Monday, October 29, 2007

Reforestation visa requirements

After many expats were left in a Kafkian limbo with the abrogation of Reforestation visas, they made a comeback under a special version of the US$40K Micro-Business Investor visa and now somewhat - official rules are in force.

However, 3 renewals of the first 1-year visa are still necessary to apply for a permanent residence (or 4 renewals if you want to be straightforward). This is something the Immigration English site does not clarify, but is published in the Spanish version of the e-government site and in our blog comments. Only when the investment exceeds US$80K can permanent residency be applied for at the end of the 1st immigrant visa. The investment must be made directly, and not by buying stock in a reforestation company.

Immigrant visa and Residence permit granting a Forest Investor of a Micro Business. VIFOR. 1

Who may apply to this immigrant visa?

Foreigners may apply to this immigrant visa and the corresponding permission of residence, who invest in direct form in the activities of reforestation as natural persons or through a legal person when the investment is no less than 40.000.00 (Forty Thousand “Balboas”).

The foreign applicant must prove to the National Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization the source of founds that he has effectively invested in the plantation of forest species for commercial, environmental, tourist aims or others. When the Immigrant visa has been approved, the foreigner receives a permission of residency for one year and when the same is expiring, the petitioner can request for a definitive permanency.

Only a single foreigner and its employees by company will be admitted and the attempt of violation or the violation of this requirement will bring as a consequence the refusal of the request and the obligation to leave the country.


  • All foreign citizens, that approaches the Directorate of Immigration to perform any procedure, must be previously registered in the Migratory Movement’s Section, whereto has to fulfil the following requirements:
    1. Present two (2) carnet size photos
    2. Present a copy of the page of the passport that containing the general information about him or (her) and copy of the page that shows the seal of the last entry to our country.
    3. Payment of the registration fee.
    4. Complete the register form of the Sworn Statement

  • In the case that the request includes dependents, the requirements for the Immigrant’s Visa as a Resident Dependent must be included.
  • All documents issued abroad, must be properly annotated or authenticated by the Republic of Panama Embassy or Consulate at the country that issued them, and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama.
  • All documents issued abroad that are not written in the Spanish Language, must be translated by an Official Public Translator certified by the Ministry of Government and Justice.
  • All foreign residents, temporary visitors or alien citizens present in the country with an application being processed that wishes to go abroad and re-enter the country, requires from the National Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization a MULTIPLE INCOMING VISA BEFORE LEAVING THE COUNTRY. The omission of this procedure will incur a One Hundred Balboa fine (B/100.00).
  • One month before the termination of the one year Residence Permit that is granted with the Immigrant Visa, the petitioner may apply for the Permanent Residence, with the right to apply for a Panamanian Cedula (I.D. Card)
  • All those nationalities that require a Consulted Visa must present with any request, a VALID VISA CERTIFICATION TO PROCESS A RESIDENCE, issued by the Consulted Visa Department of the National Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization.
  • The Sworn Declaration must be made in the form supplied by the Directorate of Immigration and Naturalization. This form must be signed by the interested party and be completed in full. To furnish false information carries penal and legal responsibilities and the refusal of the requested visa or its cancellation if already granted. Under age foreigners don’t have to complete this form, but parents or tutors must provide the requested information, although not under the gravity of oath.

The documentation must be COMPLETE at the time of presentation, and in the expressed following order. Small documents such as, birth certificates, health certificates, receipts, etc, must be added to a legal size paper and both faces of the abovementioned documents must be clearly seen, in order to be properly received.



At the time of the document presentation, a temporary valid carnet for three months is issued and when the petition is approved a temporary resident carnet for one year is issued. At due time of the previous mentioned carnet, two successive extends can be requested, and if they are approved then a carnet for a validity of two years is issued. The costs of the carnets will be paid by the interested party as well as a B/10.00 fiscal stamp for those foreigners citizens that require visa.

Power of attorney and petition by means of a lawyer [ ... The power of attorney must be presented personally before a Public Notary or at the Receipt of documents for immigrants Section at the Directorate of Migration. It must include the general information of the foreign petitioner (full name, nationality, passport exact address, telephone numbers) as well as the parents full name, nationality and exact address. Also, all the general information of the lawyer must be given (office’s address, fax number, telephone number, e mail address) Within the request, in addition to the complete general information of the principal and the empowered, the complete information of attached check must be stated (check number, drawing bank’s name, date and amount), all the attached supporting documents must be listed, and quote the legal bases that support the request and explain the type of commercial activity that the company will develop. The power of attorney, as well as the request must have a stamp or seal for B/. 4.00 per page. ]

Certified or cashier’s check in the amount of B/. 100.00 in favour of the “Tesoro Nacional” (National Treasury).

Certified or cashier’s check in the amount of B/. 500.00 in favour of the “Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia” (Ministry of Government and Justice) as a repatriation’s deposit [applicable to persons older than 12 years]

Medical Certificate of Good Health [: issued within the three (3) months prior to the presentation date (it must have date, signature and seal with the doctor’s name, including the code and registration number of the physician. ]

Penal and police record issued by the previous country of residence of the petitioner within the last two years, ( if the interested party has been in Panama for the last two or more years on a consecutive time, this document will not be necessary).

Passport issued by country origin [ .. with a minimum of six months validity time]

Complete copy of passport.

Two (2) carnet size photos [..updated (no hats or veils and front face)

Public Registry Certification: [: in which the legal representation, authorized share capital and the way the shares are divided is shown (shares must be nominative), the physical address and dignitaries and directors names must appear, to which the petitioner must belong. At the same time, the legal representative name and empowered, if any, has to be included.

Certification of the Secretary or Treasurer of the company, whereby the title of the shares issued in favour of the foreign applicant are credited and stating that the shares are released and properly paid (the shares must be of a minimum value of B/.40,000.00). The certification must be signed before Public Notary and it does not have to be subscribed by the interested party.

Certification of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), where the total direct invested amount in the forestal activity by the petitioner is detailed, certifying that the investor owns the capital. The C.P.A. must attach copy of his or her identification card and the C.P.A.´s carnet.

Copy of the share certificate or certificates issued to the forestal investor.

Authenticated copy by the Ministry of Economy and Finance [.. of the Income tax form along with its payment receipts. If a yearly fiscal period has not concluded since the starting of operations of the company, instead of the income tax form, a copy of the Taxpayer Registry (Registro Unico) along with the original receipt must be supplied to be compared. ]

Authenticated photocopy [.. of the National Authority of Environment’s resolution where the legal entity or the foreigner was approved to be registered in the Forest Registry. ]

Proof of the investment made [... in a direct form in reforestation activities, by a minimum of B/. 40,000.00 (forty thousand B/ 80.000.00 “Balboas”) which can be demonstrated with documents such as: certificate of the Public Registry issued in the name of the interested party, in which the inscription of the property that will be destined to the reforestation is registered, authenticated photocopy of the checks that were made as investment in reforestation, with paid seal of the Bank and the corresponding invoice, customs liquidations of machinery to be used in the reforestation project or another document that certainly proves the investment made in reforestation ]

Complete the form of Sworn Declaration of Personal Background

Legal Basis:

Articles 23rd. and 26th of the Law-Decree 16 of June 30 of 1960.

National Directorate of Migration and Naturalization’s Resolution Nº 039 of April 27th. of 2006. Official Newspaper No. 2555. (Gaceta Oficial)


If the petition includes dependants, the investment should be an additional B/4,000.00 per dependant and must comply with the conditions of Resident’s Dependent Visa.

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