How to Retire in Panama – The Ultimate Guide
Dreaming of spending your retirement years overseas in a destination offering a relaxed, affordable lifestyle and a warm climate? Have you considered retiring in Central America? We put together this guide for readers wondering how to retire in Panama.
This guide covers all aspects of retiring in this country of skyscraper-filled modern metropolises, pristine forests and hundreds of idyllic tropical islands. Discover everything from how you can go about applying for the country’s official retiree program to how you can find homes for sale in Panama and condos for sale in Panama suitable for the next chapter of your life.
What is Panama’s Pensionado Program?
Can I Retire in Panama? Panama Retirement Program Requirements
Panama Pensionado Program Benefits
Buying Real Estate for Your Retirement in Panama
Where are the Best Places to Retire in Panama?
Find Out More About Retiring in Panama
Panama operates one of the world’s most highly acclaimed retirement programs. The pensionado visas issued under the program offer successful applicants permanent residency in Panama as well as a wide range of incentives and discounts designed to make life in Panama inviting and affordable.
To qualify for a pensionado visa under Panama’s retirement program, an individual must be aged over 18 years of age and be able to demonstrate an income of at US $1,000 per month (plus US $250 per dependent) from a pension or Social Security.
In the case of those who invest in property in Panama with a value of at least US $100,000, the minimum required income level is reduced to $750 per month.
All applications for a pensionado visa must be processed and submitted by a Panamanian attorney. You can travel to Panama on a tourist visa and apply for a change to retiree residence status while in the country – An applicant must be physically in Panama when the visa is issued.
Application forms are available from the Immigration Office in Panama City.
Completed applications should be submitted to an immigration lawyer in Panama together with the following documents (authenticated by your nearest Panamanian Consulate or duly apostilled):
- Birth Certificate.
- Proof of monthly income from a private or public/state pension (e.g. Social Security, military pension, state retirement, police pension etc)
- If married – Marriage Certificate duly authenticated by apostille seal or Panamanian Consulate; If single – A document confirming the applicant’s unmarried status (either a bachelorhood certificate provided by a local court or certification by a notary public).
- Certificate of good conduct (Police record) issued by the authorities at the place of residence during the last 5 years.
- 4 photographs.
- Original passport plus a copy of every page of your passport.
- Sworn statement about personal background via a Panamanian lawyer.
- Health certificate issued by Panamanian Doctor.
In the case of married applicants including family members in the application, the following should also be provided:
- Power of Attorney.
- Certificate of good conduct of wife and children over 18 years of age during the last 5 years.
- Birth certificate of children.
- Photocopy of passport.
- 4 photographs of each dependent.
- Health certificate issued by a Panamanian doctor.
- Sworn statement about personal background via a Panamanian lawyer.
- Responsibility Letter.
In the case of applicants owning property in Panama:
- Certification of Public Registration of the property showing the title in the name of the applicant.
To process applications for a pensionado visa, the government charges a fee of $300 to $400 per applicant, which includes the cost of temporary and permanent residence cards and passport registration.
In addition, applicants need to pay legal fees which can range from approximately $2,500 to $4,000.
Panama’s pensionado program is widely considered to be among the best retirement programs in the world. The program offers the opportunity to enjoy residency in Panama along with a range of incentives and discounts.
Immediate Permanent Residency
Unlike many other retiree programs, which grant temporary residency permits that must be renewed each year, Panama’s pensionado program grants immediate permanent residency.
Tax Incentives & Discounts
In addition, successful applicants enjoy a range of incentives and discounts as follows:
- One-time exemption from import tax on household goods (up to $10,000).
- Exemption on import tax for a new car every 2 years (please not that you will need to pay other taxes when importing your car. You will be exempt from the import tax only).
- 25% discounts on utility bills.
- 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation.
- 15% discount on loans made in your name.
- 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence.
- 20% discount on doctor’s bills.
- 15% on hospital bills if no insurance applies.
- 15% off dental appointments and eye tests.
- 10% discount on prescription medicines.
- 20% discount on bills for professional and technical services.
- 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events.
- 50% discount at hotels during Monday to Thursday and 30% discount on weekends.
- 1% discount on home mortgages for homes used as a personal residence.
Although Panama’s retirement program does not require applicants to invest in Panama real estate (you can opt to rent), buying a property is a popular route for many program participants.
The Government of Panama welcomes foreign investment and there are no restrictions on foreign buyers purchasing property in the country.
In fact, foreign buyers enjoy the same rights as citizens and, unlike in many other countries in the region, there is no requirement for foreign buyers to obtain a license in order to buy real estate in Panama.
A wide selection of property is available from attractively priced condos and villas by the beach to homes nestled in the cool mountains.
For more detail on the purchase process, please see our guide to buying property in Panama.
Where are the best places to retire in Panama? Well, that very much depends on your personal preferences.
For those looking for a quiet, laidback lifestyle in Panama, Pedasi on the tip of the Azuero Peninsula in the province of Los Santos on the Pacific coast is a popular choice.
If you prefer the island life, idyllic Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast is the country’s leading tourism destination and popular choice for retirees.
For those who can’t do without the hum of the city, Panama City is a vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis.
Find out more: Best places to buy property in Panama
Would you like to find out more about retiring in Panama or would you like to browse property for sale suitable for your retirement? We would be delighted to help.
To take your property search to the next level, contact 7th Heaven Properties. We look forward to discussing your options in more detail.