Through Executive Decree No. 722 of October 15, 2020, Panama has created the subcategory of Permanent Resident as a Qualified Investor; It is specifically focused on those foreigners who invest, at least, an amount of $ 500,000.00 from a foreign source, which may be in a personal capacity or through a legal entity, in which the applicant is always the final beneficiary of the shares of the legal entity that holds the investment.
This recent regulation has established mechanisms or possibilities to obtain permanent residence, in a single stage, through this new immigration subcategory, namely:
- In case of Real Estate Investment: any foreign person who invests the sum of $500,000.00, in the purchase of a real estate property in Panama, which must be free of liens, will be eligible to apply for the permanent residency as a Qualified Investor.
- In case of Real Estate investment by means of a promise to purchase agreement: Any foreign person who invests through a promise to purchase agreement for the acquisition of a real estate property, for the sum of $500,000.00, made through a trust deposit managed by a local bank or trust entity, with license to operate in Panama, shall be eligible to apply for the permanent residency.
- In case of investments made through a Brokerage Agency with a license approved by the Panama Stock Exchange Market Superintendence: any foreign person who makes one or more investments through a Brokerage Agency with a license approved by the Panama Stock Exchange Market Superintendence, for a minimum amount of $500,000.00 in securities of issuers, which businesses affects the national territory, through the Panama Stock Exchange Market, and whose commitment is maintained for at least 5 years from the moment in which said investment is completed, will be eligible to apply for the permanent residency.
- In case of Investment by fixed-term deposit in the Banking Sector: The foreign who makes an investment by opening a fixed-term deposit (s), for a minimum amount of $750,000.00, in any bank with a general license to operate, and that such deposit has a minimum term of validity of 5 years, shall be eligible to apply for the permanent residency.
It is essential to take into consideration that, in order to maintain Permanent Residence as a Qualified Investor, it is imperative that the investment is maintained for a minimum period of five years from the moment it is granted.
One of the most useful provisions established by Executive Decree No. 722 is that it seeks to simplify and facilitate procedures, guaranteeing shorter terms with respect to the usual immigration procedures. This is due to the fact that the applications are processed through the Special Processing Service Division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) and a period not exceeding 30 business days is established for their resolution, counted from the date of receipt of the application.
Another practical benefit that can be mentioned is that the aspiring qualified investor is allowed to start the application process from abroad, which allows the investment to be made before entering Panama, through his / her attorney, in order to start managing the residency procedure.
Due to the abovementioned, we emphasize that there is a range of migratory benefits associated with investments in Panamanian territory, supported by public policies established by government authorities, which reaffirms Panama as a strategic destination for investment.