How to Get Permanent Residency in Panama (As a Canadian)
Ever since I was 18 and went on a trip with my girlfriend to Cancun, Mexico, I’ve wanted to move to a warm climate. I was born and raised in Toronto Canada and considered myself quite lucky to have lived in a free, first-world country my whole life, I can’t say that is still the case.
About 15 years ago a girlfriend moved to Panama and started doing seminars for Canadians who were also interested in the same. I attended one of her seminars and was hooked. I knew one day that I would make it happen.
Fast forward I married a man with as much of a wanderlust desire as me and we decided to do something that most people won’t. Sell everything and leave Canada.
In January 2021 we decided to move forward with obtaining our permanent residency in Panama, buy a boat to live on as we travel for a few years and then eventually settle down in Panama being our new home.
It’s currently June 2021 and the “plandemic” is continuing to ruin lives here in Ontario so we are getting out. We’ve ordered a boat which is being built in Thailand and we plan to beco
Why get a second residency
I first heard about the importance of getting a second residency a few years ago when I stumbled across the Sovereign Man website and newsletter. Simon Black was always writing about obtaining a second passport and/or residency so that no matter what happened in your home country, you’d have options.
Obtaining a second residency has never been more important than during the past 15 months. Governments around the world have overstepped their ability to govern and have put millions of people under non-scientific “house arrest”.
Is Panama right for you?
There are more than a few countries which have easy and affordable paths to both second residency and citizenship. Panama happens to be one of the easiest and most affordable options.
The Panama Friendly Nations Visa – Only Until Mid-August 2021
The unfortunate part of this Visa is that it’s ending in August 2021, hence why I am writing this now. Those of you who are quick action takers may be able to get in before this option is no longer available.
The Visa is available to citizens from several countries, Canada and the United States included. It gives you permanent residency in Panama and requires that you are only physically in Panama 1 day every 2 years which makes it a perfect Visa for people who want to spend a lot of time travelling (in addition to those who simply want to move out of Canada or the US).
What do I need to get my permanent residency in Panama?
It’s not difficult, it’s just a bit of work collecting paperwork and sending it to your lawyer in Panama.
Here’s a summary of the requirements:
- 8 passport size pictures (for primary applicant, spouse and all dependents)
- Get these in Panama. It’s much cheaper!
- Check with your lawyer on the exact size.
- If you use my recommended lawyer she will arrange to take you to a photo shop to get these done.
- Original police record from the country you have lived the last 2 years – not more than three (3) months old
- Must be from the same country as your ID
- Not necessary for dependants under 18
- Notarized copy of passport valid for at least six (6) months (for primary applicant, spouse and all dependents)
- Notarized copy of a second ID of the country of citizenship (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc) (for primary applicant and spouse)
- This document must be authenticated at the Panamanian Consulate in your country of origin
- Proof of USD 5,000 in a Canadian bank which you then take to Panama and deposit in your new bank account there
- This money can then be used to pay the $800 & $250 fee (per adult) and $250 per dependant to the National Immigration Service & National Treasury once you are in Panama
- If married, notarized copy of marriage certificate
- Letter from hotel or Airbnb (or other accommodations) confirming your address while in Panama – this would be for your first trip of approximately 4 days
- For dependants under 25 years of age
- Notarized copy of passport valid for at least six (6) months
- Notarized copy of birth certificate with parents names – less than 3 months old
- Letter from the second parent if not included in the application
***Be sure to double-check with your Panamanian lawyer regarding this list of items. I may have forgotten something or missed an item.
What does it cost?
The Panama Friendly Nations Visa is one of the most affordable options for obtaining a second residency. Many other countries require hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into a business or real estate.
Government Immigration Fees
For each adult and dependant over 12:
- $1,050 ($800 for the National Immigration Service & $250 for the National Treasury)
For dependants under 12:
- $250 for the National Treasury
$2,900 USD for primary applicant and spouse + $1,000 per dependant. This includes legal fees, a personal bank account and set up a corporation.
Costs and Legal Fees US$ 2,900.00 for the Immigration Procedure + personal bank account + Panamanian Corporation
US$ 150.00 per Visa Multiple (you need to have a Visa Multiple in order to fly outside Panama without getting a fine)
Costs and Legal Fees for dependent US$ 1,000.00
*** These were the prices as of January 2020. Please check with a Panamanian lawyer for more precise costs. If you need a referral to a lawyer, please contact me and I’ll send you the lawyer I used. She was amazing!
Travel costs are really up to you. Copa Airlines flies direct from Toronto and other major cities in North America and Airbnb is relatively affordable in Panama. We paid approximately $100 CAD per night for a very nice 3 bedroom condo in a tall, modern skyscraper in Downtown Panama with a great view and a pool. It was only 15 minutes from the lawyer’s office.
Medical Care in Panama
Medical insurance in Panama is around $150 USD per person. I’ve heard that many of the doctors and nurses in Panama have been trained in the US & Canada so the quality of healthcare is on par with those places.
I am in the process of researching this more and will update this post once I have. For now here is a link to some great information: https://bookstore.liveandinvestoverseas.com/kit/health-kit/v2/ and one option for insurance is also https://safetywing.com.