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John Ohe of Hola Expat Tax Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You absolutely do not need to renounce or relinquish your US citizenship or get dual citizenship when you move and live abroad. 
 
I've been living abroad for about a little over five years. Now, I live in Guatemala and have been here for over four years. I am only a US citizen. I'm not even a permanent resident of Guatemala. I've got three children and the last of one was born in Guatemala. Getting residency for my youngest child was very easy based on the local rules. However, it's not a step that I really needed to take because we frequently travel, whether we're going back to the US or going to other countries on a vacation. 
 
 
Guatemala happens to have a very generous tourist visa situation where they give 90 days for Americans. If you want, you can get an extension on 90 days up to 180 days in Guatemala without having to leave, which a bunch of countries have. Panama has an automatic 180-day visa for US citizens. Nicaragua and Costa Rica allow 90 days for US citizens. It's easy to leave the country, stay out of the country for a few days, and come back in.
 
Residency status is certainly not needed. Relinquishing your US citizenship is absolutely not needed. I have some clients who are considering residency and relinquishing their US citizenship for tax reasons, but it could be quite problematic to relinquish your citizenship. There is a lot of paperwork involved. If you have a lot of assets, there is an exit tax associated with giving up your US citizenship that can be quite painful. 
 
Giving up your US citizenship is really not needed for most people and 99.9% of US citizens don't need to do it to live abroad. Depending on the tourist visa situation, you may even need to establish permanent residency status in the local country you're moving to.
 
(People of Mayan descent in a horse race in Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Guatemala, pictured.)
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
John Gilbert with his children in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou do not need to renounce or relinquish your US citizenship or get dual citizenship to move or live abroad. However, the laws in some countries are more cumbersome than others. I found a great situation in Panama where as a foreigner coming in, there’s no need for you to pick up a second citizenship. That option is available for you as time goes by, but you don’t need to do it. 
 
What was right for me and my family was the Friendly Nation’s Visa. We came in to Panama wanting to start a business, which we did, and the corporation came with my Friendly Nation’s Visa. It was a qualification criteria for my Friendly Nation’s Visa, which gives me a Permanent Residency Visa, which means that I have a legal right to be here. Many people don’t choose to even go that far. People come and go on their Tourist Visa in Panama which gives you the right to stay in Panama and drive in the country on your foreign license for 90 days. 
 
On the other hand, the US isn’t going to say, “Hey, you’re living in Panama. You’re no longer a US citizen.” The fact that you live outside of the United States has no bearing or consequence whatsoever on the fact that you are a United States citizen. You have 100% of the rights to vote, and 100% of the rights to all that your citizenship entails as being a citizen of the United States of America.
 
You can still receive your Social Security checks or benefits living in Panama and in other places in the world as an expat. That is one of the primary ways that many of the retirees are able to live here in Panama- through their Social Security benefits. From time to time, there are things that you need to do as a recipient of Social Security that don’t change. An example would be proving that you’re still alive, and those types of things.  The qualifiers are that you worked a certain number of years in the United States and earned a certain level of retirement benefits. It has no bearing whatsoever on where your ZIP Code’s going to be in the future.
 
The US embassy in Panama has great services throughout the country that can walk you through those things that are relevant. As far as renewing your passport, and doing many things that you would do with any consulate is freely done here in Panama.  
 
(John Gilbert with his children in Panama, pictured.)
Don Nelson of TaxMeLess – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You do not have to renounce your US Citizenship to live any where in the world.  Most countries will allow you to become a permanent resident without becoming a citizen of that country.  
 
However, if you do renounce your US Citizenship, you will never have to pay US taxes or file a US tax return again.  While you remain a US citizen you must file a tax return each year if your income exceeds a certain minimum amount, and often pay US taxes, in addition to those in the foreign country you have chosen to live.  Surrendering your US citizenship may be good tax planning if you are moving to a low tax or no tax country.
 
If you need assistance with the legal or tax aspects of surrendering your US citizenship our firm can assist you. We have represented or advised over a hundred clients with this process who are now no longer having to file a US tax return.
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RICH Novak of RE/MAX Beaches & City! INC. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
To answer the question directly, it is not necessary for you to relinquish your citizenship or even get a dual citizenship in order to live in Panama. You can be a perpetual tourist, if you follow the rules, or you can get one of the different visas available.
 
When you come to Panama, you can come as a tourist or a visitor, and stay for 180 days, but then you have to leave the country for 72 hours. Then you can come back again. There are people who are stay in Panama indefinitely as perpetual tourists.
 
By law a Pensionado in Panama does not need a passport and possible Panamanian citizenship, but the government of Panama recently changed that rule, so that now, after a person’s has legally been here for five years, you can apply for citizenship. Nobody that I know has ever become a citizen and received a Panamanian passport that I know of, though, so it is absolutely not necessary in order to stay in Panama.
 
There are programs like the one they have in Saint Kitts, where you could start with an investment of US $350,000 and receive citizenship. To renounce your citizenship is a gray area. You may want to renounce your citizenship or you may not.
 
I know a Canadian guy who says that he has done everything to become a citizen of Panama, but the president of Panama needs to approve his application to become a citizen. That is the only thing he is says he needs, and I am waiting to see if that happens.
 
I am a US citizen and because I am a US citizen living overseas, I have to put up with some crazy laws. Because I am a citizen of the United States, I have to send in a report to Detroit telling the government what money I have in foreign bank accounts, and if I do not tell them, the penalty is 50% per year. So just because you already live in another country, does not relieve you of taxes and some other legal obligations in the US, because you are still a US citizen.
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Karyn Saunders of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
No, you do not need to renounce or relinquish your US citizenship and No, you don't need tdo get a dual citizenship to move or live abroad.  I am still a Canadian Citizen and Resident who now holds a Panamanian Residency Visa.  As a US citizen you can do the same.  Dual passports is another story for a US citizen but you do not need a passport in Panama to live here permanently.  As a Canadian you can have multiple passports and many do.
Alan Filliger of Alana la Casa del Arte – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You do not need to renounce or relinquish your USA or Canadian citizenship if you decide to live abroad.  You keep your citizenship, change your lifestyle, enjoy a lot of new and interesting stuff and become a more rounded and knowledgeable person. 
 
I feel it is important to be willing to experience new things, a different culture, different ways of doing things and accept some risks of the unknown.  It is all worth it though when you break the routine you are used to and enjoy something new.
 
Lucia Haines of Panama Realtor Inc. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You absolutely do not have to renounce your US citizenship if you move or live abroad... but you do have to go through an immigration process, so that you can obtain a Residency Visa.  There are lots of different types of Residency Visas in Panama available to choose from, and many of them, most notably the Pensioners Visa (Pensonado) include benefits such as discounts on:
  • restaurants (25% and 15% on fast food)
  • Hospital ( 15% including private clinic)
  • medication (20% including prosthetics, wheelchairs and canes)
  • utilities (25% on telephone, water, and electricity)
  • recreation (50% this includes movies, sporting events, concerts and Museums)

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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
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