Qualifying For Pensionado Status In Panama

“Kathleen, I just received an e-mail about residency requirements in Panama, not from you but from someone else. Now instead of a police report from your local home police, it must be an FBI report including fingerprints? Is this so? And does this affect getting the retirement benefits, which I believe you can get without residency? Correct?”

–Nan D., Overseas Retirement Circle Member, United States

Yes, that’s correct regarding the FBI report. This change has been implemented to allow for a broader background check. If someone has a felony record in California but gets a background report from his local sheriff in Alabama, the felony wouldn’t show up on the report. It’s a loophole that Panama’s immigration authorities are trying to close.

Meantime, no, this doesn’t have any effect on retirement benefits. Note, though, that you are technically supposed to have legal residency in the country to be eligible for the retiree discounts. Some stores and restaurants, etc., will give you the discount if you look to be of age to deserve it. Others won’t give the discount unless you ask for it, and some will ask to see your residency card first.

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