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Der folgende Informationsaustausch wurde dem englischsprachigen Yahoo-Forum "Panama Forum" entnommen und beginnt mit der Bitte eines älteren US-amerikanischen Ehepaars um Tips für eine Erkundungsreise, erweiterte sich dann aber mit Hinweisen zur Einwanderung. Obwohl manche der Fragestellungen und Hinweise sich in erster Linie auf die Situation von Einwanderern aus den USA beziehen, sind sie sicher in vielem auch für Einwanderer aus Europa nützlich. Da der Dialog sich über einige Zeit hinzieht und nicht alles relevant ist, habe ich ihn hier kompiliert und konzentriert.

Die Fragen des Ehepaars sind in blau, die Hinweise in schwarz.

Für Einwanderungswillige aus Deutschland und mehreren anderen EU-Ländern ist ein am 21.5.20112 in der Gaceta Oficial Digital veröffentlichtes Dekret wichtig, das die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung nicht mehr abhängig vom Bezug einer Pension macht und sogar erlaubt, in Panama gechäftlich tätig zu sein, mit Ausnahme der Eröffnung eines Einzelhandelsgeschäfts und bestimmter Berufe, die ausschliesslich Panamaern vorbehalten sind und bleiben. Weiter unten eine englische Übersetzung und teilweise Interpretation.

Für Italien existierte bereits zuvor eine zwischenstaatliche Vereinigung, welche einwandernden Italienern weitgehend die gleichen Rechte gibt wie panamaischen Staatsbürgern (mit Ausnahme der gleichen beruflichen Einschränkungen wie in dem neueren Dekret)

Dem folgen Hinweise zu verschiedenen Einwanderungsmöglichkeiten, entnommen von der Webseite eines Anwaltbüros.

Hinweise zur Einwanderung aus dem englischsprachigen "Panamaforum"


Gail: We are very interested in retiring to Panama, based on what we've read. Can anyone tell us a very cheap way to spend some time there exploring various locations? Any travel tips? We don't want to spend all our moving money on our first visit.

Chris: Stay away from high priced hotels, even in the city you can stay a night for around $25 with a/c and cable. if you dont mind riding, taking the bus around the country is alot cheaper and well if you see something you like you can always get off the bus and just take another. boquete is a good climate, volcan has about the same and things are a bit cheaper there.  isla grande is a nice place, its an island with out cars, ppl are nice there.

Richard: You can eat a filling meal in the local fondas (everywhere) for under $3 with water or maybe a soft drink.   There are hostals in places like Bocas, David and Panama City at least, and other cheap basic hotels.   El Valle even has a place where you can pitch a tent for a few days if you like.
Like Chris said, bus service is everywhere and very inexpensive.   Buy a couple or three guide books to Panama (search for Panama and you'll see quite a few).   They are a good guide to local hotels and eateries by region/city and will really help you decide where you want to visit.   If you do your homework before you come (maybe you already have), you can make much more efficient use of your time and money.

Chuck: Good suggestions however I might not recommend $25/night hotel room in Panama City for your first trip - unless you are the backpacking type.
I have found the best inexpensive hotels to be:
Hotel California - about $45/night on Via Espana in Bella Vista
Hotel Milan - in cangrejo - around $65/night
Torres De Alba - a block from Milan - $90/night
There are several B&B's located in Balboa area, a little harder to walk from there to anywhere = you will need a taxi.
Busses are OK but taxis are cheap in PC.
It sounds like you are on a tight budget - if that is the case PC probably not a good choice for retirement - check out the David area.
For hotel recommendations - has a good Panama section with reviews written by fellow travelers.

Monique: Hotel Marbella in the Crangero section of PC is also very good, cheap and well situated.

Mary: If you can't afford La Estancia, then DO consider Hotel Santana, on the edge of Casco Viejo for $39 a night. (Cross-check this recommendation on Trip Advisor and you'll see mostly favorable reviews.
If you really want to go "budget" (hostel-type accomodation), then
Luna's Castle, in the heart of Casco Viejo, is a great place to bunk down. $13 for a share; $30 for a private double room.

Monique: Another pretty decent hostal in casco Vieo as well: hospedaje casco viejo

Clyde: I'll certainly second that.  It's on Calle 8 near Avenida A Casa 8-31, next to the church with the golden altar.  I lived there for 2 years in a room that has since been converted to the women's dormitory which sleeps 6.  Ricardo Graces, the owner who speaks perfect English, is a very gracious host and being Colombiano he understands cleanliness and good service.  Ricardo also has an apartment building a few blocks away on Avenida A at Calle 13 with one and two bedroom furnished apartments that are available for short term rentals.  The telephone number is 211-2027.  Anyone staying there please say hello to Ricardo and the staff for me.

Monique: The Panama Moon Guide (Bill Friar) is the best Panama Travel book, as far as updated. There should be a new issue coming out this month if not out already. Lonely Planet is hopelessly outdated.

Richard: The best rental prices won't be found on the internet, but by walking around and talking to lots of people once you zoom in on a location.  Someone will have a cousin who knows a guy...... etc.
Instead of hiring a driver to tour you around the country, you might collect names of local drivers in the areas you'd like to visit, and take the bus between them.
Public transportation is pretty good.  The buses run almost everywhere, as that's the primary form of transportation for many people here.  The long-distance buses are usually better than the local buses as far as creature comforts.  The diablo rojos in PC (old school buses imported from the US) will be replaced maybe soon.   They will be missed, if only for their colorful artwork and lights.   But I've seen some of them running at 4 in the morning without a single light showing on the old highway to Colon, so they're not always in the best of shape mechanically.
Taxis in the bigger cities are numerous and quite inexpensive as well, compared to US prices.   Meters may be installed soon, so some of the gringo pricing will be reduced.

Penny: Don't think that rentals advertised on the internet are typical. Most Panamanians never advertise their rentals on line. I live in Boquete and it has the reputation as an expensive place to live yet I have a friend who rents a small apartment for $100/month and lots of folks who rent for under $500/month. You just come here, rent a $15/night hostal room, and start looking.
Even if the cost of living were twice as much in Boquete, what we have here is worth it (in my opinion and I'm frugal).

Gail: Someone else just told me that the inexpensive rentals probably do not include hot water or more than one electrical outlet per room.  Are there apartments there, and what can one expect to pay for a decent rental with hot water and enough electricity for a few more things than one per room.  We don't need a lot.  
Also, are there laundromats there?  Otherwise, we would have to have washer and dryer hookups.
I like your style.  We are really thinking of just going there and renting a hostel room and doing just what you said.  We need to bone up on our Spanish a bit and finish with the placement of our three foster babies before we can do much more than ask a lot of questions.
We really think we need to get by on one of our Social Security checks and bank the other one.  We don't really have a nest egg.  So we will have to live "carefully".

Penny:  I know of several small houses or apartments within walking distance of downtown Boquete that have two bedrooms and either one or two bathrooms and electrical outlets and hot water. They rent in the $450 range. Of course these aren't always available just when you want them. You really have to be here and ask questions, read the bulletin boards, and pound the pavement. You can also search the rentals on I am hearing that right now there is a shortage of rentals in Boquete so you will really have to do your research.
There are several laundromats in Boquete. Don't worry about that.

Gail: Thanks, Connie.  How long does it take to get from Boquete to David?  Are there any less expensive mountain communities in Chiriqui? 

Connie: It takes about an hour. Volcan is a little cheaper and you might look at Portrerillos. Also, Alto Boquete is a bit cheaper than some of the other areas of Boquete. If you look around you can find rentals in Boquete at about $400, so not everything is as high as some think. Still, there are cheaper areas. The lowlands are cheaper, but when you factor in air conditioning, if you can't take the heat, it could make some of the cheaper rentals in Boquete not seem so unreasonable.

Richard: Volcan is less expensive than Boquete when purchasing properties but Boquete does have some great rental prices from time to time.   The hydroelectric projects in Caisan and elsewhere increased the demand in Volcan, it seems.
Potrerillos and Boqueron are very quiet places to live, and still cooler than David.

Gail: Thanks so much!   We are thinking that Chiriqui Province in the mountains will suit us best, but perhaps there are more affordable mountain areas that we should explore.  It sounds like hostels are the way to go for us.  If anyone lives or knows any areas that have a moderate climate, affordable rental housing, please let us know.  The ads I see for rentals and real estate purchases sound a bit higher than we want.  If we can even sell our 4-year-old mobile home, it will be at a loss.  We think we would like to rent permanently, but at least for awhile.
From here, it sounds like the only really good medical care is in PC, but we are hoping to live in the interior. 
Also, can you really hire a driver to tour you around the country?  Or are there other good ways to explore the country.  Don't want to even own a car there.  How is the public transportation?  I hear good and bad about it. 
I am reading more and more about crime.  Is there a growing anti-American attitude?   Or are there just isolated incidents?  

Connie: Check out the medical care in David. Many expats in Chiriqui are happy with it.

Penny: I spent 6 days in Chiriqui Hospital in July. I'm not an expert since this was my first ever hospitalization (except for giving birth many years ago) but my opinion is that the care was excellent. The nursing staff was responsive, the facilities were spotless, and it just seemed like a caring facility. It helps to know some Spanish -- at least "necessito ir al baño"

Richard: The same goes for Hospital Mae Lewis in David.
David has good medical care ..., but not as many choices as Panama City, of course.

Susan: There is one issue that needs to be planned if you are planning to move to a foreign country with no savings and live on your social security month to month:
How will you pay for
health care, in case of serious medical event? Routine preventive care and care for minor stuff is cheap in Panama but treatment for serious illness or injury is not, even though its far less costly than in the USA. You are aware that medicare cannot be used in Panama, right? And that the cost of returning to the USA to use medicare, whether its a regular flight or "medical evacuation" (expensive) is not covered either? Decent health insurance is very hard to qualify for if you are over 60 or are in less than perfect health when you first try to get it, unless you are a military or US government retiree. You can buy "sole provider" policies that cover for a few thousand dollars fairly cheaply but you won't be covered for most stuff for the first two years of paying premiums for most of these policies. You need to think those things out, investigate and plan before you make a move like that.

Gail: Good point!  I guess the other Social Security check would have to come into play in the case of a medical emergency.  We expect to be able to save over $100,000 within five years, but we could always use it for medical care if necessary.   We are just hoping that the one Soc Sec check would cover ordinary living expenses.
Thanks for the info.  We had been led to believe that we could buy
health insurance rather inexpensively.  In fact, that was included in our "living on one check" plan.  Really good insight.

Susan: If you are young and healthy, you can. If you are collecting social security either because you are over 62 or are medically disabled (which presumes some kind of "pre existing condition"),not so much.

Pattie: Gail, You and your husband can get the medical insurance through Chiriqui hospital, which I was told could be approx. $900 a year with a cancer policy.  Would that be do-able in your plan?  Unless you have medical issues, you would probably not need any additional insurance, especially if you could use your savings for emergencies. There are some international insurances you can get that are pretty reasonable to supplement if you wanted to.  

HNS: Small point but the insurance is through MS Panama, S.A. and not the hospital.
MS Panama has an agreement with both Hospital Chiriqui and San Fernando in Panama City.

Gail: $900 a year is definitely doable.  Is that for one of us, or both of us?  Where is Chiriqui Hospital?  In David?  How does one deal with any type of emergency in Panama?  In the US we dial 911.  Is there any type of program like that in Panama?  

Bonnie: Although there is no 911 per se, Alto al Crimen has established an emergency hotline for the reporting of crimes and emergencies with a bilingual responder who, once you call, will place the appropriate emergency telephone call for you.
See for more information. The hotline number is 6477-6662/

Connie: The Chiriqui Hospital plan for my husband and me is a little over $1200 per year. There were exclusions, but they had a pretty lenient interpretation of them. For instance, my husband has high blood pressure. Treatment for high blood pressure was excluded for two years, but they said that if he had a heart attack or stroke or organ failure caused by the high blood pressure, he would be covered. Thank goodness, we didn't have a chance to test that promise. No 911 in Chiriqui.

Penny: There supposedly is a 911 number in Panama City but I've heard it is non-functioning. Actually, Boquete has the only 911-type service which is funded by donations. Your call is answered 24/7 by a bi-lingual person who then dispatches the police, the ambulance, the fire department or road service. It works really well.

Hunter: Hospital Chiriqui is in David.
EMS is handled differently depending in where you live. 911 is in PC and expanding slowly outwards into the Interior.
David is the only other city with what you would consider quality care -- meaning equipment, doctors, and training to take care of many of the more common needs. 
Any other area of the country is served by smaller hospitals and clinics. Many of which are either understaffed, little to no equipment, and no working ambulance if they have one at all.
The bottom line is one has to clearly think about their current health condition and if it is in need of a specialist or uncommon medicine, diagnostic equipment etc., then living near PC is the smarter choice.
Our website has information for residents of Panama. In the lower right hand corner of the home page, you will find a link for resident information: 

Susan: Connie, did they put the "they said" part in writing? Because if they didn't, you are very fortunate that you didn't have to test it. If its not in writing, it is not binding, as quite a few folks have discovered to their dismay. This is not aimed at Hospital Chiriqui per se, its aimed at ANY situation in which any entity acting as an insurer or an insurer's representative (whether its a hospital selling you a "sole provider" policy or an actual insurance company or an insurance agent or broker) makes a verbal representation that appears to conflict, explicitly or impliedly, with what is in the policy.

Connie: The basic plan covers everything but cancer. There is a separate plan that you purchase for cancer. The total of the two plans is a little over $1200 per year. I can't remember the exact figure because the price went up slightly this year. Both plans are purchased at the same office in Hospital Chiriqui. Do check out the pre-existing qualification on blood pressure. We were satisfied for our needs, but as Susan pointed out we didn't have it in writing. We just figured that if the insurance didn't pay for it and something happened before the qualification went away, we would pay out of pocket. That is not a luxury everybody has, even though our doctor told us four years ago that open heart surgery was less than $15,000. I'm sure it has gone up a little since then.


Re: Medi-Salud and geography (aus der Yahoo-Gruppe "Ex-Pat Healthcare"

Keine privaten Krankenhäuser in Bocas:

Well, there really is no health care to speak of in Bocas. There are no private hospitals anywhere in the province and few private doctors, maybe one or two in Changuinola, and no specialists, so we would not seek care there. The seguro hospitals in the province are basically rudimentary first aid stations, are often without electricity and water, not to mention a real live doctor. They are ill equipped for treating anything other than basic prenatal care, a bad cold or a sprained angle or very minor injury (though they do handle first responder treatment of snakebites and scorpion stings).

But there are a couple of pretty good private hospitals in David and quite a few doctors and a lot of expats go there for all kinds of medical care (though if I was going to need a quadruple bypass I think I'd still go to PC). There are laboratories and other ancillary services too.

Medisalud deckt vermutlich nicht die Krankenhauskosten in Chiriqui ab (zumindest nicht unmittelbar):

So if, as XXXX said, all the people who thought they were getting low end coverage at reasonable rates through Mae Lewis Hospital or Hospital Chiriqui actually have MediSalud, I'll bet that most of them assume that (once the waiting times have elapsed) they are going to be able to go to those hospitals and have the insurer direct bill for all costs above the deductibles, and I was told that the company absolutely will not do this. (I wonder if all those people in Boquete and David and points in between who bought those policies read the fine print????)

So somebody is getting bad info. Either those people were misled or Mr. Garcia is confused about what his company offers, or they have a new set of rules for new customers that are different than for those people who signed up earlier. He was very very specific (I had him repeat it, just to make sure I wasn't hearing it wrong) that they have NO affiliated ANYBODY in Chiriqui: No doctors, no hospitals, no laboratories. They just don't do business there. So if you are their insured and you go there for care, you MIGHT get reimbursed...after you pay in full.

Unbedingt alle Versicherungsklauseln schriftlich abklären:

Either way, its not sounding real good.....Confusion over terms and conditions of medical insurance is never a good thing. Reliance on verbal representations about "what if" is a dangerous thing in the medical insurance arena. Its really easy to sit around and debate about this kind of stuff when you don't actually need the service...but when disaster strikes and you need serious medical care, the last thing you want to have to do is dick around with insurance company paper pushers. Having to jump through a lot of hoops when you should be focusing on staying alive and getting well can actually kill you.


Susan: Marty B. has been posting from his hospital bed in Hospital San Fernando to Panama Forum and reports that his surgery went well and he is recovering, and says he got great care there.....
Anm.: In diesem Krankenhaus besteht die Möglichkeit, Internetanschluss im Zimmer zu haben. Hospital San Fernando und Hospital Chiriqui sind im Versicherungsplan von MS Chiriqui abgedeckt.

New Executive Order Makes It Easier To Obtain Permanent Residency Status in Panama
Monday, May 21 2012 @ 07:14 PM COT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 2,260

Wow. Today Executive Order 343 of 16 May 2012 was published in the Official Gazette, "that creates within the immigration category of Permanent Resident, the sub-category of Permanent Resident in the form of foreign nationals from specific countries that maintain friendly, professional, economic, and investment relationships with the Republic of Panama."
Executive Summary - Short Answer Up Front: The government of Panama has just created an entirely new immigration sub-category to make it easier for citizens from specific countries to obtain Permanent Residency status. Within this status newly qualified permanent residents will be able to exercise professional or economic activities - such as create a business or get a job. I suspect the "hand brake" will be the Ministry of Labor, so if they ever need to in the future they can either shut down or slow down the granting of work permits. But anyway, this is it. This is the big move I have been expecting for years. This is what the government of Panama has decided to do in order to ease their shortage of qualified workers. This move will allow the economy of Panama to keep growing. The text of the Executive Order is full of references to contributing to the growth of the Panamanian economy. Read on, kind folk, because it just got a whole lot easier to move to Panama, and to live here and work here as a Permanent Resident, if you're carrying the right color of passport. (more)
What's Going On? Article One of Executive Order says "To create within the immigration category of Permanent Resident, the sub-category of Permanent Resident in the category as foreign nationals from specific countries that maintain friendly, professional, economic, and investment relationships with the Republic of Panama."
What Countries Are On The List? Article Two of Executive Order 343 provides a specific list of the countries covered;
• Germany
• Argentina
• Australia
• Austria
• Brazil
• Belgium
• Canada
• Spain
• United States
• Slovakia
• France
• Finland
• "The Low Countries"
• Ireland
• Japan
• Norway
• Czechoslovakia
• Switzerland
• Singapore
• Uruguay
• Chile
• Sweden

How To Apply: Article 3 of Executive Order 343 tells foreigners how to apply for this category as a Permanent Resident. Specifically, "The foreigners who solicit this permission as foreign nationals from specific countries, that maintain friendly, professional, economic, and investment relationships with the Republic of Panama, who have as a goal of exercising economic or professional activities of any type, should comply with the requisites established in Article 28 of Decree Law 3 of 22 February 2008, and provide the following;
• 1. Three passport sized photographs;
• 2. Document that demonstrates the purpose of requiring the permanent residency, according to the professional or economic activity that will be realized;
• 3. Proof of the economic solvency of the applicant, which will be demonstrated by providing the following;
o a. A banking certificate or bank account statement from the past month that reflects an account balance of no less than four digits, or that demonstrates your income, that's acceptable to the National Immigration Service;
• 4. A copy of the identification card or residency card from your country.
• 5. A letter of responsibility, if necessary;
• 6. Documentation to verify kinship, if you have dependents.
Dependents and Family Members: Article 4 of Executive Order 343 describes the requirements for bringing your dependents and family members with you to Panama; "The applicant can include in their application as dependents their spouse, minor children under 18 years of age, family members with disabilities, and parents who are dependents. Adult children aged 18 to 25 can be applied for as dependents, as long as it can be proven that they are studying in a regular manner and that they are under the economic dependency of the applicant. The foreigner who proves to have the tutelage or guardianship or custody of a minor can apply for them as a dependent.
You Can Work, But You've Got To Stay Legal: Article 5 of Executive Order 343 gives a warning, saying "Those foreigners who wish to take advantage of this permission as a Permanent Resident in the category as foreign nationals from specific countries that maintain friendly, professional, economic, and investment relationships with the Republic of Panama must comply with all Panamanian legal norms and regulations in the areas of commercial, labor, or any other type, according to the professional or economic activity that will be realized." In other words, whatever you're going to do, you have to comply with all applicable Panamanian commercial and labor laws.
You've Got To Apply With Immigration: Article 6 of Executive Order 343 says "The applications for permission as Permanent Resident in the category as foreign nationals from specific countries that maintain friendly, professional, economic, and investment relationships with the Republic of Panama, can only be presented to the National Immigration Service."

And That's Pretty Much It: Here is a link to Executive Order 343 in it's original Spanish, so you can read it for yourself if you like. I think this will pretty much do away with the need for people to be living in Panama as permanent tourists, and making those trips across the border every six months to reset your tourist status. It appears that Panama has used this mechanism to open up the doors to foreigners, to allow them to come here and live as documented Permanent Residents, as long as you're from one of the countries on that list. Once you have your Permanent Residency status, then you can apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor, and get a job. Or, you can create your own business and hire a bunch of Panamanians. Anyway, this one is an important game changer (I think) - which is why I dropped everything to translate it at 8:30 pm. And remember, you heard it here first...

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Ein weiterer Artikel zu diesem Thema aus dem "Boquete Panama Guide":

TCM: Rainelda Mata-Kelly, a legal update

Rainelda Mata-Kelly made trip to Boquete to provide our community with an update on some of the changes in immigration law and in a long question and answer period clarified many other issues for people.

I am going to attempt to summarize.

If you are looking for a Visa she recommended two options as best today. The Pensionado visa if you are retired, do not want to work and can show a pension of $1,000 a month for yourself and another $250 for a dependent.

The other option is a creation of this government and allows anyone from forty seven different countries to put $5000 in a bank account and apply for a visa that includes a work permit. This is the winner right now, no income requirement, work permit and permanent resident status in about six months. Rainelda pointed out the rules on this visa are cloudy and interpretation might vary with a new director of immigration, but for now this is a great option.

She emphasized the current need for an FBI report for US citizens and the fact they are rejecting people with arrests, even if never convicted of a crime.

If you are a pensionado and want a Cedula E she recommended getting one. She is going to confirm that the costs have not increased from the $60 government fee. Under the current interpretation of the law Pensionados with five years residency and a Cedula E , can request citizenship. In response to a question she did point out that you are required to renounce your prior citizenship when accepting Panamanian citizenship and the impact of that will vary depending upon your original citizenship.

The question came up about the email circulated by News.boquete from a local law firm saying bearer shares are going away by 2016. Rainelda said there is discussion of a change in law due to international pressures but no law has been introduced into the legislator and nothing has changed at this time. The law may or may not change in the future. Her advice was that she does not recommend bearer shares to her clients but if you have them, the fear of an uncertain change to the law is not reason to do anything now; wait.

In response to questions she discussed the use of Private interest foundations for protecting assets and how they differ from Trusts and corporations in Panama. If you do have a Private Interest Foundation be aware the Tasa Unica, the annual fee to the government for the Foundation has be raised from $300 to $400. The rate of $300 remains the same for corporations.

There was a lot more but I failed to take notes. :)

For more information contact Rainelda Mata-Kelly

(Int. access code+507) 216-9299
(Int. access code+507) 216-9298
Mobile phone:
(Int. access code+507) 6618-0515
e-mail: Website:
Office Address:
Suites 406-407, 4th Floor, Tower B, Torres de las Americas, Punta Pacifica, Panama City, Rep. of Panama.
Mailing Address:
P.O. BOX 0818-00534, Panama City, Republic of Panama

Die folgenden Informationen wurden der Webseite des Anwaltbüros BFC LAWYERS entnommen.


Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) for Investors in a Macro-Business

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) as an Economically Solvent Persons and based on a CD bank account

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) as an Economically Solvent Person

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) as a Retiree

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) as a Pensioner

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) as Dependants

Permanent Resident Permit (Visa) based on the Marriage with a Panamanian

Permanent Resident Visa base on the Treaty between Italy and Panama

Who may apply:
Based on the Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation Treaty between Italy and Panama, Italian nationals may apply and after this visa has been granted they will be treated in

Panama as nationals in all matters concerning admission to economic or professional activities, except for retail business activities.