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Retirement in Paradise: The Panama pensionado visa
Panama is a special country for many reasons. Its economic model is based on Singapore, and this is not all these two countries have in common. Singapore has grown against the IMF predictions from a poor country to one of the top financial centers in the world in only 30 years. In the same way, Panama has developed immensely in only 2 decades after the country got full administration of the Canal in 1999. The isthmus of Panama went from being a third world country to one of the most important business hubs in the world.
How does a country achieve this enormous growth and economic development in such a short period? In the case of Panama, this was achieved thanks to the smart policies implemented by progressive and business-friendly governments. Panama´s policies are so comprehensive that they offer absolutely everything for an investor. In our country focus we discuss the advantages of Panama: free zones, asset protective foundation, tax incentives, territorial tax system and many more. These incentives undoubtedly drove an important traffic of investors and talented entrepreneurs and professionals to the country. The government’s smart move was to create a variety of immigration programs that allow for the legal migration of these qualified people, businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals that needed to fill the positions of a company or that decided to operate their business in Panama.
Thus, Panama has become one of the few places on earth where a person can find a variety of visa programs with straightforward procedures and reasonable costs. You can find a summary of these programs here.
The Pensionado visa
Today, with the help of our expert, we have prepared a piece on the Pensionado Visa which is one of our favorites. This program offers residency in Panama to all those people with a passive income. That is the program´s core and essence. Its name suggests that the visa is only for retirees, and maybe this is its main purpose. However, the legislation does not establish a minimum age in order to apply. Anyone of any age can apply to this program as long as they have a passive income of at least 1,000USD a month for life. Thus, the applicant only needs to prove having such an income for life which can come from a governmental or private entity. As you can see, this is a unique opportunity.
Apply for a Pensionado Visa, procedure, requirements, and costs
Step 1 - Filiation:
- 4 passport-sized photos.
- Copy of the passport including the last entry stamp to the Republic of Panama.
- A copy of the POA (Power of Attorney).
- Pre-registration form (filled in online.)
(If the applicant has dependents, the same documents must be submitted for each of them, including the fees and costs)
Legal fees: $250.00
Duration of the process: 1 day
Step 2 - Presentation of application:
- Three passport-sized photographs (also for each dependent).
- Complete notarized copy of the passport. (also for each dependent).
- Certificate of criminal records of the country of origin, with apostille. (also for each dependent of legal age).
- Health certificate issued in Panama by a qualified doctor (also for each dependent).
- Fill in sworn declaration form of personal background (also for each dependent of legal age).
- Certification of your status as a retiree or pensioner by a foreign government, international organizations or private companies, in which it is proven that you receive a lifetime pension of not less than one thousand balboas (B /. 1,000.00) per month or itsequivalent in foreign currency.
- If the retirement or pension comes from a private company, the following must be provided in addition to the above:
- Letter from a foreign pension administration, trust, mutual fund, insurance or banking company, certifying that it administers funds for the company or the applicant.
- Certification of existence and validity of the company, which grants the pension and administers the fund.
- Copy of proof of payment or bank statement.
Exceptions to the rule
1. The certification that demonstrates the status of retired or pensioner may be of
seven hundred fifty balboas (B /. 750.00) in the following cases:
- The applicant has acquired property in a personal capacity in the national territory for a sum greater than one hundred thousand balboas (B/.100,000.00).
- In the cases of spouses, you may choose to credit the sums of both
- To meet the minimum of the established pension which is one thousand
- In the cases of dependent children, your permission will be temporary until they turn twenty-five (25) years old as long as they prove that they are completing their studies, however they will not have the right to stay or to be a pensioner. With the exception of those dependent children who suffer a proven profound disability.
Legal fees: $ 2,500.00 ($ 1,500.00 additional for each dependent).
- Notary (Power of Attorney): $5.00 (Additional power for each dependent of legal age)
- Notary (Passport collation) $ 20.00 (For each individual)
- Provisional Card: $50.00 (For each individual)
- Definitive Card: $100.00 (For each individual)
- Other: $150.00
Processing duration: approximately 2 and a half months.
Step 3 - Multiple Visa:
While the application is being reviewed, the applicant will not be able to leave the country otherwise he will have to pay a fine that can amount to 2,000 USD. For this reason, we recommend getting a Multiple Visa, thanks to which the applicant can freely travel to and from Panama without facing any fines.
- Original and photocopy of the passport (general, registration stamp)
- Original and copy of the migration card
- 2 passport-size photos
Legal Fees: $ 250.00
Expenses: $ 50.00
Processing duration: 48 hours.
Step 4 - Immigration Note to obtain the ID Card:
The immigration note is given to the lawyer upon approval of the residency application. This document is issued two weeks after the applicant has acquired the permanent residency card. With this note, the applicant and the lawyer can request the Panamanian ID card for foreigners at the Tribunal Electoral de Panama.
Legal Fees: $ 250.00
Expenses: $ 26.00
Processing duration: 2 weeks after filing the Immigration Note.
The advantages of the Pensionado visa for retirees
The pensionado visa has no minimum age limit which means it is not only for retirees. However, the program is undoubtedly aimed to them and retirees can find many benefits in Panama and through this visa program.
-Acquire real estate:
If the applicant for the Pensionado visa should acquire a real estate property in Panama, then he can apply having a monthly income of 750 USD instead of 1,000 USD. This is a great opportunity because the real estate market in Panama is thriving even in post Covid times and it is expected to grow in 2021. Moreover, there are many interesting developments and properties that offer a great lifestyle for retirees. One example of this is the Generation Tower project by one of our partner developers.
The project is for all ages, but it offers a special program for pensioners. It is located in Costa del Este, one of Panama´s top neighborhoods with great access to the city center and the international airport through the Corredor Sur.
It has condo suites from 53 to 64 square meters and an incredible top level with all the amenities of a luxury residence: infinity pool, bar, excellent views, Yoga center, Athletic club, and others.
The special Independent Senior living program for retirees include:
- Health insurance.
- Medical monitoring using smart watches.
- Flexible meal programs and a Visa card with discount for food in restaurants of the area.
- Travel discount with Copa Airlines so that senior residents can be visited by their family and friends.
For more information on real estate opportunities and developments, please click here.
Foreign and local retirees in Panama have access to excellent discount options in a variety of services and goods:
- Entertainment (theaters, cinema, sport events) - 50%
- Public transportation - from 25% to 30%
- Hotels - from 30% to 50%
- Restaurants (does not include the fondas) - 25%
- Fast food - 15%
- Hospital and private health institutions -15%
- Pharmacies (Medicine) -20%
- Medical services consultation -20%
- Medical services (dentist services) - 15%
- Services (electricity, phone, and water) - 25%
- Lower cost of living:
The Panama pensionado visa is an excellent choice for retirees from the US and Europe. Usually, these people have worked hard their whole lives, but upon retirement they find that their pension income is not enough to afford a comfortable and prosperous lifestyle. The cost of living in Panama is considerably lower than in most of the big powers, and so are the salaries, of course. But this does not matter because these retirees have worked hard in their jobs or own businesses to produce a high income, and upon retirement, their pension may not be enough in their home country, but it is in Panama. Thus, retirees can have a better lifestyle being able to afford restaurant dinners, entertainment, vacations as well as important discounts in transportation and medicine.
-Excellent life quality:
Like we mentioned in the previous point, the life quality in Panama is excellent. Most of the people speak English because Panama´s history was always tied to the United States due to the Canal. There are numerous beaches only a few hours away as well as mountain landscapes and related activities. The weather is hot and humid, but at six o´clock it is already nighttime, and the heat goes down significantly. Moreover, pensioners have discounts in electricity bills which makes the use of air conditioning less expensive.
The city itself has plenty of amenities such as cinemas, theaters, restaurants, bars, and parks. One of the best places for exercise and outdoor activities in the city is Parque Omar. This is a park located in San Francisco with a jogging trail and different activities which are mostly offered for free like fitness classes, yoga, and Zumba.
Let us not forget the Cinta Costera across the Panama Bay. Here there are jogging and bicycle trails and you can enjoy the most amazing views of the city and the ocean. Cinta Costera is also host to numerous musical events mostly for free and to the picturesque parades during the National Holidays.
Mundo highly recommends the pensionado visa for people of all ages, but especially for retirees, because the pensionado visa does not allow for a work permit. With a simple process and at a low cost, you can spend the best years of your life the way you deserve. Contact our experts to apply now.
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