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Panama Earns Top Score for Retirement Benefits

POST BY OLIVER WOLFE

Panama has soared in popularity recently, what with it being picked as the top destination for travelers in 2012.  Now, International Living has shown how enticing this beautiful country can be to potential retirees as well, ranking Panama the #1 location for retirement benefits in the world.

While those of us who live in Panama can easily see why this country is such a great destination, those of you who have never visited might be a bit skeptical.  Here at Inside Panama Real Estate we work to keep you informed on the diverse cultures and sceneries of Panama, on the wonderful retirement benefits, and of course on some beautiful places to live here in Panama.

On our blog you will find frequent posts keeping you up to date with happenings in Panama.  We’re working on some great feature articles that will be published soon.  Bookmark our blog and follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with Panama!

Panama, Scored: 100/100

Panama’s pensionado program, or pensioner visa program, is extremely generous.

What You Get

  • 50% off entertainment anywhere in the country (movies, theaters, concerts, sporting events)
  • 30% off bus, boat, and train fares
  • 25% off airline tickets
  • 25% off monthly energy bills
  • 30% to 50% off hotel stays
  • 15% off hospital bills
  • 10% off prescription medicines
  • 20% off medical consultations
  • 15% off dental and eye exams
  • 20% off professional and technical services
  • 50% off closing costs for home loans, and more…

If you become a pensionado, you’ll also be entitled to a one-time exemption of duties on the importation of household goods (up to $10,000) and an exemption every two years of duties for the importation or, better yet, local purchase of a car.

Plus, Panama’s pensionado law stipulates that anyone entering the country as a qualified pensioner is guaranteed that status for as long as he resides here. That means that even if future laws change the pensionado requirements, your status will be grandfathered in…it won’t ever change.

The Rules

All overseas documents to be presented to the authorities in Panama must be authenticated by a notary and by the Panamanian consulate nearest you, or by a notary and Apostille. The Apostille (as per The Hague Convention of 1961) is a faster way of authenticating documents and in the U.S. can be obtained through the secretary of state in your home state; in the U.K., this can be done through the Foreign Office. In Canada, please check with the Panamanian embassy/consulate nearest you.

  • All documents must be valid (within two months of visa application) and passports must be valid for at least another year from time of application
  • Dependents: Bring a marriage certificate. However, original marriage certificates are not acceptable for the visa application if over two months old, so you’ll probably need to request a copy. If you have cdependents under 25 that you’ll be including on your application, you’ll need to bring valid birth certificate copies (not originals)
  • All visa applications require that you obtain a health certificate in Panama
  • All visas require a clean police record from your last place of residence
  • All visas require 6–9 passport-size photos (gentlemen in suit and tie; ladies in long sleeves).

In the past, the government of Panama has allowed any adult who could show proof of a monthly pension of any kind (from the age of 18 upward) to qualify for a pensionado (retiree) visa. As in the past, if you are receiving a pension from a government entity or a well-known international company, age is not an issue. You must simply provide proof of adequate income. However, if you are on a private pension, the pensionado visa is available to you if you are of retirement age (50 or older). The age of your spouse (if applying as dependent) will not be considered on the age limitation.

For many years, pensioners with a qualified pension of $500 per month were entitled to apply, but in August 2008 the pensionado requirements finally changed. Now you must draw a minimum pension of $750 and invest at least $100,000 in property in Panama or you must have a pension of at least $1,000 per month (no real estate requirement). However, there is a plus: you may now pool your pension with your spouse’s to meet the minimum pension requirement.

A big new plus: you may now pool your pension with your spouse’s pension to meet the minimum pension requirement, provided you’ll be applying together.

You can read the rest of the article at International Living

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