NEW! Panama Golden Visa
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Residency Without Traveling to Panama in 30 Days
The President of Panama created a new Golden Visa for Panama to encourage foreign investment in the country. Unlike the existing immigration categories, this new permanent residence permit has four important advantages:
1. VIP counter for the reception and analysis of the Golden Visa.
2. Processing of the application in a maximum period of 30 working days.
3. Option of presenting the application without personal presence in Panama.
4. One-time application with the right to permanent residence permit and E-card (“cédula”).
How is the new Golden Visa different from other existing investor visas?
Something very interesting about this application is the fact that it can be presented by a Panamanian lawyer without the personal presence of the applicant. Until now, in order to apply for a residence permit in Panama under the different immigration categories, it was mandatory to personally appear with your lawyer before the immigration offices. However, for the new Golden Visa, the National Immigration Service of Panama will be creating a special department to receive these applications, like a VIP counter. Additionally, the government is required to process the application in a maximum period of 30 working days.
Therefore, the applications may be submitted through an attorney, before the applicant and his or her dependents travel to Panama. Once the applicants arrive in Panama they must comply with the normal passport registration process in order to receive their migration ID card.
It is innovative that such legal procedures can be managed remotely, without being physically present in Panama. We hope that this type of positive change will be replicated for other categories and processes as well.
Unlike the other existing investor categories, the Golden Visa offers the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in Panama with a one-time application, conditioned to the investment being maintained for a minimum period of five years (which will be verified annually by the government). If the investment ceases to exist before the fulfillment of this term, it will result in the cancellation of the permanent residency granted.
What are the requirements to qualify as a Golden Visa investor?
In addition to the basic requirements such as police record, health certificate, government expenses among others, a proof of an investment made in Panama with funds from a foreign source is required.
There are three investment categories for the Golden Visa:
Real Estate Investment
Investments made through a Panamanian brokerage house
Housing trends are changing. The experience due to the current situation takes people away from city centers, in search of unique spaces, but meeting basic needs such as access to freshwater, electricity and fast internet connection (to be able to work remotely). Although Panama City is a dynamic and modern city, much of the interior of Panama remains quiet and unexploited.
The minimum investment in real estate must be USD$300,000 (free of liens). If the property has a higher value, the surplus may be financed through a mortgage loan granted by a bank or financial institution in Panama. After two years (i.e. from November 2022) the required minimum amount for real estate investment increases to USD$500,000.
Besides the purchase of a real estate property there are other investment options in order to qualify for the Panama Golden Visa, for example:
Real estate investment through a sales promise for USD$500,000 made through a trust deposit managed by a bank or trustee in Panama;
Investments made through a brokerage house in Panama for a minimum amount of USD$500,000;
Investment in a fixed deposit (CD) with a Panamanian bank for a minimum amount of USD$750,000. This deposit must be free of any encumbrances.
Promising investment opportunities for a Plan B
Housing trends are changing. The experience due to the current situation takes people away from city centers, in search of unique spaces, but meeting basic needs such as access to fresh water, electricity, and fast internet connection (to be able to work remotely). Although Panama City is a dynamic and modern city, much of the interior of Panama remains quiet and unexploited.
But it is not only the location that will influence investors’ decisions when purchasing overseas. The second important point to consider is residence. In order to stay a significant amount of time in a country or move to a part-time or second home abroad, a residence permit is required. When countries began to close their borders, tourists were the first group to be blocked. But in the case of Panama, foreign residents were allowed to enter at all times. Now for the first time, the opportunity was created to obtain a permanent residence permit remotely through an attorney.
Opportunities arise from crises. Panama is considered a "safe haven” in the region. Despite the immediate economic contraction, Panama continues to be the strongest economic power in Latin America and the outlook for recovery (according to the risk rating agency Moody's) is positive (BAA1). Real estate investors are well advised to follow the development in the country closely, as the new price environment together with the appropriate strategy, creates space for very interesting investment opportunities.
Photo: www.pexels.com // Pixabay