How to Obtain Residency in Panama

how to obtain residency in panama

Why obtain residency in beautiful Panama?

  • A perfect paper residency option. Unlike in many countries, if you have residency through investment in Panama you do not need to actually spend much time in Panama. You just need to show up once every two years to keep your residency active, which makes Panama a great plan B / back-pocket residency.
  • A great territorial tax system. This is mostly valid for non-US people. Essentially, Panama only taxes income sourced in Panama. Income stemming from outside of the country’s borders is generally not taxable. If you structure your affairs correctly, then you can potentially get away with 0% taxes, entirely legally.
  • A great climate all year long.
  • Biodiversity. From living the city life in Panama city, to chilling in surf towns, to being a bum on a Caribbean beach, or living inland surrounded by lush, rolling hills, Panama has much to offer.
  • A dollarized economy. The local currency is pegged to the USD.
  • A well connected airport – Panama City is one of Latin America’s hubs.
  • Good healthcare due to an active healthcare tourism industry, as well as good international schools due to the amount of expats living in Panama.
  • Decent banking, though it’s not appropriate for everyone. I wrote an article on the pros and cons of banking in Panama.
  • Same timezone as the US, which makes remote work very convenient.
  • For those who care, easy access to guns for permanent residents.

Giovanna and Wi Men helped me obtain Residency in Panama.

I obtained residency in Panama

Giovanna and Wi Men run a small family office in Panama helping people with matters of immigration, corporate structures, and banking. They helped me obtain residency in Panama from A to Z, including banking. You can get in touch with them using the form below.

How to Obtain Permanent Residency in Panama

First off, it is important to understand that the rules changed in 2021. It is not not possible anymore to immediately obtain permanent residency through the Panama Friendly Nations visa. You initially start with 2 years of temporary residency, and after two years you can convert it to permanent residency.

If you want permanent residency immediately, you must apply for the Panama Qualified Investor Visa.

We’ll elaborate on two main ways to obtain permanent residency in Panama

  1. Friendly Nations Visa
  2. Panama Qualified Investor Visa
  3. Panama visa for retirees

1. How to obtain Permanent Residency in Panama through the Friendly Nations Visa

If you are from a Friendly Nations country:

    • Invest $200,000 in local real estate OR
    • Put $200,000 in a fixed deposit in a local bank for 3 years (details here on interest rates) OR
    • Put $200,000 in a combination of fixed desposit and real estate OR
    • Create a Panama Corporation, pay yourself a salary, pay income tax and social security taxes on that income.

You obtain temporary residency for 2 years, and thereafter you can apply for permanent residency which pretty much gets granted automatically IF you have kept the investment.

The whole process to obtain permanent residency takes about 3 trips to Panama in 2.5 years. Thereafter, you just need to set foot in Panama for 24h once every 2 years to keep the residency active.

Get in touch with Giovanna and Wi Men using the form below.

List of Friendly Nations Visa countries for Panama

  1. Great Britain
  2. Germany
  3. Argentina
  4. Australia
  5. Republic of Korea
  6. Austria
  7. Brazil
  8. Belgium
  9. Canada
  10. Spain
  11. USA
  12. Slovakia
  13. France
  14. Finland
  15. Netherlands
  16. Ireland
  17. Japan
  18. Norway
  19. Czech Republic
  20. Switzerland
  21. Singapore
  22. Uruguay
  23. Chile
  24. Sweden
  25. Poland
  26. Hungary
  27. Greece
  28. Portugal
  29. Croatia
  30. Estonia
  31. Lithuania
  32. Latvia
  33. Cyprus
  34. Malta
  35. Serbia
  36. Montenegro
  37. Israel
  38. Denmark
  39. South Africa
  40. New Zealand
  41. Hong Kong
  42. Luxembourg
  43. Liechtenstein
  44. Monaco
  45. Andorra
  46. San Marino
  47. Taiwan
  48. Costa Rica
  49. Paraguay
  50. South Korea

2. Qualified Investor Visa for Panama

This is the gold standard visa of Panama. It allows you to obtain permanent residency for your whole family in only one trip. Anyone can apply for it, Friendly Nations Visa or not.

To qualify you must either:

  • Invest $300,000 in Panama real estate before October 2024 OR
  • Invest $500,000 on the Panamanian stock exchange OR
  • Put $750,000 in a term deposit in a bank

In this case you will just need to make one trip to obtain permanent Residency. To keep the permanent residency you will need to spend 24h in Panama every two years.

Get in touch with Giovanna and Wi Men using the form below.

3. Panama Visa for Retirees

Easy residency in Panama can also be obtained for retired people who earn a guaranteed monthly income of at least $1,000 per month. You can also ask Giovanna for the details or read this article.

Contact Giovanna to Obtain Residency in Panama

We wanted to thank you for the introduction to Giovanna and Wi Men. We are about to pick up our residency cards here in Panama City. They are exceptional, so cool and did an amazing job. Thank you so much again. We’re so excited

Alexandra and Sébastien


Giovanna and Wi Men Panama Residency
Contact Giovanna to get a free brochure - How to Obtain Residency in Panama

Full transcript of “Panama Friendly Nations Visa through Company Formation”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from So today, I’m in Panama City with my favorite couple here, Wi Men and Giovanna, who run a small family office here in the city. We already did a bunch of content together on opening a bank account remotely, how to obtain residency here, how to create corporate structures, etc., lots of different solutions. And today, we’ll be discussing a little known way to obtain the Friendly Nations Visa.

The Normal Way to Obtain the Friendly Nations Visa in Panama

So just as a bit of a background, the Friendly Nations Visa now is essentially you invest either $200,000 in real estate, or in a term deposit, and if you’re from the list of friendly nations, which is, typically, most European countries, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, etc., there’s a few countries, then you qualify for the Friendly Nations Visa. So for the first two years, you have temporary residency. And if you maintain the investment, then after two years, it turns into permanent residency. So there’s flexibility, you can actually mix term deposit and real estate, which is really interesting, because in places like Costa Rica, you can’t, you have to choose one or the other. Here, if you want to buy a house for $130,000 and put 70K in the bank, this works. So you can really optimize your investments.

Obtaining the Panama Friendly Nations Visa through Company Formation

But there’s also a way for people to attain it without having to invest $200,000. So this is very interesting, especially for entrepreneurs out there. We’re going to be going into detail. So, let’s say, I don’t have $200,000, or I do have $200,000 and I don’t want to invest $200,000 in such investments, how can I, as an entrepreneur, get the Friendly Nations Visa here in Panama?

GIOVANNA: So if you are an entrepreneur and you have what we call an online business, it will be a great way to take the advantages of the taxes, and also being able to hire yourself through the corporation so you can get residency. It’s the same principle as you hire yourself, you pay Social Security. So we register as an employee, we register work contracts, we do everything following Panama laws.

When you get the temporary residency, you will have to wait, it’s around three to six months. So if they approve the residency, you come to Panama, you get the two years. So for these two years, we’ll pay Social Security, we will pay everything that’s following Panama laws. So once you get permanent residency, then you will get your cellular and you’ll get like your panama ID, and then you get like a Panama local tax ID.

Minimum Physical Presence Requirements for the Panama Friendly Nations Visa

LADISLAS MAURICE: So essentially, there are no minimum physical presence requirements, I can come here, set up my structure, run my business from Panama, but physically, myself, because, let’s say, I’m traveling a lot, I’m doing business internationally, I don’t actually need to stay in Panama, except for paperwork renewal, or, once I’m a permanent resident, every two years to keep the residency active. Am I correct?

WI MEN: That’s correct, that’s correct.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So I think this says a lot about Panama. The reason Panama changed the Friendly Nations Visa from just depositing $5,000 to making an investment of at least $200,000 in the country is because too many people were coming here without adding value to the country. So by putting 200K, the country sees that you’re adding value, but there’s also this option that very few people discuss, where you actually run a business here. So preferably, it’s a business where you recruit locally, but not necessarily. You can just, for example, myself, I could potentially create a business here, run an online business, receive money into my Panama structure and Panama bank account, and pay taxes on Panama-sourced income, but not on worldwide income, so from income outside of Panama.

So it’s a very interesting option for entrepreneurs who want to benefit from Panama’s really great tax structure, territorial tax system, but who also want to have the opportunity to live here, to then, potentially themselves, if they spend a majority of the year here, become tax residents on a personal basis as well. So you have a lot of foreign clients here at your family office. So from which countries, typically, are people who are using this path into Panama?

WI MEN: Normally, people from Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, most popular countries prefer our country.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Okay, cool. Fantastic. So if you’re interested in this unique path to Panama permanent residency, if you’re an entrepreneur, then really get in touch with Wi Men and Giovanna. They’ve been helping a lot of people with this process. It’s quite unique. It’s very helpful. It can make a big change in one’s personal lifestyle and tax situation to have a base here in Panama. So there is a contact form above as well as their email. Just get in touch with them and they can send you an information package on how it works and how they can help you. Great, fantastic. So Giovanna and Wi Men, thank you very much.

WI MEN: You are welcome.

GIOVANNA: Welcome.

Full Transcript of “How to Obtain Permanent Residency in Panama in ONE Trip”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from So today, I’m in Panama City with my favorite couple, Giovanna and Wi Men, who run a small family office here specializing in helping people with immigration, banking, and corporate structures. How are you?

WI MEN: Very good, very good.

GIOVANNA: Very good, very good.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So today we’ll be discussing how to obtain permanent residency immediately in Panama with only one trip to the country. So the path to permanent residency that people typically discuss is the Friendly Nations Visa, where you invest $200,000 in either real estate, or in a term deposit, or a combination of the two. There’s also the option of for people that are on the list of the Friendly Nations Visa to create a company locally in Panama to hire themselves as a director, to run some business activities, to pay Social Security. So we did another video on this topic. So this is another way of obtaining residency here.

The friendly nations path to residency is essentially the first two years you have temporary residency, and after Year Two, then you can apply for permanent residency. But there’s also a way to obtain permanent residency from day one, and by making only a single trip to Panama, as opposed to typically three trips to Panama, if you want to get permanent residency the traditional way. So can you, please, explain to people how to get this amazing Panama permanent residency immediately with only one trip?

Panama Qualified Investor Visa

WI MEN: So this visa is called Qualified Investor Visa, which is considered a VIP program. So the applicant also will be having a VIP treatment in the immigration office. That means the person needs to invest, as a minimum requirement, $300,000 for real estate, $500,000 for stockbroker’s firm, or $750,000 in a bank term deposit for four years. This visa has been released on 2022 to incentive the foreigner to invest in Panama. There is no nationalities restriction in that visa program. So as soon as the investment is from outside of Panama as overseas source, so that could be qualified for that program. The person will get the residency within one month.

This person doesn’t need to be here in Panama physically for the whole process, like the other visa may demand. The Panama government the first law they released for the qualified investor the $300,000 investment for real estate supposed to be in 2022, October. So they made the extension to 2024. After 2024 October, that will be increased to $500,000.

The Qualified Investor Visa is even better than the Panama Friendly Nations Visa

LADISLAS MAURICE: So this is really an interesting option. Typically, for Westerners, we always discuss the Friendly Nations Visa, but just by putting an extra $100,000 in local real estate, you can go immediately to the permanent residency stage, as opposed to doing the Friendly Nations Visa, which takes longer and involves more trips. So again, this is for people of all backgrounds. The paperwork is, there’s a lot of paperwork in the background, but that’s what you guys are here for. But when you hire competent people to help you with the process, you really don’t have that much to do. You just need to collect a few documents back home, get them the apostilled, etc. And then you’re good, you have your permanent residency for life. Essentially, it’s valid for life, but you need to come to Panama once every two years to keep it active.

Minimum Physical Presence Requirements to keep Residency active in Panama

So this is the only requirement really to keep your permanent residency active, it’s to come here once every two years, which in the world of residencies is very mild, is very easy, and is very friendly. And because Panama is so well connected in the world, it’s really not complicated to come here. So it’s not like an Uruguay, or a Paraguay, or an Argentina where you need to go to the other side of the world. Panama, from that point of view, is very comfortable. There are tons of direct flights to North America, to Europe, to Asia as well. So it’s an easy residency to maintain.

It’s also a great Plan B. And it’s also one of the best Plan A’s out there. If you become a tax resident of Panama, you only get taxed on Panamanian-sourced income. If you structure things properly, income from outside of Panama does not get taxed in Panama. Again, if you’re a US person, things are a bit different for you. But generally speaking, it’s a good Plan B, but it’s also a fantastic Plan A. So if you want to get more information on the normal Friendly Nations Visa, or on this Qualified Investor Program, there is a form above. Get in touch with them and they’ll send you a brochure with all the information, the process, and the fees.

All right. Giovanna, Wi Men, thank you very much.

GIOVANNA: Thank you.

WI MEN: Thank you.


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