What is the change? The Ministry of Labor has published new work permit regulations for the Specific Countries Permanent Residence.

  • Effective date: April 25.
  • Visas/permits affected: The work permit for the Specific Countries Permanent Residence.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for Friendly Nationals Residency Permits, also known as Specific Countries Permanent Residence, in Panama.

New regulations:

  • Validity period. The work permit for the Specific Countries Permanent Residence will now be issued for three years, renewable.
  • Renewals. For each renewal, the applicant must either have paid nine social security contributions or have a copy of the Income Tax Declaration along with a Good Standing IRS Certificate.
  • Processing changes. Applicants can apply for the Specific Countries Permanent Residence with a temporary ID card, which is issued by immigration authorities, instead of waiting for the final immigration approval of the Permanent Residence. This procedure makes the application process more efficient as the work permit will be obtained in a shorter period of time than the four to five months for final immigration approval.

Background: The Friendly Nations Residency Permit (Specific Countries Permanent Residence) may be granted to individuals on the Friendly Nations List for the purpose of pursuing commercial or professional activities in Panama. Once approved, this permit grants an indefinite residency in Panama. Applicants must show a bank account with approximately $5,000 or more and proof of a commercial or professional activity linked to Panama. This last requirement may be fulfilled by starting a new business, purchasing an existing business or being hired to work for a Panamanian company.

Analysis & Comments: Employers should take into consideration the new regulations as they will impact work permit applications for specific nationalities. Processing times for this permit category will be shorter because employees will no longer need to wait for the final permanent residence approval in order to start working.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.