Permanent Residency as a Qualified Investor
By means of Executive Decree No. 722 dated October 15, 2020 ( “Executive Decree No. 722”), a new subcategory for Permanent Residency, as a Qualified Investor, has been created within the category of Permanent Residency for Economic Reasons for qualified foreign individuals that may contribute to national development and promote the establishment of investments in the Republic of Panama.
This subcategory requires a minimum investment of US$500,000.00 from foreign sources, which may be carried out in a personal capacity or through a legal entity. The investment must be for a minimum term of 5 years. In the event that the investment is made through a legal entity, the applicant for the permanent residency permit must be the final beneficiary of the legal entity.
Executive Decree No. 722 contemplates several types of investments are applicable: (i) real estate investment with evidence of transfer of ownership, (ii) real estate investment with a purchase-sale agreement, whereby the funds for the purchase have been deposited in a trust, (iii) investment in a securities account in Panama and (iv) a fixed-term deposit, the latter requires an investment of US$750,000.00. The amounts to be considered for the purposes of the minimum investment are those that are free of encumbrances. For example, if the investment is for an apartment with a value of US$1,000,000.00, the regulation allows financing the excess amount over the minimum amount of investment required.
In order to process applications for the Permanent Residency subcategory as a Qualified Investor, a Special Processing Window will be implemented, with the purpose of simplifying and facilitating the process and guaranteeing a high level of security and transparency.
All applications must be resolved within a period not exceeding thirty (30) business days, starting on the date the application was received. The applications under this immigration subcategory may be submitted before the applicant and his/her dependents enter the territory of the Republic of Panama.
It is important to highlight that, according to the Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama, foreign persons, with five consecutive years of permanent residency, may apply for Panamanian nationality by naturalization with the right to a passport, unless a Bilateral Treaty with Panama allows for less time.