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About the Panama Retirees and Pensioner Visa

In recent years, Panama has become a popular destination for those who wish to retire in a country that offers a tropical climate and a cheaper cost of living compared to North American and European countries.

The Pensionado Visa program, from the Panamanian Government, offers permanent residence to foreigners who receive monthly retirement or pension from a foreign government, international organization or private company. The applicant must show sufficient financial means to cover cost of living for themselves and their dependents.

Who Qualifies?

The status of Pensionado (Pensioner) is not exclusive to Retirees (Jubilados), since there is no minimum or maximum age to apply in this program. The main requirement is to demonstrate monthly income of at least one thousand dollars (USD $1,000), granted for life.

In the event that the applicant proves that he has acquired personal property in Panama, with value above one hundred thousand dollars ($ 100,000.00), the pension requirement is lowered to seven hundred and fifty dollars (USD $750).

Requirements

The application for Panama Retirees and Pensioner Visa includes a main applicant and optional dependents, such as spouse or children. Each one has different requirements:

MAIN APPLICANT

  • Notarized Power of Attorney
  • Passport
  • Five photos (passport size)
  • Retired income certification (authenticated or apostilled). This must be:
    • A minimum of USD $1,000 per month, or
    • A minimum of USD $750, if the main applicant owns property in Panama worth more than USD $100,000, registered under his name

DEPENDENT SPOUSE

  • Marriage certificate (authenticated or apostilled, valid for 1 year)
  • An additional USD $250 in the main applicant’s retirement income

DEPENDENT CHILDREN

  • Passport
  • Five photos (passport size)
  • Birth Certificate (authenticated or apostilled, valid for 1 year)
  • Authorization of father or mother (if moving without other parent)
  • An additional USD $250 in the main applicant’s retirement income for each child

Application Process

The application process is divided in two phases.

PHASE 1 – Completed in 10 days

The objective of Phase 1 is to file the application and for the applicant and his dependents to obtain a Temporary Residence card. The applicant and his dependents must be physically present in Panama because the Temporary Residence Card uses a photo taken in the Panama Immigration Office.

Please remember that when you visit Panama as a tourist, you must book a flight out of Panama. You cannot visit Panama as a tourist with a one-way ticket. You will be stopped at the airport if you do so!

This is a sample breakdown of your time in Panama:

  • Meet with your attorney to complete any pending paperwork.
  • Register passport at immigration.
  • Depending on how busy immigration is, this may need to be done on day 3:
    • Submit application for permanent residency.
    • Have photo taken and receive Temporary Residency ID
  • IMPORTANT: Immigration will hold your passport for 2 days
  • Request Multiple-Entry Visa. This authorizes you to travel in-and-out of Panama while the Retirees and Pensioner Visa is in process.
  • Pick up your passport and Multiple-Entry Visa at your attorney’s office

We suggest planning for 10 days in the event that unexpected circumstances cause a delay. For example, consider power outages at the Immigration Office.

The Temporary Residence Card allows you to obtain a Panamanian Driver’s license valid for the same period of your Temporary Residence Card. You may want to obtain yor driver’s license in this phase, and it does NOT require the assistance of a lawyer.

WAITING PERIOD – About 3 months

There is usually a 3-6 month wait period between phases, and applicants usually travel back to their home country. This requires a Multiple-Entry Visa; otherwise, the applicant will be fined USD $2,000 upon his return to Panama to complete the residence process.

PHASE 2 – Application is approved

In Phase 2, the applicant and his dependents obtain the Permanent Residence card. The date of return depends on the approval of the application by Immigration.

Upon arrival, it takes one to two days to complete the Retirees and Pensioner Visa process, and receive the Permanent Residence Card. This requires one more visit to the Panama Immigration Office.

Optionally, you can apply for the E-Cédula (National ID). This can be completed at any time after the Friendly Nations Visa application is approved. This ID is not mandatory, but is highly recommended.

Keep in mind that approved applicants have 6 months to return to Panama and complete the residence process, or they may be fined USD $50 per person in the application.

Visa Benefits

Those who hold a Retirees and Pensioner visa in Panama enjoy many DISCOUNTS, including:

50%

● In entertainment, for example movies,concerts, sporting events, etc.

● In hotels from Monday to Thursday.

30%

● In hotels from Friday to Sunday.

● In transportation, for example, trains buses and boats.

25%

● In restaurants.

● In payments of public services.

● On plane tickes.

20%

● In medical consultations.

● In technical services or professionals.

● On prescription medications.

15%

● In fast food restaurants.

● On hospital bills when you do not have insurance.

● On ophtamolic or dental examination.

● In loans in your name.

OTHERS

● One time exemption on import duty for household items with a total of USD $10,000.

● Exemption on import duty on a car every two years.

Cost of the Retirees & Pensioner Visa

The expenses for the Pensionado Visa are split between Government Costs, Legal Fees, and other costs such as multiple entry visa or opening a bank account.

Government Costs range between $300 and $400 per person in the application, e.g. main applicant or dependent.

For instance, you should budget around USD $2,000 for a process that includes Permanent Residence and Multiple Entry Visa for one person.

Another example: a family of one main applicant, spouse, and two more dependents should budget around USD $4,000 for a process that includes Permanent Residence and Multiple Entry Visa.

Request a Cost Estimate NOW >>

Why retire in Panama?

In addition to its beautiful beaches, amazing weather, abundant biodiversity. and a capital city rich in culture, Panama has many more reasons to stand out among the options of retire in Latin America, including including a reliable infrastructure and modern amenities.

Panama Healthcare services top those of North America, a pleasant surprise to many newcomers. Panama has affordable, modern, high-quality hospitals. Many Panamanian doctors speak English, and many of them have trained abroad.

As a country that enjoys a solid, growing economy, and a country that welcomes foreigners, Panama is the perfect fit for many pensionados and retirees worldwide.

Popular FAQ’s

My partner and I live together / in common law. Can we apply together?

No. Panamanian law requires an apostilled / authenticated marriage certificate to be able to apply together. However, you can each file separate applications.

Are there age restrictions to apply?

All main applicants must be 18 years of age or more. There is no maximum age to apply. Dependent children must be younger than 18 years old, with the exception that dependent children between 18 and 25 years old can be included in the application as long as they are not married and they are enrolled full time in a Panamanian educational program such as high school or college.

Why do I need a Multiple Entry Visa?

According to Panamanian Law, the multiple entry visa is required whenever a foreigner begins a process to obtain Panamanian residence, and the foreigner travels outside of Panama BEFORE the National Immigration Service provides a resolution to the application.

If the foreigner resides in Panama until the National Immigration Service provides a resolution, then no Multiple Entry Visa is required. However, the foreigner can only have tourist status during that time, and should not work in Panama.

It is also important to consider that a Tourist Visa can expire before the National Immigration Service provides a resolution. In such case, it is possible to request an extension of the Tourist Visa for another term, usually of 30 – 90 days.

How long are my application documents valid?

The Criminal background check is valid for up to six months, unless the document itself specifically states otherwise. However, this document can also be voided if the foreigner visits Panama and leaves without applying for Residence.

The Health Certificate issued in Panama is valid for ninety days. Bank reference letters are valid for thirty days. Other documents, such as marriage certificate and retirement letters are valid for one year, unless the document states otherwise.

Can I apply to a Work Permit in Panama?

Those who hold the Retirees and Pensioner Visa can invest in Panama and own a business. However, they CANNOT be granted a work permit.

What is the e-Cedula? Do I need one?

The e-cedula is an optional form of ID available to Panamanian Permanent Residents. It is not a mandatory document, but it is highly recommended to have it. Although the Panama Immigration Office issues a Permanent Residence Card to approved applicants, this card requires holders to carry a passport when doing legal transactions (at all times), while with the e-Cedula solely it is sufficient. (will removes the need to carry the PR card and a passport) . Besides, the e-Cedula has a unique identification number and is similar in style to the ID carried by Panamanians.

Can I drive with my foreign license?

Foreigners are allowed to drive with their foreign license, up to 90 days only, nonetheless, once they apply for residence, they are not allowed to drive with it, they will be requested to obtain a driver’s license from Panama.

Popular FAQ’s

My partner and I live together / in common law. Can we apply together?

No. Panamanian law requires an apostilled / authenticated marriage certificate to be able to apply together. However, you can each file separate applications.

Are there age restrictions to apply?

All main applicants must be 18 years of age or more. There is no maximum age to apply. Dependent children must be younger than 18 years old, with the exception that dependent children between 18 and 25 years old can be included in the application as long as they are not married and they are enrolled full time in a Panamanian educational program such as high school or college.

Why do I need a Multiple Entry Visa?

According to Panamanian Law, the multiple entry visa is required whenever a foreigner begins a process to obtain Panamanian residence, and the foreigner travels outside of Panama BEFORE the National Immigration Service provides a resolution to the application.

If the foreigner resides in Panama until the National Immigration Service provides a resolution, then no Multiple Entry Visa is required. However, the foreigner can only have tourist status during that time, and should not work in Panama.

It is also important to consider that a Tourist Visa can expire before the National Immigration Service provides a resolution. In such case, it is possible to request an extension of the Tourist Visa for another term, usually of 30 – 90 days.

How long are my application documents valid?

The Criminal background check is valid for up to six months, unless the document itself specifically states otherwise. However, this document can also be voided if the foreigner visits Panama and leaves without applying for Residence.

The Health Certificate issued in Panama is valid for ninety days. Bank reference letters are valid for thirty days. Other documents, such as marriage certificate and retirement letters are valid for one year, unless the document states otherwise.

Can I apply to a Work Permit in Panama?

Those who hold the Retirees and Pensioner Visa can invest in Panama and own a business. However, they CANNOT be granted a work permit.

What is the e-Cedula? Do I need one?

The e-cedula is an optional form of ID available to Panamanian Permanent Residents. It is not a mandatory document, but it is highly recommended to have it. Although the Panama Immigration Office issues a Permanent Residence Card to approved applicants, this card requires holders to carry a passport when doing legal transactions (at all times), while with the e-Cedula solely it is sufficient. (will removes the need to carry the PR card and a passport) . Besides, the e-Cedula has a unique identification number and is similar in style to the ID carried by Panamanians.

Can I drive with my foreign license?

Foreigners are allowed to drive with their foreign license, up to 90 days only, nonetheless, once they apply for residence, they are not allowed to drive with it, they will be requested to obtain a driver’s license from Panama.

About Our Sponsor

Founded in July 2008, Kraemer and Kraemer is a Panamanian law firm with more than 11 years of experience. The firm helps hundreds of clients yearly with one of the most popular immigration processes, the Panama Retirees & Pensioners Visa, as well as other processes such as the Panama Friendly Nations Visa.

On top of immigration processes, Kraemer & Kraemer also provides legal services related to industries such as: Business, Tax, Real Estate, and Banking Introduction Services. The firm focus its legal practices in Panama City and David, Chiriqui.

Do you have questions? Contact Kraemer & Kraemer today.

The information in this website does not constitute legal advice and is only meant to be taken as general, non-specific and non-exhaustive information. Every situation is different. For questions, please contact us.