Panama Country Profile

Passport Ranking
65/198
Passport Score
134.8
Visa-free Countries
122
Show More
Region
North and South America
Capital City
Panama City

Largest City
Panama City
Currency
United States dollar

Languages
Spanish
Population
4.3 million

Life Expectancy
77.6 years
GDP (nominal)
$71.1 billion

GDP/Capita
$16,614
Cost of Living
Climate
Safety
Pollution
English Proficiency
Moderate (4/7)
Average (3/5)
Safe (3/7)
Average (3/5)
Low (4/5)

Taxation Type: Territorial

Sovereign Research's take:

Our founder, Simon Black, used to spend significant amounts of time in Panama. He started going there in the early 2000s. 

Back then, the only positive thing you could say about the country was that you could drink tap water safely. Otherwise, it was very much a backwater type of place.

Today, Panama is an entirely different country. Its GDP grew fivefold. Panama City’s skyline reminds one of Hong Kong. The changes over the past couple of decades have been simply remarkable.

The country is profoundly pro-business. Revenues from the Panama canal have also been a major boon for the country,

The country has also received a high level of press visibility pre-Covid. Yes, we are talking about the Panama Papers – the “scandal” that helped demonize, once again, the entire idea of asset protection structures.

But despite all the negative coverage by breathlessly anti-liberty activists with little understanding of how the global economy actually works, Panama remains a reputable jurisdiction within which to structure your company – if you conduct most of your business in Latin America.

But if your focus is not that region, we would probably abstain from Panamanian structures or even banking – there is simply too much negativity swirling about it.

Panama’s cost of living is also still quite reasonable, though it now tends to be the highest in Latin America (after Puerto Rico).

One reason for this is that they don't have control over their currency, the balboa. It has been pegged to the US dollar since 1904. Dollarization brought fiscal stability, but also an inability to control (read: “inflate away”) the currency, which generally meant a higher cost of living for Panamanians. 

For many years, Panama was home to one of the world’s most attractive residency programs – the Friendly Nations Visa. Westerners could obtain Panamanian permanent residency after starting a local corporation and depositing around $5,000 in a local bank account. 

But its conditions have become much stricter as of 2021. 

Today, Panama is still interesting for residency if you are a retiree with a stable income, or if you’re willing to purchase local real estate.

We’ll close by pointing out that Panama is a great retirement destination. In this regard, Panama competes with neighboring Costa Rica. .

Service Providers available in Panama in Sovereign Research's Rolodex:

  • Immigration (residency, citizenship)
  • Full relocation services (real estate search, bank account opening, driver's licence, etc.)
  • Tax advice (attorneys and/or accountants)
  • Asset protection (specialized LLCs, trusts, etc)
  • Corporate services (company formation, etc.)
  • Real Estate (agents, lawyers)
  • Banking contact
Obtain access by signing up for Sovereign Confidential

Panama inside Sovereign Research resources
(opens in a new window)

DateNameProductType
29-Aug-2208/29/22August 2022 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
29-Jun-2206/29/22June 2022 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
27-Jun-2206/27/22A Roundup of Naturalization Rules & Timelines in the Americas Sovereign ConfidentialSMCBlack Paper
31-Mar-2203/31/22March 2022 SMC Q&A (Live Call Recording) Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
28-Feb-2202/28/22February 2022 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
28-Jan-2201/28/22January 2022 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
29-Nov-2111/29/21November 2021 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
29-Oct-2110/29/21October 2021 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
29-Sep-2109/29/21September 2021 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
22-Jul-2107/22/21SMC Update: The deadline to apply for the Panama Friendly Nations Visa is now August 7th Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
29-Jun-2106/29/21June 2021 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
15-Jun-2106/15/21Here Are 15 Factors to Consider Before Your International Move Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
24-May-2105/24/21Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa Will Become Much More Expensive Soon Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
09-Feb-2102/09/21The Sovereign Man Starter Guide Sovereign ConfidentialSMCBlack Paper
29-Jan-2101/29/21January 2021 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
25-Jan-2101/25/21Reporting requirements when applying for residency/citizenship programs Sovereign ConfidentialSMCBlack Paper
05-Jan-2101/05/21Medical tourism destinations in Latin America Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
04-Dec-2012/04/20Panama introduced four new residency by investment options (and kept its most popular residency routes) Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
30-Oct-2010/30/20October 2020 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
05-Aug-2008/05/20How to turn opportunities into freedom - from someone who has done it Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
06-May-1905/06/19A Plan B on the beach in Panama – that pays for itself Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
31-Oct-1810/31/18October 2018 SMC Q&A Sovereign ConfidentialSMCQ&A
06-Apr-1704/06/17Sovereign Man Country Rankings: The Right Country for YOU, with Simon's insights Sovereign ConfidentialSMCBlack Paper
15-Mar-1703/15/17The unsettling lesson I just learned firsthand… and how you can protect yourself Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
14-Oct-1610/14/16These countries could give you a second residency or passport in 2016 Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
24-Jun-1606/24/16Why Panama could be a solid banking option for your Plan B Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
13-May-1605/13/16Why Panama is a no-brainer Plan B residency option Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
16-Apr-1504/16/15Why Chile, Colombia and Panama are great options for residency and for doing business Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
19-Mar-1503/19/15Simon's big picture thoughts and boots on the ground from the past month of travel Sovereign ConfidentialSMCMonthly Letter
03-Mar-1503/03/15SMC Comprehensive Residency Update: 2015 Edition Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert
21-Dec-1312/21/13Panama: The easiest place in the world to establish foreign residency Sovereign ConfidentialSMCAlert

Articles featuring Panama

Trends & News

Actually, Panama has a higher corporate tax than Denmark…

Last night I got robbed. Not in the literal sense of the word. There weren’t armed men in masks holding me up on the sidewalk in Panama City. (I’ve been coming here for 13 years and have never once felt unsafe…) It was at the cashier’s cage at the Veneto Casino. After a few hours […]

International Diversification Strategies

Second Residency: Panama is still an obvious escape hatch

At the turn of the 20th century, the United States had recently become the largest economy in the world… and it was showing. The US had just vanquished Spain in the Spanish-American War, resulting in a vast new American colonial empire, stretching from the Philippines to Puerto Rico. And it was just the beginning of […]

Podcast

Panama and Southern Spain… where the real estate isn’t insanely overpriced

When Gideon Gono became the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in late 2003, his country was already suffering from terrible hyperinflation. Throughout the 1990s, inflation in Zimbabwe averaged well over 20%. And just a few years later inflation had reached 200%. That’s when Zimbabwe’s government hired Gideon Gono to fix the inflation problem. […]

Panama Residency & Passport
Lifestyle Design

How to get a Permanent Residency, Passport and Citizenship in Panama in 2022

How to get PanamanianPermanent Residency, Passport and Citizenship in 2022 AUTHOR LAST UPDATED If you’re looking for the easiest permanent residency program in the world, then look no further than Panama. In this article you’ll learn about the two best Panamanian residency visas, and how you can obtain a Panamanian passport and citizenship with ease. […]

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