Posted by: RAL CONSULTANTS BUREAU - PANAMA LAW | August 30, 2009

Panama: More Than Just A Canal

People over the world know Panama for its Canal that joins the world. But Panama is more than just a canal. It is a vibrant, modern country and each year thousands of people from around the world choose to retire to Panama, and Panama welcomes them.

There are many reasons people choose to move to Panama. They may have retired from the working world but they haven’t retired from life. They are looking for a new adventure to keep themselves young and active. Many come to Panama because the cost of living here is a lot kinder to their new, fixed-income status than it is in the United States and much of Europe.

In order to qualify for Panama’s retirement Pensionado Visa a person only has to have proof of a monthly income of at least $1,000 (an additional $250.month is required for a spouse and/or each dependent child), be in good standing with the police department, and pass a physical examination here in Panama.

When someone receives their Pensionado they are offered a shopping list of benefits unequaled almost anywhere else in the world:

They will be given a tax exemption on a new car imported to Panama every two years.

There is a one-time import tax exemption of $10,000 for household goods.

Other discounts apply to such things as:

50% off of entrance to recreation and entertainment such as movies, theaters and sporting events.

A 30% discount on transportation within the country (buses, trains and boats).

25% discount on air fares within the country and on international flights booked in Panama.

A minimum discount of the regular prices of hotels, motels and pensions of 50% Monday through Thursday and 30% off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

You are elibible for a 25% discount on food for each visa holder in restaurants (15% at fast food outlets)

A 15% discount in the total cost for services of hospitals and private clinics.

10% off in pharmacies for medications obtained with a medical prescription.

Other medical service discounts are 20% in consultation fees of general practitioners and medical and surgical specialists. 15% off on dental services and 15% off for optometry services.

There are also discounts for technical and professional services, prosthetic devices, electrical, phone and water services of between 20 and 25%.

Panama is an international banking center and throughout the country it is possible to obtain cash at ATMs with your bank debit or credit cards. While our official currency is called the Balboa, there is no such thing as a Balboa dollar bill. The American dollar is the paper currency here and the coins clinking in your pocket may be either U.S. pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters or Panamanian Balboas which are the same size and composition as their American counterparts.

Whole books have been written about the benefits of retiring and living in the Republic of Panama. As this blog develops we will investigate other aspects of living here including what you need to know about buying and investing in real estate.


  1. There’s certainly a great deal to know about this issue. I really like all of the points you made.

    • Dear Michael,

      If you have a criminal record even if is going back over 10 years is not possible to get a Pensiado Visa from Panama.
      If you reside legally in another country you can apply with a police report from that country if you have living in that country legally for more than 2 years.


  2. If you have a criminal record going back over 10 years is it still possible to get a Pensiado Visa from Panama. Maybe be living in a another state or even country for a while? Right now I receive a pension of $2300 with a possible increase to $3700 and would like to retire young in Panama but don’t want to live there Illegally.
    Well I guess I can marry a local woman but I would like to know if I have any options…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: