There is a reason that Panama is consistently ranked in the top ten countries in the world to retire. It’s pensionado (retiree) visa provides one of the most advantageous retirement programs in the world. Panama wants you to retire to their country and has provided benefits through this retiree visa that amply demonstrate their desire. This visa’s list of benefits far outshines that of most other retirement destinations. I know from experience. Panama’s pensionado visa is my retirement choice.
Since its inception in June of 1987, the Panama pensionado visa has continued to improve. The amount of annual retirement income to qualify has increased (It is now $1,000 per month for a single person, and $1250 for a couple), but so have the benefits. It is basically a lifetime visa for foreign retirees which is available to persons as young as eighteen years of age. Once your application has been approved and you receive your visa, you begin to receive discounts ranging from 10% to 50% on everything from doctor visits to movie tickets simply by showing your pensionado visa. There are special lines reserved strictly for pensionados at banks. This is even better than the Jubilado retiree program for the native Panamanians.
Where else could you get the following benefits simply by showing one identification card?
25% off of airline tickets for flights in country or if purchased with Panama’s COPA airline 20% off of medical consultations 15% discount services in hospital and private clinics 30% to 50% off of hotel stays – depends on the day of the week 50% off of closing costs on home loans 15% off in fast food restaurants and 25% off in sit down restaurants 30% discount on city buses, boats, and Panama trains 15% off on dentist fees (fees already low compared to a lot of other countries) 25% discount to your electric bill up to 600KW’s 25% on basic residential phone service charges The right to buy a car every two years free of import duty The right to bring in up to $10,000 in personal goods with no import duty
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of the benefits to be derived from having a pensionado visa in Panama
Likewise, the application process is thorough but simple.
By law the application must be processed through a Panamanian attorney Minimum age for applying is 18, under 18 must be as a dependent Applicant must be receiving a documentable pension for life of at least $1000 per month Application must be made in person in Panama
All required documents must be certified by a Panamanian Consulate/Embassy or certified by the internationally approved apostille method. The following documents are required and none can be dated earlier than 90 days prior to the application. Passports should have at least 8 months remaining before expiration.
The required documents include:
a valid passport 6 passport size photos letter or certification from your pension provider documenting income copy of a police report for you, spouse, and any dependents over 18 years of age from your local law enforcement agency a marriage certificate if your spouse is listed as a dependent birth certificate for any dependent children a medical report (to be done by a Panamanian doctor)
Most attorneys suggest having all of your documents in hand and properly authenticated before having your application appointment with them. They also say you should allow about 4 days to complete the process. In my case I was able to submit the application to the attorney, get the physical exam, and register with immigration all in one day. The documents must be translated into Spanish before the attorney submits the completed application. This service is generally included as part of the attorney’s fees.
If the above information interests you, start looking for a Panamanian attorney and get the process started. The sooner you get started the sooner you can retire to Panama and be treated like royalty.