RETIREMENT AND VACATION LIVING
If you are thinking of a retirement or vacation home in a safe, beautiful, inexpensive place with
a modern infrastructure, Panama is the smart choice. Indeed Panama is ready-made for North
Americans with a USA style infrastructure, the product of over 90 years presence of Americans on
the Isthmus. The nearly 50,000 Americans who left when Panama took over the canal in 1999 call
Panama their ‘Paradise Lost’. Panama is rated as the best place in the world for a second home
outside of the USA according to The Panama Planner, a publication distributed by IPAT, the tourism
association of Panama.
International Living ranks Panama as #1 in the world for retirement living, a ranking based
on safety, beauty and variety of venues, cost of living, near perfect climate, political stability and
Modern Maturity magazine ranked one region of Panama as the best place for retirement
in the Western Hemisphere. Panama is rated as one of the top retirement destinations, and the
Panamanian government offers the best retirement incentive program in the world. The ‘Pensionado
Visa Program’ of the Panamanian government actually encourages retirees to relocate in Panama.
PENSIONADO VISA PROGRAM:
To qualify for a Pensionado Visa you must apply through the Ministry of Immigration but in most
cases this is a fairly simple process and the major requirements are a pension or other documented
monthly retirement income of US$1,000 for a single person and $100 for each dependant, a
certificate of good health, a valid passport and a police report.
Getting permanent residency in Panama through the Pensionado Visa program is relatively
straight forward if you receive a pension. You will need to retain the services of a Panamanian lawyer
and the process must be done while in Panama. Once you have obtained your visa you are issued a
‘cedula’ (personal identification card) and your residency is permanent and never has to be renewed.
As a “retiree” you will also be entitled to the other benefits outlined below.
For most people who have the pension income qualifications, this process is virtually automatic
and general takes about four months for approval after filing your application.
You will need a proof of income statement (translated into Spanish), a valid passport, a certificate of
good health (HIV free) and a police report from your current jurisdiction.
You must have your income statement certified by the Panamanian consulate in your home
country, so it’s important to complete the process before you come
to Panama where it can be translated at a later date.
Also note that all your documentation must be current or not more than six months old.
Translation of the income statement into Spanish can be done in Panama and is very inexpensive
Government fees, translations, photocopies and notary fees will normally be under $400 and the
total cost, including the lawyer should be about $1,000.
Once you have your cedula you can purchase an exit visa valid for two (2) years for travel
outside of Panama for $100. This allows you to make an unlimited number of trips out of the
country and is Panama’s way of keeping track of whether their foreign residency cardholders are
inside or out of Panama.
|THE RETIREE (OR JUBILADO) BENEFITS PROGRAM CONSISTS OF: |
|50% OFF recreational activities (includes movies, concerts, theater, etc.) |
|10% OFF prescription medicines
|25% OFF restaurants (food only)
|15% OFF dentists and optometrists |
|15% OFF franchises food purchases |
|15% OFF insurance premiums |
|50% OFF hotel rooms (Mon-Thurs) (all inclusive resorts are excluded) |
|30% OFF hotel rooms (Fri-Sun) (all inclusive resorts are excluded) |
|20% OFF appliances purchases
|20% OFF plumbers, accountants, etc.
|30% OFF bus and boat fares
|50% OFF passports
|25% OFF airline fares for flights originating in Panama
|25% OFF utilities
|15% OFF medical services (surgery, treatments, etc.)
|15% OFF clinical/hospital expenses
|50% OFF real estate closing costs with financial institutions
|1% OFF mortgages/home loans