U.S. citizens may enter Panama without a visa and remain in the country as a tourist for a maximum of 180 days per trip. If you wish to stay longer than 180 days, you need to seek permission to remain in the country. Tourists must present a return trip ticket or fare back to their home country or next destination upon arrival. Airlines strictly enforce these laws (as they would incur any cost of deportation should they allow you in the country and you remain illegally).
Panama offers the most cost-effective, hassle-free invest-for-residency program available anywhere in the world today. With an investment of US$300,000 (until October 2022 or US$500,000 after) in real estate, US$160,000 in a business, or US$80,000 in an approved reforestation project regulated by the Ministry of the Environment (MINSA), Panama will grant you residency.
The Specific Countries visa program was initiated under Ricardo Martinelli’s presidential administration. It is available to citizens of 50 specifically named countries, including the United States.
If you hold a passport from one of the 50 countries on the list, this is the best Panamanian residency option after Panama’s pensionado visa:
Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, as well as…
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
For further information such as requirements, documents needed, and help with your visa application, we recommend contacting a Panamanian lawyer.
Panama’s pensionado program offers special benefits and discounts for foreign retirees. It’s the current Gold Standard.
Retiring in Panama, you can save as much as 50% on everything from restaurant meals to in-country airfares, and from prescription medicines to closing costs on your new beach house.
The government of Panama has historically allowed any adult over 18 years of age who could show proof of a monthly pension of any kind to qualify for a pensionado, or retirement, visa. You can apply if you receive a pension from any government entity, social security, Armed Forces, or a private company that pays you a guaranteed pension for a lifetime (US$1,000 per month and an additional US$250 for each dependant).
Best of all, in Panama, if you qualify under the pensionado program today, you get to keep your privileges for life. Check out these benefits for foreign residents and retirees:
Residency in Panama can lead to naturalization, but dual citizenship is not permitted by those who apply for legal citizenship. (Naturalization differs from citizenship by birth; children born in Panama are allowed to have both citizenships).