In recent years Panama has become a prime choice for people (mainly retirees) wishing to relocate to warmer climes from North America and Europe. Panama welcomes these new immigrants warmly, offering a number of alternative visas which are listed below.
- Retiree Visa: Applicants must have a minimum $1,000 government or private pension, a couple can combine their pensions to meet the requirement (additional $250 for each dependent). If retirees buy a property for $100,000 or more the minimum monthly pension requirement goes down to $750.
- Person of Means: The applicant must have a three-year deposit in a local bank with a minimum of US $300,000. Or buy in his own name, a real estate property in Panama for the minimum sum of US $300,000. Or it could be a combination of these two options: for example he could acquire in his own name a property in Panama for the sum of US $180,000, and in addition, have a three-year deposit in a local bank for a minimum of US $120,000.
- Reforestation Visa: The applicant must invest $60,000 and purchase at least 10 hectares of reforestation project land which is government certified. This will allow the applicant a temporary residency.
- The applicant must invest $80,000 and purchase at least 20 hectares of reforestation project land which is government certifed. This will allow the applicant permanent residency which could lead to citizenship.
- Investors Visa: Designed for those who wish to establish a business in Panama (retail businesses and some professions are reserved to Panamanians). There must be a minimum investment of $160,000 and a minimum of five (5) permanent Panamanian employees hired. It grants a temporary resident visa, renewable every two years. After 6 years of temporary residency the applicant can apply for permanent residency.
- Rentista Visa: Designed for wealthy retirees who receive a minimum monthly interest of $2,000 from a CD in the Banco Nacional de Panama.
- Domestic Worker Visa: Designed to allow the foreign legal resident to bring in foreigners as domestic help. It is a one year renewable visa. Application for the visa is $250 and requires a $500 refundable deposit guaranteeing the repatriation of the worker at the end of the period.
- Yachtsman Visa: Designed for passengers and crew of yachts, this visa allows for a stay of three months if the vessel is foreign or up to one year if it is registered in the Panama Ship Registry.
- Other types of visas include a Short Stay Visa for visiting blood relatives or for medical treatment; Film and Audiovisual Investor Visa; Special Projects Visa for the film and audiovisual industry and Specialist Workers Visa.
Panama Entry Regulations
A tourist can remain in Panama for 90 days, not normally extendable. There is no need to obtain departure permits to leave the country, provided that the visitor complies with the terms of the tourist status. If a tourist exceeds the time allowance without a legal extension or justification, a fine will be charged according to the exceeded time. Visitors should carry their passports with them at all times.
LIST OF COUNTRIES WHOSE CITIZENS DO NOT REQUIRE VISAS NOR TOURIST CARDS TO ENTER PANAMA: Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Israel, Austria, Italy, Chile, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Poland, El Salvador, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Finland, Greece, France, Singapore, Guatemala, Switzerland, Honduras, Uruguay, Holland (The Netherlands), Luxembourg, Belgium, Bolivia.
COUNTRIES WHOSE CITIZENS REQUIRE A STAMPED VISA: Chad, Cyprus, Egypt, The Philippines, Peru, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Ecuador.
COUNTRIES WHOSE CITIZENS CAN ENTER PANAMA WITH A TOURIST CARD (OR VISA): Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, South Korea, Curaçao (Dutch Antilles), United States, The Vatican, Grenada, Greece, Guyana, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Western Samoa, St Kits and Nevis, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome & Principe, Sweden, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela.
CITIZENS OF ALL OTHER NATIONS: They need an authorized visa to enter the country.Stamped Visas: Can be obtained at Panamanian consulates abroad. Authorized Tourist Visas: Can be obtained at Panamanian consulates abroad with the authorization of the Immigration Bureau in Panama and the approval of the NationalSecurity Council. Tourist Cards: Tourist cards cost $5.00 and can be purchased at air lines or travel agencies. All tourists must have valid passports, with the exceptions of citizens of the United States of America, who only need a proof of nationality to obtain a card. Departure Tax: There is a departure tax of $20 at Tocumen International Airport.