The Panama government has introduced a new visa program that offers a quick path to residency for foreign citizens willing to make an investment in the country, which should provide a big boost to the Panama real estate market.
Although it is called the “Red Carpet Visa,” the new visa is similar to the so-called “golden visa” programs in countries around the world, which offer permanent residency to people who buy real estate. The new Panama Investor Visa requires an investment of $500,000, but for the next 24 months a $300,000 purchase in real estate would qualify, as the government looks to support the market, says veteran immigration attorney Ricardo Faraudo, a partner with DENFAB Law.
“The government recognizes that there is a market for wealthy clients looking to establish physical residency in Panama,” Faraudo says.
The new Red Carpet Visa program also recognizes purchases of pre-construction property, which is different from many other programs. The new visa offers several advantages from previous options, including the ability to process applications from your home country. Applications will also be handled by the Ministry of Commerce, not the immigration department.
“They’re going to designate an office just for these types of processes so they won’t be mixed in with the volume of immigration processes,” Faraudo says. “They’ll be handled quicker and receive more personal attention.”
Applicants can also qualify with a $500,000 investment in the Panamanian stock market or a $750,000 investment in a time deposit in a Panama bank. In each case, the applicant must maintain the investment for at least five years.
The government has also announced plans to make adjustments to Panama’s popular Friendly Nations Visa, which offers residency to citizens of 50 countries, who meet certain basic requirements. While nothing is finalized, the government is expected to add an initial temporary visa application, Faraudo says. “And number two, they are going to require some sort of investment,” with real estate the likely target, he says.
The new Red Carpet Visa program will make real estate particularly attractive to buyers interested in completing the visa process without having to repeatedly visit the country. The application is expected to take no more than 30 days, Faraudo says.