In recent years, Panama has gradually adjusted its migration policy, focusing its efforts on attracting and promoting foreign investment. To facilitate the application, analysis, and approval of residence permits for any foreign individual wishing to invest in Panama, establish domicile, and contribute to the country’s economy, legal tools have been created.
In this regard, the National Immigration Service created the subcategory of Qualified Investor, to which any foreigner can apply demonstrating a minimum investment of five hundred thousand dollars (US$500,000.00) in Panama, from foreign sources, either personally or through a legal entity if the applicant is the ultimate beneficiary of the shares of the legal entity holding the investment. The foreign applicant for this permit can apply for one of the following reasons:
- For real estate investment, by accrediting an investment of US$500,000.00 in real estate, free of liens.
- For real estate investment through a promise of sale contract, by accrediting an investment of US$500,000.00 for the acquisition of real estate through a trust deposit managed by a bank or trustee licensed to operate in the Republic of Panama.
- For investments made through a Securities House with an approved license from the Superintendence of the Securities Market of Panama, by accrediting having made one or more investments for a minimum amount of US$500,000.00 in securities issuers through a Securities House with an approved license from the Superintendence of the Securities Market of Panama, whose businesses impact the national territory through the Panama Stock Exchange.
- For investment in fixed-term deposit in the Banking Sector, by accrediting an investment of US$750,000.00 in the opening of a fixed-term deposit, free of liens.
It is important to highlight that, as a prerogative contemplated in the law, foreign applicants for this permit for reasons of investment in real estate are eligible to apply with a minimum investment of US$300,000.00 until October 13, 2024, instead of the US$500,000.00 that will come into effect after this date.
The Qualified Investor category offers several advantages not possessed by the ordinary migratory categories existing in Panama’s legal system, such as:
- The implementation of a special window aimed at simplifying the migratory process of applications, thus guaranteeing the resolution of the application by the immigration authority within a period not exceeding 30 business days.
- Granting the foreign applicant and their dependents the permanent residence permit issued by the National Immigration Service and the permanent resident card, commonly known as Cedula E, issued by the Electoral Tribunal of Panama, immediately.
- The ease of submitting the residence permit application through a legal representative, prior to the entry into the national territory of the foreign applicant and their dependents.
Likewise, in line with migration policy, the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development of Panama incorporated within its labor legal framework a category that allows the Qualified Investor to optionally obtain a work permit with minimal requirements.