There are many reasons why foreign nationals choose to immigrate to Panama
. For foreign investors, the ease of doing business and starting a company can be an important motive, while for others the beautiful beaches, the pleasant weather and the low cost of living can be their top reasons.
In order to relocate to Panama, individuals will need to follow a few steps and spend a period in the country with a temporary residence, after which they can apply for permanent residency,
The purpose of stay in Panama can differ, however, all foreign nationals are asked to follow the initial entry requirements (based on their nationality) and the subsequent rules for temporary and permanent stay in the country.
In this article you can find out more about how to move to Panama and what you can expect in general. Because each case is different, and foreign nationals will arrive in Panama under varying circumstances, we advise those interested to reach out to our Panamanian experts who can give you personalized information.
A particular area of interest is for those who wish to open a company in Panama
. In this article you will also find a few details about the conditions for investing and obtaining residency. For more information on this topic, you can always discuss with our company formation agents.
What are the main conditions for entry into Panama?
In order to be able to immigrate to Panama, one has to lawfully enter the country. This is done under a visa for most foreign nationals.
Nationals from more than 100 countries, including many countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are subject to a visa waiver and they can remain in the country for six months. An extension of the visa is performed with the Offices of Immigration for those who wish to immigrate to Panama.
Foreign nationals from several countries that do not qualify for the waiver will need an authorized visa. Included here are those from Afghanistan, Albania, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Laos, Mali, Morocco, Pakistan, People’s Republic of Korea, Suria, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Yemen and others.
The purpose of the visa application is important and the supporting documentation will depend on it. Work purposes, as well as investment purposes are often used. For some types of investments, one should know that Panama citizenship by investment is an option
. However, foreign nationals can also apply for a family regrouping visa. Our team can give you more details about the rules and regulations set forth by the government
for those interested in how to move to Panama
How has the law for those who immigrate to Panama changed?
The Panama Friendly Nations Visa programme will change starting with 2021. After many years during which foreign nationals were permitted a light regime to enter and remain in the country, the regulations will change. Although the visa will not disappear altogether, interested foreign nationals, and especially those who are interested in starting a business, will be subject to different rules.
Some of the changes that started to take effect in August 2021, affecting the way in which one can move to Panama, are the following:
- Temporary residence: the first step will be to obtain a temporary residency visa with a validity of at least 2 years; after this the holder can make an application for permanent residency;
- Work permit: another change apart from the mandatory temporary stay is that the applicant will also need to apply for a work permit; buying a company in Panama
does not longer suffice;
- The purpose of stay: the now temporary visa for those who wish to move to Panama can be awarded for work purposes or for buying property of no less than 200,000 $;
- List of eligible countries: the list of countries accepted for this type of visa has reduced to 53; Taiwan is no longer included;
- Processing time: it is expected that the approval process and the issuance of the Panama Friendly Nations Visa for those who immigrate to Panama will be longer, with an expected period between 8 to 10 months.
If you are interested in Panama company formation
, as well as gaining temporary residence, our team can give you more details.
The beautiful coastline, the busy shipping route that offers investment opportunities, the low cost of live and the minimal language barrier (given the fact that Spanish and English are spoken here) are all very good reasons to immigrate to Panama.
Foreign nationals who are interested in knowing more about the process can contact us
for personalized assistance. We can help you move to the country, and, for business owners, we can give you information on how to relocate to Panama
with your company.