Benefits of Panamanian Residency
- There are residency programs for real estate investors and for seniors.
- By applying for Permanent Residency Visa, U.S. non-residents may be exempt from the first $80,000 per year -consult your tax advisor. Canadians and other nationals enjoy benefits due to their country's tax laws.
- May obtain home loans at preferrential rates 1-2% lower and there are programs that can enable residents to borrow the first $62,500 at 3% fixed!
- Legal to work in Panama.
- May be able to obtain a passport after 5 years
- Low cost healthcare insurance and discounts on everything from meals to cinema and airline tickets!
- Laws and rules change periodically so please check the status of these benefits.
To encourage long term foreign investment, Panama does not require special permits, authorization or registration to qualify investors. The 1998 Investment Stability Law protects foreign investors for ten years following the registration of an investment, shielding them from changes in tax, customs duties, municipal and labor laws. Major companies doing business in Panama include Federal Express, DHL, PriceSmart/Costco, Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn, Sheraton Hotels, Kansas City Southern Railways, Continental, Delta and American Airlines. You will find just about every US franchise on the streets of the larger cities from MacDonalds, Dominos, KFC, Pizza Hut, TGIF to Dunkin Donuts etc; luxury clothing lines such as Nautica and Liz Claiborne have stores in Panama City . You will feel right at home.
Over 80 banks have full service branches here including HSBC, Scotiabank, Dresdner, BNP/Paribas; there are no “brass plate” banks here. Panama is a growing international financial center with good communications and first world amenities.
Considered to be the best retirement program in the world, the Panama Pesionado program offers retirees excellent incentives including
- Import tax exemption for household goods
- Tax exemption to import a new car every two years
- 25% discounts on utility bills
- 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation
- 15% discount on loans made in your name
- 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence
- 20% discount on doctor's bills 15% on hospital services if no insurance applies
- 15% off dental and eye exams
- 10% discount on medicines
- 20% discount on bills for professional and technical services
- 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events
- 50% discount at hotels during Monday to Thursday, 30% on weekends
There are many more discounted items than we have space to list here. Once you have qualified as a Panamanian resident with a pensionado visa you qualify for these benefits.
There are general requirements to qualify for a pensionado visa, the main requirement is proof of a minimum income of $500 per month plus an additional $100 for each dependent. This program is not age related provided you have a pension. Foreign residents of Panama, regardless of the type of visa they obtain, who are over the age of 55 years for a woman and 60 years for a man, are entitled to most of the retiree incentives listed above with the exception of the importation of tax free cars.
The cost of living in Panama is lower than the US and much lower than Western Europe . For example, electricity costs approximately 10 - 12 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the area, water and trash collection around $7 per month. Direct TV, telephone and internet services vary according to the plans chosen. Direct TV with a wide choice of English language channels is approximately $50 per month. Locally produced vegetables, meat and fish are priced considerably lower than in the USA although imported items may be slightly higher. The minimum wage for housemaids or gardeners is 88 cents per hour. Local beer at the supermarket costs 30 cents per can, a coffee in a restaurant may be as little as 30 cents.