Legal costs - Friendly Nations program

Hello! We can apply for permanent residency under the friendly-nations program, meaning we put down 5k + some for other family members, and open a local Company.

- do you know any lawyer who can responsibly deal with this?
- what are the legal fees to open a company (I found $500 online) and to take the residency application process from start to end (I haven't found anything online, wild guess: 1-2k) ?
- how long does it take from the application day to the day the residency is granted?


I believe (last time I checked) that a business license is around $250.00 and to open up a corporation for that business is $1,200.00

You didn't mention what area of Panama you are in?  Regardless, find a good one in Panama City as that is where everything is and you will have to go there anyway.  Otherwise, you may be paying an attorneys travel to and from.

I did get the Friendly Nations Visa and it cost me about $3,500.  I can't recommend my attorney at all, so do your own due diligence.

Thank you! Yes one in Panama City would be good. How long did it take to get the visa?

Probably all in all for the resident visa alone, 4 months (that was a year ago).  Added costs and time, if you need/want a cedula and work permit.....

and I say 4 months from when paperwork is accepted by Immigration.  Get your peas in a row prior must have a Panamanian bank account (which I believe they want 5K deposited in for this visa) and a reference letter from your Panamanian bank (they'll do a reference letter after you have an account for 3 months).  You also need your FBI report, if you are a US citizen and that report needs to be apostilled by the State Dept.  Lots of other "little" things need to happen before you actually apply for the visa.

Thank you Andrea! Perfect, so it seems it makes sense to open a bank account in advance.

One last question about this :-)

Does one need to stay in Panama for the application process? Or is it enough to open a Company, open a bank account, wait 3 months, get the reference letter and the required docs, and then send everything through a lawyer, no matter where the applicant is?

You should go ahead and get a bank account, business license and corp ready to go before you put in an application for this visa.  (My attorney had me do all of it before)  However, check with an attorney as rules change at a drop of a hat.....and for your peace of mind.  :)

That makes perfect sense, thanks! But does one need to be physically in Panama, when he/she sends the visa application and during the assessment process?

Guess I have to pay you legal consulting fees soon :-) THANKS!

As for leaving or staying in the country during the immigration process....well, that's a big ole can of worms.

After you take your fingerprints and get FBI report (apostilled too) then you need to sit tight wherever you are until after you and your attorney go through immigration and you receive both a temporary visa along with a Multi-entry visa.  Your passport will also be stamped as "Registrado" so that they know you are in the process.  Reason being is that if you leave the country before getting the temp card and/or multi-entry visah....their thought process is that you may be leaving the country and something illegal may occur which would negate the FBI report.  Then it's a rinse/repeat and you don't want to go there.  I've heard different views on this, so it would definitely be best to hear this information from a reputable attorney.

One thing that may be easier - If you have a house already here in a corporation, you can attach the business license to that particular corporation...instead of opening up a new one.

Getting all of those things done before you get to the application process makes you much more desirable as an applicant.  Oh and if you as a shareholder in the corporation have 51% ownership....It looks much better to immigration.

Hi there

Prices vary a lot depending on who you go to and an attorney in the city is not always the best option depending where you are!

I can recommend Tanya Coronado who is very cost effective but not necessarily fast...she did our Friendly Nation Visa and we have been very happy with her...tanyacoronado[at]




Panama88 - Could you share the link where you found starting a company for $500? I've only found $900 and up.

Hi ;

have you manage to find someone that can help ?

I am also looking for assistance , can you recommend someone ??


Have you managed to get someone to assist you ?

I am also looking for someone


We've been reading your posts with interest....did you ever get settled in Panama - and can you perhaps recommend a lawyer and let us know how you set up your company?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Heidi & Arnold :-)

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