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Immigration to Panama

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Panama Permanent Residency Visas

Panama offers several immigration permanent residency visa programs. Foreigners have several options to choose in order to live permanently in Panama.

Here is a list with a short explanation of every Panama immigration visa providing permanent residency:

1. Panama Friendly Nations Visa

If you are a citizen from one of the 47 countries listed below which Panama considers being friendly nations wishing to relocate to Panama in order to conduct economic or professional business activities you can qualify for this fast track permanent residency program:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Marino, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom (Great Britain & Northern Ireland).

To learn more about Panama's Friendly Nations Visa Click Here

PERMANENT RESIDENCY VISAS IN PANAMA: A. ECONOMIC INTEREST (FRIENDLY COUNTRIES) B. FOREIGN PROFESSIONAL (ALL COUNTRIES) - DETAILS

Panamanian Government have approved two new Visas this year to provide PERMANENT RESIDENCY to foreigners with either Economic interest or Professional interest.

The two Visas are as follows:

A. Permanent Residency to foreigners of friendly countries with economic interest in Panama.

Main requirements:

- Demonstrate economic or professional interest (for example, a corporation)
- Police record apostilled
- Power of attorney to a lawyer to represent you
- Personal bank account with at least US$5,000.00

All documents coming from another country should be apostilled. If they are not in Spanish, they should be translated in Panama by an authorized translator.

Permanent Residency is provided once it is approved by Immigration. Time: approx. 4 to 6 months.
Provides Work Permit once it is approved. The process to obtain the work permit is separate and it is before the Labor Ministry.
After 5 years of obtaining the Permanent Residency you can apply for the nationality. The Permanent Residency can be lost if you stay out of Panama for two consecutive years.

Countries that apply for this Visa (updated):
Germany, Argentina, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Brasil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Chipre, South Korea, Croatia, Spain, USA, Slovakia, France, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Japan, Monaco, Norway, Poland, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta, Servia, Montenegro Republic, South Africa, Taiwan, Marino Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay

What to do if you want to proceed? First you need to obtain your Police Records in your country and have it apostilled. In the meanwhile you should proceed with the opening of the bank account if you do not have one in Panama, and collect all the documents that demonstrate the economic interest. If you have a company registered it is absolutely valid. If you do not, it is recommended you register one since it is not sufficient only having a bank account. A company can be registered in approx. 1 week.

B. Permanent Residency for Foreign Professional

This Visa published in October 9, 2012, allows professionals of other countries to apply to a Permanent Residency in Panama. It is important to mention that once approved, you will be provided with Provisional Visa for two years, and then you can request the Permanent Residency.

Professions limited to Panamanians do NOT apply fir this Visa. The professions that do NOT apply are:

- Cosmetology
- Odontology and Dental Assistant
- Engineering
- Architecture
- Agricultural Science
- Pharmacy and Chemistry
- Chiropractor
- Nutrition
- Medicine, Nursing, Medical Assistant, Laboratorists
- Psychology
- Accounting
- Journalism
- Public Relations
- Therapists
- Social Work
- Economists
- Veterinaries
- Radiology
- Law
-Sociology

Main requirements:

- Police records apostilled
- Diploma of a University apostilled
- Power of attorney

What to do if you are interested? Proceed obtaining the Police records and the apostille of it, as well as for the Diploma. Then your lawyer will proceed to elaborate the documentation needed to file for the Visa.

This Visa does not have limitation of countries, so foreigners of any country can apply.

2. Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa

There are 3 options available to qualify for this unique Panama visa created to attract wealthy foreigners to become permanent Panama residents:

a) Make an investment of at least $300,000 USD in Panama real property equity (not counting loans or mortgages amounts). For every dependent to be included with the visa, an additional $2,000 USD must be invested. The title can either be in a person's name or in a Panama Private Interest Foundation (the primary applicant must either be a beneficiary or the creator). The property cannot be in the name of a Trust or a corporation. The primary applicant must also show the ability to support the family while living in Panama.

b) Make an investment of at least $300,000 USD in a 3 year Panama bank time deposit (Certificate of Deposit). For each dependant, an additional $2,000 USD
needs to be invested. The Panama bank CD can only be in the name of the primary applicant and not in a trust, corporation, or foundation.

c) Combine the first two options by making an investment in both Panama real property and a Panama bank CD where the equity and cash amount total at least $300,000 USD (or foreign currency equivalent). An additional $2,000 USD must be invested for each dependent.

To learn more about Panama's Self-Economic Solvency Visa Click Here

3. Panama's Business Investor Visa

Foreigners can obtain a Panama Business Investor Visa by investing in a Panama business with at least $160,000 USD in capital stock. The investor can apply for the visa as an officer or shareholder of the Panama corporation. An additional $2,000 must be invested per dependent.

To learn more about Panama's Business Investor Visa Click Here


4. Panama Reforestation Investor Visa

Permanent residency leading to full citizenship can be achieved with just a minimum $80,000 USD investment to purchase at least 5 hectares of titled land in a government certified reforestation project. An additional $2,000 will be needed for each dependent. Panama reforestation investments have averaged annual returns of 23% over the past 20 years.

To learn more about Panama's Reforestation Investor Visa Click Here

5. Panama Retired or Pensioned Program

Retirees or people with lifetime annuities or pensions can qualify for the Panama Pensioner Visa. This permanent residency visa is for anyone over 18 years of age who obtains monthly pensions or annuities of at least $1,000 USD for the rest of their lives. An additional $250 per month must be received for each dependent. Married couples can combine their annuities or pensions to meet the minimum requirement. An exception exists where the primary applicant purchases Panama real estate valued at least $100,000 lowering the monthly minimum to $750. The annuity or pension can come from a government, its military, a corporation, a bank, an insurance company, a Trust, or private company. There are many discounts available to card carrying pensioners in Panama including pharmacies, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, concerts, and domestic airfare.

To learn more about Panama's Pensionado Visa Click Here

6. Marry a Panama Citizen

A legal, valid marriage (not a sham) to a Panama citizen can lead to permanent residency.


Bringing Your Pets to Panama

Nobody wants to leave his or her favorite pet behind. Whether you are planning to move to Panama as a resident or just planning a long stay as a tourist, can you bring your favorite pets?

Yes, you can. However, like most countries around the world, Panama has strict rules which must be followed. Panama doesn't want sick or infectious pets coming into contact with other animals.

Here is a summary of the Panama Immigration and Health laws and regulations pertaining to pets.

PANAMA IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PETS

CATS & DOGS To Panama

1. Vaccination Certificate provided by your veterinarian showing the pet has no rabies. Last shot must be at least 30 days and not more than 12 months before entering Panama;

2. Health Certificate also provided by your veterinarian showing the pet is disease free which must be issued within 10 days before leaving;

3. Health and Vaccination certificates must be certified by the USDA who have offices all over the U.S.;

4. These Vet & USDA Certificates must then be authenticated by the nearest Panamanian embassy or consulate, or apostiled by the U.S. government or Secretary of State. You can send them to the nearest Panama consulate or embassy by courier with return envelope and a money order for $30 for their fee.

5. Certificate of Origin showing where the pet was born;

6. Completed Import Form (you can get one at the Panama Airport's Health or Quarantine Departments);

7. Panama Airport Health Department reviews papers and inspects the pet. There is a $16 fee for pet entry. The vets are in the airport on weekdays only from 9am to 3pm and from 7pm to 10pm. If your flight arrives on the weekend or during hours when there is no vet scheduled, you can make arrangements to have a vet come meet your flight. You must make these arrangements through either the Panama Ministry of Health or the Panama Agriculture Ministry. You will be expected to pay an extra fee to have the vet come meet you after hours. If you don't make arrangements to have the vet meet you a head of time, your pet will have to stay at the airport until a vet is on shift.

8. $10 per day fee must be paid if your pet is quarantined by the Panama Health Department for 40 days;

9. Panama Home Quarantine option is available for a $130 fee where you promise to keep your pet inside your home for the required 40 days. This request must be made to the Panama Ministry of Health at least 14 days before arrival. The request must include arrival date, flight number, time, pet information and name & passport number of adult, and length of time pet will remain in Panama.

10. The $146 fee must be paid for quarantine expenses to the Panama National Bank, located on the first floor of Tocumen International Airport, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

11. Present the bank's receipt and all the other documentation to the veterinarian of the Panama Quarantine Department of Panama Tocumen International Airport, in order to get the pet.

EXOTIC PETS (Birds, Reptiles, etc.)

1. Sanitation Certificate provided by your veterinarian;

2. Export Authorization by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora). Your veterinarian should provide you with their appropriate agency in your country to contact regarding this.

3. Letter of Request to the Director Nacional de Patrimonio Nacional, Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM).

Phone #: ++ (507) 500 - 0855.

This letter must include:

a. Name, Species (common & scientific name), age, other relevant information.
b. Country Exporting from.
c. Panama as country of Import.
d. Sanitation Certificate & CITES authorization Attached.

ANAM will provide an Import Authorization which must be sent to:

Departamento de Cuarentana Agropecuaria,
Ministerio de Desarrollo Agropecuario (MIDA)

Their Director is Cesar Maure whose e-mail is: cmauremidagobpa
Their Phone at Tocumen Airport is ++ (507) 238 - 4234

This department will provide the Pet Import Permit which must be presented at the airport when your pet arrives. They will determine if your pet must be quarantined. Adult birds normally will be quarantined for 15 days.

This is when you can request the Panama Home Quarantine option.

Your Veterinarian is Your Key: As you can see, most of the documentation of your dogs & cats will be provided by your veterinarian. As long as your pets have been properly vaccinated, sanitized, and place of birth documented; you shouldn't encounter any problems with Panama's Immigration and Health officials.

Exotic Pets Require Further Documents: Since Panama has many beautiful and exotic birds & reptiles, protecting them is a national priority. Your veterinarian can provide you with a Sanitation certificate. Obtaining CITES approval is your first step. Even with CITES approval, permission to enter ultimately rests with Panama's ANAM agency.

CITES: Obtaining a CITES authorization is the first critical step. Their website (http://www.cites.org/ ) describes their function as: All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system. There are 2 classes of species according to potential of extinction which CITES wishes to protect:

1. Species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

2. Species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

Here are the requirements by CITES for obtaining their approval based on the 2 classifications of species above:

Species 1

1. An import permit issued by the Management Authority of the State of import is required. This may be issued only if the specimen is not to be used for primarily commercial purposes and if the import will be for purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the species. In the case of a live animal or plant, the Scientific Authority must be satisfied that the proposed recipient is suitably equipped to house and care for it.

2. An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is also required. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained; the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species; and an import permit has already been issued. A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and, in the case of a live animal or plant, if an import permit has been issued. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.

Species 2

1. An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is required. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the Convention.

2. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.

3. No import permit is needed unless required by national law.

As you can see, CITES has strict regulations in order to protect all types of exotic species. Knowing these requirements before you begin your application process will be valuable in obtaining their permission.

To Summarize this article: Bringing in dogs and cats to Panama is a pretty standard procedure, as long as, your veterinarian provides you with the appropriate documents. Exotic pets, on the other hand, will require an international organization's approval and a Panamanian agency set up to protect its natural environment.


Change of Panama Migratory Status

Panama Offshore Legal Services can help foreigners with their Change of Panama Migratory Status.

Article 14 of the Decree Law provides that the foreign non-residents will be able to change their Panama migratory category, except those whose Panama visa authorization does not permit it.

The foreigners that enter Panama under the category of tourist will be able, just as the Decree Law establishes, to request the change of migratory category, whether inside their time of stay as tourist or inside the category change extension.

Foreigners that have completed maximum time as Panama temporary residents will be able to request permission as Panama permanent residents when it is permitted by submitting the documentation that is required from them for the extension of their Panama temporary residency.

Note: The previous article will not apply to those that have permission of Panama temporary residency under the following categories: for humanitarian reasons, for education, and by special laws.

GENERAL DISPOSITIONS OF THE REQUESTS OF VISAS AND PERMISSIONS

In the requests of Panama visas or permissions for labor reasons, the legal representative of the business contractor must specify the purpose of the business and the foreign applicant. If the legal representative is the applicant, another dignitary of the company should offer this.

The dependents of legal age, for any Panama visa or permission of different categories or subcategories, should be able to make changes themselves.

Every copy that is required to be presented for the different Panama visas or permissions should be properly authenticated as faithful copies of its original by a notary public or competent authority.

Letter of responsibility sent by a natural or legal person (sent in the letterhead of the business), should include:

1. That assumes the economic living or the payment of the salary, as be the case;

2. That assumes the expenses of return or repatriation to their country of origin or destiny, in case it is necessary;

3. It should be accompanied by receipt of public utilities, rental agreement, hotel reservation, or any another document that verifies the foreigner's residence during their stay in the national territory;

4. The signature should be authenticated by a notary public.

The photos that an applicant contributes will be recent, with the full face.

The General Director of the National Service of Immigration will establish for resolution the procedures and necessary protocols that those interested should carry out in order to claim the refund of the deposit of guarantee, according to the corresponding migratory procedure.

All the documents that are sent from abroad should comply with the following requirements:

1. Being properly Apostilled or authenticated by the embassy or consulate of Panama in the country that sent them and by the Department of Foreign Affairs of Panama;

2. If no consulate or Panamanian embassy exists in the country that emits it, such situation should be accredited and to proceed to authenticate it in the embassy or consulate of a friendly country;

3. Every document should be in the Spanish language or should be translated by an authorized public translator with reference to the resolution that authorizes them as a translator in the Republic of Panama;

4. If it refers to foreign currency, they should present the conversion that details its equivalent in dollars, emitted by a competent company.

For extension requests, temporary or permanent residents, they do not need to resubmit the requirements established in the numerals 2 and 4 of Article 28 of the Decree Law that have been presented in the first request.

CANCELLATION OF PANAMA VISAS AND MIGRATORY PERMISSIONS

In addition to the clauses of Article 31 of the Decree Law, Panama will be able to cancel the Panama visas and migratory permissions of foreigners for the following causes:

1. If the foreigner obtains multiple entrance/exit visas of non-resident, and remains in the national territory longer than they are authorized for their stay as non-resident, according to Article 49 of the Decree Law;

2. If the foreigner repeatedly does not update their information of the Registration of Immigration according to Article 87 of the Decree Law;

3. When a foreigner does not comply with the clauses in Article 50 of the Decree Law they are subject to a process of repeal or cancellation of the visa or permission that was in effect;

4. When a temporary or permanent foreign resident serves as responsible for another foreigner, and he does not comply with the terms of the letter of responsibility.

PANAMA IMMIGRATION REGISTRATION

Foreigners that request some migratory category of temporary or permanent resident have the obligation to register in the Registration of Immigration of the National Service of Immigration.

The National Service of Immigration will adopt the use of sure technological platforms in order to guarantee the defense of the information of the foreigners that is confidential.

The General Director of the National Service of Immigration, will send the resolutions in which the content of the forms are approved that should be completed for the foreigner for registration and to bring up to date their information in the Registration of Immigration.


Panama Agricultural Investor Program

Panama Offshore Legal Services provides foreigners with experienced immigration attorneys to assist in the process with acquiring Panama Agricultural visas.

Law 3 of February 2008 amended by Executive Decree 320 of August 8, 2008 regulates the Panama Agricultural Investor program (Visa en Calidad de Agricultor) as a way to offer foreigners the opportunity to become Panama temporary residents by investing in Panama farms, Panama aquaculture, and Panama agriculture.

Panama Agricultural Visas require a minimum investment of $60,000.

The permissions of temporary residents for Panama Agricultural investors will be for the period of six (6) years, extendable every two (2) years.

The applicant can not use the Panama Agricultural Investor Visa to obtain Permanent Residency or Panama Citizenship.

Panama Agricultural Investor

Foreigners through personal title or through a legal entity, must invest the minimum sum of Sixty Thousand dollars ($60,000), in a Panama agribusiness or Panama aquaculture industry to qualify for this visa. Such investments must be in areas that the Department of Farm Development considers to be of national interest for Panama.

The investment increases by Five Hundred dollars ($500) for each dependant. Proof of this additional investment must be provided to the National Service of Immigration by an original letter from a licensed Panama bank.

In addition to the requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law, the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. In the cases of legal entity, they should present:

a. Affidavit by the secretary or treasurer of the business (cannot be issued by the applicant), verifying the ownership of the nominative shares in favor of the applicant, and the total capital stock;
b. Authenticated copy of the share certificate in favor of the Panama farm investor;
c. Copies of the tax return of the business. If a fiscal period has not lapsed since the creation of the business, a copy of the inscription in the Unique Registry of the taxpayer and a copy of the receipt of payment of the unique rate;
d. Original certification of the business inscription in the Panama Public Registry;

2. Certification of the Authorized Public Accountant (CPA) detailing the grand total invested in a direct way in the activity of the Panama agribusiness or Panama aquaculture and that the capital is from the investor. (The accountant should include copies of the documents verifying this);

3. Copies of the Certification of the Panama Farm Unique Registration, which details: unique registration number, form, activities that are carried out in the Panama farm, and its location;

4. Original certification of the Panama farm recorded in the Public Registry or rental agreement;

5. Documents that show the investment is carried out directly in a Panama agribusiness or Panama aquaculture activities with a minimum of Sixty Thousand dollars ($60,000). Proof of this can be demonstrated with documents such as:

a. Banking certification of the transfer of the funds or of the payment (obligatory);
b. Audited Financial Statement;
c. Commercial bill of buying and selling;
d. Documents proving the importing or buying of supplies or equipment.

To request an extension of this visa, besides the requirements mentioned in the numerals described above, the applicant must submit the following document:

1. National Paz y Salvo of income of the applicant.

Procedures for Applying for Panama Residency:

Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your Panama immigration paperwork. Our law firm will request all required governmental certifications, and organize all required documentation and applications for the immigration department.

The procedure for temporary (non-resident) permits (visas) are the following:

1. Register passport at Immigration.

2. Present application with all required documents to immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

3. Immigration department issues applicant 3 months Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

4. Immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).
(Steps 3 and 4 are repeated every time the temporary visa is renewed).

Panama Offshore Legal Services Fees:

Please note that, because the Panama Agricultural Investor visa requires several steps that are spread out among various years, and for each step we must gather the same documentation from the various governmental agencies and present the same documentation over and over again for each step, we charge our legal fees by the step.

Panama Offshore Legal Services Fees:

Required Documents (For Immigration Processing)

Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable), including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all other pages (every single page in the passport). Please note that during your initial visit to Panama , we will need to take your original passport to the immigration office to register the passport, for immigration processing purposes.

Original Police record of the applicant, from the place of residence (and dependents such as spouse & children, if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate or Embassy in the country or region where the police record was issued.

Original Birth Certificate (of the children that are dependents if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

Original Marriage Certificate (for the dependent if they are a spouse or husband, if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

Six (6) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable).
Certificate of Good Health, issued by a licensed Panamanian hospital or clinic, signed by a registered, licensed physician, indicating that the applicant (and dependents, if applicable) has no contagious diseases and is in good mental and physical condition. THIS MUST BE DONE DURING YOUR INITIAL VISIT TO PANAMA.

* Note: for authenticating documents through the Panamanian Consulate, please Contact Us to request the contact information of the Panamanian Consulate nearest you. We have a complete list of Panamanian Consulates & Embassies all over the world.

Documents that Our Law Firm Will Provide for You;

- Special Power of Attorney, signed by the applicant (and dependents – if applicable), authorizing our law firm to process the immigration applications and documentation.

- Letter of Responsibility, signed by the applicant, whereby the applicant takes responsibility for his/her dependents.

- Certification issued by the Alcalde (Mayor) or Corregidor (Sherriff) of the area where your farm is located, certifying that they have in effect made the official inspection to confirm that you are dedicated to the agricultural business.

- Certification issued by the MIDA (Ministro de Desarrollo Agropecuario) (Ministry of Agricultural Development).

- Immigration Department Application for the Visa, duly completed (the applicant must sign).

Note that immigration request that the applicant for any type of visa, be present physically at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application.

Panama Immigration will not allow people to visit wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals.

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.


Panama Business Investor Program

Panama Business Investor Program
Panama Offshore Legal Services provides immigration legal services towards obtaining a Panama Business Investor Visa.

The Panama Business Investor Visa requires a minimum investment of $160,000 in any legitimate new business, or a new setup corporation. Obtaining a commercial business license, registering with social security, and hiring 5 Panamanian employees paying their social security benefits and at least pay the minimum wage, are additional requirements.

Every Panama Business Investor Visa requires three 2-year temporary resident visas before becoming permanent residents.

Panama Business Investor Visa

Foreigners desiring to invest in a Panama business, with a minimum capital stock of One Hundred Sixty Thousand dollars ($160,000) per applicant will be able to request the Panama Business Investor Visa, as shareholders or officers of said business.

Foreigners who apply for the Panama Business Investor Visa must prove that the minimum investment (US $160,000 per applicant) is his/her own money. A foreigner can start up any type of legal business [Except for businesses reserved for Panamanian nationals, such as, lawyers, doctors and retail sales.]

If the Panama Business Investor has dependents, the Panama business investment must increase by Two Thousand dollars ($2,000) for each dependent.

The Panama business must employ five (5) full time Panamanians (for each applicant), paid a salary at of at least the minimum wage established in the law for each region and detailing the position or activity that each employee carries out. The Panama business must register its employees in the CSS (Social Security).

In addition to the requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law the
following documents must be provided:

1. Certificate of original legal status from the Public Registry; the trade name of the Panama business; the status of the applicant as director or officer in the Panama business; the name of the legal or authorized representative (if applicable); the capital stock of the Panama business (must be minimum of $160,000); type of Panama business activities; and the distribution of the capital stock;

2. Certification by the Secretary or Treasurer of the Panama business attesting that the minimum value of $160,000 exists. The certification must be in writing signed before a notary;

3. Copy of the Business Plan for the company;

4. Certification by the Authorized Public Bookkeeper or Accountant (CPA) for the Panama business, that accredits ownership to the foreign applicant and that there is $160,000 available for the Panama business detailing the activities of the business;

5. Statement signed by the applicant before a Notary Public, indicating the total of the minimum required capital invested, the role of the applicant in the company, as well as, detailing the Panama business activities of the company;

6. Receipt of advanced payment of the capital gains tax in case the applicant has acquired an existing company of a third party and copy of the Panama business purchase contract;

7. Copies of the Tax Return of the Panama business, with its Paz y Salvo (only in case the business had been operating months before the date in which one must present the affidavit of incomes of the tax year in effect). The Tax Return should reflect the payment of the foreign applicant's minimum $160,000 investment;

8. For a Panama business recently started, the Unique Registration of the Taxpayer (RUC) identity number;

9. Copies authenticated by the CSS of the type of Panama business, with a minimum of five (5) Panamanian employees (per applicant), verifying the minimum wage established by law according to the region and area. (They should correspond to one of the payments performed inside the three previous months of presentation);

10. Paz y Salvo of the CSS in favor of the Panama business;

11. Proof of the minimum required Panama investment. This will be able to be shown by the presentation of at least three of the following documents that are under the Panama business name:

a. Bank Certification of the transfer of funds by the applicant originating from outside of Panama (obligatory);
b. In the event that they have acquired shares of a company already started, they should present proof of payment and the contract of sale;
c. Copy of the proof of deposit of the investment for the Panama business, authenticated by the bank;
d. Contract of buying or renting the localities where the Panama business operates;
e. Audited Financial Statement;
f. Receipts of the expenses incurred by the investor in the Panama business, accompanied by a detailed inventory prepared by a CPA. (Must also include a copy of a document that accredits the licensing of the CPA);
g . Customs inventories of the goods imported in the Panama business name;
h . Any another document that can show the capital invested in the Panama business.

12. Documentation that proves the existence and location of the Panama business, by submitting at least three of the following documents (can be any of the following documents or another that shows the existence of the Panama business)

a. Rental agreement of the commercial localities where the headquarters of the Panama business operates;
b. Last service billing for electric power, telephones, or drinking water supply service;
c. Contract for security services;
d. Proof of payment of the ITBMS tax to the Department of Economy and Finances.
e. Proof of payments to the Municipality.

13. Copies of the Notice of Operation.

To request continuance, besides the requirements mentioned above,, the applicants should submit the following documents:

1. National Paz y Salvo of the Panama business and of the applicant;

2. Copies of the tax return of the Panama business, with its respective receipts of payment. In the tax return (in the section patrimony, course of action) the payment of the totality of the actions of the foreign applicant (that should be greater than $160,000) should be registered;

3. Copies of the Form 03 presented to the Department of Economy and Finances;

4. Paz y Salvo from the CSS in favor of the Panama business in effect.

- Disadvantage of this visa: complex documentation, and long term processing to obtain permanent residency status.

Documents that are necessary to process legal residency and passport:

1. Power of Attorney allowing our law firm to act on behalf of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable).

2. Certificate of Good Health, signed by a registered, licensed physician, indicating that the applicant (and dependents, if applicable) has no contagious diseases and is in good mental and physical condition.

3. Notarized and authenticated police record from the place of residence for the applicant (and spouse & children, if applicable).

4. Certified or notarized Birth Certificate of the dependents ( if applicable).

5. Marriage Certificate for the applicant and spouse (if applicable).

6. Valid passport of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable).

7. Three (3) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable).

8. Financial reference letter from your bank, credit union, or brokerage / investment firm.

*All documents must be apostilled or authenticated by the Panama Consulate in your country

Procedures to Obtain Panama Resident Permits (Visas) is as follows:

1. Register passport at Immigration.

2. Present application with all required documents to immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

3. Immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

4. Immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).

5. Immigration department issues applicant Permanent Residency Permit (Visa).

6. After 5 years of Permanent Resident status, applicant may apply for citizenship through Naturalization process (once a citizen, then passport may be obtained).

Note that immigration request that the applicant for any type of visa, be present physically at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of visa application.

Panama Immigration will not allow people to visit wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals.

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.



Panama City of Knowledge Work Permit Program

Panama Offshore Legal Services provides employee Panama work permits and Panama City of Knowledge Work Visa.

The Panama City of Knowledge Work Permit Program allows foreign investors to obtain employee Panama work permits for their company in Panama on the condition they must rent an office or building within the Panama City of Knowledge (located within the former Fort Clayton military base), for the purpose of operating a business from Panama.

Since the turn-over of the US military bases in Panama, the Panamanian government has designated part of Fort Clayton as the Panama City of Knowledge, in attempts to attract foreign investment and businesses and offering similar tax benefits as the existing Colon Free Trade Zone (the second largest distribution center in the world).

Businesses operating from the Panama City of Knowledge have distinct tax advantages for operating manufacturing plants, assembly plants, software creation facilities, call centers, and other such businesses that export their products or services. These businesses also get a substantial tax break on a certain percentage of their products or services sold locally.

Foreigners that enter Panama as a researcher, professor, businessman, technician, or student with the purpose to contribute to the development of the Project of the Panama City of Knowledge Foundation, in agreement with the Decree Law 6 of 1999 will be able to request this Panama work permit.

AS RESEARCHER OF THE PANAMA CITY OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law (except for the numerals 2 & 4), the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Certification from the Panama City of Knowledge Foundation by its Executive Director of the existence of the applicant's business, the work that the foreigner carries out, and the term of rental in Panama;

2. Letter of responsibility from the business where the activities of the researcher are occurring and the earned salary;

3. Proof of affiliation to the CSS and copy of the social security card.

AS EDUCATOR IN THE PANAMA CITY OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law
(except for the numerals 2 & 4), the applicant should provide the following documents:

1. Certification or documentation showing educational purpose from the country of origin and accrediting the educational conditions;

2. Certification from the Panama City of Knowledge by its Executive Director, verifying the existence of the school, the work that the foreigner carries out, and the term of their stay in Panama;

3. Letter of responsibility from the business where the activities of the professor are evident and the salary that will be earned;

4. Proof of affiliation with the CSS and copy of the social security card.

AS BUSINESSMAN OR EXECUTIVE OF THE PANAMA CITY OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law (except for the numerals 2 & 4), the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Certification from the Panama City of Knowledge by its Executive Director, verifying the existence of the business, the work that the foreigner carries out, and the term of their stay in Panama;

2. Letter of responsibility by the parent company that certifies the activity that the foreigner will carry out as the executive in the business within the City of Knowledge, that they will exercise no other activity inside Panama, and the term of their stay in Panama;

3. Proof of affiliation to the CSS and copy of the social security card.

AS TECHNICIAN OF THE PANAMA CITY OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law
(except for the numerals 2 & 4), the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Letter of responsibility of the business, as well as, the salary to be earned;

2. Certification from the Panama City of Knowledge by its Executive Director, verifying the existence of the business, the work that the foreigner carries out, and the term of their stay in Panama;

3. Work permit and copy of their card;

4. Proof of affiliation to the CSS and copy of the social security card.

AS STUDENT OF THE PANAMA CITY OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law (except for the numerals 2 & 4), the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Original certification authenticated by the Panama City of Knowledge Foundation verifying the existence of the educational center.

2. Certification by the education center that the applicant is a full time student in good standing taking approved courses.

To request an extension, the applicant must submit:

1. Certification by the education center that the applicant is a regular full time student and has passed the previous year courses.

The study credits that show they are a regular students and that they have passed their previous year courses.

Procedures for Applying for Panama Work Permits:

1. Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your immigration paperwork.

2. Our law firm submits your application for a 2 year Panama Work Permit, under the Panama Ciudad del Saber (Panama City of Knowledge) Program. You are issued a Temporary Immigrant Card, which is valid for 3 months (those 3 months are used by the Immigration Department to process the 2 year Panama Work Permit). After 3 months, you will be issued a new Panama Work Permit Card that is valid for 2 years.

4. After the 2nd year Panama Work Permit expires, our law firm will submit a new application to extend the Panama Work Permit for a maximum of another 2 years.

A short visit to Panama is required for the processing of the Panama Work Permit Visa.

Note that immigration request that the applicant for any type of visa, be present physically at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application.

Panama Immigration will not allow people to visit wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals.

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.

Procedure for temporary (non-resident) permits (visas) are the following:

1. Register passport at Immigration.

2. Present application with all required documents to immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

3. Immigration department issues applicant 3 months Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

4. Immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).
(Steps 3 and 4 are repeated every time the temporary visa is renewed).

Required Documents (for Panama Work Permits):

1. Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable), including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all pages showing entry/exit stamps (all pages used in the passport).

2. Original Police record of the applicant, from the place of residence (and spouse & children, if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

3. Original Birth Certificate of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

4. Original Marriage Certificate for the applicant (and dependents, if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

5. Six (6) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents, if applicable).

6. Certificate of Good Health, issued by a licensed Panamanian hospital or clinic, signed by a registered, licensed physician, indicating that the applicant (and dependents, if applicable) has no contagious diseases and is in good mental and physical condition. THIS MUST BE DONE DURING YOUR INITIAL VISIT TO PANAMA.

7. Certification from the Fundacion Ciudad del Saber (Foundation of the City of Knowledge), certifying that the applicant is involved in a business located and registered within the City of Knowledge.

Documents that Panama Offshore Legal Services will provide to you:

1. Special Power of Attorney, signed by the applicant (and dependents, if applicable), authorizing our law firm to process the immigration applications and documentation.

2. Letter of Responsibility, signed by the applicant, whereby the applicant takes responsibility for his/her dependents.

Note that immigration request that the applicant for any type of visa, be present physically at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application.

Panama Immigration will not allow people to visit wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals.

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.


Panama Criminal History Background Checks

For any Panama residency application, the Panama immigration department requires the applicant to provide an authenticated criminal history report issued by a federal, central, or national police force or criminal investigation authority. In the past, Panama immigration used to accept local police criminal history reports from county sheriffs, city police, and constables, however, they now require the criminal reports to be issued by the national investigative authority of the country of citizenship of the applicant, or the country where the applicant has been a resident of for the previous 5 years. This means that the Panama immigration office requires an applicant's criminal history covering the entire country in which he or she is from, and the document must be authenticated by Apostille or by the Panamanian consulate in that country. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.

In the U.S. this would be the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In Canada it would be the Royal Canadian Mounties (RCMP). In England, it would be The Association of Chief Police Officers.

U.S. Citizens

For U.S. citizens, the FBI publishes an online Checklist for requesting a criminal background check.

A U.S. citizen needs to complete an application form, attach prints to their fingerprint card, send a cashier check, money order or make a credit card (using their form) payment of $18 and include your contact information.

The application can be downloaded and printed from this web page after answering a question regarding the purpose for the form such as To live, work, or travel in a foreign country.: https://forms.fbi.gov/departmental-order-website-questionnaire

A FBI standard fingerprints card can be downloaded and printed from this FBI web page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/standard-fingerprint-form-fd-258

The FBI does not require a specific authorized fingerprint applier and suggests local police and even printing companies to do this.

Panama immigration will require the national criminal history report to be authenticated by Apostille which is an internationally recognized government agency authentification of its issued documents by attaching certain seals to the document. A request to have the report Apostilled must be made when applying for the FBI report. The alternative to an Apostille is to have the document authenticated by any Panamanian Consulate in the USA. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.

Canadian Citizens

Canadians will need to visit the RCMP website providing all of the information on obtaining a full criminal history report at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/fing-empr2-eng.htm

While a full fingerprints form is required, the RCMP does not provide one online. However, their website states that they will accept:

The RCMP accepts fingerprint forms from foreign countries that contain the following:
Flat and rolled impressions of all ten fingers taken with black ink
Full name, sex, and date of birth of the applicant
The name and address of the police organization taking the fingerprints
The signature of the police official who took the fingerprints

This means that the RCMP will accept the FBI fingerprints form which can be downloaded and printed from the FBI's website at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/standard-fingerprint-form-fd-258

Any police force offering fingerprinting services will be acceptable to the RCMP. The Canadian embassy or consulates will not provide this service.

The RCMP processing fee is $25 CAN or USD equivalent per record requested. Payment must be made by certified cheque or money order to the Receiver General for Canada.

RCMP predicts a 4 week processing time.

Authentication by Apostille or Panamanian Consulate is required by Panama immigration. Canada does not offer the Apostille, so the only option is to authenticate the criminal history report through any Panamanian Consulate in Canada. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.

Citizens of England

There is no national police force in England. MI5 while being equivalent to the U.S. FBI, does not provide criminal history checks. The Australian government found a solution to how an English citizen applying for residency in Australia can meet the national criminal history background check.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in the United Kingdom can prepare a criminal history report covering the entire UK. The fee for a Standard Service is 35 GBP (10 working days) while a Premium Service (2 working days) costs 70 GBP. They accept payment by UK Cheque, UK Postal Order, or a Bank's Draft made out to HPA only in GBP. International courier is available for an additional 65 GBP.

The applications can be processed with the following documents:
1. Completed application form;
2. Two proofs of current address dated within the last 6 months showing your name and address.
3. Copy of passport including photo and personal information pages;
4. One colour passport photo; and
5. Payment.

Their website which contains a downloaded and printable Application Form and additional information is: http://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx

The criminal history report needs to be authenticated by Apostille or by any Panamanian Consulate in England. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.

Citizens of Spain

Spanish citizens have two options for obtaining their criminal history records:

1. They can sign up to deal with Spain's Ministry of Justice electronically and do everything by internet by visiting this web page: https://sede.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/Sede/en/1215197869883/DetalleInicio.html

2. To download an application (Form 790) which can be taken to the following locations:
The Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice.
Civil Registers throughout Spain.
In Madrid, in the Central Office of Citizen Services.

You must visit this website: http://www.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/en/1200666550200/Tramite_C/1215326258560/Detalle.html

You will need proof of your identity like current DNI, driver's license, residency card, passport, or EU identity document.

3rd Party Representation: If using another person to apply for you, that person will need to bring original or certified copy of a valid ID of the applicant, and original or certified copy of the authorization of representation like a Power of Attorney.

Fee: The application fee is 3.58 Euros. Payment of the fee can be made in Spain. If made outside of Spain either to a Spanish financial company or by bank wire transfer by the IBAN system. The Ministry of Justice bank information and codes are provided on this website.

Apostille is required by Panama immigration to authenticate documents issued by foreign government agencies. The Criminal Record Certificate can be Apostilled if requested when making the application. Apostille is an internationally recognized government agency authentification of its issued documents by attaching certain seals to the document. Otherwise, you can authenticate the criminal history report through any Panamanian Consulate in Spain. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.


Panama Family Regrouping Visas

Panama offers two visas related to families of Panamanian citizens and residents of Panama.

1. MARRIED TO A PANAMANIAN VISA

Foreigners that have entered into marriage with a Panamanian and that live together in conditions of singularity, stability, and continuity will be able to request this Married to a Panamanian Visa.

Foreigners married to a Panamanian national does not offer in and of itself
rights to residency in the Republic of Panama. The Panama National Service of Immigration will be able to deny the entrance or residency of foreigners married to Panamanians for reasons of fraud, immorality, public security, domestic economy, or social needs of the foreigners married to Panamanians.

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 (except for payment of the deposit of repatriation), the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Certificate of Marriage from the Civil Registration. If the Marriage was celebrated abroad, it should be properly recorded in the Civil Registration;

2. Birth certificate of the Panamanian spouse from the Civil Registration;

3. Birth certificate(s) of Panamanian children if applicable;

4. Photocopies of the personal ID card of the Panamanian spouse authenticated in the Civil Registration;

5. Work permit and copy of the work permit card of the applicant;

6. In the cases of retirees or pensioners, they must prove this with a letter of retirement. If they comply with this, they are exempted from the previous requirement;

7. Proof of sources of income for the Panamanian spouse (letter of work, insurance files, banking letter, or own tax return or of the Panamanian spouse with receipt of payment);

8. Letter of responsibility of the Panamanian spouse;

9. Marital interview that will be carried out by suitable personnel of the Disciplinary Unit, according to a date and hour assigned upon presenting the request. In the case they are not able to attend as of that date and hour the excuses should be presented pertaining to more delays within three (3) business days after the date;

10. Constancy of residence, for which they can present: copy of public utilities, rental agreement, title of property or any another document that shows the conjugal residence.

Note: The Panama National Service of Immigration when they deem convenient will be able to visit the home.

After two (2) years of the temporary provisional permission has passed, the foreigner will be able to request permanent residency, complying with the requirements mentioned in the previous article and must submit the following document:

1. National Paz y Salvo of the applicant.

Note: Applicants that have been widowed or have divorced during the term of their provisional permission and have children during the marriage will be able to opt for the permanent residence. In the first case, he should present death certificate of his spouse and in the second case he should contribute certificate of dissolution of the marriage and the birth certificates of the children he had in the marriage. This alone does not guarantee or oblige the Panama National Service of Immigration to offer the continuance of the applicant.

2. DEPENDENTS OF PANAMA RESIDENTS VISA

Foreign spouses, children less than eighteen (18) years, family members with disability, and dependent parents of a provisional resident of two (2) years, permanent or national resident will be able to request this Dependants of Panama Residents Visa. The children older than eighteen (18) years and under twenty-five (25) years will be able to be requested as dependents, provided that they are studying full time and they are found under the economic dependence of the resident or national. The resident or national that shows guardianship or relationship to a person under age will be able to request them as their dependent.

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law, the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Letter of responsibility of the resident or national;

2. Constancy of relationship: Certificate of marriage of the spouse or certificate of the birth of the children or judicial constancy of guardianship, as be the case;

3. The applicant of legal age and less than twenty-five (25) years old should contribute:

a. Certification of an educational center that accredit their condition as full-time student and of regular form;
b. Single status Certificate;

4. Proof that the resident counts on the sufficient economic solvency. The resident can prove solvency in one of the following forms:

a. Copies of the tax return, with its paz y salvo and this should comply with the minimum income of One Thousand dollars ($1,000) monthly plus One Hundred dollars ($100) additional for each dependent;
b. Letter of work on file with the CSS and copy of the work permit;
c. Letter of banking reference showing balance of four average figures.

To request continuance of this Dependants of Panama Residents Visa, the applicant should present the requirements mentioned in the numerals described in the previous article.


Panama Passport Residency Visa

At Panama Offshore Legal Services, our Panama immigration lawyers are specialists in Panama immigration law and we can assist you with obtaining an immediate Panama Passport and Panama residency through the “Rentista Retirado” visa permit. We refer to this visa as the immediate Panama passport program.

The Rentista Retirado visa offers Panama residency and a special Panama passport for the applicant and immediate family members, as per law 9 of 1987. The immediate Panama passport program requires an investment in a 5 year US Dollar certificate of deposit (CD) in one of the two Panama government banks, and the CD must generate a minimum monthly interest of US$850. The amount of the Panama bank CD deposit required to generate US$850 per month in interest will depend on the interest rates offered at the time of making the deposit. Contact us for a quotation on current interest rates.

This special Panamanian passport looks like any other passport and it includes the applicants' original country of nationality. For example, if a Chinese citizen obtains the Immediate Panama Passport, the Panama passport will state that the passport holder is a Chinese citizen, not a Panamanian citizen. This special Panama passport is useful for traveling, however, it does not grant Panamanian citizenship.

The applicant has the option of making the CD investment (time deposit) in either the National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panama) or the Caja de Ahorros Bank, both of which are Panama government banks. The Panama passport is only valid for the bank CD term of 5 years, and early withdrawal of the CD will result in the cancellation of the Panama passport and Panama residency visa.

The 5 year bank CD must remain free and clear of any mortgage liens or encumbrances. Violation of this requirement will result in cancellation of the Panamanian passport and Panama resident visa.

In addition to the Panama Passport, the Rentista Retirado Visa applicant will be granted a five year Panama residency visa which can also be renewed by renewing the 5 year bank CD.

Under the Rentista Retirado Visa, immediate family members of the applicant are also eligible for the Panama Residency Visa and Panama Passport. This includes the applicants' spouse and children under 18 years old, or up to 25 years old if they are in school).

Procedures for Applying for the Immediate Panama Passport:

1. Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your immigration paperwork.

2. The Panama bank account is opened, and you deposit the funds for the Certificate of Deposit (CD - time deposit) for a 5 year term. The bank then provides a Certificate of Deposit (CD), and a copy of the time deposit contract.

3. Our law firm submits your application and documentation to the Immigration Department of Panama, for the Panama Passport.

4. Within approximately 2 to 4 weeks, the Immigration Department will issue the Panama Passport. At this point, the applicant is required to go physically to the Immigration Department for picture taking and thumb printing, for the issuance of the Panama Passport.

* Note: It is not necessary for applicants to reside in Panama to qualify for or maintain the Panama Passport, however, a short visit to Panama is required for the processing of the passport. The Immediate Panama Passport Program will provide you with a 5 year Panama residency visa. However, the applicant does not obtain permanent Panama residency nor Panamanian citizenship through this program.

Procedures for Applying for Rentista Retirado Panama Resident Visa:

1. Register applicants' passport at the Panama Immigration office.

2. Present Rentista Retirado visa application with all required documents to Panama immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit.

3. Panama Immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Panama Resident Permit (Visa) & Panama Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

4. Panama Immigration department issues applicant a 5 year Panama Resident Visa.

* Note that Panama immigration requires applicants to be present physically present at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application.

** Note: Panama Immigration office does not permit wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals when entering the Panama immigration office – all visitors must wear long pants or dress, collared shirt, and shoes.

When your Panama resident visa is approved, please plan to visit Panama for two weeks for processing since immigration will need to hold onto your passport for at least 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and Panama resident visa information in the passport.

Required Documents (for Panama Immigration processing):

1. Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant, including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all pages showing entry/exit stamps (all pages used in the passport).

2. Original Police record of the applicant, from the place of residence, duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you. For US Citizens, an FBI criminal history record is required. Contact us for details.

3. Original Birth Certificates of the applicants' dependent children (if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

4. Original Marriage Certificate for the applicants' spouse (if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

5. Three (3) passport sized photographs of the applicant.

6. Certificate of Good Health, issued by a licensed Panamanian hospital or clinic, signed by a registered, licensed physician, indicating that the applicant has no contagious diseases and is in good mental and physical condition. THIS MUST BE DONE DURING YOUR INITIAL VISIT TO PANAMA.

* Note: for authenticating documents through the Panamanian Consulate, please contact us to request the contact information of the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

** Note: To request an extension of the Rentista Retirado Visa, besides the requirements mentioned above, the applicant must submit a National Paz y Salvo (Certification of Incumbency) from the Ministry of Finance of Panama, in favor of the interested applicant (this is to certify that the applicant is free and clear of all tax debts with the Panamanian government).

Documents that the National Bank of Panama will provide to you:

1. Banking certification from the National Bank of Panama or the Caja de Ahorros Bank, which certifies: the fixed time deposit (CD), the monthly interest that it generates, the duration or term of the Panama bank CD, and that the Panama bank CD is free of all liens or encumbrances.

2. Certified copy of the Certificate of Deposit issued by the Panama bank.

Documents that our law firm will provide to you:

1. Special Power of Attorney, signed by the applicant, authorizing our law firm to process the Panama immigration applications and documentation.

2. Panama Immigration applications.

Required Documents for opening bank account / Certificate of Deposit:

1. Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant, including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all pages showing entry/exit stamps (all pages used in the passport). The photocopy of passport should be notarized (our law firm can notarize the copy).

2. Photocopy of second Identification Card, such as a drivers license, state or national ID card.

3. Two Original Financial Reference Letters: These can be from any bank, brokerage firm, or credit union. They should be on the financial institutions letterhead, signed by a representative of the financial institution, and show the contact information (address, tel, fax, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified.

4. Two Original Commercial Reference Letters: These can be from any company or professional (a company, attorney, accountant, etc.). They should be on the company or professionals letterhead, signed by a representative of the company (or the professional), and show the contact information (address, tel, fax, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified.

5. Two Original Personal Reference Letters: These can be from any person that you know (a friend, family member, doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.). They should be signed by the person, and show the contact information (address, tel, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified.

6. Proof of Applicants Home Address: This could be a rental contract, utility bill, or property title deed showing applicants personal name and address.

7. Proof of Origin or Source of Funds: The Panama bank will require documentation to support the origin or source of the funds to be deposited. This should include a letter addressed to the bank, and signed by the applicant, explaining how these funds were obtained (for example, lifetime savings from working at a job or business). In addition, applicant should include copies of personal tax declarations or tax returns for the previous 2 to 3 years, or audited financial statements.

Note that Panamanian government banks require that the applicant be physically present for the personal interview with the banker at the time of submitting the bank account applications.


Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa

Panama Offshore Legal Services offers experienced immigration lawyers who can assist you with obtaining a Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa.

Law # 16, of June 30,1960 created this program to offer international investors the opportunity to obtain Panama legal residency, Panama citizenship (and a Panama passport) by making certain Panama investments.

Currently, the Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa offers three (3) different Panama investment options to qualify for Panama residency:

Panama Investment Option #1:

Panama Investment: Invest a minimum of US$300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in a three (3) year time deposit (or certificate of deposit or CD) at any Panama bank. If the applicant has dependents, the applicant needs to invest an additional Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2,000) for each dependant.

Stipulations: (1) The Panama bank time deposit (CD) account must be in the personal name of the primary applicant (it may not be in the name of a Panama corporation, Panama foundation, or trust). The interest earned from the Panama bank time deposit (CD), will be deposited monthly into any savings account at the Panama bank that you designate (the Panama savings account may be a personal account, or a corporate account). The interest income is NOT taxed by the Panamanian government, nor is it subject to any tax reporting requirements.

Dependents: For each additional dependent that applies for residency under this Panama immigration program, the investment must be increased by US$2000 (two thousand US Dollars), plus the primary applicant must prove that he or she has enough income to support the living costs of each dependent.

Panama Investment Option # 2:

Panama Investment: Invest a minimum of US$300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in titled Panama real property. This must be equity, as mortgages do not count. If the applicant has dependents, the applicant needs to invest an additional Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2,000) for each dependant.

Stipulations: (1) The titled Panama real property can either be in the personal name of the primary applicant or in the name of a Panama Private Interest Foundation; as long as the primary applicant is either the Founder or a Beneficiary (it may not be in the name of a Panama corporation or trust). (2) The primary applicant must also prove that he or she has sufficient income to support him or herself.

Dependents: For each additional dependent that applies for residency under this Panama immigration program, the investment must be increased by US$2000 (two thousand US Dollars), plus the primary applicant must prove that he or she has enough income to support the living costs of each dependent.

Panama Investment Option # 3:

The third option is a combination of a 3-year Panama bank CD with Panama real estate purchases equity (excluding mortgages) with both totaling a minimum of US$300,000. If the applicant has dependents, the applicant needs to invest an additional Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2,000) for each dependant.

Requirements to Qualify for a Self Economic Solvency Visa

Foreigners that invest the minimum sum of Three Hundred Thousand US dollars (US$300,000) in Panama real estate or a Panama bank time deposit or a combination of both will be able to qualify for this visa. If the foreigner has dependents, the applicant needs to invest an additional Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2,000) for each dependant.

Qualifying for a Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa with a Fixed Panama Bank Time Deposit

In addition to the basic requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law, the applicant must submit the following documents:

1. Panama bank certification that the foreigner opened a Panama bank time deposit account in the applicant’s name for a minimum of three (3) years in any Panama bank for a minimum value of Three Hundred Thousand dollars (US$300,000), or its equivalent in foreign currency;

2. Copies of the Panama bank time deposit certificate authenticated by the bank.

Panama Self Economic Solvency Visa by Investing in Panama Real Estate

In addition to the requirements established in Article 28 of the Decree Law, the following documents must be submitted:

1. Certificate from Panama's Public Registry verifying personal title of the applicant with a minimum value of Three Hundred Thousand dollars (US$300,000), free of debt or liens.

Note I: In the case that the title of the Panama real estate is under the name of a Panama Private Interest Foundation, the applicant will qualify if he or she is the Founder and/or one of the beneficiaries. The certificate of the Public Registry must designate the applicant as either the Founder or Beneficiary.

Note II: In the case when the applicant has paid the minimum required cash sum of Three Hundred Thousand dollars (US$300,000) towards the total price of the Panama real estate, he or she will be able to finance the remainder through mortgage loans.

Panama Self Economic Solvency by Combination of Panama Investments (Fixed Panama Bank Time Deposit and Panama Real Estate Purchase)

Stipulations: (1) The Panama bank time deposit (CD) account must be in the personal name of the primary applicant (it may not be in the name of a Panama corporation, Panama foundation, or trust). The interest earned from the Panama bank time deposit (CD), will be deposited monthly into any Panama bank savings account that you designate (the savings account may be a personal account, or a corporate account). The interest income is NOT taxed by the Panamanian government, nor is it subject to any tax reporting requirements. (2) The titled property must be in the personal name of the primary applicant or in the name of a Panama Private Interest Foundation where the applicant is the Founder and/or beneficiary. (3) The primary applicant must also prove that he or she has sufficient income to support his or her general costs of living.

Dependents: For each additional dependent that applies for Panama residency under this Panama immigration program, the primary applicant must prove that he or she has enough income to support the general costs of living of each dependent.

Option #1 Procedures for Applying for Panama Residency:

1. Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your Panama immigration paperwork.

2. The Panama bank account is opened, and you make the time deposit. The Panama bank then provides a certificate of deposit, and a copy of the time deposit contract.

3. Register passport at Panama Immigration office.

4. Present application with all required documents to Panama immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

5. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

6 . Panama immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).

7. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

8. Panama immigration department issues applicant Permanent Residency Permit (Visa).

9. After 5 years of Permanent Resident status, applicant may apply for Panama citizenship through Naturalization process (once a citizen, then a Panama passport may be obtained), which is optional.

It is not necessary for applicants to reside in Panama to qualify for or maintain Panamanian residency or Panama citizenship, however, a short visit to Panama is required for the processing of the Panama Temporary Immigrant Visa, the Permanent Resident Visa, and for the Naturalization (Panama citizenship and Panama passport).

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.

Option # 2 Procedures for Applying for Panama Residency:

1. Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your Panama immigration paperwork.

2. The Panama titled real property is purchased. The Public Registry issues a certificate of ownership, and a registered copy of the Panama real property purchase contract.

3. Register passport at Panama immigration office.

4. Present application with all required documents to Panama immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

5. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

6. Panama immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).

7. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

8. Panama immigration department issues applicant Permanent Residency Permit (Visa).

9. After 5 years of Panama permanent Resident status, applicant may apply for Panama citizenship through Naturalization process (once a Panama citizen, then Panama passport may be obtained).

It is not necessary for applicants to reside in Panama to qualify for or maintain Panamanian residency or Panama citizenship, however, a short visit to Panama is required for the processing of the Temporary Immigrant Visa, the Permanent Resident Visa, and for the Naturalization (Panama citizenship and a Panama passport).

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.

Option # 3 Procedures for Applying for Panama Residency:

1. Provide all required documents, and sign the Special Power of Attorney for our law firm to handle your immigration paperwork.

2. The Panama bank account is opened, and you make the time deposit. The Panama bank then provides a certificate of deposit, and a copy of the time deposit contract. The Panama titled real property is purchased, and the Public Registry issues a certificate of ownership and a registered copy of the purchase contract.

3. Register passport at Panama immigration office.

4. Present application with all required documents to Panama immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).

5. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

6. Panama immigration department issues applicant 2 year Temporary Permit (Visa).

7. Panama immigration department issues applicant a Temporary Permit (Visa) & Multiple Entry-Exit Visa.

8. Panama immigration department issues applicant Permanent Residency Permit (Visa).

9. After 5 years of Permanent Resident status, applicant may apply for Panama citizenship through Naturalization process (once a Panama citizen, then a Panama passport may be obtained).

It is not necessary for applicants to reside in Panama to qualify for or maintain Panamanian residency or Panama citizenship, however, a short visit to Panama is required for the processing of the Temporary Immigrant Visa, the Permanent Resident Visa, and for the Naturalization (Panama citizenship and a Panama passport).

When the immigration visa is approved plan to visit Panama for two weeks because immigration may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.

Required Documents (for Panama Immigration office processing):

1. Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable), including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all pages showing entry/exit stamps (all pages used in the passport).

2. Original Police record of the applicant, from the place of residence (and spouse & dependents over 18 years of age – if applicable), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

3. Original Marriage Certificate (if applicable, for Spouse only), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

4. Birth Certificate (if applicable – for the dependents only), duly notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

5. Three (3) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable).

6. Certificate of Good Health, issued by a licensed Panamanian hospital or clinic, signed by a registered, licensed physician, indicating that the applicant (and dependents – if applicable) has no contagious diseases and is in good mental and physical condition.

7. Original Financial Reference Letters: These can be from any bank, brokerage firm, or credit union. It has to be authenticated from the consulate of Panama in your country. They should be on the financial institutions letterhead, signed by a representative of the financial institution, and show the contact information (address, tel, fax, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified. To view an example of a Financial Reference Letter, click on the underlined words.

THIS MUST BE DONE DURING YOUR INITIAL VISIT TO PANAMA.

Documents that our law firm will provide to you:

1. Special Power of Attorney, signed by the applicant (and dependents – if applicable), authorizing our law firm to process the Panama immigration applications and documentation.

2. Letter of Responsibility, signed by the applicant, whereby the applicant takes responsibility for his/her dependents.

3. Panama Immigration Applications are completed and signed by the applicant (and each dependent).

* Note: for authenticating documents through the Panamanian Consulate, please contact us to request the contact information of the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.

Required Documents (for opening Panama bank account / CD):

1. Photocopy of valid passport of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable), including the picture page (that shows the picture, name, date of birth, passport number, place of issue, etc.), and all other pages in the passport including the cover (the entire passport). The photocopy of passport should be notarized.

2. Original Financial Reference Letters: These can be from any bank, brokerage firm, or credit union. They should be on the financial institutions letterhead, signed by a representative of the financial institution, and show the contact information (address, tel, fax, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified. To view an example of a Financial Reference Letter, click on the underlined words.

3. Two Original Commercial Reference Letters: This can be from any company or professional (a company, attorney, accountant, etc.). They should be on the company or professionals letterhead, signed by a representative of the company (or the professional), and show the contact information (address, tel, fax, email, etc.) for the reference to be verified. To view an example of a Commercial Reference Letter, click on the underlined words.

4. Proof of Address: This can be a utility bill, such as a light / power bill, phone bill, rental contract, or property title deed of your residence that is in your personal name.

5. Proof of Origin of Funds: A letter should be prepared and signed by the applicant, explaining the source or origin of the funds to be deposited to the bank account. This letter should be accompanied by documentation such as last 2 or 3 years tax returns / declarations, or audited financial statements.

Note that immigration office request that the applicant must be present physically at the immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application, for any type of visa.

Panama Immigration will not allow people to visit the immigration office wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals.

When the immigration visa is approved, plan to visit Panama for two weeks because the immigration office may hold onto your passport for 5 business days while they insert the official stamps and visa information in the passport.


Panama's Friendly Nations Visa

In May of 2012, President Ricardo Martinelli issued a Presidential Decree 343 declaring that citizens of 22 friendly nations could apply to become permanent residents in a fast track manner.

Since then, other Decrees have increased the number of friendly nations to 47 along with clarifying the requirements to apply.

The formal wording of this permanent residency visa is for citizens of friendly nations with professional and economic ties with the Republic of Panama.

The 47 Friendly Nations are:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Marino, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom (Great Britain & Northern Ireland).

Clarifying the Requirements

The words professional and economic ties with the Republic of Panama means that citizens of these 47 countries must establish professional or economic
relationship with Panama. This can be accomplished by starting a new business or purchasing an existing business or being hired to work for a Panama company.

An Economic Activity means the applicant owns either a Panama corporation or a Panama company (new or bought an existing business) which is doing business in Panama. Foreigners are prohibited from owning a Panama retail business.

Another option is to prove Professional Activity. Meaning the applicant is employed by a professional Panama company, has a work permit, and is registered with Panama's Social Security system. In addition, proof of income like the employment wages needs to be provided by the employer. Documents proving these activities must be submitted. Foreigners are prohibited from practicing certain professions such as: medical & veterinary doctors, attorneys, architects, and engineers.

Proof of Economic Solvency is another requirement. This can be met by having at least $5,000 USD (plus $2,000 for each dependant) deposited in a Panama bank account. Whether an applicant is solvent enough is not clearly defined leaving the matter up to the discretion of the immigration officials.

Dependants include the spouse and children up to the age of 25 if they are full time university students. The applicant must provide a written letter of responsibility regarding the dependants. Every son or daughter dependant over the age of 18 must provide an authenticated being single certificate from their respective country.

After the application is filed along with all required documents the immigration office will issue a one year temporary residency card (carnet) which will be replaced by a permanent residency card once the application is approved.

Once the application has been approved, the foreigner can apply for a Work Permit. Panama's president recently issued a Presidential Decree ordering Panama's Ministry of Labor to fast track acceptance of work permits for the 24 friendly nations citizens.

Current Panama Immigration Required Documents

Law 3 of 2008 under Article 28 requires the following documents from an applicant:

1. Application for Permanent Residency with a Special Power of Attorney
authorizing a Panamanian attorney to act on behalf of the applicant who is duly
authenticated by a local notary with the proper government stamps.

2. Copy of the entire passport notarized by a Panama Notary.

3. Criminal history background check from the applicant's country of origin or the country where he has lived consistently for the two past years. The Panama immigration department requires the applicant to provide an authenticated criminal history report issued by a federal, central, or national police force or criminal investigation authority.

(a) If the applicant is providing a criminal background report from a country where he is not a citizen, but a resident, the applicant must provide the legal residency identification which must be authenticated or Apostilled.

(b) If the applicant has been residing in Panama for the past two consecutive
years (without leaving the country) the criminal background check must be prepared by the national police (DIJ).

4. Panama immigration will require the national criminal history report to be authenticated by a Panamanian Consul from the country that issued the document or by Apostille which is an internationally recognized government agency authentification of its issued documents by attaching certain seals to the document. Here is a list of Panama Consulates Worldwide.

5. Original medical examination report from a Panama medical doctor.

6. Two Certified Checks:

(a) $250 USD in favor of the National Treasury for immigration fee; and

(b) $800 USD in favor of Immigration for repatriation purposes (deportation).

IMPORTANT: Once immigration has issued a resolution whether it's an approval or denial of the application of residency the checks are non-refundable.

7. Personal Sworn Affidavit explaining the purpose for seeking Panama Permanent Residency and ability to support family and dependents. (This form will be supplied by Panama Offshore Legal Service's immigration attorney.)

In Addition, the recent Presidential Decrees require the following documents:

1. 3 Passport Size Photos;

2. A written Statement describing the economic or professional activities to be conducted by the applicant in Panama. These can be explained in the following manner:

(a) Economic Activity: Produce documentation that the applicant is a member of the Board of Directors or majority shareholder of a Panama Corporation
or is the owner of a Panama company. If the Panama Corporation or Panama Company is new provide proof of its franchise tax being paid and its commercial license. If the corporation or company is over one year old provide proof of its tax return, paz y salvo, or in good standing certificate. Further proof of bank accounts in the corporation or company's name along with any real property generating income it owns, and any activity generating income.

Note: The economic activity cannot be one reserved for Panamanian nationals such as a retail business.

(b) Professional Activity: A professional activity is a job with a local company. The applicant must provide proof of an employment contract, that the company is registered with Panama Social Security and the applicant has a social security card and work permit. There are several ways to obtain a Panama work permit including the allowable 10% foreign employees or the Marrakech Treaty. The professional activity cannot be one reserved only for Panama nationals such as an attorney, architect, engineer, medical or veterinarian doctor.

3. Proof of Solvency: In addition to the documents that demonstrate the applicant's economic or professional activity the applicant must also provide the following:

(a) Proof from a Panama bank that the applicant has at least $5,000 USD deposited plus $2,000 USD for each dependant.

(b) Proof of income such as employment salary with a letter from the employer
which includes applicant's social security number and work permit.

Note: Part (b) is vague which can be interpreted by Panama immigration at its discretion to verify the applicant's solvency.

4. Copy of Applicant's I.D.: From applicant's country of origin such as driver's license or government issued photo I.D. This is in addition to the passport to prove residency and citizenship. This document must be Apostilled or authenticated by a Panamanian consulate.

5. Dependants require a letter of responsibility from the primary applicant.

(a) Proof that the dependants are related either with a birth certificate or if it's a spouse, a marriage certificate.

(b) Dependants other than a spouse can apply up until the age of 25 if enrolled as full time university students or are disabled

(c) Dependants over the age of 18 must submit an affidavit that they are single which must be Apostilled or authenticated by a Panamanian consulate.


Parents of a Child Born in Panama
Can Become Permanent Residents

Panama Allows Foreigners with a Child Born in Panama to Become Permanent Residents

In 2012, Panama's President Martinelli signed a new law allowing foreigners who gave birth to a child in Panama within the last five years to qualify as permanent residents.

Illegal immigrants and foreigners who over stayed their visas who have had children born in Panama had created a legal puzzle. The mother was considered an illegal alien subject to arrest and deportation while the child was a Panama citizen.

What happens to the Panama child when the mother is deported?

Conflicts with Panama laws regarding the rights of mothers of Panamanian children and the welfare of a Panama child conflicted with immigration laws regarding illegal aliens. Deport the mother and leave the child behind as a ward of the government?
Force the Panama child to be deported along with the mother? The Panama Constitution prohibits Panama citizens from being extradited which arguably deportation could be a similar expulsion. These legal contradictions were never resolved by law or by the courts. As a result, thousands of illegal alien mothers were able to remain in Panama while taking care of the minor Panama child.

The new law solves this problem by making both parents permanent residents.

Here are the requirements to qualify and the necessary documents to file when applying:
The child born in Panama is less than five years old at the time the mother and/or father apply for residency.
A nationwide criminal police record of both parents must be filed from their home countries national police force. (For U.S. citizens this will be from the FBI.)
If one or both parents have lived in Panama without having left the country for a minimum of two years he or she can obtain the criminal background report from the Panama police (Department of Judicial Investigations DIJ).
File a letter of responsibility signed by a Panama citizen.
Show proof of economic solvency such as a letter from a Panama bank showing adequate funds of the applicants and the Panamanian citizen who provided the letter of responsibility.
Provide an original child's birth certificate from the Panama Civil Registry.

If one or both parents are temporary residents with no option to become permanent residents, then this new law can be used.

With the recent addition of fast track permanent residency visas for citizens of 47 friendly countries intending to live in Panama in order to work professionally or own a business Panama is truly opening its doors to new immigrants.

Panama law requires hiring a Panama lawyer when applying for immigration visas. Before applying for permanent residency, consult with a reliable and competent Panama immigration law firm.


 


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