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Apr 15, 2009
How to Live in Panama
- Angelica Cruz Email this article


Panama is a paradise for most tourists. Known for their breath taking beaches and rich culture, Panama is one of the most visited countries in Central America. Panama is also one of the considered countries to live in; it has job opportunities, healthy environment and great people.


The Republic of Panama is considered as the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. Panama gets its income mostly on their banking and commerce system, real estate, trading and tourism.


Panamanianís speaks fluent Spanish as itís their official language; English is also widely spoken in the country. There are two active currency used in Panama, Panama balboa and US Dollars.


Living in Panama


Panama is an ideal country for retirees and the process is not as complicated like in other countries. Retirees can apply a Retired Tourist Visa at the Panamanian Consulate or the National Department of Migration.


There are two types of visas that a retiree can choose from depending on the purpose of their stay.


  • Retiree Visa- A retiree visa is for foreigner who is financially stable and is able to invest in National Bank of Panama. Applicant must buy a certificate of around $100,000 to generate the $750 per month tax. By paying $750 per month, the spouse and children below 18 years old will not be charged.


  • Investment Visa- establishing a Business and Corporation is another option. You can also join a corporation if you wish to stay longer in the country. You can put up a $10,000 worth of business and create a Panamanian Corporation for your own company. This is less expensive than Retiree Visa.


If you have been working for five consecutive years in Panama or have been working in Panama you can apply for a Permanent Residency to get an authentic Cedula from the Resolution of Ministry of Labor. You must pass the following requirements:

         Power of Attorney and Application via an attorney/law firm.  

         Medical Certificate of good health, issued no more than three (3) months previously to the presentation date.  (Should have the signature and seal of the doctor, showing the doctor's name, code and medical registration number). 

         AIDS/HIV test, taken no more than six (6) months previously to the presentation date.  (Should specify the method used, and have the signature and seal of the laboratory/technician, with their name, code and registration number).  

         Police Record (Good Behavior Certificate) from the local Panamanian police (P.T.J.) 

         Photocopy of the passport page where the applicant's general details and photo appear.  

         Four (4) passport-size photos. 

  • Original passport, which must be valid for at least six (6) months. 
  • Certification of the complete names and nationalities of the applicant's parents. 
  • Resolution issued by the Ministry of Labor, authorizing the applicant to work in Panama as an employee within the 10% or 15% or as Reliable Employee (Executive) or with an indefinite Work Permit.
  • Work Reference on the letterhead of the Company, or Labour Contract with the seal of the Company, duly authenticated by M.I.T.R.A.B., together with a copy of the Commercial License of the Company.
  • Certificate of Good Standing of the Applicant - issued by the Ministry of Economy & Finance. 
  • Receipt of the Panamanian Social Security Board. 
  • Expired Provisional Residency permit. 

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