Residency and Citizenship

Why Panama is better than the US for immigrants

1/6/2023 8:00:00 AM
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Mexico has become a transit place for thousands of people who have left their countries because of political turmoil, war, economic crisis, and similar problems. In many nations, the quality of life is decreasing significantly, so these people try to immigrate to the US.

There have been many reports of people who tried to get a US visa but found it nearly impossible. When all doors are closed there's no other option than to look for solutions. This is why they choose to immigrate to the US through Mexico and ask for political asylum.

The San Ysidro passage is one of the most popular entries for immigrants 

For example, there are many Russian refugees in Mexico as well as people from different nationalities who are going after the American dream. In 2022, 8600 Russian refugees in Mexico have chosen the San Ysidro passage as a route that allows them to immigrate to the US. The strategy consists in entering Mexico as tourists through Cancun and then traveling to Tijuana where they can rent a car and cross the border.

However, things get complicated as they enter American territory and meet the border agents. They are the ones who will decide whether to admit or reject their asylum request.

Using Mexico as transit is not a new strategy for those who want to immigrate to the US. The route named here has been used by Dominicans, Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, and Russians in Mexico for years. However, the situation became complicated when the arrival of people coming from faraway countries became overwhelming. This triggered the alert of both countries’ authorities who are not used to receiving immigrants coming from countries located 10,000 kilometers away.

The number of foreigners being detained at the border increases

We don't know how the current global situation will affect immigration trends across the world. When a person wants to immigrate to the US, or any other country, Mundo usually recommends hiring an immigration lawyer. This will significantly reduce risks. 

During the second half of 2021, the number of people detained at the borders between Mexico and the United States increased considerably. Regarding Russian refugees in Mexico, the numbers are alarming. The first semester of 2021 witnessed roughly 1000 Russians going through the border, but the amount surpassed the 8,000 immigrants during the second half of this year. 

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Mundo offers a better alternative: move to Panama 

Citizens that are stuck in Mexico have a better alternative: the American dream is not so “dreamy” in the United States. Instead, if you move to Panama, you'll have lots of benefits.

Panama versus the US

We can say that there are at least 5 points in which Panama is the best option for Russians in Mexico. 

1-Cost of living

Being a smaller and younger country, Panama brings a whole new lifestyle. While renting a studio in New York City costs roughly $3000 a month, for this kind of money in Panama you can live as royalty. A furnished studio in Costa del Este, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Panama City, costs $750. To better illustrate this point, here's a list of basic products and their costs in both cities:

  • Restaurant meal: Panama $8 / New York City $25
  • Cappuccino: Panama $3.27 / New York $5.23
  • Loaf of bread: Panama $2.19 / New York $4.24
  • 1 kg of oranges: Panama $2.97 / New York $4.48
  • One-way ticket in local transportation: Panama $0.32 /New York $2.75
  • Tuition for 1 child in primary school (per year): Panama $358 / New York $2264

2- Landscapes and quality of life 

Panama is a small country that boasts shores in two oceans. In only one hour you can go from enjoying the peaceful Caribbean waters to visiting a beach on the Pacific. While it is true that Panama has only tropical-style entertainment, unlike the US which has wider options, there's always something interesting to do. The gastronomy and accommodation offers are quite diverse offering from small bed and breakfasts to high-end international hotel brands. The advantage of Panama is that it's a really small country taking only 8 hours from Panama City to reach the border with Costa Rica. This makes traveling much easier and allows for great weekend getaways. Keep in mind that the traffic is pretty bad, especially when leaving the city during the holidays. That's why we recommend traveling by plane or departing earlier than everyone else.

3-Peaceful environment

The country of the canal has no history of civil wars. We're talking about such a peaceful place that it has no military. During international conflicts, Panama has remained neutral. If you think about it, this is natural giving its open-minded culture, especially toward foreigners.

4-Business opportunities

Since 1914 Panama has had the most important engineering work of the 20th century: the Panama Canal. For more than a century this has been a source of wealth for the region. Besides creating job positions for locals, it opens opportunities for foreigners who want to work and conduct business in Panama.

5-Plenty of Immigration programs

We've left the best for last: if you want to move to Panama you'll be pleased to know that there are many options. For the sake of practicality, we'll briefly describe only three of them:

Pensionado visa: this option is available for foreigners who have a lifetime pension of at least $1000 a month. Their funds may come from a private or a government entity as long as the applicant proves that this income is for life. It's possible to apply with the spouse. There's also a real estate option (minimum investment of $100,000) that lowers the minimum income to $750. Due to its nature, this visa doesn't grant a work permit. 

Friendly nations visa: an option available for citizens from a list of 50 countries that are considered to be friendly towards Panama. With no investment (only deposit $5000 which will be released after approval) you can get residency in as little as six months. Residency lasts 2 years after which you can get a permanent one. Citizens that can apply are those coming from Argentina, The United States, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Portugal, Spain, Japan, and others. 

Qualified investors visa: this program grants permanent residency in only six months. Applicants must invest a minimum of $300,000 in local real estate. Although the official amount should be $500,000, the government allows for a lower investment for two more years. The main benefit of the qualified investor visa for Russians in Mexico that want to move to Panama is that it grants permanent residency while you acquire a powerful asset. The real estate market in Panama is one of the strongest in the region. Consult with your Mundo immigration lawyer and find out about your options.

Why move to Panama with Mundo

It doesn't make any sense to be stuck at the border of a country with highly expensive medicine, worldwide taxation, and constant international conflicts. Instead, go south and move to Panama. This is a place where your money has more value and where freedom is the main philosophy. Thanks to the Panama Canal, this country is used to receiving foreigners from all ethnicities, religions, and sexual interests. 

Moreover, with Mundo, you'll find the right immigration lawyer for your particular case. Since we have an office in Panama, plenty of experts are familiar with the regulations, the business opportunities, the real estate options available, and the daily routines.

Move to Panama now and seize this unique opportunity.

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