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NEW CHANGES IN LAW, FOR FRIENDLY NATIONS VISAS IN PANAMA

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

Only in March 2021, 637 visas of this quality have been approved by the National Migration Service and, according to statistics from this same entity, it is the third most requested migratory category to date.

Panama, Crisol de Razas, known for its mixture of cultures, races, politics, religions, among others, created by Executive Decree No. 416 of June 13, 2012 the immigration subcategory as foreigners nationals of specific countries that maintain relations friendly, professional, economic and investment with the Republic of Panama, known as Friendly Countries. Since then, it has been a highly demanded visa that has allowed to host many applicants, principals and their dependents, allowing 50 countries to opt for this visa. Only in March 2021, 637 visas of this quality have been approved by the National Migration Service and, according to statistics from this same entity, it is the third most requested migratory category to date.

In this category, according to their nationality, the foreigner who opted for a “Friendly Countries” visa, should prove an economic or professional purpose, in order to require their residence in this capacity. The foregoing could be verified, either by demonstrating that he was a member of the Board of Directors of a corporation established and existing under the laws of the Republic of Panama and, in addition, holder of a certificate of paid and released shares of such company, or by means of the supporting documentation of a company that uses it locally. Once the application was applied only once, as long as it met all the legal requirements, this visa would be approved as a Permanent Resident and, subsequently, its work permit could be managed separately.

Last May, the Ministry of Public Security, through Executive Decree No. 197 of May 7, 2021, modified articles in this subcategory, highlighting the following:

- Taiwan is excluded from the list of Friendly Countries.

- Unlike the previous regime that granted Permanent Residence to the first application, the modification states that it must first be applied to a Provisional Residence, which will have a period of two years. Once this period has elapsed, the Permanent Residence of this migratory category can be requested.

- For the approval of this residence, in the cases in which it is applied for labor reasons, the obligation to obtain the approval of a work permit is established before the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

- In the cases in which this migratory category is applied by means of investment in a real estate, it must be verified as follows: Certificate of Public Registry of Panama that proves the ownership of the real estate, in the personal capacity of the applicant, with a Minimum value of (B / 200,000.00) balboas, operation that may be financed through a local bank.

It should be noted that the modifications and additions made through this Decree begin to take effect ninety days after its promulgation, that is, August 6, 2021.

Over time and as part of the migration policy of each country, adjustments are made locally and in favor of economic development, cultural diversity and, in particular, due to its organization of mass migrations.
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