The Republic of Panama with a vision of becoming one of the countries with better immigration incentives worldwide, created through Executive Decree N. 343 published on May 16, 2012, the subcategory that grants permanent residency for foreign citizens of "Specific Countries that Maintains Friendly, Professional, Economic and Investment Relations" with the Republic of Panama, in which we can find the following countries as members:
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, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan , United States of America, Uruguay, United Kingdom and finally Mexico , the most recent country incorporated.
The process before the National Immigration Service is relatively simple to obtain, hence this category offers the shortest process timeframe to obtain the permanent residency, also taking into consideration that this category grants to the applicant the right to obtain a Work Permit and the panamanian identification document (I.D.) in a period less than one (01) year, which represents one of many benefits and is very important to consider when someone is deciding to immigrate and relocate in a foreign country. It's important to note that any foreign can apply for the Panamanian Nationality, once he has been a permanent resident for a period longer than 5 years. On the other hand, the permanent residents under this category will be able to apply for bank loans to purchase properties or vehicles while obtaining excellent financial rates around 97%, therefore the bank will only require a down-payment equal to 3% value of the property, this will be possible once the foreigner obtains his Panamanian I.D. This is one of many benefits when immigrating under this category. In this sense, the documents required by the National Immigration Service in order to grant the permanent residency are the following:
- The applicant must justify his interest of investing in Panama to be eligible to apply for the Permanent Residence Visa, in accordance with the economic or professional activity, this requirement can be satisfy trough the incorporation of a Panamanian Company or a Private Interest Foundation, or through the purchase of a property in Panama or presenting a Labor Contract of a Company duly incorporated in Panama.
- Complete Passport Copy of the applicant, which must be valid for the next six (06) months and duly notarized before a Panamanian Public Notary.
- The applicant must open a bank account in Panama in which must maintain a minimum balance of US$ 5,000.00 and US$ 2,000.00 for each dependent in order to comply with the requirement of Economic Solvency, which can be demonstrated trough a Bank Reference or Bank Statement duly stamped by the bank in which is established such amounts in numbers or digits (Minimum 4 medium digits). It's important to note that the National Immigration Service considers Bank References and Bank Statements only valid for a period of one (01) month.
- Regarding the so addressed Certified Checks, it's necessary to issue two (02): The first one for the amount of US$250.00 in favor of National Treasury, which is used to cover the cost for the application under an immigration category; and the second, for the amount of US$800.00 in favor of the National Immigration Service, which is a deposit that can be used by such entity to cover the expenses for the repatriation purposes, this check can be recoverable once one (01) year has passed.
- Also, the National Immigration Service requires the Criminal Record of the applicant and his dependents, this document must be issue by the country in which the applicant has been a resident in the last two (02) years, must be duly Apostille, if the country is a member of the Haya Convention; or legalized before the Panamanian Consulate or Embassy in the country issuing the Criminal Record.
- Copy of personal I.D. or resident I.D. of your country, which will need to be duly authenticated before a Panamanian Public Notary.
It´s important to note that if any document is legalized by the Panamanian Consulate or Embassy, this document will need to be verified and validated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, process that can take around four (4) working days.
The applicant will be able to include in the same petition as dependent is spouse and children under 25 years of age, as long as they proof:
- The family relationship. In the case of the spouse, the marriage certificate, and the children with birth certificate duly Apostille or legalize.
- In the latter case, the applicant will need to proof that the children are dedicated completely to their education either in high school or university, and a single certificate issued from the country of origin will be necessary, this document must be Apostille or legalize.
- Additionally, the applicant shall render a letter of responsibility duly signed, establishing that he or she will be responsible financially for his dependents.
Finally, the National Immigration Service will require from the applicant and dependents a health certificate issued by a Panamanian license doctor and personal affidavit form, which basically consist in filling a form issued by the National Immigration Service.
The approximate time to obtain the Permanent Residence under this category is between four (4) to five (5) months. The working permit can take between two (2) to three (3) additional months.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.