What if I told you that you can obtain the Panama Retirement Visa by simply demonstrating retirement income of $1,000 per month, or any sort of annuity of this amount (even if you’re much younger than is typically expected of a retiree)?
You can also bring your dependents, as long as you have an extra $250 per month, per dependent, to demonstrate.
It’s sunny, relatively affordable, well connected, and as a retiree you get massive discounts all over the country for hotels, flights, restaurants, healthcare, movies, activities, etc.
And crucially, Panama does not tax overseas income and has a very decent financial sector.
Oh, and to keep the permanent residency you just need to show up once every two years to keep it active, so it works both as a Plan A (if you actually plan on living there) and as a Plan B (a great backup plan).
Sounds too good to be true?
But it’s not. It’s real.
The Panama Retirement Visa is a fantastic option for anyone who can demonstrate such lifetime income
In a world of ever greater uncertainty, Panama is a very decent option.
I sat down with my two favorite Panamanians, Giovanna and Wi Men. They run a small family office helping people with matters of immigration, company formation, and banking in Panama. They explained to me how this Panama retirement visa works, and how to obtain it.
Contact Giovanna to get the brochure on how to Obtain the Panama Retirement Visa
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other services in Panama:
Articles on Panama
- The Pros and Cons of creating a crypto and stock trading Corporation in Panama
- Affordable Tax-Free Caribbean Lifestyle and Real Estate
- Catching a falling knife in Panama City Real Estate
- The Pros and Cons of Opening a Bank Account in Panama as a Non-Resident
If you want to discuss your internationalization and diversification plans, book a consulting session* or send me an email.
Full transcript of “How to Obtain the Panama Retirement Visa”
LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. So today, I’m in Panama City with my favorite couple, Wi Men and Giovanna, who run a family office here in the city. How are you?
GIOVANNA: Good, good. Nice to have you back.
WI MEN: Nice to have you back here.
Why retire in Panama
LADISLAS MAURICE: Thank you. So we did quite a lot of content last year on opening a bank account remotely here in Panama, on some company formation services as well. And today, we’re going to be discussing how to retire here in Panama, because what we’re seeing is, increasingly in the West, there is a growing number of people who want to retire overseas for a number of reasons. So the first one is just political, because a lot of people are tired of living in environments that are very politically charged. And if they come to Panama, a country that’s generally considered to be neutral, things are peaceful, you don’t have to get involved in politics. Then there’s also the fact that the climate in Panama is very pleasant. There are quite a few microclimates that one can work with here in the country, whether on the coast, or in the highlands near Boquete, where it’s a lot fresher.
And then also, it’s possible to immigrate here, and to really reduce your overall tax rates, specifically for non US people, if they structure things properly, they can potentially get to a 0% tax rate, which is a huge difference compared to being in Western Europe, or in Canada, for example. And then also, it’s one way of beating inflation. So with inflation being high in North America, and in Western Europe, generally, the cost of living is going up, and it’s increasingly tough for retirees to make ends meet, or to keep a high standard of living. And one way to beat inflation and a high cost of living is simply playing a bit of geo arbitrage, which means moving to a country where things are a lot more affordable. So now the question is, how can people retire here in Panama?
How does the Panama Retirement Visa work?
GIOVANNA: The Panama Retirement Visa was launched in1987. So basically, what Panama was trying to do is to get as much retired people to come and invest in Panama. For the application, you will need to have a monthly income of $1,000. If you have family, you want to bring your wife, you will require an extra $250 on your income. There’s a set of documents that we will need, including passport, police background check, and certification of a government or a private institution that states that you’re going to have payments monthly for the rest of your life. This can also include people that have pensions for disabilities, they can also come and apply for the visa, they can also get all the benefits of the visa, which is a really big list of benefits that you get, like discounts. You–
What source of income is valid for the Panama Retirement Visa
LADISLAS MAURICE: Before we go there, so you’re saying $1,000, essentially, to be able to get the retirement visa. And the $1,000 is either from a government source, so that means like Social Security, or any government pension, or a private one. So, let’s say, for example, just to stress the concept, to stress test it, let’s say, I’m 45 and I just pay some private insurance company somewhere in Europe, or in Canada, to be able to get an annuity, like, give them a lump sum. And then they pay me $1,000 per month until I die. And I’m only 45, I’m not officially retired. Would this count towards this visa?
WI MEN: As soon as the source of income are being proved by a private entity, that the person can receive minimum requirement to comply with the immigration office, which is $1,000 per month, stating what Giovanna was mentioning, $250 additional for the dependents.
Which dependents can be included in the Panama Retirement Visa
LADISLAS MAURICE: So when we’re talking of dependents, so, again, let’s say, I’m 62, I want to come here with my wife. Great. So, I need $1,000 plus $250. But then, let’s say, my 30-year-old son would like to move with me to Panama to benefit from the tax environment, etc. Could I include him as a dependent or would the Panamanian authorities not consider him to be a dependent because he’s an adult?
WI MEN: So there is a restriction for that consideration as a dependent cannot be exceeded to 25 years old.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So essentially, main applicant, spouse, children under the age of 25.
LADISLAS MAURICE: And what about the generation above, like grandparents?
WI MEN: Yes, they are also able to apply as a dependent. The generation above, they don’t have any restriction. As soon as they can prove their relationship by birth certificate, that’s going to be accepted by the immigration office.
LADISLAS MAURICE: So, essentially, for, I mean, very little money in terms of passive income, it’s possible to get the whole family to move to Panama, and then benefit from the whole tax environment here in Panama.
WI MEN: That’s correct.
GIOVANNA: That’s correct.
The Benefits of the Panama Retirement Visa
LADISLAS MAURICE: And you were saying about the benefits that retirees receive here in Panama, because this is really, really important, especially for people that move here from a cost of living point of view, being a retiree in Panama is a status that is very respected and that comes with a lot of benefits. So even as a foreign retiree, you move here, and literally, the list of benefits is endless. So can you elaborate on some of these benefits?
GIOVANNA: Sure. Although the cost of living is growing in all countries worldwide, not just in Panama, there’s still a lot of benefits, which include 50% on entertainments, that could be movies, or restaurants. There’s also 20% discounts on medications. So you can go pharmacy, you can present your ID, they will give you the 20% discount.
LADISLAS MAURICE: So you get some special retirement ID?
WI MEN: Yes. Actually, the immigration residency card mentioned, which is a retired person. So with that card, the person is able to get discount benefit in several service industries, like medical attention, like Giovanna has mentioned, like entertainment, also for lodging, hotels, flights, also, they have this kind of benefits.
Healthcare for retired people in Panama
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So this is really interesting. Already, as things are, life in Panama is relatively affordable. It’s absolutely not the cheapest in Latin America, but in terms of quality price ratio, it’s very interesting. And when you’re retired, you get all these benefits. So yeah, restaurants, hotels, local transport, etc., etc. And you get free healthcare as well?
GIOVANNA: For the moment, in Panama, there’s no free healthcare, unless the person is willing to pay Social Security. Then with Social Security, you get access to all the national medical assistance. But there is an option that if you are retired and you have your permanent residency, you can get access to private medical insurance that is really good compared to other countries.
LADISLAS MAURICE: So roughly, let’s say, I’m 65, I’m not coming with any heavy preconditions, roughly how much for such a private medical insurance?
WI MEN: Around like $230, $260 per month.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So this is attractive. So it’s not free, unlike in other Latin American countries. You have to pay a bit, really not much. But for this price, you’ll get good quality. Panama is a medical tourism destination, you have a lot of people from Latin America, and, increasingly, as well from North America, coming to Panama for surgery, for treatment, etc. So you get, generally, especially here in Panama City, you get good quality services, and you don’t have to wait. And I think this is really important because what we’re seeing in places like Canada, and Western Europe, is people are very proud to say that healthcare is free. But you know, if you’re diagnosed with a cancer, it’ll take weeks and, sometimes, months to go through all the proper tests, etc., to even get your treatment started. Here in Panama, you can do everything within a few days or a few weeks. So this makes a huge, huge difference.
Timeline to obtain the Panama Retirement Visa
So when people come here, so they go through the whole process, you know, you help them with all the paperwork, etc. At which point do people obtain permanent residency as opposed to just temporary residency? Like what do retirees actually get as a status?
WI MEN: The people will get the permanent residency.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So this is, again, very, very interesting. And to keep the permanent residency active, as a retiree, are there any minimum physical presence requirements?
WI MEN: Yes, there are a minimum requirement they need to comply to maintain the residency status, which is every two years, that person needs to be here in Panama at least one time. There is no minimum days required, but need to be here in Panama, cross the immigration stop in the airport, and stay here for at least one day.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Okay. And I think this is very, very important to understand. So essentially, if you’re a retired person, right, in North America, or in Western Europe, you can simply come here to Panama, you hire Giovanna and Wi Men, they help you with the whole process. How long do they need to come here to get the residency?
WI MEN: Ten business days.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Ten business days?
WI MEN: Yes.
LADISLAS MAURICE: And it’s one trip, two trips?
WI MEN: Two trips to two years.
LADISLAS MAURICE: So you just need to come here twice, one for 10 business days, the other time for–
WI MEN: Seven business days around.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Seven business days. So you just need to commit two trips of roughly two weeks, and then you will have this permanent residency. You don’t even need to live in Panama. You have access to all of the benefits in Panama. You just need to come back once every two years to keep it active. And you have an amazing Plan B in case things become complicated in your country of current residency, if they raise the taxes even more. If you feel that your living standards are getting squeezed, you will always have this Plan B in your back pocket.
And we’re in a world where we will see an increasing amount of Westerners moving away from the West, looking for countries that are a bit more friendly from a tax point of view and from a cost of living point of view. So such programs where you can get into a developed country, I mean, this is Panama City right behind, for just $1,000 of passive income a month and a little bit of paperwork, this is a no brainer. So I’m of the opinion that any retired person who can afford it, and who is a little bit internationally minded, or who is a little bit worried about the direction in which their country is going should be activating such a Plan B.
So you prepared a brochure with more information on this whole program/retirement visa. So there’s a form below. I really encourage you to send an email to Giovanna and Wi Men, and then they will send you the whole information, the whole package on how to get the process started, how they can help you, etc.
LADISLAS MAURICE: All right, fantastic. Giovanna, Wi Men, thank you very much.
GIOVANNA: You’re welcome.
WI MEN: You’re welcome.