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Investing in Panama

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Panama is well known throughout the world as a place where professional investors can do business, and in order to encourage that, its government has taken steps to ease the procedures for obtaining investment visas. As in other areas regarding work in Panama, it all starts with a visa – and therefore it will involve a Panamanian lawyer, who can get things done far more easily than individual the foreigner who needs the visa.

Having said that, a successful investor, like any successful business person, brings money into the country and that automatically makes them an attractive proposition as a potential resident.

Make some enquiries with the Panamanian authorities in your home country before proceeding.

Investor visa

If you are an entrepreneur, you can move to Panama with an investor visa. This applies to those wishing to set up a company in the country or invest in an existing company. To be eligible, you must commit to investing at least US$160,000 in a company whose head office is located in Panama, and a sum of more than US$2,000 for each dependent you wish to bring with you. The funds must come from abroad. The company must be registered with Panama's social security program.

You must recruit at least five Panamanian employees, pay them at least the national minimum wage and grant them social security benefits.

The investor visa offers a two-year residence permit, with a permanent visa at the end of that period. After living in Panama for five consecutive years you can apply for Panamanian nationality and citizenship.

Proceedings

Documents to be presented when applying for an investor visa are:

  • a sworn statement
  • a letter from the company's accountant stating your investment
  • a letter from the company's secretary or treasurer
  • a certificate of your recruitment as director of the company, capital and the objective of the creation of the company issued by the Registro Publico
  • a copy of the company's social security number mentioning its activities
  • a notarized statement certifying the investment
  • the company's first income statement
  • the company's lease documents or electricity bills.

Agricultural Investment Visa

Investing in an agriculture project is one of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain an investor visa and temporary residence in Panama. It is valid for six years and comes through an agricultural investment project which has to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture of Panama

To be eligible for this visa, you must make a minimum investment of US$60,000 in an agricultural or reforestation project.

 Useful link:

Immigration Service of Panama

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See also

The tourist visa entitles you to a 90 days stay in Panama. This visa may be renewed at each exit from the country.
To be authorized to work in Panama, you can choose between the temporary work visa and the specific countries program.
Pensionado visas will cost between $1000-1500 per person. Because of the cost, you may find that this visa is not worth it.
Located in Central America, Panama is popular with expats due to its tropical climate as well as its stable government and economy.
Expat entrepreneurs are able to establish a business in Panama, though different types of company have different requirements.

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