Some websites on the Internet offer assistance with Panama citizenship and second passport. Without speaking about scammers, which sometimes difficult to distinguish in advance, here is what you might need to know about Panama citizenship requirements, as well as residency programs and second passport in Panama.
No Economic Citizenship Programs in Panama
Panama citizenship is not available under any of so called instant citizenship-by-investment programs similar to those existing in Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis. There is no option for you to make a donation or invest in an approved governmental project and acquire the right for fast-track naturalization in the country. There is no way to pay cash and get citizenship immediately, with no long-residence requirement, within any of currently existing legal programs in Panama.
Panama Instant Passport Program
In the end of the last year, by Executive Decree No. 320 of 8 August 2008 later amended by Executive Decree No. 26 of 2 March 2009, Panama reinstated its so-called instant passport program based on the Law No. 9 of 1987.
A foreigner having established a time deposit at the National Bank of Panama or at La Caja de Ahorros (savings bank) producing him certain monthly income in interest, may request for a Temporary Residence Visa with an Independent Retired Status (Rentista Retirado). Originally the requirement to the amount of a monthly interest income was US$ 750. Decree No 320 of August 2008 changed it to be US$ 2,000, and currently, as per Decree No. 26 of March 2009, it is reduced to US$ 850.
The time deposit is to be for a minimum term of 5 years with the amount of it depending on the interest rate at the moment of creation of the deposit. The expected available rates are 4-5% maximum.
A petitioner can bring his family into the country, those members who are considered dependents. The permit is granted for five years, and a special Panamanian passport is issued for the same period of time. After 5 years it can be renewed, together with the deposit agreement, if the program still exists at that moment.
The passport is giving its holder non-immigrant residence status and does not lead to citizenship. The holder has no right to opt for Panamanian nationality. It is good for traveling purposes though. The list of visa free countries counts for more than 80 countries, including most EU states.
After the account is opened, credited with the money and 5 year time deposit is placed, you are to visit the Panamanian immigration authorities to personally apply for a passport and make a number of formalities. You have to provide a police record from the country of origin or a country of residence for the last two years. Formally, the application with immigration authorities is a separate issue from placing a time deposit, and there’s a chance you will be refused of a passport. The deposited funds are still yours, same as the interest income available to you monthly.
Panama Pensionado Program and Other Residency Programs
The government encourages foreigners to invest and retire in Panama.
Temporary residence permit for 6 years is among others available to the following categories of foreign investors:
- Agricultural Investor, with a required minimum of US$ 60,000 of investments in agricultural industry;
- Reforestation Investor, participating in reforestation program with a minimum investment involving US$ 60,000 and 3 hectares of forest.
The following categories may opt for a permanent residence permit upon certain conditions:
- Reforestation Investor, participating in reforestation program with a minimum investment involving US$ 80,000 and 5 hectares of forest;
- Business Investor, making investment in a business enterprise with minimum capital of US$ 160,000;
- Self-Economic Solvency, with a required minimum investment of US$ 300,000 in a fixed deposit for a minimum of 3 years (with any banking institution licensed in Panama), or the same amount in real property, or combination of both;
- Panama Pensionado Program, Pensionado Visa is available to persons receiving a monthly pension from a foreign government or private company or international organization in the amount of minimum US$ 1,000.
- Other areas: investments in Empresa del Área Panamá-Pacífico (US$ 250,000); processing industries working for export (US$ 250,000); call centers working for export; cinematography (US$ 150,000).
Panama Dual Citizenship
Besides other grounds for application, such as family ties, birth or marriage, foreigners may apply for naturalization and citizenship in Panama after 5 years from the moment they have been granted immigrant status (provisional or permanent residence permit). Panama recognizes dual citizenship, so you don’t have to give up your other citizenship and passport.
We can assist with any of the above programs through a reliable partner of ours in Panama.