Visas: How to Stay and Live in Panama

Panama is such a great place that a lot of people would love to live and do business here.
To prevent too many foreigners from living here and to promote investment, the Panama government does not make it easy to live here.

  • Tourist visa: The tourist visa you get when you come into Panama gives you 180 days in the country. This visa is for Americans, Canadians and citizens of the European Community and some other counties. After 180 days, you must leave Panama and and return to your own country for a period of not more than 30 days. Panama Migration will consider when you attempt to re-enter their country, whether you are eligible to return to Panama, after a stay-away. It is not a given, any more. If you are accepted, you can get another 180 days. There is no cost to this visa.
  • Retiree Visa or "Pensionado Visa" This is called a retiree visa but you don’t actually have to be retired to get it-you just have to be over 18. All you need to do is to prove you have a lifetime pension of at least $1000 per month.  If you buy 100,000 worth of property in Panama, then the minimum is just $750.
    The pensionado visa comes with many benefits and discounts including 25% discount on all flights both international and domestic and major discounts at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, certain medical services, prescription drugs and utility bills.
  • Economic Solvency Visa: To qualify for this visa you need to deposit $300.000 in a bank account in a three year time deposit or purchase real estate for the same amount.
  • Panama Bank CD Pension Visa: For this visa, you just need to create CD in  one of the national banks that earns a monthly minimum income of $850.00
  • Reforestation Visa I: The least inexpensive visa, you need to invest $60.000 in a government certified reforestation project.
  • Reforestation Visa II: You invest $80,000 in a government certified reforestation project and after a few years you have the right to permanent residence and citizenship.
  • Business Investor Visa: Requires investing at least $160,000 in a Panamanian business that employs at least 5 Panamanians. Permanent residency is included.
  • Agricultural Investor: Just make a $60,000 investment in agriculture or aquaculture but you only get a six year visa
  • Tax Free Processing Zone Visa: You need to rent land, an office or building in one of the Free Trade Zones.
  • Executive Order 343: In 2012 the Panamanian Government released an executive order that created a new immigration sub-category which makes it easier for foreign nationals of certain countries obtain Permanent Residency status, under which they well be able to get a job or start a business. Not all the details are clear yet, so we recommend you consult a lawyer. Countries that apply are:
    Germany, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, United States, Slovakia, France, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay, Chile, and Sweden.

Others basics you'll need for a visa are a police certificate from the town you most recently lived in  your country of origin, a health exam and an AIDS test.

You must hire a lawyer for your visa and at the present time it takes a long time to go through. It is very important you hire a lawyer from a well known firm or that comes with excellent referrals from people you know well. Check out our Legal Services page.