Panama has issued more than 2000 yearly residence permits under the permanent resident immigration subcategory as national foreigner from specific countries who maintain friendly, professional, economic and investment relations in the Republic of Panama, ( Friendly Nations Visa ) of which a large percentage had come from the North American region, showing a yearly increase of 3.1%.
The Friendly Nations visa was created 9 years ago to promote Panama’s economic and commercial development with countries under this decree and the acquisition or creation of new companies in order to boost local employment generation.
In the last decade the countries that made the most applications for these migration programs according to statistics of the Immigration Department of Panama have been (in order of number of approved applications): Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, France, Canada, Portugal, Chile, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Uruguay, Holland, South Africa, Belgium, Australia, Taiwan, Denmark, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, New Zealand and Singapore.
The benefits of the so-called “Friendly Nations Visa” program are recognized worldwide, not only because is among the cheapest permanent residences in the region but also has a short processing time period of 3 to 4 months.
What are the changes enacted in May 7th 2021 and how do they affect my application?
On May 7, 2021 the new Executive Decree 197 amends the Decree 416 of June 13, 2012 that creates the ¨Friendly Nations Visa¨, adding new conditions and requirements for this migratory subcategory as we summarize below:
- The countries that may opt for this permit are:
United Kingdom, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Korea, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Finland, Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Singapore, Uruguay, United States, 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, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Mexico and Peru.
The Republic of Taiwan has been removed from the list of friendly countries, we can assume that the decision may have been marked by the breakup of diplomatic relations on June 13, 2017 with Panama.
- Article 3rd on the Decree 416 of 13 June 2012 was also amended by including a new provisional permit card to be hold by the ¨Friendly Nations Visa¨ applicants for a two years period, thereafter applicant should file another request to receive the permanent residence card.
Formerly this was not considered in this subcategory, although a similar legal basis is found as foreground on the Permanent Resident permits for economic reasons. As a result, the processing time of this permit is extended from 3 months to 2 years.
- Another major change to Article 3rd, is the fork of the proof of economic solvency requirement through a bank certification or bank statement into two new economic solvency reasons that new applicants may opt on this new regulation as follows:
- For Labor Reasons.
- For real estate investment reasons
For both cases, applicants must present the below requirements such as:
- Power of attorney and request letter (notarized)
- Three (3) card-sized photographs
- Notarized copy of passport (in Panama)
- Certificate of Criminal Background with apostille (country of origin).
- Health Certificate (in Panama)
- 250 USD Certified Check addressed to National Treasury (to be done in Panama)
- 800 USD Certified Check addressed to National Immigration Service (to be done in Panama)
- Personal History Affidavit Form
- Document demonstrating the purpose of establishing your residence (Investment or professional activity to be carried out)*
- Copy of second ID , as ID or card or driving license of your country.
For labor reasons
* Purpose of establishing residency through professional activity
- Working letter on company letterhead, signed by the employer’s legal representative, certifying the position, salary, commitment to bear repatriation costs, as the case may be.
- Panama company Public Registration Certificate from the employer.
- Company operational permit. In the event that the employer is not required to maintain an operational permit, support to the same shall be provided.
Is mandatory for the Residence Permit to be granted, the applicant and his/her employer shall be obliged to process the working permit authorization before the Ministry of Labor in Panama.
For Real Estate Investment reasons
Additionally, presenting the following requirements:
- To verify property ownership, applicant must present the property certificate from the Panama public registry under applicant’s name, with a minimum value of two hundred thousand dollars (200,000 USD). Purchase could also be financed through a local bank.
In case of dependents:
- Letter of Responsibility
- Proof of kinship, birth certificate or marriage certificate apostilled or legalized by Panamanian consulate.
- Children over 18 years of age, should present a non-marriage certificate and studying enrollment certificate.
We invite you to contact us and get further information and find out what program suit best for you and your family. email@example.com