How to maintain Permanent Residency in Panama

Panama is a popular destination for foreigners seeking Panamanian Permanent Residency, a legal permit that allows a foreigner to live in Panama on a permanent basis. This is an important process for those who wish to extend their stay beyond the limits of a tourist permit. At the National Immigration Service, individuals can take the necessary steps to obtain this permit, which allows them to reside in Panama indefinitely.

Kraemer & Kraemer is a law firm that specializes in assisting individuals with various Immigration Processes, including the Panama Friendly Nations Visa, Panama Retirees and Pensioner Visa, Panama Qualified Investor Visa and others. Our expertise and support can greatly facilitate the complex procedures involved.

One notable advantage of Panama’s permanent residency is the relaxed rules regarding physical presence in the country, given that holders of Panamanian permanent residency are not obligated to reside within Panama’s borders. Instead, they have the freedom to choose another country as their primary place of residence. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that certain conditions must be met by all permanent residents to ensure the continued validity of their residency permit.

1. Visit Panama once every two years

Those individuals holding Panamanian permanent residency must visit the country at least every 2 years, with a stay of over 24 hours (transit flights are not considered a visit). Failure to fulfill this obligation may result in the suspension of permanent residency, although it is important to note that suspension is not automatic. The discretion lies with the immigration officer upon entry into Panama.

In the event of a suspended permanent residency permit, the foreigner has a window of 30 working days, starting from their entry date, to initiate a petition and reinstate the permit. Given the legal nature of this process, the assistance of an attorney is required.

If a foreigner neglects to visit Panama for a duration exceeding six years, the permanent residency permit is automatically canceled. In such cases, the individual must initiate a new immigration process to regain residency.

In other words, an expat with Panamanian permanent residency may stay out of Panama up to six years. However, it is crucial to understand the potential consequences, including the suspension of the permanent residency permit. After the six-year mark, the permit will be canceled.

2. Maintaining good ties in Panama

Building and preserving a positive relationship with the local institutions and government is paramount when residing in any country. It is essential to adhere to the rules and regulations while refraining from engaging in activities that could compromise national security, such as involvement in conflicts, protests against the government, or actions that jeopardize the country’s sovereignty. Such actions may result in the revocation of a foreigner’s permanent residency permit in Panama.

While Panamanian permanent residency provides individuals with the same rights as native-born citizens, it is crucial to understand the boundaries when expressing dissent or dissatisfaction. It is worth noting that all Panamanian immigration programs strive to attract individuals who genuinely care about the well-being of the country.

By respecting and abiding by the local laws and regulations, foreign residents can foster a harmonious relationship with the Panamanian government and society, ensuring the longevity and stability of their permanent residency status.

3. Comply with any other requirements set by the Panamanian government

In addition to the specific criteria outlined for each permanent residency category, it is crucial to fulfill any other requirements mandated by the Panamanian government. These additional requirements may vary based on the individual’s circumstances and chosen residency program.

Furthermore, demonstrating good character and conduct throughout the application process is vital. Any involvement in criminal activities or providing false information can significantly impact the outcome of the permanent residency application. It is essential to maintain honesty, integrity, and transparency throughout the entire process to establish a positive impression with the Panamanian government.

Staying updated with the latest immigration regulations and any changes implemented by the Panamanian authorities is also crucial. Regularly consulting reputable and official sources (such as our blog), seeking professional advice, or working with reputable immigration consultants can help ensure compliance with any new requirements or procedures.

Start your permanent residency process today

At Kraemer & Kraemer, our immigration-specialized lawyers will be able to help you in any permanent residency process. Contact us or send us a note to

Related pages:

Published November 10th, 2022, as Commentary on Immigration by Johana Sum