Being a tropical destination situated between the North Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Panama is home to beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery. Many tourists from all over the globe look up to Panama to spend quality time with their loved ones.
Now picture yourself chilling and working at a beautiful beach in Panama, taking a sip of your favorite mocktail while watching the sun go down. Mesmerizing, isn’t it?
But is Panama welcoming to remote workers/digital nomads? Can you get Panama digital nomad visa? Is it worth it to get Panama digital nomad visa?
If these are the kind of questions popping up in your mind, you have landed on the right page because these are the questions that I will shed light on in today’s rundown.
Now without any more Jibber Jabber, let’s delve straight into it and find everything about Panama digital nomad visa.
Does Panama Offer Visa for Digital Nomads/Remote Workers?
In May 2021, the Panamanian government took a great initiative and introduced a short-term visa for digital nomads associated with a foreign company or working independently. This visa is officially regarded as a “Short Stay Visa for Remote Workers.”
The Panama short-stay visa is intended to encourage tourism and open doors for travel-loving digital nomads from all over the world to reside in the beautiful national territory, which will in turn help in the growth of the national economy of Panama in the form of investments and consumption of local goods.
How Long Can You Stay on Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
Digital nomad visas are valid for nine months only. However, you can get a one-time extension of the same period of nine months.
While the visa is only viable for 18 months(including an extension of the same period of 9 months), you can get friendly nations visa offered by Panama to 50 nationalities if you wish to stay longer.
Here is a list of 50 countries that Panama offers friendly nations visas.
Eligibility Criteria for Panama Digital Nomad Visa
Panama short-stay visa for remote workers is open to all the foreigners under the following conditions:
- Digital nomads must be in a valid working contract with a foreign transnational company
- In the case of foreign freelance workers, they must show sworn declarations outlining transactional records, authenticated bank statements, or proof of services they provide to their clients
- Independent freelancers or digital nomads must have a minimum annual income of $36,000 which equates to an average monthly income of $3,000
What are the Application Requirements for Panama Digital Nomad Visa?
As mentioned earlier, a Panama short-stay visa can be received by two types of Applicants:
- Remote workers who are associated with a foreign company operating internationally
- Autonomous business owners/self-employed workers or Independent freelancers who earn in foreign currency
Now the requirements for Panama digital nomad visa application are slightly different for these two types of applicants.
The Following Documents Must be Submitted by Each Type of Applicant for Short Term Visa:
- Certified passport copies
- Three passport size photographs
- Valid medical insurance covering the applicant’s stay in Panama
- A completed application form including the commitment of the applicant to bear the return cost to the homeland
- Non-acceptance Affidavit that restricts the applicant from working with a company within Panama territory(The applicant should only work with a foreign company or as an independent freelance remote worker)
- Apart from medical insurance, the applicant should also have a certificate depicting a clean criminal record
- The annual income of the applicant must be equal to or more than $36,000(the applicant must prove sufficient income by submitting bank certification and authenticated bank statement)
- Digital nomad applying for a short term visa must also submit the payment proof of $250 against the Panama national immigration service or Panama immigration office
Specific Requirements for Remote Workers working in Offshore Companies
- A letter or documented proof from a foreign company containing the company letterhead and signed by a legal representative
- The letter must contain the applicant’s general data, designation, and duties at the foreign company
- The letter should also depict the work modality and the monthly income of the applicant
Special Requirements for Self-Employed Applicants
- Freelancers or self-employed workers must provide the company’s ownership proof indicating its registration outside the territory of Panama
- The freelancers also have to submit a sworn declaration outlining the kind of services they provide, their relationship with clients, their current and projected revenue
- Documents issued abroad should be correctly notarized by a legal representative
What is the Total Cost of Visa for Remote Workers?
The total cost of a Panama digital nomad visa consists of the Application and visa card fee.
$250 is the Application fee that a foreign remote worker is required to pay to the National Immigration Agency or National Immigration Service, while $50 is the digital nomad visa card issuance fee.
This makes the total cost of a remote worker visa up to $300 and it is counted in legal and government costs.
What are the Benefits of Applying for a Panama Digital Nomad Visa and Working as a Remote Worker in Panama?
If you are looking to spend quality time gazing upon mesmerizing scenery while getting your work done simultaneously, Panama should be your next travel destination.
However, Panama is not only a country full of beautiful destinations, but it also offers other great advantages for digital nomads.
Some top of the line benefits are:
For starters, Panama’s digital nomad visa costs only $300, which is relatively less than most western countries. But it’s not only the visa that is affordable, the cost of living in Panama is also not expensive.
The monthly cost for an average individual in Panama is around $690. Moreover, the cost of living in Panama City is 49.51% less expensive than that of New York City(without rent).
From high-speed networks and reliable power to jaw-dropping locations and scenic routes, Panama has everything to offer to digital nomads.
The country guarantees freedom for individuals, and the government also maintains a friendly relationship with foreigners and locals alike.
The overall environment is so calm and peaceful that Panama topped the list of the World’s best places to retire in 2022 by International Living.
Beyond an amazing lifestyle and affordable cost of living, Panama also offers excellent tax benefits for digital nomads. The government announced not to tax digital nomads if their source of income is international(outside of Panama).
Additionally, while residing in Panama as a digital nomad, you can become eligible to file for tax residency, which means that you become immune to paying taxes to your home country.
Note that you can only avoid paying tax to your home country if you are living in Panama for nine months or more.
Extended Stay of Almost a Year and a Half
When you apply for a Panama remote worker visa, you are granted temporary not a permanent residency in Panama for nine months. However, you can extend your stay for additional nine months once on the same visa.
The entire digital nomad visa processing can be done within 30 days through an online platform.
However, the online platform is still under construction, but the Panamian immigration office has ensured that it will be completed sooner for the feasibility of all the applicants.
Is Panama a Suitable Country for Digital Nomads?
If you are a digital nomad, Panama should be on the top of your travel destinations list.
Why? Because it is not only keeping a perfect balance of being cost-effective and a friendly place to work in, but it also meets the standard of Bali in terms of beauty.
A valid passport, private medical insurance covering Panama, a clean criminal record, proof of funds, work modality, affidavit of non-acceptance, and three passport-size photographs, are these documents too much to ask for in exchange for 9 months of solitude? I don’t think so!
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Panama now!