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.
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.