2nd passport – “rentista” option for Panamanian passport

Another option for investment residency in Panama is the 2nd passport program, known as “rentista retirado”.  This basically translates as “retired personal income”. Unlike all of the prior options, this 2nd passport offers a passport “up front”. When you immigration application is approved, you get the passport.

Common concerns regarding this 2nd passport:

The passport indicates, under “nationality”, the country of your original nationality.  While this is an effective travel document, some countries do NOT recognise the indication in the passport that says “you should be afforded the same rights and privileges as a Panamanian citizen”. What does this mean in practice? In practical terms, this means if you needed a visa for Spain (this is the most common issue), this passport doesn’t give you visa-free travel to Spain. You need a visa for Spain. Spain recognises you as a resident of Panama, but they will not grant you visa-free travel.

However, this passport restriction is a small limitation.  The majority of countries honour the “rights and privileges” afforded to a Panamanian passport holder.  For all other effects, it is identical to any other Panamanian passport.

Requirements

The primary requirement of the 2nd passport program “rentista” is

  • that the applicant must have a time deposit, generating at least USD$2,000.00/month.
  • You make the deposit at either Banco Nacional de Panamá or the Caja de Ahorros de Panamá (state owned banks). Unfortunately, the interest rates offered at these banks are typically the lowest available in the market.
  • This time deposit is for 5 years.
  • If you cancel the time deposit, the immigration department cancels your passport.

As with the other investment & work visas that we have discussed, you need your police report, duly Apostilled. You also need the paperwork for opening a personal bank account, in order to set up the time deposit.

Pros & Cons

This option is not typically the first option we offer to clients for permanent residency, for the following reasons:

  1. It ties up a considerable sum of money in a time deposit in order to generate an interest income of US$2,000.00/month;
  2. You do not obtain citizenship, even after 10 years of having this passport or residency;
  3. If you cancel the time deposit, you lose your residency status.
  4. You cannot use the time deposit to borrow against it: if you do a back-to-back loan, it is no longer valid for immigration.

On the other hand, it is the only visa option that offers a Panamanian passport immediately upon approval of your immigration application.

For more information, please contact Joan Villanueva.