Retiring to Panama from Canada: Immigration Legal Advice

With a pleasant climate all year round, a lower cost of living, and a favorable tax system, Panama has become an attractive destination for many canadians retiring in Panama.

As a law firm, we want you to consider the immigration aspects of Retiring to Panama. We can process your Panamanian pensioner visa in just 3 days.

Living in panama as a canadian

Unlike the harsh canadian winters, Panama offers a temperate climate, especially in areas like Boquete, where temperatures range between 15°C and 25°C throughout the year.

However, there are many expat communities from Canada and the United States in warmer coastal areas like Bocas del Toro, where temperatures range between 31°C and 36°C.

Cost of living in panama vs canada

The cost of living in Panama can be significantly lower than in Canada. For example, utility expenses in Boquete can be as low as $50 CAD per month, compared to the $400 average in some canadian cities. 

Here’s a tool to calculate the cost of living in Panama and measure the difference from your current city in Canada:

Less Government Regulation and Lower Taxes

Panama offers a territorial tax system, meaning only income generated within the country is taxed. This can be particularly attractive for canadians in their income-generating years, especially those looking to retire to Panama from Canada.

Retiring in panama from canada

Panama is known for its accessible visa programs, such as the Pensionado Visa and the Friendly Nations Visa, both available to canadian citizens who are considering  Retiring to Panama.

The basic requirements to apply for the Panama pensionado program for canadian citizens include:

  • Proof of income or pension of at least $1000 per month


The certified Criminal record checks printed by Royal canadian Mounted Police and authenticated documents at the embassy of Panama in Canada

Our lawyers at NDM can guide you through this entire process. Once we have your documents and passport, we can offer you permanent residency in Panama as a pensioner in just 3 days. contact us for more information and personalized advice.

Canadian expats in panama with Permanent Residents

If you’re considering  Retiring to Panama from Canada, it’s likely that you’ll become a non-resident of Canada. This status is typically achieved when you don’t have a primary home in Canada, lack substantial connections to the country, and spend over 183 days outside of Canada.

While you’ll continue to receive your government pensions, canadian healthcare coverage will cease. It’s advisable to consult with an expert international accountant regarding non-residency and its implications for you.

Misinformation on Social Media

Exercise caution when gathering information about Retiring to Panama via social media, as misinformation is rampant. For instance, I recently encountered a post falsely claiming that relocating from Canada results in the loss of the Canada Pension, which is incorrect.

It’s advisable to maintain a canadian bank account for direct pension deposits, as Canadian cheques are not practical in Panama. Be aware that your OAS and CPP may be subject to tax withholding if you’re a non-resident canadian. 

For more detailed and official information, please refer to the canadian government’s website 

Healthcare Insurance in Panama

In Panama, healthcare insurance is something you might consider Retiring to Panama. Costs range from $100 to $350 US monthly for individuals aged 50 to 70, depending on the coverage level you choose. For older individuals, private hospitals in Panama offer co-pay plans without age limits.

Canada Panama tax treaty

A major benefit of non-residency, especially if you have global investments, is the potential tax advantage. Canada taxes its residents on their worldwide income, whereas Panama uses a territorial tax system, taxing residents only on income earned within Panama.

To take advantage of this, after spending a full year outside Canada and establishing permanent residence in Panama, and once you no longer have a primary residence in Canada, instruct your canadian accountant to file for non-residency with the canadian government. This will exempt you from filing canadian taxes.

Bad things about living in Panama

At NDM Law Firm, we provide legal advice, but we also help you think about your future choices. Telling you that retiring in Panama is the best option for Canadian citizens would be irresponsible on our part.

We always recommend that you come to Panama and see for yourself all the expat communities that Panama has to offer. Each community is unique and has qualities that you might like or find appealing, as well as aspects of Panama that you might not like.

Come visit Panama, and when you decide to retire, contact us!

Guidance and expert legal immigration services


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