One of the best known visas for Panama is that of Economic Solvency, also known as “Self Solvency”. This investment visa was very popular until 2012, when the Friendly Nations visa was introduced. Since then, it has not been used as often. The reason for the drop in popularity is one of convenience: the friendly nations visa gets you permanent residency much faster.
Comparisons with Friendly Nations:
Consider the following time lines:
|Description||Economic Solvency||Friendly Nations|
|Opening a personal bank account||required for Time Deposit
good idea for real estate purchase
|required for this visa|
|Registration at immgiration||required||required|
|Set up a corporation||not needed in this case||required|
|Buy a property||How long do you think this will take?
Are you sure you want to buy THAT property?
What if you find something you like better later?
|Total investment up front to start||USD$300,000.00 for an individual||USD$5,000.00 for an individual|
|Application for the visa – 2 year||When you initially apply, you get the 180 day permit
When your visa is approved, you get a 2-year immigration card
Then you get a cédula
|When you initially apply, you get the 180 day permit
When your visa is approved, you get a cédula
|Total time till you get a cédula||About 3 years (give or take 6 months)||About 6-8 months, depending on your bank
and how quickly you get the paperwork together
Hence, most clients that qualify for the Friendly Nations visa tend to prefer that over the property investment or time deposit. If you are trying to decide which option would be more appropriate, contact us.
Economic solvency versus Investor visa
If your country of origin is not listed in the Friendly Nations list, you probably will want to consider this visa as an option. Another option is to set up a local company for business with five employees and an invested capital of USD$160,000.00 (Investor Visa). The principal problem I find with the Investor Visa is that the business needs to start out with five employees. These five employees should be on payroll (and therefore all Panamanian). How many start up businesses do you know that from the get go start by hiring five employees? Generally, you start with one or two, and perhaps over the course of a few months, as you are open for business, you move up to five. In the meantime, the investor is in Panama without any residency options. Or their police record expired because they don’t have the payroll certified yet.
So, what does the Economic Solvency visa entail? There are three ways you can invest the USD$300,000.00 in Panama:
- put $300,000 in a time deposit (CD) in a local Panamanian bank for at least 3 years. You may need to renew the time deposit for another year at the end, in order to apply for the Permanent Residency.
- purchase a house/farm/apartment/business offices (in your own name) with a value of at least $300,000
- purchase a house/farm/apartment/business offices (in your own name) for less than $300,000 and make up the difference with a time deposit
In options 2 & 3, please note that this is equity capital. This is not with a mortgage. It is also possible to put the property in the name of a Foundation. In this case, the client should appear as the Founder (in the public record). A Trust or Corporation will not qualify.
For each additional dependent, you need to put up a further $2,000.00. So, for example, if apply for yourself and a spouse, the amount would be $302,000.00. For a family of 5, the investment would be $308,000.00.
As with other visas, you need:
- your police record(s),
- passport copies,
- passport-sized photos,
- medical certificate(s),
- payments to the National Treasury & immigration department,
- sworn declaration form(s), and
- power of attorney
For more information regarding the Economic Solvency visa and the paperwork required, please contact Joan Villanueva.