Is the old Friendly Nations Visa back?

The short answer is NO.

The changes introduced by Executive Decree 197 of May 7 2021 are still in place.

Our team has recently received numerous inquiries asking whether the conditions of the old Friendly Nations Visa are back. This is far from true. As of the writing of this brief article, the economic requirements to apply to the Friendly Nations Visa are those enforced since August 2021:

  • Employment contract in Panama: requires an employment contract between the applicant and a Panamanian company.
  • Real Estate Ownership: Requires the applicant to own a Panamanian property with a registered value of at least USD $200,000, which can be financed with a local institution.
  • Certificate of Deposit: Deposit of at least USD $200,000 in a national bank in Panama. This must include title, value, term, and must be free of encumbrances with a minimum validity of 3 years.

Can my Panamanian company hire me?

This is another common question. Marcos Kraemer, our senior lawyer and managing partner, explains:

Does anything prevent you from owning a company’s stock, and be hired in the same company? Usually, no. In Panama, there are conditions where you can both own a company and also be hired in the same company.

However, keep in mind this means the company must be operational and comply with all regulations, such as bookkeeping and accounting costs. Likewise, having employees in a company carries fiscal obligations and financial responsibilities before the Social Security office.

“By the way, there’s nothing new about this option, it’s available since August 2021”, Marcos concluded.

Immigrating to Panama: your options

There are different immigration programs for expats considering relocating to Panama. Choosing the right program depends on your conditions and circumstances.

You may explore different package options for the Friendly Nations Visa or other immigration programs directly in our Fees and Payments page, or contact us for more information.

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Published February 11th, 2022, as Commentary on Immigration by Johana Sum