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Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pensionado means “one with a pension.”  In order to qualify as a pensionado as a single individual or a married couple at any age over 18, you must receive a minimum of US $1,000 per month (the amount was $500 a few years ago) from your government, for example, as a Social Security check or from some other source.  You prove this by an IRS report, Social Security statement and / or other bank document.
 
Once you qualify as a pensionado in Panama you are entitled to permanent residency is Panama, meaning a permanent visa, with no need to leave the country and / or returning.  You can come and go as you please and passi through customs as a resident of Panama..
 
A local Panamanian lawyer can expedite the process of immigration in Panama City in a few months at a cost of approximately $1,000.  You also need to provide a police clearance from your own country and show up to sign and claim your pensionado card with a photo taken at the immigration office.  Your lawyer notifies you of the date it will be ready to complete.
 
Now a working visa can be included, which certainly allows for opportunities in Panama. Applying for a business is a separate process that involves opening up a business account in Panama.
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Chris Frochaux of Chris Frochaux - SERVMOR REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Panama Pensionado program provides legal residency to those persons who have an income guaranteed for life. Pensionados (pensioners) are not necessarily retirees (jubilados) since age is not a relevant factor. What matters is the pension, a fixed income payable to the beneficiary during his or her lifetime by a government or a well-known international corporate entity. The minimum amount of the pension is US$ 1,000 monthly (individual, or couple pooling their pensions up to that amount). That requirement is reduced to $ 750 when the candidate invests $100,000 in real estate. 
 
Since the Pensionado program is the equivalent of a (permanent) visa, all regular visa requirements apply. That implies that all the documentation must be authenticated by a Panamanian consulate, before you travel to Panama. This is especially true for Canadians, while US citizens can request a certification (apostille) from the Secretary of State of their home state. 
 
Beneficiaries of the Pensionado program enjoy hefty benefits, included but not limited to:
  • 50% discount on entertainment (that means you can watch a recent movie in English in a comfortable theater for $2.00!) 
  • 25% on your electrical bill...
  • 25% on airline tickets
  • 30% to 50% discount on hotels
  • 10% on prescription meds
  • 15% on hospital accommodations
  • 20% on medical consultations
  • 15% on dentist and eye exams
  • 50% on closing costs (home loans)
  • 20% on professional services in general
  • 15% on fast food
  • 25% in restaurants
It's a very generous program... however, even if you acquire a lifetime legal residency, you are not allowed to work. Once you get your visa, all you need to learn is a few words of Spanish: "Descuento de jubilado, por favor"...
Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Panama Pensionado / Retirement Program is a residency you can get. If you’re able to prove that you have a monthly income from an official source and that you’re retired, you can be allowed to stay in the country of Panama legally as a “pensionado,” but you have to be retired, which means you can’t work.
 
The Pensionado Visa will take you 3 years to get, so while the visa is in process, you have to get a “carnet”, which will allow you to be entitled to the benefits of being a resident of Panama. The Pensionado Visa may cost you roughly US $2,000. In order to get a Pensionado Visa, you have to have your FBI report, prove that you’re receiving money from an official source, and prove your age. You need a lawyer to make it all easier.
 
For Americans in many cases there’s a better option than getting the Pensionado Visa. The United States and Panama have an international treaty through which we have a visa called the Friendly Nations Visa. Under the Friendly Nations Visa, you only have to put US $5,000 in a Panamanian bank account, have a corporation here, and you’ll be able to get your permanent residency in 3 months, which is better and easier than getting a Pensionado Visa. The $5,000 that you’ve put in your account is still yours. In the process, you need to have the FBI police report. With regards the corporation, it’s just like a shell corporation; it’s a Panamanian entity that allows you to do business, but you don’t have to conduct business through it.
 
The cost for a Friendly Nations Visa is very roughly around $1,500, which includes the cost of the legal fees.  The cost to set up the corporation is very roughly another $1,500, and there may or may not be any other related fees.  So, as a very rough estimate, you’ll end up spending about $3,000 - $4000 in total to become a resident of Panama under the Friendly Nations Visa. I never quote a hard price because sometimes clients need to have a little bit more paperwork or there may be some other issues, but this is a good rule of thumb.
 
Under a Friendly Nations Visa you can work, but if you’re here under a Pensionado Visa, you’re not allowed to work.  However, it is not necessary to be in Panama under a Pensionado Visa in order to get Pensionado discounts.  They are completely separate.  The pensionado discounts are conferred to you as a result of your age, not your visa status.
 
 
In Panama, if you are older than 65 years, you are retired. We respect old people here in Panama. That’s the Latin way of working. If you are over 65 years old, you get your 20% discounts when you go to restaurants and the other discounts and benefits as well.
 
Rafael Alvarado of Rafael Alvarado / Attorney / Real Estate Broker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama’s retirement program is a visa status. It is a type of visa called the pensionado visa. If you have a pensionado visa, you cannot work in Panama. You have to be retired. You are also entitled to some discounts. You get 20% discount on almost everything that you buy, like medicine, food, restaurants, movies, etc. You also get a 20% discount for almost any service you can obtain in Panama.
 
In order to apply for status under the pensionado visa, you have to gather information, proving that you do have a lifetime pension and you can actually retire and live here in Panama with your own passive income, which should be US $1,200 per month per person. It goes up to $1,500 per month if you come here with a dependent. As long as you are retired, you have proof that you are retired, and you have a lifetime pension, you can apply for the pensionado visa. It is not much like a retirement program; rather it is something that you apply for and as long as you can complete all the requirements, you are in.
 
Even if you do not have the pensionado visa, as long as you are 65 years old and over, you can enjoy the discount. You just have to show your passport to the merchants as proof and they will apply the discount to your purchase or the service you received. No one will give you the discount automatically; you have to ask for it.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Playing golf in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe Panama pensionado program is a type of visa which for me, is like a form of investment. If you are getting a pensionado visa, you  can stay longer in Panama. You also get entertainment discounts as well as discounts on selected air fares, city tours, doctor visits, medication and even hotel accommodations. For example, my family and I always stay in Hotel Milan right downtown whenever we go to Panama City. With the pensionado discount, the room costs only US $35 a night and it’s so nice.
 
In order to get into this program, the “Pensionado Visa” requires a clear criminal background, a proof of income and an apostilled copy of your marriage certificate. An “aposille” is like a letter or an authentication issued to legal documents for use in any country that is in agreement with this program. You need to have the marriage certificate apostilled because the Panamanian federal government needs to verify that the signatures and the document you are presenting are legitimate.
 
I believe that you are required as a married couple to have a minimum of $1,400 combined monthly income. But if you have $750 monthly income as a single person, then you can get a Pensionado Visa. Obviously, a lot of people don’t want to spend a lot of money for this kind of program. For my husband and me, the Pensionado Visa cost us about $1,600 - $1,800, including the attorney’s fee.
 
A downside of getting the Pensionado Visa is that you are not allowed to work because you’re in the country as a retiree, although I was told that you can do a consulting which means you can legally have a small business.
 
There’s this thing called “Friendly Nations Visa” that Panama offers as well. I think it’s around $800 for an individual. The good thing about this visa is that it allows you to work. But if you decide to get one, you can’t have the Pensionado Visa at the same time. The law states that you can’t have them both. Interestingly, if you are a married couple, one can have the Friendly Nations Visa while the other can have the Pensionado Visa.
 
I recommend you check out the Panama.gov website if you want because it’s always updated and they’ll tell you what you need to know about these programs, most especially if you are still in the US or in any other country. 
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama’s pensionado program was created as a way to allow foreigners to apply for residency in the country by proving that they have a minimum guaranteed source of income.  Over the years the minimum requirement has changed.  Today, to qualify for the pensionado visa, you must have a “lifetime” income of at least $1,000 per month.  This can be a government retirement program (like Social Security in the US), a guaranteed company retirement plan or other government pension plan, a recognized annuity or other qualifying program.
 
In the case of a married couple applying together, the joint retirement income must be at least $1,000 per month.
 
Once approved, the pensionado visa grants you residency status and also includes a host of other benefits like discounts at hotels and restaurants, bus and airline tickets, utility bills, medical services and a host of other discounts and privileges like the duty free importation of up to $10,000 in household goods and importing a car every two years with no duty taxes.
 
If you are considering obtaining residency in Panama through the pensionado program, I highly recommend that you contact an attorney in Panama to explain the details of the program, help you document your income and assist in processing the paperwork you’ll need to obtain your visa.
Moises Montero Randino of Montero Randino - Attorneys at Law – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama Pensionado Program or Visa has many benefits within I can mention a few:
  1. Tax exoneration for the import into Panama of personal goods or belongings up to the amount of US $10,000.
  2. Tax exoneration for the import of one family purpose car every two years.
  3. Immediate Permanent residency after approval.
  4. Discounts within 15 to 25% in restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, medicines among others.
in order to apply, the main requirement is a letter from the public or private entity managing the retired or pensioned payments certifying  the existence of the funds for the applicant's lifetime, an authenticated certificate to prove the existence and good standing of this entity, and proof of payment or bank statements for the sum of at least $1000. /month for single applicant and $250 more in case of dependents.
Judith Tovar of Easy Travel Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama Pensionado program is wonderful.  If you are already retired elsewhere..it does not matter how old you are..and you can prove that you receive at least $1,000.00 monthy...the lawyers in Panama will work to get you a Pensionado Visa.
 
Once you have this document you will be able to get discount in food at restaurants, medicine, doctors, electricity bills, plane tickets that you buy in Panama, movie tickets, etc.  It is a wonderful program.
 
Panama Pensionado program is a retirement program...considered to be the best one in the world.  This program offers "an attractive retirement program for retirees". Some of these incentives are the following:
  1. Import tax exemption for household goods
  2. Tax exemption to import a new car every 2 years
  3. 25% discount on utility bills
  4. 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation
  5. 15% discount on loans made in your name
  6. 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence
  7. 20% discount on doctor´s bills, 15% on hospital services if no insurance applies
  8. 10% discount on medicines
  9. 15% off dental and eye exams
  10. 20% discount on bills for professional and technical services
  11. 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events
  12. 50% discount on hotels during Monday to Thursday, 30% on weekends
There are many more discounted items than that have been mentioned above.  Once you have qualified as a Panamanian resident with a Pensionado Visa you qualify for all these benefits.
 
There are general requirements to qualify for a Pensionado Visa.  This has to be done through a local law firm.
 
The main requirement is proof of a minimum income of $1,000 per  month plus an additional amount for each dependent.   This program is "not" age related, provided  you have a pension. 
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The pensionado program is designed to encourage retirees to settle in Panama. In order to do this you first should find a good, competent lawyer. There are many here but some are expensive and not always the best.
 
You will be given a list of all of the documents needed by your lawyer.
  • Firstly you must prove income from a permanent lifelong pension of the required income, currently $1,000 per month for a single person and $1,250 for a couple. This must be an official document from the pension provider.
  • A police report to show you have no criminal record.
  • If a couple a certified copy of the marriage certificate, with apostille on both
  • A rental agreement in Panama.  The lawyer will first have your passport stamped to show your intention of permanency.
The papers will then be presented and you will first get a 1 year permanency, usually within a month. If you need to leave the country after you have this you will have to apply for a multi entry visa. After around 3 to 6 months you should get your pensionado recidency. Once you have that then you will not need a multi entry visa.
 
Remember too that you can only drive on your home country driver's license for 3 months, so you will also need to get the Panamanian drivers license.
 
The lawyer's costs should be in the region of $1,800 for a couple, depending of course on your choice of lawyer. You will in addition have to pay government fees but these are fairly cheap. 

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