The Panama-Italy Treaty Visa
It was originally created by Law 15 of January 1st 1966, to incentivize the friendship, business and navigation between Panama and Italy. And more recently, it was regulated by the National Migration Service, with the Resolution 4803 of March 30th 2012.
All applicants must visit the country in person, at least twice at the start and completion of the residency application, and the basic documents every family member must provide are:
- Original passport with validity of at least 6 months
- National id, Driver’s license or birth certificate from Italy
- Certified check to the National Treasury of Panama, for $250 USD per applicant.
- Five photos passport size
- Sign the sworn declaration and power of attorney prepared by a local attorney
- Nationwide background check (for adults only)
- Birth certificate (for children only)
- Marriage certificate (for couples only)
- All mentioned documents must be recently issued (no more than 6 months) and properly Apostilled.
Nationals of the Italian Republic are eligible to apply for this permanent residency.
In addition to the citizenship condition, the applicants must fulfill both requirements below:
- Financial Solvency: Open a personal bank account in Panama, with a minimum deposit of $5,000 US.
- Economic Solvency: To incorporate a Panamanian Company, or purchase real estate, or obtain a signed employment contract.
The process is divided in 6 steps, as follows:
a. Registration - which is done in person by all applicants at the National Immigration Service in Panama, and it is done at day one.
b. Application - where the complete file is submitted for review, and it is done at day two.
c. Temporal ID - it is obtained at day two, once the application is submitted. This residency card is valid for 6 months.
d. Multiple-entry visa - it is obtained within 2 business days, and it is required prior to leaving the country, subject to a $ 2,000 US penalty if not processed.
e. Final ID - it is obtained once the residency is approved, and it is indefinite, that is, without an expiration date. The approval can happen at any time within 6 months from the application. An average timeframe it’s within 3-4 months.
f. E-Cedula - even though optional, this is an important residency ID issued by the TE office, which assigns a local ID number for the residents, and can be done at any time after the residency approval.
Things to consider
The residency is for life, but it can be revoked by the government if the resident is convicted or does public political manifests. Also, absence of the country for more than 2 consecutive years can lead to the suspension of the residency.
Either with the temporal residency or the permanent residency, the foreigner is eligible to obtain a local driver’s license, which is required as the foreign license is only valid while a tourist in the country.
Once permanent residency is approved, the resident is eligible to apply and obtain a work permit, which grants the right to work and obtain employment with local companies.
Once a resident, the applicant is subject to income taxes on locally sourced proceeds. Income from foreign sources are not taxed in Panama.
After 5 years of permanent residency, regardless of the physical presence in the country, the foreign resident is eligible to apply for citizenship, for which a basic general knowledge exam and proficiency in Spanish will be required.