Panama Investor Visa Residency Permit

The Active Investor Visa of Panama is a business residency permit, mandating the personal engagement of the applicant in the daily operations of the enterprise they fund with at least US$160,000.

This visa is tailored for individuals prepared to reside predominantly in Panama, managing an enterprise that hires local personnel continuously.

Following a two-year period, the permit holders can seek permanent residency. Those applicants who are fluent in Spanish and have chosen Panama as their authentic domicile may be qualified to pursue citizenship within a five-year time frame.

Panama Investor Visa Program Highlights

Program TypeActive Investor Visa
Time for citizenshipUp to 5 Years
Time to Permanent Residency2 years
Minimal InvestmentUS$160,000
Requirement for Physical PresenceNot specified
Timeframe for Application Processing1-2 Months
Visa-free Travel with Granted Citizenship141 Destinations, including Schengen Area
Investment OptionsBusiness Investment

How long you can stay

This Permit will be valid for a term of two (2) years. Following this period, the applicant may be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the Active Investor Visa program.

When to Apply and how long it takes

The application process for the Active Investor Visa can commence up to 60 days prior to fulfilling the stipulated residency term in Panama. The duration of these formalities is typically estimated to be 1-2 months. You have the option to initiate your application from any geographical location, whether within or outside Panama, provided that a legal representative is appointed to liaise with the Panamanian Ministry of Immigration Services.

Government fees

In relation to Panama’s Active Investor Visa program, there exist specific governmental charges. This incorporates a certified bank draft of B/.250.00, allocated to the National Treasury, and a separate certified draft of B/.800.00, forwarded to the National Migration Service.

Disclaimer: Besides government fees, applicants must also consider mandatory legal and notary costs required by Panamanian authorities. Consult a legal advisor for a full cost assessment.


To be eligible for the Active Investor Visa, a candidate needs to channel a minimum of US$160,000 into a nascent or existing Panamanian business entity. An additional investment of US$2,000 is necessitated for each dependent beyond the principal applicant.

  • The investment is expected to generate a minimum of five permanent employment opportunities for local residents, each receiving a salary equivalent to, or above, the legally determined minimum wage.
  • All employees need to be enlisted with the Social Security (CSS).
  • A governmental application fee of US$1,050 is applicable.
  • Dependents, such as a partner and offspring up to the age of 25, may be incorporated into the principal applicant’s submission.
  • Offspring aged between 18 and 25 years need to establish financial reliance on the principal applicant and show proof of their full-time academic pursuits.

Documents you will need

In the event of including dependents, the investment needs to increase by two thousand Balboas (B/. 2,000.00) for each dependent, which can be justified by a local bank reference.

  1. Power (notarized) and Application. The power must contain the name and nationality of the applicant’s parents.
  2. Three (3) photographs.
  3. Properly compared copy of the passport (Notarized or corresponding Authenticated).
  4. Criminal Record Certificate.
  5. Health Certificate.
  6. Certified Check for B/250.00 in favor of the National Treasury.
  7. Certified Check for B/800.00 in favor of the National Migration Service.
  8. Personal Background Affidavit Form.
  9. Public Registry Certificate accrediting the company name, the condition of director or dignitary, the legal representative or attorney; the company’s capital (minimum B/.160,000.00); type of shares (must be nominative).
  10. Certification from the company’s secretary or Treasurer, accrediting the ownership of the shares issued in favor of the applicant and that they are duly released and paid (shares for a minimum value of B/.160,000.00). The certification must be signed before a notary and should not be signed by the interested party itself.
  11. Copy of the relevant pages of the company’s Share Book and of the shares issued in favor of the applicant.
  12. Certification from the company’s Authorized Public Accountant (CPA) accrediting the ownership of the foreign applicant’s shares and that they are released and paid (the shares for a minimum value of B/.160,000.00) and detailing the company’s activities.
  13. Applicant’s statement before a public notary on: amount of capital invested, number of shares owned, company activity.
  14. Receipt of advance payment of capital gains tax and copy of the share purchase contract (only in case the applicant has acquired the shares from a third party of an already existing company).
  15. Copy of the company’s income statement with its peace and safety (in the income statement section of equity, the line of shares must be registered the payment of the total shares which must be at least B/. 160,000.00 per applicant).
  16. In the case of recently established companies, provide proof of single rate payment and RUC registration.
  17. Authenticated copy by the CSS of the payroll, with a minimum of five (5) Panamanians per applicant, earning the minimum wage established by law, according to the region and item. It must correspond to one of the payments made within the three months prior to the month of presentation.
  18. Current peace and safety of the CSS.
  19. Proof of investment, can be proven by contributing three (3) of the following documents:
    • Bank certification of transfer of the applicant’s funds from abroad (mandatory).
    • Proof of advance payment of capital gains tax for the transfer of shares and copy of the contract for the sale of the same (only in cases of sale of shares of already existing companies).
    • Copy of the deposit receipt for the amount invested in favor of the company, authenticated by the bank.
    • Contract for the purchase of the premises where the company operates.
    • Audited Financial Statements.
    • Document issued by a banking entity stating that the funds invested by the applicant come from abroad.
    • Commercial invoices for the expenses incurred by the investor in the company, accompanied by detailed inventory by CPA (provide document accrediting the CPA’s suitability).
    • Customs settlements of goods imported in the name of the company.
    • Any other document that can prove the capital invested in the company.
  20. Proof of the existence and location of the company (minimum 3):
    • Lease contract of the commercial premises where the company or office operates.
    • Last billing of public services (water, electricity or telephone).
    • ITBMS tax payment receipt.
    • Proof of municipal rates.
  21. Operation Notice.
  22. In case of dependents:
  23. Responsibility letter.
  24. Proof of kinship.
  25. Proof of domicile.
  26. Over 18 years old present certificate of single status and certified studies.


Article 190: To apply for the Permanent Stay under the Active Investor Visa program, one must fulfill the previously mentioned requirements, excluding the Criminal Record Certificate and checks. Additionally, you need to provide:

  • Company’s National Income Tax Clearance.
  • Copy of the company’s income tax return along with its respective payment receipt.
  • In the income tax return’s equity section, the share line must record the payment of the total shares, which should be a minimum of B/.160,000.00 for the applicant.
  • Copy of Form 03 submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
  • Up-to-date CSS Clearance in favor of the company.

Program Benefits

The Active Investor Visa offers a streamlined path to citizenship with a relatively low investment requirement. This advantage is further sweetened by a lower tax burden and an affordable cost of living. Enjoying the warm, welcoming climate is an added perk, all while residing in a safe and secure setting. Businesspersons find a fertile ground with enhanced access to large economies, making it an ideal place for commerce. The cherry on top is the relatively short processing time for the visa application, ensuring you’re on your way to your new life in no time.


Constitución Política de la República de Panamá, Decreto Ley 3 de 22 de febrero de 2008, Artículo 185, 186, 187, 188, 189 y 190 del Decreto Ejecutivo No. 320 de 08 de agosto de 2008, modificado mediante Decreto Ejecutivo No. 26 de 02 de marzo de 2009, Ley 38 de 2000.


How to obtain a residence permit in Panama?

Obtaining a residence permit in Panama often involves applying for a specific visa, such as the Active Investor Visa. This process includes submitting various documents, such as proof of investment in a local business, and meeting specific residency requirements.

How much do you have to invest in Panama to get residency?

For the Active Investor Visa, you need to invest a minimum of US$160,000 in a new or existing business in Panama.

When can you apply for permanent residency?

Permanent residency is usually attainable after two years of maintaining your initial residence status. However, specific timelines may vary based on the visa category you fall under.

What is needed to become a resident?

The exact requirements for residency can vary depending on the specific type of visa. For the Active Investor Visa, for instance, one needs to invest in a local business, create jobs for Panamanians, and adhere to several other requirements related to financial solvency and health.

How much does it cost to get legalized in Panama?

The cost for legalization in Panama includes various fees associated with the type of visa you’re applying for, such as the Active Investor Visa, which has a government application fee of US$1,050. Importantly, these processes must be carried out by a Panamanian attorney before the Panama Immigration Service. Each lawyer may have different fees, so the cost of the procedure can vary. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for lawyers to not complete paid processes, which can lead to additional costs and delays. However, at NDM, we handle your procedures differently. There’s no need to make upfront payments for your processes, providing a more secure and straightforward way to manage your immigration needs.

What happens if a foreigner has a child in Panama?

If a foreigner has a child in Panama, the child is eligible for Panamanian nationality, according to the jus soli principle recognized in Panama’s constitution. However, this doesn’t automatically grant residency or citizenship rights to the foreign parents. They would still need to apply for a relevant visa or residency permit.

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