Panama Allows Foreigners with a Child Born in Panama to Become Permanent Residents
In 2012, Panama’s President Martinelli signed a new law allowing foreigners who gave birth to a child in Panama within the last five years to qualify as permanent residents.
Illegal immigrants and foreigners who over stayed their visas who have had children born in Panama had created a legal puzzle. The mother was considered an illegal alien subject to arrest and deportation while the child was a Panama citizen.
What happens to the Panama child when the mother is deported?
Conflicts with Panama laws regarding the rights of mothers of Panamanian children and the welfare of a Panama child conflicted with immigration laws regarding illegal aliens. Deport the mother and leave the child behind as a ward of the government?
Force the Panama child to be deported along with the mother? The Panama Constitution prohibits Panama citizens from being extradited which arguably deportation could be a similar expulsion. These legal contradictions were never resolved by law or by the courts. As a result, thousands of illegal alien mothers were able to remain in Panama while taking care of the minor Panama child.
The new law solves this problem by making both parents permanent residents.
Here are the requirements to qualify and the necessary documents to file when applying:
- The child born in Panama is at least five years old at the time the mother and/or father apply for residency.
- A nationwide criminal police record of both parents must be filed from their home countries national police force. (For U.S. citizens this will be from the FBI.)
- If one or both parents have lived in Panama without having left the country for a minimum of two years he or she can obtain the criminal background report from the Panama police (Department of Judicial Investigations “DIJ”).
- File a letter of responsibility signed by a Panama citizen.
- Show proof of economic solvency such as a letter from a Panama bank showing adequate funds of the applicants and the Panamanian citizen who provided the letter of responsibility.
- Provide an original child’s birth certificate from the Panama Civil Registry.
The costs (per parent) will include:
- $1,050 application fee for the immigration department; $150 for the permanent residency carnet (ID card);
- $60 for a notary; $20 per page for official translator fees; and
- $50 multiple entry/exit visa (if the applicants intend to leave the country and return before permanent residency is granted).
The estimated total is $1,330 USD.
Legal fees will be around $2,000 for the primary applicant and $1,500 for the spouse.
If one or both parents are temporary residents with no option to become permanent residents, then this new law can be used.
With the recent addition of fast track permanent residency visas for citizens of 47 friendly countries intending to live in Panama in order to work professionally or own a business Panama is truly opening its doors to new immigrants.
Panama law requires hiring a Panama lawyer when applying for immigration visas. Before applying for permanent residency, consult with a reliable and competent Panama immigration law firm.