Setting up a Business: investor visa
Another option for getting your permanent residency in Panama is the “investor visa”. With this visa, you set up a corporation for business in Panama. This involves incorporation of the company, capitalization (US$160,000.00 paid in capital), getting a business license and setting up payroll. Among other things, this business must hire at least five employees in order to qualify. These employees need to be Panama and be on the payroll.
If you qualify for a Friendly Nations visa, we would not recommend this option to you. You can do everything with the Friendly Nations visa, with less capital investment and without the minimum requirement of five employees. On the other hand, if you do not qualify for the Friendly Nations, then the investor visa may be appropriate.
Comparison of the investor visa
|Description||Investor visa||Reforestation||Economic Solvency|
|Length of Time||about 4 years||10 years, minimum||3-4 years|
|Incorporate||yes||can do, but not required||not required|
|Business License||must have||not required||not applicable|
|Employees||5<||none required||not applicable|
|Monthly reporting||Sales tax ITBMS
|not applicable until harvesting||not applicable|
|Annual Income Tax||corporate
|corporate (if incorporated)
So, as you can see from this comparison table, the investor visa has more requirements than the solvency option. This applies to reporting requirements with monthly reporting of Sales Tax and Payroll. On the other hand, it does not require that you invest in real estate or tie up $300,000 in a time deposit in a bank. Potentially, this option can generate more income for you than the solvency option. But you have to put up with the bureaucracy involved in running a business.
For more information, please contact Joan Villanueva. She can assist with setting up the corporation, getting the business license, advising regarding employment contracts (with Betsy Moran), and other steps that you will need to take.
Even in this option, please note that you will require your police record(s) and any applicable marriage or birth certificates. All such documents should be Apostilled.