The Easiest Way to Gain Panamanian ResidencyPanama is a long-time favorite residence and business center of The Sovereign Society. They’ve recommended this Central American jewel to readers for years and with good reason…
The economic situation has never been better. For the last 15 years Panama’s economy has grown (despite a slowdown caused by international crisis), and unemployment has plummeted.
A stable political climate, the successful management of the Panama Canal by Panamanian authorities plus its expansion, and the widely diversified service economy (along with the friendly reception of foreigners) has attracted more and more retirees and investors to Panama.
In a recent note to Sovereign Investor readers, Bob Bauman shared many of the reasons why foreigners are drawn to a life in Panama.
Panama City bustles with energy, and the lower cost of living and labor costs make this Latin American hub as affordable as it is comfortable.
But if big-city living isn’t your style, you can find even greater values in one of the many charming beach towns or mountain retreats. Whatever your taste, Panama offers excellent incentives for you to call this country home.
The Quickest, Easiest, Cheapest Way to Gain Residency
Panama offers foreigners some nice incentives and easy residency.
Residency will allow you to live permanently in Panama, or visit as little as once every two years in order to maintain it.
The easiest residency program Panama offers is The Pensioner Residency Permit. To qualify you simply must receive a lifetime pension (this can be from a government agency or private company) of at least $1,000 per month. Or, you can buy real estate for at least $100,000 and receive just $750 or more per month in pension.
Once your application is approved, you are granted indefinite residency.
As an indefinite resident, you will enjoy an array of discounts from professional services, medical services, entertainment, airlines, restaurants, hotels, etc.
You can retire quite nicely on your $750 or $1,000 per month!
Two More Fast-Tracks for Residency (Which Allow for Citizenship)
If you are not a person with pension income but would like to gain residency, there are two other options which may suit you.
You can obtain a Person of Means Residency Permit when you invest US$300,000 in real estate in Panama, or put that amount in a time deposit in any bank of Panama for three years or a combination of both.
The real estate and/or deposit must be in your own name. The only exception is for those who invest the full amount in real estate, where they may own a Private Interest Foundation with certain special conditions.
The other option which can lead to citizenship is the Full Forestry Residency Permit. It requires a US$80,000 investment in a timber plantation with at least five hectares. The income generated by the sale of the timber is tax-free in Panama within 25 years of planting. This is the only option where you can use IRA funds to obtain residency (without making a disbursement of your IRA).
Not bad! An investment which will pay you tax-free gains, plus give you residency!
Residency for the Whole Family
The two permit investments mentioned actually cover a whole family. This includes the applicant’s parents, spouse and unmarried children under 25 who are full-time students. You just need to show a Panamanian bank account with at least US$2,000 per dependent.
From Resident to Citizen
Once you have made one of the two investments you may apply for residency. This is a simple two-step process. First you apply for your 2-year Provisional Residency Permit.
Before the two years is up, you can apply again for Permanent Residency.
Then, after five years you are able to apply for Panamanian citizenship (and passport) provided you know Spanish and have passed a test on Panamanian history, geography and political system.
In the petition, you have to state that you are renouncing your existing citizenship.
If you are interested in Panamanian citizenship, then you should actually establish your home in Panama and spend as much time as possible here during the five-year period prior to your citizenship application.
What is the First Step to Take?
If you’re interested in doing business or living in Panama, I encourage you to visit. There is no better way to get a true sense of Panama than being there on the ground.
To get the most out of this little country with such an abundance of upside right now, and to determine which opportunities might be right for you, you also need to know the full story. You need to understand all the facts, straight, complete, and current.
And what better source than a team of expats, investors, and businesspeople who, together, have decades of experience spending time and making money in the Hub of the Americas?
You can get face-time with them all at The Sovereign Society’s 10th Annual Total Wealth Symposium down in Panama City this April.
Plus, I’ll be there to talk with you face-to-face about the opportunities that still make Panama one of the best offshore havens for investors, retirees and business owners.
There are so many reasons to live in Panama. And no better time than now.
Rainelda Mata-Kelly, LLM
Law Offices Rainelda Mata-Kelly
P.S. I will be meeting with individuals at the Total Wealth Symposium in Panama this April. If you are frustrated about what is going in America, you’ll want to hear what will be revealed about protecting and growing your wealth in 2011 and beyond. For event details, go here…
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