Step by Step Moving to Panama
Updated: Sep 1
Panama has become one of the preferred countries in Latin American as a destination not only for tourism but also for living. The country offers multiple opportunities such as living in a dynamic metropolitan area or in more remote areas, like beaches, islands or mountains.
If you are thinking about moving to Panama, we present you eight summarized steps below:
Step 1. Set the purpose.
Either to establish a business, to retire in the tropics, to invest in real estate or engage in a business activity. The economic growth that Panama has demonstrated in the past has had an impact on opportunities for development and investment, added to the fact that it is a multicultural country and a dollarized economy.
Step 2. Choose an area to live.
Panama has an area of only 75,420 km² divided into ten provinces that include different micro-climates. If you take into account social preferences, you will be able to find English or German speaking foreign communities, both in towns, urbanizations, restaurants, tourist sites, Spanish class programs, professional services offered by bilingual staff, newspapers and magazines with content about Panama written in English. Depending on your interests and personal tastes, we can advise you which places might be most suitable for you.
Step 3. Choose your migration category.
Panama offers several options to obtain a permanent residence permit for you and your family. Some of the most requested visas are: Retired Pensioner (Jubilado Pensionado), Friendly Nations, Panama- Italy Agreement, Dependent of Permanent Resident, Married to a Panamanian, or Investor.
We will help you to choose the right migration category for you. We evaluate each case individually (through virtual consultation) according to the information provided by the client, in order to develop a personalized strategy for each client. Afterwards you will be provided with the necessary forms and legal requirements established by the Migration Law of Panama, depending on your migration category.
Step 4: Compilation of documents.
The documentation requested varies depending on your migration category. According to the Migration Law in Panama, the complete immigration procedure and application must be filed by a legal representative (lawyer or a law firm). All documents must be sent to our firm's agents for prior review and approval, before being forwarded for translation and starting the mandatory legal preparations.
Step 5: Planning your trip to Panama.
In this step an appointment is arranged in our office in Boquete, while our agents work on the corresponding legal documentation. Our trained agents will assist you in person, by email or by phone, complying with the safety and health regulations established due to Covid19 pandemic. Prior to an upcoming trip to Panama we will keep you informed and updated about any changes regarding travel restrictions and other governmental measurements.
Step 6: Travel to Panama.
You will enter Panama as a tourist. It is important to mention, that given the current circumstances of the Covid19 pandemic certain mandatory requirements might be applied when arriving in Panama.
In this step your will deliver the original documents from your country of origin or last residence to our agents in Panama. All necessary signatures are collected from the client, the signatures will be authenticated, faithful copies are made before a Panamanian Notary Public, and the obtaining of required documents is completed. And if necessary, we assist you in opening a bank account.
Then the formal presentation of your application is made before the National Immigration Service, this time it can be personally with the client and with the lawyer appointed by our firm, taking into account changes that may be applied due to Covid19; that is, it is very likely that online modalities are implemented or that the foreigner does not have to be present at the Immigration office.
Finally after your passport has been registered and your application has been presented formally to the migration authority, you will receive a temporary residence permit that will be valid for six (6) months while the National Immigration Service processes your application. With this temporary permit, you will be able to stay in Panama for the duration of its validity or return to your country of origin. Remember that you will need your multiple entry and exit visa ("Visa Multiple”). The multiply visa is a stamp in your passport, which represents a special type of permission for the client to enter and leave the Panamanian territory without legal obstacles while your application for a residence permit is being processed.
Step 7: Receive your permanent residence permit.
Previously this step had to be done with the client personally present in Panama, but at the moment due to Covid19 it is possible for our law firm to receive your permanent residence permit in your behalf.
Once the residence permit has been successfully approved, a resolution will be issued to notify you in writing. The agent appointed by our firm and in the presence of the client will approach the immigration offices, and then proceed to pay the new (permanent) migration ID card, a photo will be taken of the client, and finally, you will immediately receive your permanent resident permit which allows you to reside permanently in Panama (or provisionally, depending on the case).
After obtaining your permanent residence permit you will be also able to apply for the Panamanian E-card (Cédula or Panamanian identity card) and personal tax number (RUC) in Panama.
This information has been carefully written and updated according to the circumstances caused by the global situation of Covid19, where Panama remains the leading country in the Central American region in the control of its health, economy, scientific studies and logistics policies.