Panama: A relocation checklist for newcomers




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Planning on relocating to Panama for work or retirement? There’s a lot to consider, and it can be overwhelming to any newcomer. Before you move, it’s important to get all your ducks in a row, so to speak, to better prepare yourself. To help you out and get started, here’s what we recommend.

Visit Panama:

Sounds pretty self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step. If you want to really get a good grasp on how life will be when you relocate to Panama, you have to come see it for yourself. Take at least a week to go see the communities you’re considering relocating to. Check out grocery stores. Take some tours. Ask questions. And most importantly, have fun!

Create a Realistic Budget:

After you’ve done a bit of research and seen first-hand what the cost of living is like in Panama, it’s time to plan a budget. Make sure to over-estimate, so you err on the side of surplus, as unexpected costs can come up without warning, and you don’t want to be over your head about it or stressed. Also, remember that in Panama there are many types of budgets for many types of income, so be honest with yourself about the lifestyle you want to live here, and whether or not you can afford it.

Start Learning Spanish:

Even if you’re 1-2 years away from relocating to Panama, it will really help you upon arrival if you know some Spanish. Panama is very international, and there are many communities where more languages are spoken, particularly English, however knowing Spanish will get you much further. Don’t be shy about being a beginner, or asking questions. It’s all part of the journey, and will make your experience in Panama more fun, and more productive.

Leave Stuff Behind:

One of the biggest burdens people find themselves in when relocating to Panama is being overwhelmed by transporting all their stuff from one country to another. There’s an easy solution to this, however. Let it go! You can find almost anything in Panama (and at a great price) when it comes to home furnishings, clothes, electronics, cars, art, etc. Bring the things that are most important to you with you, but leave the small stuff. In the long run, it will save you loads of stress, and can also save you lots of money.

Find the Right Panama Visa:

Panama offers a number of different visas for a number of different conditions and circumstances, and you may find that you qualify for more than one. Read about each visa type carefully, and find out what fits your personal situation the best. Also, make sure to check with your immigration lawyer to get details on how the visas apply to you, and what the best (and most efficient) course of action would be to obtain it.

Get a Qualified, Reputable Immigration Lawyer:

Before you start any of the above processes, you need to do some due diligence and consult with a Panama Immigration Lawyer. Ask questions, get references, and find a lawyer who will walk you through the process before you arrive, and while you’re in Panama as well. This is probably the most important step, as legal processes are best handled by locals with experience, and navigating the applications on your can be both extremely frustrating, and confusing.

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