled lawyers and accountants on the staff who will be able to answer all your questions and help you overcome all the difficulties. You can appreciate the level of services provided in Panama right on your arrival to Tocumen international airport in Panama City. A representative of ours will meet you at the airport, take you to the hotel, help you check in and will accompany you in all your meetings with the state officers in different government agencies.

Of course, residence in Panama cannot be acquired in an instant. If you do need a Panamanian visa and if you are not planning to stay in the country for the whole period while your application documents are being processed, you need a multiple entry visa. Otherwise you will be fined US$ 2,000 when you come to the country for the second time. The Immigration Service will stamp a multi-entry visa in your foreign passport within three to five days since you file an application with them. The visa validity period can be different but it will certainly cover the time needed for residency acquisition in Panama. The Panamanian authorities want to make sure that a prospective immigrant can freely come and go while waiting for the residence permit, so the visa is usually issued for one year. We can also assist you in obtaining a Panamanian multi-entry visa.

Three ways of acquiring an “Economic Investor” visa

A citizen of any country of the world can obtain an “Economic Investor” visa that grants the right of permanent residence in Panama by bringing in US$ 300,000 or more.

There are three options you can use to acquire the visa:

Option 1

You can buy real property in Panama that is worth not less than US$ 300,000. In addition to that, you will have to cover the state duties. If you are moving to Panama with your family, the state duties shall be paid for every dependent member.

One of the purchase conditions is that the property must be registered in the name of the primary program applicant. Property registered in the name of a corporation or a trust will not be taken into consideration. Property bought on mortgage does not qualify either.

Buying real estate in Panama worth US$ 300,000 or more is the easiest and the surest way to acquire permanent residence permit in the country.

Apartments in apartment buildings located in Panamanian cities are available in especially large quantities in the country. The price per 1 square meter (1.2 sq. yards) in such type of accommodations is usually between US$ 2,000 and US$ 3,000. Leasing out an apartment worth US$ 300,000 will bring you approximately US$ 2,000 of steady passive income per month, which is a good return on investment as it is.

If the apartment you buy costs over US$ 450,000, renting it out will bring you around US$ 3,000 per month. In this case, the return on investment will be 7% to 8%. Thus, over five years (this is the time you have to hold a residence permit before you can apply for full citizenship) you will be able to return almost half of the invested money.

It must be noted, that the price of the property per square meter varies in Panama and depends on the location, quality, and the total size of the accommodation. However, in comparison to real estate prices in the USA, for example, the prices in Panama are at least two times lower. At the same time, you can not only purchase a high quality living accommodation in Panama but also acquire a permanent residence permit in this country and a stable passive income from letting your property on a lease.  

Option 2

You can open an account in a Panamanian bank depositing at least US$ 300,000 into it. It has to be a special three-year fixed-term account. The deposit shall be made in the name of the primary program applicant. A corporate account or a private foundation account will not qualify for the “Economic Investor” visa program. If you close the account before the fixed term expires, you will automatically lose residence permit in Panama. However, after three years you can use the money at your discretion again.

You can direct the interest on this deposit to a separate bank account, be it a savings, a corporate, or any other type of account. In accordance with the Panamanian legislation, dividends and interest are not taxed and do not have to be accounted for.

Please remember, that the state duties for each program applicant payable in the application process have to be added to the total sum of the required investment.

Option 3

You can also acquire residency in Panama using a combination of Options 1 and 2. Thus, you can buy a less expensive piece of real estate and make a fixed-term deposit in a bank. The important thing is that the overall investment that you make shall amount to minimum US$ 300,000.

All the state duties remain payable with this Option as well.

The procedure of acquiring residence in Panama with the “Economic Investor” visa

The Immigration Service will usually take three to four months to process your application documents. After that, you will receive a two-year temporary residence card. When this time expires, you are entitled to apply for permanent residence.

After five years of holding the residence permit, you can apply for full citizenship in Panama. What is important is that you do not have to live any set amount of time in the country before you become a Panamanian citizen.

A Panamanian Passport will let you forget about obtaining tourist visas whichever country you want to spend a holiday in (well, almost). And of course, such passport will bring many other benefits too including some enticing economic opportunities.

To obtain the Government permission to reside in Panama you have to collect all the required documents. These documents have to be translated into Spanish, the translations apostilled. Some documents have to be notarized or authenticated in some other way in this or that state agency. The document submission procedure also has to follow certain rules. Thus, a qualified agent’s help will come in handy if you want to obtain Panama residence!

We provide consultations and application support services. Our experts will assist you on all stages of the residence application procedure – from choosing the property to buy to receiving the permanent residence card.

Please apply for our assistance in acquiring residency in Panama by writing to [email protected].

When we receive your request, we will get back to you promptly, send you our pricelist, and gladly discuss all the issues related to moving to Panama that might be of interest to you.