Advantages Of Moving To Panama From Colombia

It is about natural for Colombians and other Latin Americans to consider Panama as a possible destination for relocation, simply because of how close the two countries are, both in physical distance and in culture and language. Moving to Panama doesn’t require Colombians to learn English or any other language, and they will not feel culturally estranged when radicating in the country. Aside from this proximity, there are other reasons why Panama is a great destination for Colombian expats. Let’s briefly discuss some of them.

  • Panama has a very low unemployment rate for the region, which sits at under 4%. Foreigners are likely to find a job if they decide to stay, especially if they are qualified. However, remember that not all visas allow Colombians to work in this country; if your intention is to have a job, make sure you get the right kind of visa and fulfill all requirements before you go job hunting.
  • The Panamanian healthcare system is highly regarded as one of the best in Latin America. In Panama City, the country’s capital, there are many hospitals and clinics that are recognized internationally, some with JCI gold-star ratings. Private medical insurance is relatively affordable, especially if you consider the quality of attention that you receive, both human and technological.
  • Getting a permanent residency visa is not as difficult as it is in most countries. Multiple entry visas and residency cards are available for most visitors. After you return to Colombia, you can wait for 3 months and go back to Panama, and get a residency card without much paperwork. This multiple entry visa is valid for 6 months, but you can turn it into a permanent residency visa through a relatively easy process.
  • It is easy to get from Panama to basically anywhere in the world – not just Colombia – because here you can take direct flights to most major cities in the world. Even more, once you have obtained your permanent residency visa, you will enjoy 25% discounts in all flights, both local and international.

The Friendly Nations Agreement

It is most noteworthy for Colombian expats that they all enjoy a migration benefit thanks to the Friendly Nations Agreement. There is a list of 50 countries that have signed this agreement with Panama, and as a result, their citizens can travel to Panama and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Colombia is among those countries. Even if you haven’t been born in Colombia, having a dual citizenship that includes the Colombian citizenship is enough for you to qualify for the Friendly Nations Agreement permit. This benefit is available to the applicant and all their direct relatives: spouse and children who are up to 18 years old, or 25 years old if proven in full time education.

Colombians can apply for permanent residency in Panama any time they want, as opposed to the usual 2 visa re-applications for citizens of nations that have not signed the Agreement. This makes the process much faster and easier for citizens of Colombia. However, being a citizen of a Friendly Nation doesn’t mean that a Colombian person doesn’t need to fulfill a series of requisites to obtain the residency.

Requisites For Applying For Permanent Residency In Panama As A Colombian Citizen

Even if a Colombian citizen is not required to have a visa to enter Panama and stay for under three months at a time, they are indeed required to have one first if they want to apply for permanent residency. Once their visa has been issued, they are ready to start the process of application for a residency permit.

These are the requirements necessary for obtaining a visa in Panama:

  • Your passport must be valid at the time of the application, and during at least the three previous months before you solicit your permanent residency.
  • A proof that you have made arrangements to go back to your country after you visit Panama. This means that you must have bought your ticket back to Colombia; it can be an air ticket or a boat ticket. You should have it printed.
  • A vaccination certificate for yellow fever.
  • Your criminal records.
  • If you have booked your stay at a hotel or other facility, you must show the bill or other proof that you will be staying there. This is important because you must book your stay in advance and print all documents, which will be required when you enter Panama. If you are going to stay in a private residency instead – like a friend’s house, you must provide the complete address and means to contact the home owner.
  • Proof of self-solvency. In other words, you must show you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, and therefore, you will not engage in illegal work or any other illicit form of profit. One of the ways to do so is to take at least $500 in cash with you. You can also show a document that expresses your solvency, like your international credit card records or a traveler’s check.

Once you have obtained your visa, getting a permanent residency is not as difficult. First of all, you need to get a certificate of deposit for at least $5,000 and an additional $2,000 for each dependent. Also, you have to prove that you can still self-sustain, not just in the next few days as in with a tourist visa, but rather, in your daily life. One of the best ways to do so is to engage in local business. You can either establish a small company yourself, or buy a Panamanian company. Another way to prove self-sustenance is to get employed in Panama.

The last one might sound like the easiest of the two, but it’s actually the hardest for foreigners, since Panamanian companies are bound by law to employ at least 90% local workforce. As a Colombian expat, you will have a lesser chance to find a job this way. Some jobs are even reserved for locals only. If you are a qualified professional, you might have a better chance, since in these cases this percentage may drop to 85%. Still, it’s a disadvantageous situation. For this reason, living off investments or owning local businesses is the best way Colombians can establish themselves in Panama and live the life they aspire to in this beautiful country.

What Credicorp Bank Can Do For You

As you can see, it is relatively easy for Colombians to obtain permanent residency in Panama and enjoy the many benefits of this great place without being too far away from home. Engaging in local investments or starting a business are the two best options for self-sustenance and long-term prosperity. Credicorp Bank is perfect for Colombian expats because we offer all our services in Spanish and cover all your bank needs. We provide top notch payment processing platforms and business account packages for you to run your business locally and expand globally with the lowest fees and the most convenient rates. We also issue international cards, so you can use your money to pay for goods and services whenever you want to visit Colombia or any other place in the world. You can easily move your assets to Panama and save on international transaction fees, and establish yourself in our country with the help of Credicorp Bank.