With its beautiful rainforests and gorgeous beaches, Panama is an attractive country for retirees around the world. Panama understands its popularity as a retirement destination and offers a visa specifically for retirees, known as the Panama Pensionado Visa. With a streamlined application process and lifetime discounts on everyday services, the visa is a great option for anyone looking to settle down in a tropical paradise. Here is everything you need to know about obtaining a retirement visa for Panama.
Applicants Must Have An Income Of At Least $1,000 A Month
In order to qualify for the Panama Pensionado Visa, an applicant must have a guaranteed pension for life that brings in at least $1,000 U.S. dollars in income per month.
This income can be an annuity from a bank, an insurance company, or a private business. Applicants must show proof of this income by providing a statement from the bank or a letter from the company responsible for the pension, as well as a certificate proving the validity of the company. This documentation will be notarized by a Panama Consulate.
There is one exception to this rule, in which an applicant may have a retirement income of only $750 per month, as long as the applicant also purchases property in Panama worth at least $100,000. Outside of this scenario, there are no real estate requirements to qualify for the retirement visa.
Applicants Can Include A Spouse And Dependents On Their Visa
Spouses and children can be included in a Pensionado Visa. If a couple is interested in settling down in Panama, both retirees can combine their pension totals to meet the $1,000 minimum. For each additional dependent, the minimum income requirement raises by $250 per month.
There are no requirements for children under 18 to qualify as a dependent on the retirement visa. However, children from ages 18–25 must be full-time students in order to remain as dependents. Once they reach the age of 25, children must apply for their own visa, and can no longer be classified as dependents on the Pensionado Visa.
Documents Must Be Notarized In A Consulate Of Panama In The United States
Before the application process for a Panama Pensionado Visa can begin, U.S. citizens must reach out to a Consulate of Panama in the United States, where the following documents must be authenticated:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of income
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Original police record check issued by the F.B.I.
For further details on the process of document authentication, visit the Embassy of Panama’s website.
Applications Must Be Filed Through An Immigration Lawyer In Panama
After the necessary documents are authenticated in the United States, the rest of the application process takes place in Panama. Hopeful retirees must work with an immigration lawyer in Panama, who will ask for the following documents:
- A registration form, available in Panama immigration offices
- A notorized letter from the company or business responsible for providing the monthly pension
- Proof of income, authenticated by the Consulate of Panama
- A health certificate, certified by a Panamanian doctor
- A police record, authenticated by the Consulate of Panama
- Four photographs of the applicant
- Photocopy of passport
- Original passport
- Sworn statement on personal background, created through the Panamanian lawyer
If an applicant is married or including dependents, these additional documents are required:
- Marriage certificate, authenticated by the Consulate of Panama
- Power of attorney
- A police record for each person, authenticated by the Consulate of Panama
- Birth certificates of children, authenticated by the Consulate of Panama
- Health certificates, certified by a Panamanian doctor
- Photocopies of dependents’ passports
- Four photographs of each dependent
- Sworn statements on personal backgrounds, created through the Panamanian lawyer
Panama Offers Incentives To Those In The Pensianado Program
Once a retiree has qualified for the Panama Pensionado Visa, they are granted tax exemptions to help with the process of moving. Retirees are given a one-time exemption of duties on the import of household goods up to $10,000. In addition, they are granted a duty exemption on the purchase or import of a car every 2 years.
Retirees living on the Panama Pensionado Visa are also guaranteed discounts throughout the country on a variety of goods and services. Some discounts include:
- 50% discount on all entertainment events, such as movies and concerts
- 50% discount on weekday hotel stays
- 30% discount on weekend hotel stays
- 30% discount on bus, boat, and train ticket purchases
- 25% discount on airline ticket purchases
- 25% discount on restaurant bills
- 25% discount on utility bills
- 10% discount on medicine
- 1% discount on home mortgages
A full list of discounts is available here. These discounts on everyday services are part of the reason the Panama Pensionado Visa is considered one of the best retirement visas to choose from.
The Pensionado Visa Grants Retirees Permanent Residency
Unlike many retirement visas that require continual renewal, the Pensionado Visa is a one-time ordeal. Upon approval, retirees are granted permanent residency, and they are free to enjoy the country without any further visa complications.