Panama’s Pensianado Program 101
Why Panama’s Pensianado visa is such a great deal
Panama has a pension program unmatched by any other country in Latin America. It is the top reason that so many foreign retirees have made, and continue to make, their new home in this welcoming little country. It is easy to qualify for this visa and the benefits are amazing!
To qualify for the Pensianado Residency Visa you must draw a pension from your home country of at least $1000 per month for an individual or $1250 for a couple. The pension can be issued by any government or corporate entity and must be set up for direct deposit into a local Panamanian bank.
In Panama the retirement age for legal residents is 60 for men and 55 for women. There is no age restriction on the Pensianado visa, and many immigrants who apply for and receive Pensianado benefits are not even close to retirement age. The visa will give you permanent residency and the same rights as local Panamanians, but is not a path to citizenship.
Once you qualify for the Pensianado Visa, you will be entitled to a one-time exemption of duties on up to $10,000 worth of household goods that you bring to Panama. There is also a tax exemption every two years on the importation of your car or a car that you purchase locally.
Here are some of the other benefits to which Pensianados are entitled in Panama:
- 50% off entertainment, including movies, theaters, concerts, and sporting events
- 50% off closing costs for home loans
- 30 – 50% off hotel stays
- 30% off bus, boat, and train fares
- 25% off at restaurants (see caveat below)
- 20% off medical visits
- 20% off professional and technical services
- 15% off dental and eye exams
- 10% off prescription medicines
- And more…
The Panamanian government has pledged to ‘grandfather in’ all Pensianado residents so if there is ever a change in the law, your status will never change!
Now, for a few of the caveats:
- In order to receive your discount, you have to request it and show your Pensionado card. Here’s how to say “Please give me my Pensioner discount” in Spanish: “Por favor, deme mi descuento de pensionado.”
- Some local mom and pop places are barely making ends meet and may not be so happy about extending your discount, even though they are required to do so by law. Exercise your own judgment when using your card at these types of establishments. At the resort spa? – by all means, pull out that card!
- Lastly, there are some hoops to jump through in the process of getting this visa, so using a reputable attorney to walk you through the process is advisable.
Enjoy the benefits of this marvelous program!