Updates on Requirements for Panama Immigration & Visa

Written April, 2009. Panama's immigration laws are conditionally changing. It is recommend to check for recent updates to immigration laws and requirements. Art. 21: Tourists in Panama can only stay for a maximum of ninety days. Tourists with an application for a stay of less than ninety days can extend until the ninetieth day only when reasonable.

Art . 79: A monthly salary of eight hundred fifty US dollars, up from the original five hundred US dollars, is a requirement for foreign workers, not exceeding the ten percent maximum, who want to apply for a work and residency permit. 

Art. 92: A monthly salary of one thousand US dollars is required of executives from foreign countries who represent foreign multinational companies under WTO Maarkech visas, so that they can apply for a work and residency permit. 

Art. 95: Three temporary visas, each for two years, or six years in total, is a prerequisite for permanent visas for investors. 

Art. 100: A minimum of sixty thousand US dollars in investment, is needed for an agricultural visa.

Art. 180: A minimum of eighty thousand US dollar-worth of capital from previously forty thousand US dollars, with twenty hectares of purchased land are needed for a forestry temporary visa. 

Art. 185, 188: A minimum capital of one hundred sixty thousand US dollars with five full-time workers from Panama are required to get a visa for a macro-business investor. The visa for small-business investor is now eliminated. 

Art. 192: A minimum investment of three hundred thousand US dollars, up from the original one hundred thousand US dollars in a bank account in Panama for three years is needed for a visa of a self-solvency investor.

Art. 193: Alternatives to the requirements for the visa  of a self-solvency investor requires real estate, with no mortgage, and paid for at least three hundred thousand US dollars. 

Art. 196: Two thousand US dollars is the required minimum return for a Rentista visa in Panama National Bank.

Art. 200: The minimum income of pensionado is now one thousand US dollars, up from the original five hundred US dollars. It could also be a mixture of a hundred thousand US dollars in real estate as long as it is directly held. 

Art. 245: The applicant’s face must be shown in the application picture.

Art 255: Tourists must come to Panama with a passport valid for three or more months. 

Art 262: For a maximum of five years, multiple-entry permits are allowed. 

The economy of Panama is expected to continue its growth. Unfortunately, the growth has been much slower than the initial projection. Although Panama is currently facing a crisis, it is holding up better than people expected it to.

Deloitte consultancy firm expected that in January, Panama will grow by nine percent. However, during the latter part of the year, the firm lowered the growth projection of the country to seven and a half percent. A partner of Deloitte, Domingo Latorraca, said that the seven and one-half percent growth rate is okay, and that compared to other countries in the region, it will remain to be one of the highest rates.

In the year 2007, the economy of Panama was growing at eleven point two percent, a rate that can be considered as impressive compared to other economies. In 2008, the growth went down to only eight point four percent during quarter one.

Latorraca also commented that the slow growth should not be a cause for alarm since it is only normal in an economy’s cycle. It is inflation that people should be worried about. A report on the general price index says that the price index has increased 9.6 percent from the middle of 2007 to the middle of 2008. During the latter part of 2008, it was predicted that Panama will be having an inflation higher than ten percent.

Ernesto Bazan, a manager of a rating firm linked to investor services said that even with the decrease in the price of oil, it is believed that inflation will increase. The primary reason for the increase in prices is that the prices of food have also not stopped increasing. 

Since 1981, the country never had to worry about inflation.