As initially mentioned back in November 2020, the Panamanian Government has been working on some changes to the Friendly Nations Visa Law. These changes have now been issued through Executive Decree No. 197 of May 7th, 2021.
The most important thing is that this decree does not go into effect until 90 calendar days after the issuance of the decree. This means that these new requirements will not go into effect until August 20th, 2021.
So if you want to apply under the current law, you must come to Panama in person to get your residency application filed at immigration prior to the previously mentioned date.
The main changes on the new decree:
- The initial residency application will only provide a two (2) year temporary residency on the first application. You can apply and obtain an indefinite residency, on your second application, which you can do, thirty (30) calendar days or less, prior to the expiration of the initial two (2) year temporary residency, granted on the first application. In summary, now you must do two (2) residency applications to obtain indefinite residency. The total time for this will be around three (3) years.
- Methods to show your Economic Purpose in the Country:
- For Work Reasons:
- Provide Letter from Company Letterhead, signed by the employer, where the letter specifies the position, salary, and responsibility to assume the repatriation expenses of the worker.
- Public Registry Certificate of the company providing the employment.
- Operation Permit of the Company providing the employment.
- The applicant must provide a Work Permit Resolution approving his work permit, issued by the Ministry of Labor, for immigration to approve the residency. This means that the applicant must first file residency at immigration, then go to the Ministry of Labor, to file the work permit application, and then once he obtains resolution approving his work permit, present this resolution to the immigration office, for his residency to be approved.
- For Real Estate Investments purposes:
- Applicant must show a public registry certificate, showing that he is the owner in his own personal name of a property, registered in the public registry of Panama with a value of at least US$200,000.00 or more.
- A particularly important note is that the government is allowing for this property to have been financed by a local bank. So, you can purchase the property through financing.
- For Work Reasons:
This document has been issued by Ricardo Faraudo, Partner and Head of the Immigration department at DENFAB Law Firm www.denfablaw.com .