The friendly nations visa is an immigration program created by the Panamanian government to attract expats from developed nations looking to relocate to Panama for investment and employment purposes.
Citizens from the list of countries with whom Panama has established cooperation relationship are all eligible, if they prove that they can fulfill at least one of the following requirements:
- Have an employment offer from a Panamanian company
- Ownership of real estate property in Panama with a value of at least USD $200,000 (with or without financing)
Aside from the economic requirement, all applicants must provide their federal criminal record, passport copies, 5 photos, and in case of applicants applying with their families (spouses, children, parents or legal dependent) they must provide the documentation that can proof the relationship.
All documentation submitted has a validity of 6 months from its issuance date, must come either legalized at the nearest Panamanian consulate, or through the apostille process. Your attorney will arrange the certified translations of all the documentation if it is in a language other than Spanish.
You might be wondering how to comply with the economic requirement, if you have not established economic ties in Panama yet, but you are eager to move to Panama, well, there is a hack to comply with the employment offer form a Panamanian company.
It is likely that if you are researching Panama, you have read it is accessible to open and own a Panamanian legal entity (company), you as a person interested in applying for this visa category, can open your legal entity, appoint nominee directors and then make an employment offer to yourself in order to fulfill this requirement, all within the legal scope of the law.
Receiving the Visa
Once you can fulfill all the requirements to apply for the visa, you should plan at least 3 weeks in Panama to complete your residency, not before getting the go from your attorney before making the trip.
While in Panama ready to submit your visa application, your attorney will register your passport at the immigration office and notarize and request the local documentation needed to complete the application request.
After your attorney has submitted your application, he/she will request the waiver for you to travel while your application is being reviewed.
Simultaneously, your attorney will request your work permit, which is a requirement only for applicants applying through an employment offer by a Panamanian company.
Expected timeframes to receive your temporary residency for 2 years is around 3-4 months after submission date.
Once your 2-year provisional residency is coming to an end, you can request your permanency, as the only requirement is to proof that all the conditions in which you initially applied are still in place, this means, that you are employed by the Panamanian company or still own property in Panama.
I strongly advise that everyone interested to apply to a visa in Panama, inquire the assistance prior to coming to Panama, as he/she will navigate you through the process of gathering the correct documentation and not lose precious time while planning your move.
Here is a list of all the citizenships from countries that are eligible to this visa program:
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
- United States
- Czech Republic
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- San Marino
- Costa Rica
Learn More About the Friendly Visa Program and Obtaining Residency in Panama
Ivette is a well-versed freelance business and immigration lawyer in Panama. She has over 9 years of experience in various legal areas concerning relocation.
Connect with Ivette to be your guide in investing in Panama Real Estate, as well as immigration matters.