Highlights of Retiring and Living in Panama

Highlights of Retiring and Living in Panama

So why is Panama gaining in popularity among retirees, investors, and part-time expatriates? Not only because of increased publicity - Panama has more amenities, lower costs and lower crime rates than many other traditional retirement locations. In fact Panama’s advantages are unrivalled. Apart from tax advantages and privacy advantages, consider the following

  • Panama has a stable government and a growing economy
  • The US dollar is the legal tender. Panama has a stable economy that has been based upon the U.S. Dollar since 1904
  • Residents pay no tax on foreign earned income
  • Foreigners can buy and own property in Panama with the same rights and protections as Panamanians citizens.
  • Pensioned program (retiree incentive program), the best in the world, is not necessarily age related and the benefits are considerable
  • Tourism investments have exemptions from import duties, construction materials and equipment, income, real estate taxes, etc.
  • Property tax exemptions apply to all new construction on a sliding scale according to value
  • English is widely spoken
  • The US presence in the country for many years has lead to a US style infrastructure with a number of familiar names and businesses
  • Panama has a number of US standard health care facilities and services with many US trained English speaking doctors available.
  • Panama has a reliable communications system with fiber optic telephone lines and much of the country has ADSL internet
  • Panama is one of the best offshore havens in the world

Last but not least, Panama is beautiful. From cool mountain retreats like Boquete, to affordable beachfront property, or cosmopolitan city apartments overlooking a stunning harbor, the choice is yours. With real estate prices beginning to rise, you also have an opportunity to make a considerable return on your investment if you buy now. Rental property is in high demand particularly in the highland areas, so even if you are not looking to retire for a while this is an opportunity to get into the market and earn a return on your investment in the meantime. To view properties, farms, houses, condos, islands in different parts of Panama , visit our Real Estate Marketplace.

There has never been a better time to invest in Panama. Not only is there tremendous interest in Panama as a tourist and retirement location, economically Panama is gaining strength. The new administration, under President Juan Carlos Varela with a strong popular majority, has the momentum to carry out measures to promote growth. The plans to participate in additional free trade associations, will stimulate the economy still further. Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone (CFZ), established in 1953, is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and contributes substantially to the country's economy. Panama has consistently maintained one of Central America’s highest per capita gross domestic products. According, the International Monetary Fund growth is projected to remain around 6 percent in 2016 and over the medium term. The economy will be supported by the expected opening of the expanded canal and lower fuel prices, which will counterbalance the effects of slowing global growth and U.S. dollar appreciation. Over the medium term, the increase in canal transit, a dynamic service sector, and investments in the energy, mining, and logistics sectors should help maintain vibrant growth. 

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, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Hilton Hotels, Kansas City Southern Railways, Continental, Delta and American Airlines, Warranty Company of the Americas and Hutchison Whampoa, to name but a few. You will find just about every US franchise on the streets of the larger cities from Mc Donald’s, 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.Below is a summary of the different Visa & Residency programs available in Panama. If you wish to view any specific program, just click in the Link.


Basic Requierement


Self-Economic Solvency 'Person of Means'

One of these options:

  • $300K CD for 3 years; or
  • Buy $300K property; or
  • Any combination which amount to $ 300,000

Permanent Residency, plus Right to opt for Panamanian Nationality & Passport after 8 years

Retiree (Pensionado)

Retiree (Pensionado) Applicant must receive a Pension (private or public) of $1,000/ month

Permanent Residency, duty free auto/ household and senior citizen discounts.

Large Investor

Large Investor Applicant must invest 160K in Ca business & hire 5 Panamanian employees

Permanent Residency, plus Right to opt for Panamanian Nationality & Passport after 8 years

Reforestation Investor

Reforestation Investor Applicant must invest 80K in a reforestation plantation field

Permanent Residency, plus Right to opt for Panamanian Nationality & Passport after 8 years

Second Passport

5 year CD deposit at the National Bank of Panama. The CD deposit must produce US$ 850.00 in interests per month.

Passport for travel, renewable every 5 years

Friendly countries

Friendly countries Applicant must support an economical (business) or professional (labor contract) link to Panama. Applicant must come from one of the countries listed as “friendly country” (29).

Immediate permanent residency with the option of permanent work permit.

Labor residency

Applicant must be employee by a company within the 10% of 15% (technicians) Panamanian payroll

After the preliminary 2 years residency and work permit the applicant is entitle to obtain a permanent residency.

Free trade zone investor

Applicant that invest in free trade zone areas or call center. The investment amount vary upon the free trade area

Permanent Residency, plus Right to opt for Panamanian Nationality & Passport after 8 years

Professional activities

Professional activities Applicant must hold a university degree for a professional activity not limited by the Panamanian constitution

After the preliminary 2 years residency and work permit the applicant is entitle to obtain a permanent residency.


In BusinessPanama, we have licensed real estate agents, lawyers, insurance specialists, mortgage brokers, investment advisors and other professionals to assist you on all your retirement needs.

We can help you with:

  • Locating properties in Panama City, Beaches, Islands or Mountains
  • Forming a company to own your property
  • Legal services to purchase the property
  • Applying for your residence program
  • Title insurance
  • Home owners insurance
  • Others

For more information, please contact us.

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