Retirees or persons with “lifetime” pensions may qualify for the Panama retirement visa, also called the “Panama Pensionado Visa”. POLS has a dedicated staff of immigration attorneys with extensive experience in processing the Panama retirement visa.
The Panama Pensionado Visa allows foreigners to obtain legal residency in Panama under the condition that they have a pension income guaranteed for life. According to the Panama Immigration Department, there is no minimum or maximum age required to qualify, you only need to provide the requirements and documents listed below.
The applicants’ retirement income (or pension income) must be for life, and must be a minimum of one thousand US Dollars (US$1,000) per month. If your lifetime pension income is less than US$1,000 per month, but equal to or more than US$750 per month, you may purchase any Panama real estate property with a value of at least US$100,000, which reduces the lifetime monthly pension income requirement down to a minimum of US$750.
The Panama retirement visa applicants’ pension income must be proven by providing documentation such as a letter from the institution or company that pays the retirement or pension income. This certification must be notarized and authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you (or by apostile).
Panama Retirement Visa Benefits
Here is a summary of the benefits of the Panama retirement visa:
- One time Duty tax exemption for household goods up to a total of $10,000.
- Duty exemption for importing a new car every two years.
- 50% off entertainment anywhere in the country (movies, concerts, sports)
- 30% off bus, boat, and train fares
- 25% off airline tickets
- 50% off hotel stays from Monday through Thursday
- 30% off hotel stays from Friday through Sunday
- 25% off at restaurants
- 15% off at fast-food restaurants
- 15% off hospital bills (if no insurance applies)
- 10% off prescription medicines
- 20% off medical consultations
- 15% off dental and eye exams
- 20% off professional and technical services
- 50% reduction in closing costs for home loans
- 25% discounts on utility bills
- 15% off loans made in your name
- 1% less on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence
Tax Exemptions: As a qualified “Panama pensionado visa” holder, you will be entitled to:
- A one-time exemption of duties (taxes) on the importation of household goods up to US$10,000 in total value.
- 100% duty exemption on the importation or purchase of an automobile every 2 years.
Click here to read more about Panama tax exemptions for pensionados
Panama Retirement Visa Requirements
Here are the basic requirements to qualify for a Panama Pensioned Visa / retirement visa:
Article 201.4.a states the following:
“Article 201.(4): If the pension or retirement fund is from a private company, the following is required:
a. Letter from a foreign company that administrates pensions, a trust company, a mutual fund company, an insurance company or a bank, that certifies that the funds exist to guarantee a lifetime pension for the applicant.
b. Certification of the existence and validity of the private company that issued the pension and administrates the funds.
c. Copy of the proof of payment or statement of account from the bank.”
This is important because now applicants can use an Annuity issued by a bank, an insurance company, or even a private company to meet the Panama Pension Visa requirement.
Also, in the same article 201(4) it states in the final Paragraph:
“In the case of spouses they may opt for proving the sum established (US$1,000) in the numeral 1 with the pension of both, in that case they should comply with the requirements previously established for both pensions.”
What this means is that if a married couple both receive a pension, and their combined pensions equals at least $1,000 they can apply for the Panama Pension Visa.
Also, the law states the following regarding dependents:
“Article 202. In the case of dependent children, the dependents permit (resident visa) shall be temporary until 25 years of age, as long as they prove that they are full time students, however, they shall not have the right to permanent residency nor the condition of “Pensioned”. The exception is for dependent children that suffer from a proven profound disability (such as a physical or mental disability).”
This means that if a dependent child does not attend college full time after the age of 18, then their Panama Pensionado Visa will be cancelled for that dependent. It also means that dependent children cannot use the parents Panama Pensionado Visa to obtain Panama permanent residency. They will have to find another Visa to apply for Panama permanent residency.
The law requires the applicants’ pension amount to be increased by US$250 for each dependent or alternatively this requirement can be solved by providing a Panamanian bank reference letter indicating that the applicant earns at least US$250 per month in interest income from local bank deposits.
Also, its important to note that the law does not discriminate based on age, so anyone, regardless of age, that has the lifetime pension income mentioned above, can apply for this Panama visa.
Procedures for Qualifying for Panama Pensioner Visa
Foreigners that receive a lifetime retirement or pension from a foreign government, international agency or private enterprise, who enter Panama to live and have sufficient economic means to cover all of their living expenses for themselves and their dependents, will be able to request the Panama Pensioner Visa. The income or monthly pension must not be less than One Thousand US Dollars (US$1,000) and should be granted to the applicant for life.
Note: If the applicant can show that they acquired Panama real estate with the property title in their personal name, and the property has a registered value of at least One Hundred Thousand dollars (US$100,000), the monthly lifetime pension income may be reduced to a minimum of Seven Hundred Fifty dollars (US$750).
In addition to the basic requirements of Article 28 of the Decree Law, the applicant must submit the following documents:
1. Certification letter of his/her retirement or pension by a foreign government, international agency, or private enterprise, confirming that he/she receives a pension of at least One Thousand US Dollars (US$1,000) monthly or its equivalent in foreign currency and that the pension is for life.
Note: In the case of spouses, the two can be approved if they have a combined sum of at least US$1,000 per month pension income for life.
2. If the applicant has dependents, they must pay an additional application fee in favor of the National Panama Immigration Service, for the sum of Two Hundred Fifty US Dollars (US$250) for each dependent;
Note: In the case of dependent children, their permission will be temporary until they turn twenty-five (25) years old if they can prove they are full time students. However, they will not have the right to the continuance of the Panama Pensioner Visa, except for those dependent children that suffer a verified physical or mental disability.
3. Certificate of Public Registration of the Panama real estate with title in the applicants personal name (if applicable);
4. If the pension or retirement is from a private enterprise, they must submit the following items:
a. Letter from an administration of foreign business of pensions, of trusts, of mutual funds, of insurances, or a bank, that certify that the funds exist to guarantee an annuity of the applicant for life;
b. Certification of existence and work of the business that offers the pension and administers the fund;
c. Payment proof with a copy of payments or statement from the bank.
5. If the Pension Letter is from a private company, then the applicant must also provide a Certification from the Government authority that certifies that the Company that pays the pension is in good standing and duly registered. This document must be ‘original’, ‘official’, ‘updated’ and ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation below of these terms). The private company administering the annuity or pension must also provide an original letter certifying that this company is administering said annuity or pension.
6. Copies of proof of pension payments (copies of pension payment checks, bank statements showing deposits, etc.) from Institution/Company to applicant. This document must be ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation below of these terms).
7. Police record from the country of last 5 years of residency. This document must be ‘original’, ‘official’, ‘updated’ and ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation below of these terms).
8. Marriage Certificate (for the spouse – if applicable), and/or Birth Certificate (for children under 18 years of age – if applicable). This document must be ‘original’, ‘official’, ‘updated’ and ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation below of these terms).
Procedures for Applying for Panama Residency:
The procedure for all resident permits (Panama visas) is the following:
1. Register passport at Panama Immigration.
2. Present application with all required documents to Panama immigration, with Government fees & Repatriation Deposit (if applicable).
3. Panama immigration department issues applicant “Provisional Processing Card” and Multiple Entry-Exit Visa (valid for 3 months to 1 year).
4. Panama immigration department issues applicant Permanent Residency Permit (Panama Visa) and “Panama Pensionado Resident Card”.
A short visit to Panama is required to register and stamp your Passport at the Panama immigration Office. NOTE: No visitors wearing shorts, t-shirts or sandals are permitted in government offices.
The requirements are:
1. Two (2) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable).
2. Complete Panama immigration registration Form (Our law firm will provide this to Client, who only needs to complete and sign).
3. Original passport, and one (1) photocopy of passport (the original passport will be returned to the Client immediately after the registration).
Required Documents (for Panama Immigration processing):
Documents that Client must provide (for applicant and dependents – if applicable):
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 (all pages of the passport).
This should be provided after the Passport Registration is registered at the Panama immigration Office. Please note that the passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of the immigration application.
2. Six (6) passport sized photographs of the applicant (and dependents – if applicable).
3. 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.
Documents that Client must provide (for applicant):
4. Documentation of Proof of Pension from either of the following:
a. If Pension is from a Government Institution or Social Security: Client must provide certification from the respective Government institution that pays the applicant’s retirement or pension income, certifying that the person receives a “pension” in the amount of at least US$1,000 per month FOR LIFE. This document must be ‘original’, ‘official’, ‘updated’ and ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation of these terms below).
IMPORTANT NOTE: If the pension income certification document issued by the Government or by Social Security does not specifically state that the payment is a “PENSION” and it is for “LIFE”, then the applicant must provide a signed Affidavit (Sworn Declaration) stating that the payment is in concept of a “RETIREMENT PENSION” and that it is for “LIFE”. This Affidavit (Sworn Declaration) must be authenticated by a Public Notary & Secretary of State Apostil if issued in the USA, or otherwise, authenticated through the US consulate office in Panama.
b. If the Pension is from a Private Company: Client must provide a letter on company letterhead from the company that pays the applicant’s retirement or pension income, signed by a representative of the company, with complete contact information for verification purposes, certifying that the person receives a “pension for life” (the Pension Letter must use the words “pension for life”) in the amount of at least US$1,000 per month. This document must ‘original’, ‘official’, ‘updated’ and ‘authenticated’ (please check explanation below of these terms).
- Clients should send in advance all of the required documents by courier before his/her first visit, or they can bring them during his/her first visit.
- Clients should download, fill out and complete the Immigration Departments’ “Filiation” Form and the Personal Background Info Application (Our law firm we will provide these forms). Please send these two application forms by fax or email before your first visit, so we can review them.
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 immigration applications and documentation.
2. Letter of Responsibility, signed by the applicant, whereby the applicant takes responsibility for his/her dependents (if applicable).
3. Panama immigration Declaration Forms, to be completed and signed by the applicant (and dependents – if applicable).
* Note: for authenticating documents through the Panamanian Consulate, please Contact Us to request the contact information of the Panamanian Consulate nearest you.
- All documents that come in a language other than Spanish, must be translated in Panama through an official certified Panamanian translator.
- All Passports validity should not be less than six (6) months prior to processing the Panama immigration application.
Meaning of terms:
- Original: Original issued documents, not copies.
- Official: Issued directly by the respective Institution/Company, not internet printing nor other external source.
- Updated: With a recent date, not more than six (6) months, since the document was issued.
- Authenticated: Notarized and Authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate nearest you (or Authenticate by Apostil).
- Panama Permanent Residency obtained through the Panama Pensioned Visa Program provides holder of a Panama Permanent Residency Card for certain discounts and exonerations of certain taxes.
Panama Immigration department will not allow people to visit the Panama immigration office wearing shorts, t-shirts, or sandals. The Panama immigration office will not accept U.S. currency in denominations of US$50 or US$100, only bills of US$20 or less are accepted.
Note that all applicants for visas must be physically present at the Panama immigration office in Panama, at the time of Visa application.
When the immigration visa is approved, please plan to visit Panama for at least two weeks because immigration may hold on to your passport for several days (approximately 5 business days) while they insert the official stamps and information in the passport.
For Primary Applicant:
Legal Fee – Permanent Resident Card: USD $1,200 + 7% sales tax (on legal fees only)
Government Fees and Costs: USD $500 (Immigration) + USD$200 (Multiple Entry-Exit Visa)
Legal Fee – Permanent Resident Card: USD $1,000.
Government Fees and Costs: USD $500 (Immigration) + USD$200 (Multiple Entry-Exit Visa).