Immigration to Panama. Obtaining residency with Friendly Nations Visa

Panama's growing economy needs well educated, skilled and entrepreneurial labor force. To achieve this goal in the shortest time possible the Government of Panama announced Friendly Nations Visa program in 2012. In order to qualify you should be a citizen of any of the 50 countries (listed as Friendly Nations), register a company in Panama and deposit US$ 5000 to your personal account. These simple steps will gain you permanent residency in Panama almost immediately. You will not be required to work in your company. Please find the details below.


Easy and fast immigration to Panama. Immediate residence visa for citizens of Friendly Nations countries.

If you belong to Friendly Nations Countries (see the list below) you can get a permanent residence permit in Panama just registering a company.
Actually only the following is required:

Opening a bank account in your name and depositing a minimum of US$ 5000. If there are dependents that will apply with the main applicant, then US$ 2000 per dependent should be added. To open an account you will need to travel to Panama and visit the bank. Having a bank account is necessary for obtaining the permanent visa.

Registering a company in Panama where you will be the President and Shareholder. The company is supposed to provide professional services, but you will be able to use it for any lawful activity.

The major part of the bank account opening can be done without your presence. We will do most of the job and once you come to Panama, we will finalize everything so that the account is open in approximately one week. We will do our best to shorten this term, of course.

You would need to travel to Panama at least twice. Initially to visit the bank and finalize the account opening, sign the power of attorney empowering us to file the application and have your passport registered with the Immigration Service.

Once the bank account is open you would need to send the funds to activate the account. When funds have been deposited the bank can issue a letter of reference and/or a statement of account. This will be needed for Panama immigration service to proceed with obtaining a multiple entry visa. Then we will incorporate your company. It takes roughly 2 days to have the company registered. The company may be dissolved or transferred to another person after the Permanent Residence Visa is granted.

If you can stay in Panama for this whole time, we can file the application right away and obtain the provisional residence permit and multiple entry and exit permit (this last one is necessary to leave the country while the visa is being processed as otherwise, upon the return, the applicant can be penalized with a fine of US$ 2000).

The second visit will be required to get your permanent resident card (once the visa is approved).

Our legal fees.

Our legal fees are US$ 3500 + 7% service tax for the main applicant, plus US$ 900 + 7% service tax per dependent.
Please get in touch with us if you wish to proceed with obtaining a permanent residence permit in Panama. We will provide detailed instructions and all necessary information.

Friendly Nations Countries List:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Finland France,
Germany, Great Britain, Greece,
Hong Kong, Hungary,
Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Paraguay, Poland, Portugal,
Republic of Korea,
San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
Uruguay, USA.

Some important notes related to Panama and its residency programs.

Great geographical location making Panama City a transport hub with hundreds of flights to and from all world destinations, tropical maritime climate. Panamanian judicial system is based on French and Spanish Law and influenced by the US legal system, English is commonly used, especially in business circles, US dollars are legal tender alongside with the local balboa, stable democracy for decades has been tightly connected with the US.

Panama has rather favorable taxation system. Some common taxes, like capital gains tax, inheritance tax do not exist in Panama. Panama utilizes territorial taxation approach when taxing its residents. Only income generated in Panama is taxed, although the first US$ 11 000 made within Panama borders will be tax exempt too.

Panama’s Visas and Residence permits general overview.

Important note. If you are looking to obtain tax residency in Panama (in order not to pay high taxes in your home country) you should be prepared to spend at least half a year (183 days) in Panama and own a home there (an apartment, a house). If you meet these criteria you can apply for tax residency. The residency programs below will grant you residency, but you will remain tax resident in your home country at the same time.

There are a few residency programs, Friendly Nations Visa and The Pensionado (Retiree) Visa being the most popular and affordable.

If you do not qualify for Friendly Nations Visa (see above) you may choose from the following:

  • Pensionado (Retiree) Visa - US$ 1000 minimum monthly pension required. This pension income should be guaranteed for life. Pension amount can be US$ 750 per month if you also invest into a property – US$ 100 000 in the least.
  • Reforestation Investment Visa requires US$ 80,000 minimum investment in five hectares of a certified reforestation or forest plantation project. The Panama
  • Reforestation Visa offers permanent residency and eventual Panama citizenship for the investor and the family. US$ 2000 should be added for every dependent.
  • Agricultural Investor Program participants can obtain up to 6 years of temporary residence in Panama investing a minimum of US$ 60 000 in an agricultural business. Permanent residency is not available.
  • Economic Self Solvency Visa - US$ 300 000 minimum investment in real estate or depositing on a fixed deposit with a local bank the same amount for 3 years in the least.
  • Business Investor Visa requires a minimum US$ 160 000 investment in any new Panamanian business. Also, you will be required to employ at least 5 Panamanian employees, pay the minimum wage and the related contributions to the budget.

If you wish to know more about the residency programs and visas mentioned above, please send us a query. We will be happy to assist.

National Migration Service of Panama
Panama Embassies & Consulates