Panama has a fast-track residency option for citizens of 'friendly nations' — countries with strong diplomatic or economic ties to Panama. So-called Friendly Nations Visa offers an opportunity to become a permanent resident of Panama for investors and entrepreneurs from selected countries, including the USA, EU countries, Canada and many others.
Panama is popular among American entrepreneurs as a paradise-like resort where it's also possible to conduct business and have access to all necessary financial tools and international travel. Panama is a comfortable country with welcoming tax rules and connections to the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe. The Panamanian government is very pro-business, and the country is well-known for its high-quality medical services and high standards of living. Panama is sometimes called 'Switzerland of Americas', and there's a reason for that.
Panama is the right choice for entrepreneurs willing to operate their businesses from a villa on the seaside, and at the same time have an opportunity to be within a direct-flight distance from financial centres of the modern world.
Main benefits of Panama Friendly Nations Visa:
Territorial taxation. Panama's residents are only obligated to pay tax on income, earned in the country. And everything below $11,000 per year is tax-free.
Right to live and work in a paradise country at the crossroads of North and South America.
Ability to maintain residence even while living abroad. Panama requires to visit the country only once in two years to retain a Friendly Nations Visa.
A way to permanent residency and citizenship of Panama.
An option to become a tax resident of Panama without living there.
Citizenship of one of the fifty Friendly Nations. These nations include all EU countries, Great Britain, most South America countries, the USA, Canada, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa and many others.
Proof of economic or professional ties with Panama. It's possible via opening a new business in Panama, buying real estate (starting from just $10,000) or becoming an employee of a company based in Panama.
Proof of financial solvency. A personal account in one of the banks in Panama with $5000 deposit in it. This sum can be withdrawn and doesn't need to be contained for the whole time of residency.
Overall price for Panama Friendly Nations Visa varies from case to case and can be counted only on individual basis according to the needs of the client.
Tax Residency in Panama, Explained
One of the main benefits of Panama Friendly Nations Visa is the ability to become a tax resident of Panama and pay taxes here only from the income gained in Panama. Unlike many other countries, including the USA, Panama doesn’t demand its residents to pay taxes from their businesses in other jurisdictions and instead collects taxes mostly from VAT and income from local enterprises and properties.
However, tax residency and residency as a right to live somewhere are not equal, and while it’s possible to retain residency in one country and live in another, it’s more difficult to have the same opportunity with tax residency.
There are a couple of options for tax residency in Panama. First of all, any person who resides in Panama for 183 days of the year is a tax resident of Panama.
But there are a few more ways to become one. One of them is to show strong economic ties to Panama, for example, get a Panamanian driver license, pay utility bills or buy a tax residency certificate.