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Changes to existing Immigration Programs and approval of new programs

The Republic of Panama recently passed new regulations approving changes to the friendly country visa and reforestation programs as well as the introduction of the new Qualified Investor Visa.
Here are the highlights.
By means of Executive Decree No. 722 of  October 15, 2020, the government of the Republic of Panama created the new residency program called “Panama Qualified Investor Visa”.
With this new program, the current government has the intention in promoting investment into Panama by granting a convenient permanent resident status to any applicant and dependents that fulfil the requirements. 
Besides the traditional requirements for any residency program, the main requirement to comply will be to make the investment in accordance to amounts and standards created, as follows:
  1. Real Estate - The purchase of a real estate for US$500K, nevertheless until October 15, 2022, the investment can be for US$300K. The property can be land, a house, a condo must be free of liens or loans.  The property can be purchase in a personal name or using a corporation/foundation.
  2. Securities - Investing in Panamanian securities for US$500K through a licensed securities broker for a period of no less than 5 years.
  3. Bank - Setting up a time deposit at a licensed bank in Republic of Panama for US$750K for 5 years. The deposit must be free of any financial commitment or lien.
Highlights of the program.
  • The application can be submitted without the applicant presence, however, once it is approved, the applicant and dependents must travel to Panama to finalize the process.
  • The immigration office jointly with the Ministry of Commerce has created a special VIP office for processing the applications.
  • The residency application in this program will be approved in 30 days as of its presentation.
  • The investment in real estate; securities or time deposit must be maintained for 5 years. Otherwise, the permanent resident status may be cancelled. Each process of investment will have parallel requirements and processing which will assist and quote separately. The Immigration Office will demand evidence every year a report to verify that the investment is in place.
  • All funds for the investment are required to come from abroad.
  • After 5 years of being permanent resident, the applicant and dependents are entitled to apply for Panamanian citizenship.
On May 20, 2021, the government of the Republic of Panama enacted the Executive Decree No. 197 of May 7, 2021, which modifies the of Friendly Country Visa Program.  
The new changes add certain requirements for complying with the program. 
Program changes 
  • The new regulation will begin in 90 days as of the decree publication (August 17, 2021), which means that any application filed before this date will be under the current regulations. 
  • The program does not longer grant immediate permanent residency status. With the new modifications, the applicant will initially receive a 2-year temporary residency status and further the right to opt for permanent residency, just as other residency programs. 
  • The economical link with Panama can only be achieved by purchasing real estate of no less than US$200K. Nevertheless, unlike other programs, the applicants can finance the property purchase with a mortgage. 
  • The professional link with Panama can only be achieved by having a formal employment contract with a Panamanian company with a business license to operate in Panama and conditioned to the procurement of a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor. 
  • The bank account in Panama or corporations are no longer required. 
  • Taiwan has been removed from the list of countries.  
*List of Eligible Countries 
United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Germany, Argentina, Australia, South Korea, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, United State of America, Slovakia, France, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay, Chile, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus, Malta, Serbia, Montenegro, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Mexico. 
Once the visa petition is submitted before the Immigration Department, a 2-year temporary residency status will be granted. Upon the finalization of such period, the applicant and dependents will be entitled to process a permanent residency application. The permanent residency permit grants the applicant an additional foreign resident permanent ID Card (cédula) and the right to apply for Panamanian Nationality after 5 years. 
The Panama Reforestation Visa grants permanent residency to foreigners who invest a minimum of USD $100K in a reforestation project approved and managed by a forestry company regulated by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Panama.
This investment must be maintained for at least 5 years after obtaining permanent residency.
Pardini & Asociados works with reforestation companies approved for this program.
The USD$100,000 investment is utilized as follows:
  • $80,000 for the land. The area depends on the project of your choice from one of our approved reforestation plantations.
  • $20,000 for maintenance and management for a number of years depending on the reforestation company.
  • Should the applicant plan to include his dependents (e.g. family) in the application, he must increase the investment by US$2,000 for each dependent.
The highlights of this program are -
  • The new regulation came into force as of May 20, 2021.
  • There are different options for the procurement of permanent resident status within this program.
  • Investment of US$ 100K – The applicant and dependents will receive a 2-year residency status and the right to opt for permanent residency, just as other residency programs.
  • Investment of US$ 350K – The applicant and dependents will be granted with the permanent resident status immediately.
  • The investment must be maintained for 5 years, otherwise the permanent resident status will be cancelled.
Depending on the program, our Pardini & Asociados team will be glad to assist you with the following -
  1. Procurement of your residency;
  2. Finding a suitable property, house or condo for you through one of our approved realty brokers;
  3. Process of purchasing a real estate;
  4. Bank Introduction and setting up a bank time deposit at one of our approved banks;
  5. Coordinating with one of our approved reforestation plantations for your investment;
  6. Setting up a meeting with one of our approved licensed securities broker;
  7. Other services.
Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us for a FREE Call Consultation.
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