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Visa procedures

Obtaining a visa in Panama is required for all persons that are looking for residency. Permanent Residency and a Cedula (Panama ID) is required to apply a mortgage when buying a house.

If you feel that this process is too complicated please ask Panama Portfolio for assistance, our employees have processed hundreds of visa applications. The information below is updated on February 10, 2020.

1. Friendly Nations Visa

In May of 2012 president Martinelli of Panama issued presidential decree 343 declaring that citizens of friendly nations could become residents of Panama in a fast track manner.
The official name for this visa is the “Permanent Residence for National of Specific Countries.

This visa is granted to citizens of currently 50 countries that maintain “friendly, professional, economic and investment relationships” with Panama. The USA and Canada are included in the list. We have included a full list of all the 50 countries which receive beneficial treatment at the bottom of this page.

How does it work?

  1. We have an immigration lawyer in Panama to help you obtain a visa;
  2. You have to open a Residents bank account with a minimum balance of $ 5000. This sounds easy but sometimes can take time.
  3. In all cases you must provide “proof of solvency”, this means in practice that you will have to deposit a minimum of $5000 in your bank account in Panama. There is no clear definition of “solvency” so this with the formation of a corporation is deemed acceptable.
  4. After you file the application with all the required documentation, the immigration office will grant a temporary residency card valid for 6 months. Once the Resolution is approved you will receive your permanent residency card. (4 months)
  5. During the permanent residency card, application you are able to file for a work permit.

Step 1: Travel to Panama and open up a bank account and file for residency.

For this process you need to be in Panama for at least 10 business days. During this time you will provide the required documentation to the bank, and sign the bank forms. 

Passport registration and Provisional Residency application process.


Step 2: Second trip to Panama after “resolution of approval is issued”

Once the “resolution of approval” is issued you will have to return to Panama within six  months to continue the immigration process. You will have to pick up your permanent residency card at the immigration office in person, and hand in the temporary card.

At this stage we can also apply for Work Permits.

We will also file for a resolution to issue a Cedula (Panama ID Card) – 6 weeks to be issued.


Step 3 Third trip to Panama

Process of the Cedula. (Panama ID Card) – Need to be in Panama for 2 days.

List of 50 Friendly Nations for Panama Visa

  • Great Britain,
  • Germany
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Republic of Korea
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • USA
  • Slovakia
  • France
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • 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
  • Hong Kong
  • Luxembourg
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Andorra
  • San Marino
  • Taiwan
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico
  • Paraguay

Retirement visa

Applicants with a life-time pension (it must be for life and for a minimum of $ 1000.00 per month) will be able to apply for a retirement permanent visa which is also called the Panama Pensionado visa.

If your are a married couple your combined pension must be at least $ 1250 

Please note that dependents permanent residency visas are temporary until 24 years of age. A dependent child older than 18, which is not attending college in Panama, cannot use the retirement visa of its parents, unless the child is severely handicapped.

The main requirements are:

  • a letter from the pension administrator in a foreign country which proves that the pension is for life;
  • proof that the issuing pension supplying company actually exists;
  • copy and proof of payment.

Please note investments or property income are not accepted as pension income.