By Uglobal Staff
Panama has announced two new major visa policies, one is an initiative targeted at attracting digital nomads while the other changes the country's Friendly Nations visa.
The government launched the new Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers initiative at a time when there is a global realization that the pandemic has spawned a new class of remote workers who can operate from anywhere in the world from their laptops and, in turn, bring a lot of cash to the local economy if they are provided with the right incentive. Panama is now one of the many countries around the world, including the UK and Romania, that have launched a special visa programs for digital nomads.
Requirements for Panama’s Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers
If a digital nomad wants to set up shop in Panama, all they'll have to do is prove that they are doing remote work for a company outside of Panama; this can be done easily by providing a legitimate work contract. Also, the nature of work can’t be for anything locally in Panama, but has to be something abroad. The minimum annual salary threshold to qualify for this specific visa for foreign digital nomads has been set at $36,000.
Qualifying applicants would be allowed to stay in the country for nine months (or 183 days); the successful candidates would also get the option to renew their visas at least once, if they wish to stay for a longer period of time. The government decree also made it clear that digital nomads using this visa would not need a separate work visa since their remotely earned income will not be taxed locally.
Changes to Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa
In a separately issued decree, the Panamanian government also announced some changes to its Friendly Nations visa, the biggest of which concerns obtaining permanent residency via a business.
Those on the Friendly Nations visa will no longer be able to gain permanent residency directly via incorporating a business and depositing $5 million in a local bank account. They will now be issued with a temporary residency visas first for a period of two years while the permanent visa would become available to them only when their temporary issued one would be close to expiration.
It also stated that those applying for the Friendly Nations visa would have to state their purpose of visit more clearly in their visa application form. Applicants who intend to work in Panama would have to show that they have a job waiting for them in the country and state explicitly that they intend to work.
Also, for those investing in real estate, an applicant on the Friendly Nations visa would need to make certain the value of the investment is at least $2 million. All such purchases would also have to be under the applicant's own name; it cannot be via a company name.
The changes to the Friendly Nations visa will come into effect 90 days after the decree was issued.
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