The Executive Decree 722 of October 15, 2020, launched a new category of permanent residency in Panama to boost its economy and encourage foreign investment in the country. The latest pathway permits an applicant to get a permanent residence by making a qualified investment in Panama. Known as the Qualified Investor pathway, the program promotes investments across the following areas: Real Estate, Securities, and Bank’s Fixed Term Deposits.
It is estimated that Latin America and the Caribbean will show positive growth in 2021, reflecting a statistical rebound. In addition, the speed with which the vaccination process is going across the country and the capacity to maintain fiscal and monetary support to balance the demand and support across various sectors would favor creating jobs in Panama while fueling technical advancement.
The investor must invest in the following ways:
In October 2022, the amount of investment will increase to US$500,000. The applicant must maintain the investment amount for at least three years before applying for permanent residence.
The government also creates a new sub-category of a “fast-track” application route to make things more streamlined and faster for the qualifying investors. Applications under this category must be submitted before entering Panama through a local lawyer. The investor must also complete the filiation process before issuing the immigration card. Finally, the request must be resolved in no more than 30 business days. After this, the investor must visit Panama for one week to get the PR card.
One of the most significant advantages of the new migratory subcategory for Permanent Resident as Qualified Investor is that the investor cannot travel to Panama until the PR card is ready. Other routes to PR require multiple visits coupled with longer processing times, which could range from 6 to 24 months, depending upon the pathway you choose.
Once your PR is approved, you only need to spend one day every two years maintaining the residency status. A simple transfer through the airport would be sufficient to qualify as a day visit.
Tax obligations from Day 1
Panama’s territorial tax system requires residents to pay for their taxes on their Panama-sourced income only. Residents need not pay taxes on the income earned outside Panama. Investors who obtain their PR in Panama via the new QI route can get a tax certificate immediately after receiving the PR status. The reason being-applicants who move to Panama through this route have considerable standing in the country from Day 1. They are the PR holders and property owners, holders of the local company, bank account, etc.
Once your PR status is confirmed and you meet other eligibility criteria, you can apply for citizenship in Panama. But before that, you must wait for one to five years (depending on your country of origin) and then apply for citizenship. After that, citizens of Panama are free to travel across 142 countries and territories without a visa.
Investor Immigration Legal Fees
The legal fees for processing the residency through the Qualified Investor immigration program are as follows: