Latin America

The Panamanian Golden Visa: A Guide for Property Investors

Panama's "Golden Visa" is one of the country's most popular investor visas. By investing a minimum of $300,000 in Panamanian property, foreigners can gain the right to live and work in Panama, along with visa-free travel to over 140 countries and some significant tax advantages.

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Under the Qualified Investor Permanent Resident program, foreigners can obtain a visa in Panama by investing $300,000 or more in Panamanian property. The country’s “Golden Visa”, as it is also known, entices investors by offering significant freedom of movement. Not only do visa-holders gain the right to live and work in the country, but they also enjoy visa-free access to more than 140 destinations, including the Schengen countries.

With one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, it is unsurprising that people are choosing to invest in and relocate to Panama. The country offers a safe environment for investment, with plenty of room for growth. Moreover, expats are enticed by the country’s warm, tropical climate, high quality of life, and access to health and education systems.

But that’s not all. One of Panama’s main draws is that it offers many tax advantages for foreign investors—notably, the government does not tax residents on income earned abroad. This makes the country an attractive base for both expats and digital nomads employed outside of Panama, as well as global real estate investors looking to expand their portfolios.

Launched in October 2020, Panama’s Qualified Investor Permanent Resident program has quickly become the second most popular investor visa, behind the country’s famous Friendly Nations visa. Over the last six years, investor visas have accounted for 16.25% of all granted residence permits in Panama. This figure is considerably higher than in the U.S. and Europe, where investor visas account for less than half of one per cent of all approved visas.

Routes to Residency

Investing $300,000 in Panamanian real estate is the most affordable route to a Golden Visa in Panama—but it isn’t the only one. Other investment pathways for the Qualified Investor Permanent Resident program include making an investment of $500,000 in securities through the Stock Exchange of Panama or depositing $750,000 with an accredited Panamanian bank.

Whichever pathway you choose, the investment must be held for five years. However, there is no requirement for you to remain in Panama if you do not wish to. Visa holders simply need to visit Panama at least once every two years to maintain their residency status.

With this in mind, many investors choose to purchase rental properties in Panama through the Golden Visa program, gaining Panamanian residency alongside a solid rental income.

After five years of being a legal resident in Panama, you will also have the opportunity to apply for Panamanian citizenship.

The Real Estate Discount

With a lower investment amount than that of other countries, Panama’s Golden Visa is an attractive option for investors.

The Panamanian government set the real estate investment threshold at $300,000 for the first two years of the program, intending to raise it to $500,000 in October 2022. However, two days before the changes were due to be made, it was announced that the discount would remain available for another two years—until the 15th of October 2024. We therefore encourage property investors to take advantage of Panama’s Qualified Investor Permanent Resident program while the investment threshold remains low.

Whether you’re looking to capitalise on Panama’s rental market or lay roots in this Central American paradise, Panama’s Golden Visa is definitely worth considering for anyone looking to buy Panamanian property.

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