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Panama’s Investment-Based Immigration and Passport

Panama PassportThe nation of Panama has been attracting millions of visitors ever since its famed Canal was first built. Called the “Crossroads of the Americas,” Panama is in the one of a kind location where North American meets South American and where the Pacific Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. This unique geographic location has resulted in the country enjoying abundant fishing, beautiful beaches, and exciting water sports.

Aside from the beautiful scenery and the fishing, foreign investors are coming to Panama in droves due to the country’s exceedingly favorable incorporation laws and tax-friendly estate planning opportunities. Additionally, Panama offers the most favorable and most flexible incorporation laws available in the world and is the registered headquarters for more than 500,000 corporations.

Panama’s most famous asset for foreign investors is most likely its policy to not impose reporting requirements for offshore Panamanian businesses. Moreover, the country does not pierce the corporate veil which allows for great financial security and protection of assets.

For all of these reasons, many foreign investors closely consider relocating to Panama.

Panama’s Investment-Based Visas

One of Panama’s investment-based visas is called the Self Economic Solvency Visa (SESV). The SESV requires only a minimum investment amount of $300,000USD and has three options. The first option allows the foreign national to invest the required amount into a Panama bank certificate of deposit for a minimum period of three years. The CD must be in the national’s own name. If the national is bringing dependents to Panama, the national must invest an additional $2,000USD per dependent. Any interest gained can be deposited into a Panama savings account and is not subject to income taxes.

The second option allows a foreign national to invest a minimum amount of $300,000USD into Panama real estate (the same $2,000USD per dependent applies).

The third option is basically a combination of the other two; the minimum $300,000USD can be divided between a CD and real estate (the same $2,000USD per dependent applies).

Regardless of the option the foreign national selects, the investor and family can apply for Panama permanent residence.

Panama also offers an eco-friendly investment-based visa called the Panama Restoration Visa (PRV). The PRV allows foreign nationals to invest into government approved reforestation projects in order to obtain Panama permanent residence. To take advantage of this program, the foreign national must invest at least $80,000USD into one of the reforestation projects, and the investment is used to purchase at least five hectares of forest (the same $2,000USD per dependent applies in this category as well).

The PRV can be a profitable option since the world’s rainforests are rapidly depleting due to timber needs, making forestland an increasingly valuable and scarce resource. Therefore, the prices for wood will likely rise in order to meet the global demand in the face of the decreasing supply.

After the foreign national qualifies for the PRV, the national and family can apply for permanent residence. After five years of permanent residence in Panama, the family can apply for citizenship.

Interested investors are encouraged to contact knowledgeable business and immigration attorneys for further information on this program and to discuss which Panama investment-based visa program is right for them.
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