Panama Residence by Investment Program

Panama is a popular choice for investors seeking a permanent residency visa in the Americas. The country is an international banking centre and enjoys busy trade via the famous Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. From this prime location, investors can tap into Panama’s global goods markets, through trade that links pan-American markets to East Asia, Europe and Oceania.

In this article, we describe the various investment options and the steps you need to take to become a resident in Panama, looking at the following subjects: 

  • Panama residency by investment – What is it?
  • Benefits of becoming a resident in Panama
  • Panama residency by investment options
  • Panama residency by investment eligibility requirements
  • How to apply for Panama residency – Step-by-step
  • Panama residency by investment – Documents required
  • What is the minimum investment required for Panama citizenship?
  • Can you buy residency in Panama?

Panama residency by investment – What is it?

The Panama Residence by Investment Program, or Panama golden visa, allows investors to tap into the rich possibilities of Panama’s trade, cultural specialities and fantastic landscape. By investing a minimum of USD 100,000 in Panama, you will be eligible for a residence permit in this prosperous and popular country.

The Panama golden visa scheme allows high-net-worth individuals to invest in the country’s economy and environment and become residents, with the possibility of acquiring citizenship after five years. The residency application process takes just 30 days if you pursue the Qualified Investor route, and four to six months under the Friendly Nations and Forestry Investor routes.

Benefits of becoming a resident in Panama

If you become a Panama resident via the golden visa scheme, you will have the right to live, work and study in the country. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and these are just a few of the benefits of living here:

  • Panama has a well-developed, service-based economy. It’s a high-income country with an emergent status as a commercial and financial services centre for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, with growing banking, commerce and tourism sectors that attract foreign investors worldwide.
  • According to World Bank statistics, Panama had the strongest economic growth in the LAC region between 2014 and 2019, and it is back on track following the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The country has a very low cost of living.
  • The crime rates are low, so you and your family will feel safe and secure..
  • There is an excellent healthcare system.
  • Panama has invested in excellent infrastructure, including roads and mobile phone services, plus high-speed internet and cable TV.
  • Residents can tap into American commercial goods markets.
  • The country enjoys a glorious tropical maritime climate.
  • The diverse landscape includes rainforests, a desert and sun-drenched beaches on the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean coastlines.
  • There is fantastic local cuisine mixing Spanish, African and indigenous influences.
  • Panama City is a modern metropolis that also accommodates a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its centre, full of historical and architectural treasures.
  • The Panama Canal is hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Panama residency by investment options

There are three Panama residency by investment routes to consider. The Qualified Investor and Forestry Investor routes are supplemented by a scheme open to ‘Friendly Nations’. The latter is open to individuals with thriving business ventures in Panama. In all cases, there will be additional government, application and agency fees.

Let’s look at the options one by one.

1. Qualified Investor

There are three options here: a real estate investment of USD 300,000, a stock exchange investment of USD 500,000 or a fixed-term deposit of USD 750,000 placed in a Panama bank. Whichever route you choose, the investment must be held for at least five years if you wish to maintain your permanent residence status.

2. Forestry Investor

This scheme involves investment in a company that has a forest registry with Panama’s Ministry of Environment. There are three options – a real estate investment of USD 100,000, or investments of either USD 100,000 or USD 350,000 in teak reforestation. The $100k route gives you two years of temporary residence, after which you can apply for permanent residence, while the $350k option grants immediate permanent residence.

3. Friendly Nations

To qualify, you must be established in Panama as a business owner earning significant income, and you must also be a citizen in one of Panama’s named ‘friendly nations’. These are as follows: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay and United Kingdom

To pursue this investment route, you will need to demonstrate your business’s profitability. The Panama authorities will determine whether such a company’s activities are sufficient for an application for residency to be made.

The options in the Friendly Nations scheme are a real estate investment of USD 200,000 or a fixed-term deposit of USD 200,000.

Panama residency by investment eligibility requirements

Applicants must be aged over 18. You can include your spouse on the application, along with children under 18, children aged 18–25 who are single, full-time students with no children of their own, and children of any age who have physical or mental conditions that make them dependent on you, and parents of any age.

You will need to obtain a health certificate and take an HIV test in Panama as part of the process. You will not be eligible to apply if you have a criminal record.

How to apply for Panama residency – Step-by-step

Step 1: Your first move should be to engage an agency such as Huriya Private to assist you with the process and documentation checklist and answer any questions you may have. All applications must be made through a Panamanian lawyer.

Step 2: Due diligence checks will be made, and only when these are completed can you submit the application. You will need to demonstrate your ability to fulfil the requirements of the investment route you have chosen.

Step 3: Applications are made via a completed application form accompanied by the appropriate fees and all the required supporting documents. The process from application to approval usually takes 30 days under the Qualified Investor route and four to six months under the Forestry Investor and Friendly Nations schemes.

Step 4: If following the Qualified Investor or Forestry Investor routes, your permanent residence permits will be issued immediately following approval (subject to review by the National Immigration Service). If taking the Friendly Nations route, you will have a temporary residence permit for two years, after which a permanent residency visa will be available.

Panama residency by investment – Documents required

In addition to an application form and passport, you will also require the following documents:

  • Copies of all applicants’ passports.
  • Five passport-sized photos of all applicants.
  • Any relevant birth or marriage certificates.
  • Authenticated proof of sound health and no criminal record.
  • Details of your financial status and investment funds, including recent bank statements, all authenticated by the relevant financial bodies.
  • Certificates from the Panama Public Registry, the National Authority of Land Ownership and the Securities House, along with a license and/or registration certificate from the Panama Stock Exchange.
  • Authenticated copies of all investment certificates and documentation.
  • Personal history affidavit form.

Huriya Private can help you assemble all the required documentation.

What is the minimum investment required for Panama citizenship?

The minimum investment for residency in Panama is USD 100,000. You will be eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of permanent residence and full immigrant status. To become a citizen, it will be necessary to demonstrate your ties to the country, and you will need to have spent a significant amount of time in Panama during your residency.

Citizenship applicants also need Spanish language skills and knowledge of Panamanian history, culture and values. These skills will be formally tested, and you will need to attend an interview. Citizenship is a slow process, usually taking two to three years.

Can you buy residency in Panama?

Investment options range from USD 100,000 to USD 750,000. The $100k route grants you a temporary residency visa, which can be converted to permanent residence after two years. The higher investment options grant immediate permanent residence.

Contact Huriya Private now to learn more about citizenship programs and how you can start your journey towards securing a valuable second passport.