This post is also available in: Spanish
Panama welcomes professionals and investors with immigration law
The Panamanian government has opened its doors for business, creating a new category of visas for citizens from nations it considers to be friends and allies. Currently there are nearly 50 on the list. This policy was taken as a way to integrate the isthmus into the world and take advantage of the globalization.
Under the Executive Decree No 806 of October 9, 2012 citizens of countries like the United Kingdom, Chile, Switzerland, Israel, Japan and even more recently, Costa Rica can obtain permanent residency in Panama by demonstrating that they have $5,000 in the bank, no criminal record, and that they have made some sort of investment such as purchasing a property or is a professional has a work contract.
Panama is growing rapidly and for that reason there is a great demand for qualified professionals especially in areas related to construction, sales and geology among others. A bilingual professional in Panama will be in great demand especially now that more multinationals are opening branches in the isthmus attracted by the fiscal incentives, the opening of free zones and of course the potential business opportunities that the Panama Canal widening will create.
Any citizen of one of the friendly nations that requests this type of visa can obtain their resident permit in approximately eight months. One of the main advantages of this visa is that wives and children as dependents can be included, as long as the child is under 25 years old and studying.
It is important to note that after the eight months have passed, the applicant will obtain and interim carnet valid for one year that certifies his legal status in Panama and allows him to start proceedings to obtain a work permit and driving license, which facilitates the opening of a bank account.
Panama wants to attract bright young professionals to the country and the immigration process is less lengthy and bureaucratic than in other countries. More information about this visa can be found in the website of the Panamanian immigration service www.migracion.gob.pa/.
The 48 Friendly Nations are:
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, Monaco, Marino, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom (Great Britain & Northern Ireland).