Becoming a Permanent Resident in Panama through Investment

The Qualified Investor Permanent Residence Program in Panama grants residence within 30 days with an investment of  US$300,000.00.

By: Ayleen Quintero – Associate

The permanent residence permit as Qualified Investor was created through Executive Decree No. 722 of October 15th, 2020, and it is a migratory category that grants permanent residence in Panama to those foreigners who invest from five hundred thousand dollars (US$500,000.00) of funds coming from abroad, under one of the four (4) modalities that we shall explain subsequently.


Notwithstanding, it is important to emphasize that said Decree also contemplated an exception that consists of the benefit of being able to apply for this residence, with a minimum amount of three hundred thousand dollars (US$300,000.00), provided that the applicant chooses one of the modalities that are related to the investment in the purchase of a real estate property. This exception shall be in force only until October 15, 2022.


The modalities under which you can apply for this category are Real Estate Investment, Real Estate Investment through a Promise to Purchase Contract (both by Investment of US$300,000.00, only until October 2022), Investments through a Broker-Dealer House (US$500,000.00), and Investment through Fixed Term Deposit in the Banking Sector (US$750,000.00).


Under this category we could point out, among other requirements and general conditions, that the most relevant points to be evidenced within the application are:

  • To prove that the funds come from a foreign source.
  • That the Investment must be maintained for a minimum of five (5) years, which shall be verified annually.


How soon is the permanent residence under the Qualified Investor category approved?

The application for Permanent Residence under the Qualified Investor category is approved within thirty (30) working days and shall allow the foreigner applicant to acquire the permanent resident card issued by the Electoral Court of Panama, which shall be the new identity number in Panama for all approved Qualified Investors.


After obtaining Permanent Residence, how long shall I wait to apply for Panamanian nationality?

The naturalization or proceeding to obtain the Naturalization Letter is the formality that allows the permanent resident to opt for Panamanian nationality and, therefore, also obtain the right to carry a Panamanian passport. This proceeding can be carried out after the foreigner complies with any of the following conditions:

  1. Foreigners with five consecutive years of residence in the territory of the Republic if, after reaching the legal age, they declare their willingness to become naturalized, expressly waive their original nationality or that they hold at the moment, and prove they are conversant in Spanish language and have basic knowledge on Panamanian geography, history, and political organization.
  2. Foreigners with three consecutive years of residence in the Republic who have children born herein of Panamanian father or mother or spouse of Panamanian nationality, if they make the declaration and furnish the proof mentioned in the previous point.
  3. Nationals by birth of Spain or a Latin-American State, if they fulfill the same requirements requested by their country of origin to Panamanians to become naturalized.

For the above reasons, below is a summary of how many years nationals of some Latin American countries must wait, on a case-by-case basis.


How long should I wait to become a Panamanian citizen?

One year for nationals from Colombia and El Salvador.

Two years for nationals of:

  • Argentina            
  • Chile                      
  • Costa Rica           
  • Ecuador               
  • Spain                    
  • Guatemala          
  • Honduras            
  • Mexico                 
  • Nicaragua         
  • Paraguay           
  • Peru                     
  • Uruguay             

All others not mentioned above may apply for naturalization after 5 years.


After acquiring the permanent residence, what obligations do I have?

Concerning the migratory obligations that are derived, the main obligation shall be to visit Panama before two (2) years have elapsed outside the country, or else, the permanent resident shall lose the residence and must either initiate another proceeding or request the reactivation of the Permanent Residence; however, this proceeding has its conditions and supporting documents that must justify the relevant reason why the foreigner could not enter the country during the said period.

short stay visa

Panama creates Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers

Through Executive Decree No. 198 of May 7th, 2021, Panama creates the Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers.


Aiming to become a popular destination with digital nomads and professionals working remotely, Panama has launched its Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers.


This new visa allows foreign nationals employed by companies operating outside of Panama or who are self-employed, to live and work remotely from Panama for nine months with a one-time extension of nine additional months.


To be eligible for this visa, applicants must have a minimum annual income of US$36,000. In addition, they must prove that their income comes from a source outside of Panama through a bank certification or bank statements.


The requirements to apply for the visa include:

  1. Completed application form, which includes the commitment of the applicant to assume the costs to return to their home country or destination,
  2. Three passport photos,
  3. Certified passport copies,
  4. Criminal record certification,
  5. Good health certificate,
  6. Health insurance policy which must include coverage for the period of stay in Panama,
  7. Affidavit of personal background,
  8. Affidavit of non-acceptance of any work or service offer to carry out business in Panama,
  9. Certification of proof of registration of the foreign company where the applicant is employed,
  10. Letter of employment stating the position and functions exercised, monthly income, work modality, and commitment to assume the costs of return to their country of origin.

Self-employed applicants must prove ownership of a company registered outside of Panama and a sworn statement describing the business activity, services, clients, and revenue. All documents issued abroad must be apostilled or legalized.


The costs related to the issuance of this visa are:

  1. US$250.00 for the National Immigration Agency
  2. US$50.00 for the Visa Card


If you are currently working remotely, eligible according to the requirements, and you are looking for a new destination, take advantage of Panama’s great weather, fantastic beaches, mountains, culture, and, more importantly, world-class telecommunications infrastructure. Panama’s short-stay as remote worker visa could be exactly what you need.


For more information on this or other Visa categories, contact us at igranet@icazalaw.com or contact our lawyers to their email addresses below:

Ana Graciela Medina

Ana Graciela Medina


Ayleen Quintero

Ayleen Quintero



Panama extends validity of residence permits for foreigners

Resolution No. 636 of January 27, 2021


Through Resolution 636 of January 27, 2021, Panama’s National Immigration Service extends the validity of residence permits issued to foreigners, which expired on March 13, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Any expired permit or stay during this period will not generate fines due to expiration.


The processes include:

  • Provisional permit cards
  • Non-resident visas
  • Judicial Stay Cards
  • Immigration Regularization Cards
  • Tourist stays


Birth and marriage certificates previously issued until June 30, 2021, and that have expired during the period from March 13, 2020, to January 31, 2021, will be recognized as valid.


For more information or assistance on immigration matters

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