Immigration and permanent residence
If you want to stay longer than 180 days (without leaving the country for a short time), you will need a visa, which you can apply for at the Panamanian embassy or consulate in your home country.
There are the following options for emigrating to Panama:
Pensioners with a guaranteed pension from a lower limit of USD 1,000 are welcome as immigrants. For each additional dependent relatives (who immigrated with them) an additional USD 250 pension is required. The cost of the visa is only $ 60.
The newly introduced “Friends of Panama” visa makes permanent residence easier for younger groups of people. To do this, immigrants need a local bank account of at least $ 5,000 – and they must either buy a property, open a business, or find work in Panama.
If you want to immigrate as an investor, the investment must be at least 40,000 USD. However, you may only act as the sole owner of the nominal capital / share capital of the Panamanian company and must employ at least 3 Panamanian workers.
A residence permit can currently be obtained within 6 months. After 5 years of permanent residence in Panama, you can then also apply for citizenship.
According to countryvv, the laws of Panama stipulate that a company in the country may only employ 10 percent foreigners. The average wage is $ 500. Engineers bring it to around $ 1,200. There are good professional opportunities for immigrants in the field of eco-tourism and in the handicrafts. However, as there is a shortage of skilled workers in the country, Panama recently eased immigration conditions.
Investors are always welcome. Foreigners who want to set up a company in Panama must employ at least three local employees. Either way, you should definitely be able to speak Spanish well.
Cost of living
The cost of living is lower everywhere than in Western Europe. In the country you can lead a normal to good life on about $ 800, in Panama City it is significantly more expensive.
You would need around € 2,889.53 in Panama City to maintain the same standard of living that you could have in Berlin with € 3,700.00 (assuming you rent in the cities).
- Consumer prices in Panama City are 20.84% lower than in Berlin (excluding rent)
- Consumer prices in Panama City are 21.90% lower than in Berlin (including rent)
- Rental prices in Panama City are 24.33% lower than in Berlin
- Restaurant prices in Panama City are 13.12% lower than in Berlin
- Food prices in Panama City are 3.61% lower than in Berlin
- The local purchasing power in Panama City is 64.98% lower than in Berlin
Average Cost of Living in Panama City (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)
|Restaurant||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Food, price w. restaurant||9.67||5.89-16.82|
|Middle class, 3 courses for 2 people.||42.04||29.43-67.27|
|Local beer, 0.5 l||2.10||1.26-4.20|
|Imported beer, 0.33 l||3.36||2.10-4.20|
|Coca / Pepsi (0.33 l)||1.21||0.84 – 1.68|
|Water (0.33 l)||0.99||0.84 – 1.68|
|Food||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Milk (1 L)||1.29||1.05-1.68|
|White bread (500g)||1.71||0.78 – 2.48|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||1.57||0.74-3.06|
|Local cheese (1kg)||8.72||3.36-16.82|
|Chicken breast fillet (1kg)||6.53||3.71 – 8.41|
|Beef (1kg) or other red meat||10.22||5.47-16.82|
|Bananas (1kg)||1.50||0.84 – 2.52|
|Onions (1kg)||2.00||1.26 – 2.52|
|Lettuce (1 head)||1.76||0.93-2.19|
|Water (1.5 l)||1.22||0.84 – 1.68|
|Bottle of wine (middle class)||7.57||4.20-12.61|
|Local beer (0.5 l)||0.85||0.59 – 1.26|
|Imported beer (0.33 l)||1.93||1.18-2.52|
Average costs for local transport, utilities, clothing, leisure, education of Panama City (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)
|Mode of Transport||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Taxi base amount||1.68||1.26 – 2.52|
|Taxi 1 km||1.68||1.57 – 2.52|
|Ancillary housing costs||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|for 85 sqm apartment (electricity, water, garbage, etc.||86.59||53.61-148.91|
|1 minute prepaid mobile tariff||0.11||0.05-0.17|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable / ADSL)||40.25||28.43-63.07|
|Clothes, shoes||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||43.10||20.18-67.27|
|Summer dress (Zara, H&M,…||34.18||21.02 – 58.86|
|Nike sports shoes, middle class||55.86||33.64-75.68|
|Leather business shoes||77.19||33.64-109.32|
|leisure time||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Fitness center, month / adult||43.12||21.02-54.66|
|Tennis, 1 hour on weekends||21.86||12.61-29.43|
|a movie ticket||5.47||4.58- 9.25|
|training||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Preschool / Kindergarten, private, whole day, monthly per child||241.30||126.13-420.45|
|International primary school per year and child||6,828.09||2,522.69-13,454.37|
The value added tax is 5 percent for most products. The market and the truth are based on the American market. Real estate is quite cheap.
Average Rental Prices / Purchase and Salaries of Panama City (from 09/2019 – 08/2020)
|Monthly rental price||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center||755.41||588.63-1093.17|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside the center||509.39||378.40-672.72|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city center||1,291.57||1,009.08 – 1,849.98|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside the center||834.43||672.72 – 1,261.35|
|Purchase price of apartments||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Price per square meter for an apartment in the city – purchase||1,880.34||1,513.62-2,943.14|
|Price per square meter – apartment outside the center – purchase||1,436.00||1,093.17 – 1,934.07|
|wages||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Average monthly salary (after taxes)||693.14||–|
Emigration and Living in Panama
An inexpensive life is positive (LHK-I 81.3) in beautiful tropical nature with a lot of forest, friendly people, stable financial system, free of nuclear power, low taxes and compliance with banking secrecy. There are no taxes on profits on transactions that are carried out abroad, no taxes on dividends, interest, fees, etc., nor on domestic bank interest. Occasional tropical storms and high crime rates in some metropolitan areas are negative.
Beware of bank transfers: Customers report problems with bank transfers at various banks regarding property purchases (larger sums). TransferWise should therefore be used not only for the purpose of saving transfer costs but also for problem-free processing.